You Can Use Dried Herbs Instead of Fresh—Here's How to Make the Swap

When cooking with herbs, you can use either dried or fresh once you know the correct fresh to dried herb conversions. Here is our simple ratio for substituting dried herbs for fresh so you can cook herb-filled recipes all year long.

No fresh bunch of basil for that marinara sauce recipe? No need to fret over it or make a trip to the store just for one ingredient. While many recipes specify using fresh herbs, sometimes they aren't available, or it isn't practical to buy a bunch when only a minimal amount is needed. In such cases, dried herbs can usually be substituted. Whether you're using dried or fresh, herbs boost the flavor and aromas of whatever you cook with them. Use our simple dried-to-fresh herb ratio guide for delicious flavor.

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Your Complete Guide for Fresh to Dried Herb Conversions

Fresh herbs are usually at least 80% water, so they pack a more concentrated flavor once they're dried than fresh herbs. For this reason, you generally need less when substituting dried herbs for fresh ones. For the best flavor results when substituting dried herbs for fresh, add the dried herb to a recipe at the beginning of the cooking time; this allows its flavors to seep into the dish.

Substituting Dried Herbs for Fresh

A general rule of thumb for the dried-to-fresh herb ratio: Use one-third the amount of dried herb for the fresh herb called for in the recipe.

For example, if you're converting fresh sage to dried sage in a recipe that calls for 1 Tbsp. of fresh sage, use 1 tsp. of dried sage instead. (Check out this handy guide to convert measurements for amounts like tablespoons to teaspoons to cups.)

Keep in mind that when you convert fresh herbs to dry, it's always easier to add more than to take away (in fact, it's practically impossible to remove dried rosemary from that turkey rub recipe once you've already mixed it and applied it to your bird). So err on the side of caution and add more to taste while cooking.

This three-to-one ratio works for many cases when you want to convert fresh herbs to dry, but there are a few outliers for seasoning recipes. Remember these unique situations when making substitutions for seasonings that aren't typical leaves:

  • Garlic: Try ½ teaspoon garlic powder per clove of fresh garlic
  • Ginger: Try ¼ teaspoon dried ground ginger per 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger root
  • Turmeric: Try ¼ teaspoon dried ground turmeric per 1 teaspoon of grated fresh turmeric root
  • Onion: Try 1 teaspoon onion powder per medium fresh onion

Substituting Dried Ground Herbs for Dried Leaf Herbs

When substituting a ground herb (powdered) such as oregano, basil, or bay leaves for dried leaf herbs (leaf-shaped), use about half the amount of the dried leaf herb.

Substituting Freeze-Dried Herbs for Fresh

These fresh-to-dry herb conversions work for traditional dried herbs. They don't work for freeze-dried varieties you find in the produce section, such as those made by mainstream brands like Litehouse or Gourmet Garden. Freeze-dried herbs replace fresh herbs in equal quantities. So if you're trading freeze-dried cilantro for regular in that homemade tortilla soup, use what the recipe calls for.

Bonus Tips for Dried-to-Fresh Herb Ratios

For the most part, dried herbs perform better in foods you enjoy cooked so the herbs can soften and infuse into the dish. Stews, chilis, soups, cooked sauces, casseroles, and spice rubs are all good for using a dried to fresh herb ratio. If you can, stick to fresh herbs for recipes like homemade salsas, salads, and other fresh creations.

When using these fresh to dried herb conversions, remember this cooking with herbs advice from our Test Kitchen:

  • For the most aromatic results, crush the dried herbs in the palm of your hand before sprinkling into the dish.
  • Store dried herbs in airtight jars in a cabinet or part of your kitchen away from direct sunlight.
  • Aim to replace dried herbs at least once yearly (or when the flavor noticeably weakens or the smell inside the jar is no longer potent).

Now that you know the basics of substituting dried herbs for fresh, you can convert like the culinary pro you are deep down.

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