How to Dry Fresh Basil in the Microwave – Quick and Easy

Drying basil in the microwave is one of the best methods to dehydrate it quickly and easily. When you have large amounts of fresh basil on hand, it’s a great way to preserve it for later use.

In fact, it’s just as simple a method as drying basil in the air fryer, which is my other favorite way to dry fresh basil.

Since not everyone has an air fryer, though, it’s important to know how to use the microwave method as well!

how to dry fresh basil in the microwave quick and easy dinners done quick

Can Fresh Basil Be Dried in the Microwave?

Yes, fresh basil can be dried in the microwave. The process is safe and generally takes less than 2 minutes, making it a quick and easy way to preserve fresh herbs.

Then you’ll be able to use it later to make great dishes, like the flank steak with chimichurri sauce featured over in our best Emeril Lagasse air fryer recipes

How to Dry Fresh Basil Leaves in the Microwave

  1. Start with clean, dry, fresh basil
fresh basil leaves and stems on a plate
  1. Remove the basil leaves from the stems (small leaves connected by thin stems are fine)
separate basil leave from their stems
  1. Place a paper towel on a microwave-safe plate
  2. Spread out your fresh basil leaves in a single layer on the paper towel lined plate, keeping the leaves as flat as possible
lay fresh basil leaves on a paper towel
  1. Add another paper towel to cover the leaves (tuck edges under plate to hold in place)
cover the fresh basil leaves with a second paper towel
  1. Microwave on high in 30-second increments, checking for doneness (generally around 1 ½ minutes total)
  2. Basil is completely dehydrated when leaves are dry and crispy to the touch 
basil leaves are dried in the microwave when they are crispy to touch
  1. Crumble dehydrated basil leaves if desired, using your hands or a mortar and pestle
crumble basil leaves dried in the microwave with hands or mortar and pestle
  1. Store dried basil in an airtight container or spice jar
store dried basil in airtight spice jar or container

The 1 ½ minute total estimation is based on a 1000W microwave. If you have a lower wattage, it will likely require more time, and a higher wattage should take less.

Of course, this also depends on the size and moisture content of your specific basil as well! 

This method for drying basil in the microwave works with nearly all common basil varieties, such as:

  • Sweet basil
  • Purple basil
  • Lemon basil
  • Genovese basil
  • Thai basil

So, regardless of what you’re growing you should be able to easily dehydrate your basil for later!

Is it Safe to Dry Basil in the Microwave?

Yes, it is safe to dry basil in the microwave, presuming that you’re dehydrating the leaves only.

The tough, woody stems of the basil plant can actually catch on fire if left intact. That’s why it’s important to always remove the stems and only microwave the leaves when drying basil.

It’s the same precaution you’ll need to take when drying parsley in the microwave as well.

What Are Some Common Dried Basil Uses?

  • Marinades
  • Soups & Stews
  • Tomato sauce
  • Pizza topping or sauce
  • Breads
  • Salad dressing
  • Chicken (especially grilled and roasted)
  • Fish
  • Pesto and other sauces
  • Antipasto
  • Pasta salads

They’re also great for some tasty herb and garlic croutons made in the air fryer.

Final Thoughts

Since it takes less than 2 minutes to dry basil in the microwave, you won’t have to let any fresh basil go to waste. Simply dehydrate it for later with the help of everyone’s favorite quick cooking appliance.

Then, use it year round to season your favorite recipes. For example, the tasty veggie stuffed acorn squash over in our best acorn squash microwave recipes. Oh yeah, you can cook that in your microwave too!

Before dehydrating, use your fresh basil to celebrate with a refreshing Strawberry Basil Mojito!

how to dry fresh basil in the microwave quick and easy dinners done quick featured image

How to Dry Basil in the Microwave – Quick Dehydration!

Dry your basil in the microwave quickly and easily to store for year round use. It takes an average of under 2 minutes!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 4 minutes
Course Garnish
Cuisine Herb
Servings 1
Calories 1.6 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 35-40 leaves Basil (about 6-8 stems) washed and dried if needed

Instructions
 

  • Start with clean, dry, fresh basil
    35-40 leaves Basil (about 6-8 stems)
  • Remove the basil leaves from the stems (small leaves connected by thin stems are fine)
  • Place a paper towel on a microwave-safe plate
  • Spread out your fresh basil leaves in a single layer on the paper towel lined plate
  • Add another paper towel to cover the leaves
  • Microwave on high in 30-second increments, checking for doneness (generally around 1 ½ minutes total)
  • Basil is completely dehydrated when leaves are dry and crispy to the touch
  • Crumble dehydrated basil leaves if desired, using your hands or a mortar and pestle
  • Store dried basil in an airtight container or spice jar

Notes

  • When dealing with a lot of basil leaves, make sure to dry in batches. Overlapping or stacking will cause uneven dehydration, resulting in wet spots
  • Depending on the size of your plate and your microwave, the amount in this recipe should likely take 1-2 batches
  • The flatter the leaves sit on the plate, the better. Very twisted leaves won’t dry as evenly
  • I always tuck the edges of the paper towels under the plate to keep them from flying around in the microwave
  • This recipe should net you around 1-2 tsp dried crushed basil, depending on the size of your leaves and how fine you crush them
  • Should your basil leaves start to turn dark brown or blackened, you have overcooked them (some light brown is normal though)
  • To crush the leaves, I rub them between my hands. However, you can also use a mortar & pestle or a plastic bag that you squeeze the leaves around in
  • Dried basil has a shelf life of 2-3 years if kept in an airtight container, after that it tends to lose flavor (though is still safe to consume, assuming properly dried)

Nutrition

Serving: 0.7gCalories: 1.6kcalCarbohydrates: 0.3gProtein: 0.2gSodium: 0.5mgPotassium: 18mgFiber: 0.3gVitamin A: 86.7IUCalcium: 16mgIron: 0.6mg
Keyword basil, can you microwave basil, drying basil in the microwave, drying herbs, how to dehydrate basil in microwave, how to dry basil in the microwave, how to dry fresh basil in air fryer, how to dry fresh basil leaves in microwave, how to dry sweet basil in microwave
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Katie Vine