How to Store Parsley, Cilantro, and Other Fresh Herbs

Have you ever had trouble keeping fresh herbs fresh? Do your cilantro and parsley go wilty, limpy, or dry after a few days? Several years ago my mother taught me this super easy trick, which really works, and keeps fresh herbs fresh and useable for up to a couple of weeks. The trick involves the clever use of a plastic bag.

Now, I don’t know why this works. It just does.

How to Store Parsley, Cilantro, and Other Fresh Herbs


1 Snip off the bottom of the stems.

2 Make sure the leaves are completely dry. Better to hold off rinsing them until you're about to use them.

3 Fill a jar or a water glass partially with water and place the stem ends of the herbs into the water in the jar.

4 If you are storing the herbs in the refrigerator, cover loosely with a plastic bag. Cilantro loves cool temperatures and should be stored in the refrigerator. Parsley can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. According to Harold McGee, basil is ideally stored at room temperature and not in the refrigerator, because it is susceptible to damage from cold.

5 Change the water after several days if the water starts to discolor.

Fresh parsley, cilantro, basil, and other fresh herbs can last up to 2 weeks or longer when stored this way.


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Showing 4 of 87 Comments

  • Sinny

    Oh my god! I was just whining to a friend about this problem today! I love buying the fresh herbs, but I don’t cook enough to use them before they get wilty. Thanks so much for this tip!

  • Pille

    Fresh herbs usually come with the small container they’re grown in here in Estonia, so usually I simply place them in a glass of water (soil and everything), and they happily last a week. But I’ll try your mum’s method next time I come across fresh cut herbs!

  • Ruth

    The same trick works for celery – just cut off the leaves and keep the stalks in a bit of water in the fridge. The stalks stay crunchy for about 2 weeks.

  • Steve

    I grow some of my own herbs and have found that when I have to much (and I mean way to much) freezing the herbs in an ice cube tray, with a bit of water, is a great way of storing them. This means that you can just throw a cube into your recipes and you’ve got as good as fresh herbs with now mess. Its also a great way if you find yourself in a rush when you cook.

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