How Do I Substitute Dried Herbs for Fresh?

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Is it worth running to the store for one bunch of herbs, or can you swap in some dried herbs for fresh? Are some herbs easier to swap than others? You've got questions! We've got answers!

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READER QUESTION: If recipe calls for a fresh herb, what is the equivalent amount to use with a dried herb?

That’s a great question, and one we’ve all found ourselves asking at one point or another. With much of the country still embraced by cold weather and a whole lotta social distancing going on now is the perfect time to get acquainted with dried herbs.

Dried herbs can be more potent than fresh herbs (unless they’ve been sitting in your spice drawer for 5 years). This means you need fewer dried herbs than fresh when substituting one for the other.

A good rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon fresh herbs = 1 teaspoon dried herbs.

Some herbs season better than others in their dried form – dill, thyme, and sage among them.

Others are better only used when fresh: Parsley, I’m looking at you! Dried parsley is a mere whisper of its former self. When you can, it’s best to use fresh parsley and skip the dried version. I will also say, I have yet to find a dried basil that evokes the same sweet taste and bright flavor profile of fresh basil.

For the most part, dried herbs are an affordable and convenient way to add flavor to many dishes. Dried herbs work best in cooked applications, marinades, dressing and anything you might want to freeze for later, but when it comes to salads fresh is always the way to go.

Hope that helps!

Summer, Senior Editor and eater of all the things

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Summer Miller

Summer Miller is the Senior Editor for Simply Recipes based in Nebraska. Her work has appeared in Bon Appetit, Eating Well, Grit, SAVEUR, and Every Day with Rachael Ray, among others. Her first book is New Prairie Kitchen (Agate Publishing, 2015).

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5 Comments

No ImageHow Do I Substitute Dried Herbs for Fresh?

  1. Chris

    Thanks this was so helpful!

  2. Mark

    I imagine that dried herbs endure and hold flavor longer than fresh herbs. That’s the way it seems to me.

  3. Ceecee

    I love using dried herbs. I found this great place that sells them by the single oz so I can try new ones without having to buy a large amount. They also have a ton of spices. Since I am WFPB this was important to me. I find I use less when using dried herbs which is also less expensive since.

  4. Ian

    In general herbs with a higher oil to water ratio are okay in their dried form. Sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and bay. More watery, delicate herbs suffer terribly from drying. These include parsley, chervil, chives, marjoram, ginger, basil, mint, lemongrass, fennel, and cilantro. I find that dill rarely holds its flavor well when dried.

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Ask the Team Summer MillerHow Do I Substitute Dried Herbs for Fresh?