How to Store Parsley, Cilantro, and Other Fresh Herbs

How ToBasilCilantroParsley

Have you ever had trouble keeping fresh herbs fresh? This super easy trick keeps fresh herbs useable for a couple of weeks.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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 and fresh herbs

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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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114 Comments / Reviews

No ImageHow to Store Parsley, Cilantro, and Other Fresh Herbs

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  1. Roberta

    I have been doing this method with cilantro and parsley because I got tired of them wilting after a week when I wrapped them in paper towels into a plastic bag. I find doing this jar and water with a loosely covered plastic bag mine lasts 3+ weeks in the frig and retains the smell and strength. It’s pretty simple and takes very little time to do plus you have fresh herbs for awhile. To make it neat I wrap a little rubber band around the bottom of the stems, they stay together and you can trim them periodically when you change the water.


  2. William

    I store cilantro in a sealed container in the refrigerator and it stays fresh for a month. Before storing remove any leaves or stems that have darkened.

  3. Lisa Downs

    Excellent information.


  4. What's the frequency, Kenneth?

    I’m thinking you can rinse the herbs beforehand and remove excess water in a salad spinner, then put them into the jar, without the bag, in the refrigerator, then cover them a couple hours later. I tried a similar technique for drying blanched cauliflower before freezing and it worked outstandingly.

    Show Replies (2)
  5. Renee

    Thank you!
    This is very helpful.


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how to store parsley and fresh herbsHow to Store Parsley, Cilantro, and Other Fresh Herbs