Fresh v. Dried Basil

Fresh basil is always best, but sometimes it’s just easier to use dried. We explore both so you get the most out of your herb.

Learn what types of recipes are best for dry basil and what types need fresh

Fresh basil is so good. It adds a punch of flavor, smells amazing and can add another dimension to dishes. And then there’s dried basil. It’s easy and available in every grocery store on the planet. In fact, you probably have it in your spice cabinet.

Each has its merits. But it’s not always interchangeable. Sometimes fresh is absolutely necessary (hello Caprese salad), but other times dried will do.

Fresh

Fresh basil adds to almost every recipe. It also has a more mellow flavor, so you can use more. But if you have to be picky about your supply of fresh basil, save it for salads, desserts, cocktails and anything served with raw ingredients. For instance, a Caprese Salad with dried basil just wouldn’t work. At all.

Dried

If you’re cooking with basil, then dried will do. This will allow the basil flavor to combine with the other ingredients. Dried basil is delicious in sauces and as seasoning on chicken or other meats.

How much

Keep this conversion handy. When using fresh basil instead of dried in a recipe, use 1 and 1/2 more than what the recipe says. Likewise, cut dried basil by the same amount when substituting it for fresh, that is, 2/3 of what is called for.

Amy Bowen

Amy had no clue how to cook until she became the food reporter for a daily newspaper in Minnesota. At 25, she even struggled with boxed mac and cheese. These days, Amy is a much better cook, thanks to interviewing cooks and chefs for more than 10 years. She even makes four cheese macaroni and cheese with bacon, no boxed mac in sight. Amy is also on the editorial team at The Cookful.