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How to Dry Herbs in a Dehydrator

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Basil Plant

Buying herbs always leaves me with sticker shock, so I try to grow as many of my own as I can. This time of year we pick herbs as we need them …

A few basil leaves for tomato sauce …

Fresh Dill

A big handful of dill for our salad dressing …

Sage Plant

A couple sage leaves to season a chicken or turkey …

Fresh Oregano

It’s a wonderful way to eat, but it’s not something that we can do during the winter months. So, I also dry our herbs. The process couldn’t be easier. I just head out to the garden in the morning, when the essential oils are at their best, and I fill a basket with leaves and snippets. To get the best flavor, I stick to young, undamaged plant material. Bug-chewed, yellowed herbs just aren’t going to taste as good.

I’m also careful not to take too much from any one plant. I want my herbs to thrive, so I can pick from them again and again.

Dehydrating Sage

When I’ve harvested what I want, I head back indoors, and lay everything out on dehydrator trays. To keep the flavors from mixing and mingling, I only dry one type of herb at a time. I own two dehydrators, so I can actually dry two types of herbs at a time. This is the dehydrator that I own.

Dehydrating Basil

Then, I just stack the dehydrator trays, flip the switch and leave them to do their thing.

Dried Basil

Many of the herbs that I dehydrate are dry in as little as an hour. You can tell they’re ready, when they feel dry to the touch and crumble easily. There’s nothing tricky about it.

Ground Sage

For herbs like basil, I just crumble them, and stick them in a spice jar. For herbs, like sage, I grind them first. I have a cheapie spice grinder that makes quick work of the task. I just toss the dried leaves in the grinder, give them a few whirls and they’re done. Easy peasy.

How to Dry Herbs

If you want really flavorful herbs, store them whole, and crumble or grind them as you need them.

Once you see how easy it is to dry your own herbs, you won’t ever want to pay someone else to do it for you.

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  1. I gave my round, stackable dehydrator to a friend, but now need a new one. I am growing sage this year, which or lush! I also grow basil, rosemary, and alternate annually with a new, since I’m in a townhome. Which dehydrator would you recommend? I don’t have room for two, but a tall narrow could work.

  2. I used that Dehydrator, for some odd reason my sage smelled a little burnt even though i didnt leave it in for too long, it wasnt evcen dry yet but smelled burnt

    1. Hey, Kat. I admit I’m stumped. I would have guessed that you were drying them for too long, except you said that your sage wasn’t even dry yet. If this is a new dehydrator, maybe there’s a bit of a breaking in period? I’d definitely give it another go, and see if you get the same results again.

    2. Still thinking about this … that dehydrator has a minimum number of trays that you’re supposed to use when you run it. Can’t remember what that number is right now, but it’s in the manual. If you’re using less than the min, that might account for the burnt taste. When I’m doing a small load, I just leave some trays empty.

  3. When it comes to storing my dried herbs I never, crumble or grind them. They retain more flavor and fragrance if you store the herbs whole.

  4. Hi,
    Thanks for the advice!! On what temperature one has to dry herbs? Am new at this……
    Warm greetings from a cold Netherlands!!

    1. Hi Nellisa,

      180 degrees F (82 degrees C) is about right, if you’re drying them in the oven. If you’re drying them in a dehydrator, there’s probably just one temperature setting.

  5. I just have a simple dehydrater from Wal-Mart but it get really hot the trays the motor part anyone else’s do this

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