How to Freeze Fresh Herbs

5 from 7 votes

Learn how to freeze fresh herbs with two methods: cut herbs with oil and herbs on stems without oil - limit waste with these time saving tips

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Can you freeze herbs? Absolutely. Learn how to freeze fresh herbs and stop wasting the bounty from your garden or, even, the grocery store. We’ve all done it: a recipe calls for parsley, we use a few stems and let the rest molder in the crisper. There is a better way!

Frozen fresh herbs in ice cube tray

How to freeze cut herbs in oil

  • Wash and dry the herbs.
  • Cut or mince into the size dice you like to use.
2 image collage to show fresh herbs washed on cutting board then cut
  • Place loose pockets of herbs in the ice cube dish compartments. Do not pack the herbs in. If you like, measure the amounts, such a one teaspoon per cube, or whatever fits your ice cube tray. This comes in handy when you are following recipes later.
  • Now, pour olive oil in to cover.
  • Then put the filled trays in the freezer. Once solid, remove the frozen cubes, and store in a Ziploc bag or other freezer safe container for up to 6 months.
  • When ready to use, simply add the amount of herbs required by a recipe straight into a skillet or thaw first if adding to a cold dish like pasta salad.
3 image collage to show how to freeze fresh herbs

How to freeze herbs without oil

  • First, rinse the herbs and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Then place herbs in a single layer on a baking sheet and put in the freezer.
2 image collage to show herbs on stems before and after freezing
  • Once frozen, transfer the herbs into an airtight container or freezer-safe Ziploc-type bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible.
  • To use, simply remove the herbs one sprig at a time and add to recipes.
Frozen herbs in plastic bag

Tips for Freezing herbs

  1. Learn which herbs are best frozen in oil. Herbs with thinner, more fragile leaves – think basil or cilantro – take best to being chopped and frozen in oil. Their fragility makes them less suited to freezing whole. Heartier herbs, think those with thicker leaves and twig-like stems – rosemary and oregano – do well being frozen whole.
  2. Dry your herbs off very well before freezing. You can do so by blotting with paper towels and/or leaving to dry in a strainer for a while.
  3. Freeze while fresh for the best taste. While less-than-fresh herbs can be frozen, ensure the most zing by freezing when fresh from the garden or store.

Frequently asked questions

My defrosted herbs are darker in color. They no longer look fresh. Are they okay?

Yes, they are still fine. Freezing does not always but can change the color of fresh herbs.

Is there a way to avoid herbs changing color in the freezer?

Taking the extra step of blanching herbs like basil will help keep their color bright but may not be worth the effort. To blanch, immerse herbs in boiling water for a few seconds and then immediately plunge into an ice bath.

Generally, when should I use frozen versus fresh herbs?

If you want to float one perfect green basil leaf on top of a pizza, totally fresh is the way to go. However, for minced herbs, especially in cooked dishes, it is hard to tell the difference.

Frozen cubes of fresh herbs in oil

Just like saving leftovers, extending the life of your herbs is like having money in the bank. They are a culinary asset, there to withdraw (from the freezer!) as needed.

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How to Freeze Herbs

Learn how to freeze fresh herbs with two methods: cut herbs with oil and herbs on stems without oil – limit waste with these time saving tips
5 from 7 votes
Servings 1 serving
Course Seasonings
Calories 21
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins

Ingredients
  

  • Dill
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Parsley
  • Thyme
  • Olive oil for cut herbs

Instructions

Cut Herbs in Olive Oil

  • Rinse the herbs, pat them dry with a paper towel.
  • Chop the herbs, and place them into an ice cube tray
  • Pour olive oil to cover the herb and fill up the ice cube.
  • Place the ice cube tray into the freezer. Once solid, remove the herb cubes from the tray and store in a ziploc bag for up to 6 months.
  • To use, simply add the amount of herbs required by a recipe straight to a skillet or thaw first if adding to a cold dish, like a pasta salad.

Herbs On stem Without Olive Oil

  • Rinse the herbs, pat them dry with a paper towel.
  • Place herbs in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the herbs into an airtight container or freezer-safe ziploc bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible.
  • To use, simply remove the herbs one sprig at a time and add to recipes.

Notes

Storage: Store the frozen herbs in the freezer for up to 6 months and use as desired in recipes without thawing.
Nutritional Data: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients you use. Calculations are based on herbs without oil.
Photo Credit: Erin Jensen

Nutrition

Calories: 21kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 5mg, Potassium: 119mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1146IU, Vitamin C: 20mg, Calcium: 88mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

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Frozen fresh herbs in ice cube tray

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Comments

  1. I just spent the last hour+ painstakingly picking apart the good from the not-so-good parsley, cilantro, mint, and basil. I am excited to see how this works.
    I’ve used this method with spaghetti sauce as it spoils faster than I can use, once opened. One frozen spaghetti cube equals 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce.
    I probably packed my cubes a little fuller than I should🤞🤞

    1. I love that idea with the spaghetti sauce – no food waste! Hope you find this trick for fresh herbs just as useful.