How to dry rosemary

Lisa Park



Are you a fan of the unique, earthy flavor of rosemary? A common ingredient in many dishes, rosemary is cherished for the richness it brings. But what do you do when you have more rosemary than you can use? You dry it, of course! This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to dry rosemary effectively.

Understanding Rosemary

Rosemary is a perennial herb with fragrant, needle-like leaves. Its distinct aroma and flavor make it a favorite among many cooking enthusiasts.

Why Dry Rosemary?

Drying rosemary not only helps preserve it for longer periods but also intensifies its flavor. Dried rosemary is more potent than fresh, providing a deep, concentrated essence that brings out the best in your dishes.

The Best Time to Harvest Rosemary for Drying

Ideally, you should harvest rosemary just before it flowers. At this stage, the leaves contain the highest concentration of oils, resulting in a superior flavor.

Methods for Drying Rosemary

There are several methods to dry rosemary, each with its own pros and cons. Let’s explore each one in detail.

Air Drying Rosemary

  • Procedure: Air drying is perhaps the easiest and most cost-effective method. Simply tie small bundles of rosemary sprigs together, hang them upside down in a warm, dry place away from direct sunlight, and leave them for about 2-3 weeks.
  • Pros and Cons: While this method requires the least effort, it also takes the longest. Plus, the quality of drying can depend on environmental conditions like humidity.

Oven Drying Rosemary

  • Procedure: To oven-dry rosemary, preheat your oven to its lowest setting, place the sprigs on a baking sheet, and put it in the oven. Leave the door slightly open for ventilation and turn the leaves occasionally. After 2-4 hours, the leaves should be completely dry and ready to store.
  • Pros and Cons: Oven drying is quicker than air drying, but it may cause some loss of flavor due to the heat involved. It also requires more energy, making it less eco-friendly.

Dehydrator Drying Rosemary


Place the rosemary sprigs on the trays of a dehydrator, set the temperature to around 95°F (35°C), and leave them for about 4-8 hours. Check regularly, and once the leaves are crispy, they’re done.

Pros and Cons

Using a dehydrator can be efficient and quick, but it requires a dedicated appliance, which can be costly. The result, however, is evenly dried rosemary with a great flavor.

Microwave Drying Rosemary

  • Procedure: Place the rosemary sprigs between two sheets of kitchen paper and microwave them on high for 1-2 minutes. Check the leaves and continue with 20-second bursts until they are dry.
  • Pros and Cons: This method is the quickest, but it requires careful monitoring to prevent burning. It can also unevenly dry the leaves, leading to inconsistent flavor.

Storing Dried Rosemary

Best Practices

Once your rosemary is dried, remove the leaves from the stem and store them in an airtight container away from light and heat.

Shelf Life of Dried Rosemary

Dried rosemary can retain its flavor for up to a year. After that, it slowly starts to lose its potency.


Drying rosemary can be an easy and fulfilling process, extending life and enhancing the flavor of this remarkable herb. Whether you choose to air dry, oven dry, use a dehydrator, or a microwave, the key is in proper storage to ensure the longest possible shelf life.


Dried rosemary is more potent than fresh, so use about a third of what the recipe calls for if it mentions fresh rosemary.

While air drying generally takes time, ensuring good air circulation and low humidity can speed up the process a bit.

Yes, though the potency of some nutrients may decrease with drying, the overall health benefits remain largely the same.

Yes, freezing rosemary is another great way to preserve it, especially if you want to maintain a flavor closer to that of fresh rosemary.

Dried rosemary that has lost its potent aroma and color or has become moldy should be discarded.

Lisa Park
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