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How to Dry Herbs in the Microwave

Looking for a simple way to preserve your beautiful fresh summer herbs? Or only have a little left from store bought? Here’s an easy way, step-by-step How to Dry Herbs in the Microwave.

Long, long ago, in a galaxy… well, actually: Back in November at the end of our crazy mild fall (remember that? sigh…), I ran across this post from Serious Eats on using the microwave to dry herbs — and have been meaning to tell you about my experiments with this ever since! Sometimes life (and Black Friday) just intervenes, but now we’re back on track. So: Here’s How to Dry Herbs in the Microwave.

Look at the vibrant color you get when you dry herbs in the microwave! On the left in the photo above, rosemary from my garden that I dried in the microwave. On the right, organic dried rosemary I bought at the store. That’s an amazing color difference, and so pretty in recipes — I used my own microwave dried herbs on this garlic rosemary pork roast recipe earlier this month, and it really made the herb-garlic mixture pop.

You know how sometimes you buy fresh herbs for a recipe, but inevitably have some left over? Preserve those leftover herbs quickly and easily, with microwave drying. Here I dried rosemary and sage, but this method should work well with most heartier herbs.

How to dry herbs in the microwave

Step 1

Wash the herbs, then spread the leaves on a microwave safe plate on two layers of paper towels. Note: Do NOT use recycled paper towels for this, since they may contain small fragments of metal and are not safe for microwave use.

Step 2

Cover the herbs with another paper towel, the microwave on high for one minute. Follow up with 20 second bursts until herbs are completely dry and crumble easily between your fingers. (My microwave took 6-7 rounds; yours may take more or less.)

Step 3

Crumble up your herbs. I found that just twisting and crushing them right inside the paper towels worked for my purposes, but if you want to reduce yours to powder you’ll want either to use a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder.

  • Frugal note: I was able to use each set of paper towels to dry a second batch of the same herb before I had to toss them.

The herbs get nicely brittle in the microwave since the water evaporates out before the herb really starts to cook, which also helps them retain their vibrant color.

Step 4

Store dried herbs in a tightly covered container in a cool dry space away from light — with the rest of your spices would be lovely. 🙂 Here, I just thoroughly washed out and repurposed old spice containers to hold my new microwave dried herbs.

That’s it…

Microwaving is such a quick and easy way to preserve small batches of fresh herbs! Don’t be afraid to buy fresh herbs, now that you know you can preserve the leftovers quickly and frugally. Let me know if you give it a try, and how it works for you!

More Frugal Homemade Ideas?

If you’re looking for more “frugal homemade” ideas, read more here:

Anything else you’d like to see covered in these categories? Comment here!

Okeke Chuke Stephen

Monday 9th of August 2021

I will try them out, the different methods.


Tuesday 22nd of December 2020

I am thrilled to find this info especially to dry my rosemary for infusing salt. Could I dry lemon zest in the microwave? Using the microwave should eliminate drying salt and rosemary in oven but I realize I may still need to dry salt and zest in the oven. Thank you for any comments.


Thursday 23rd of July 2020

CAUTION! Some microwaves run hotter than others. I tried this and before the first minute was up, there was a burst of flames and the paper towel caught on fire. Lucky I was standing there watching and responded quickly to put it out.

Sandhya Karandikar

Monday 25th of November 2019

Can you use cloth towels? I will try doing with this method. Thank you


Saturday 11th of July 2020

I was just going to ask this! will also try- don't want the chlorine in the towels to somehow evaporate into the herbs.

will use cheese cloth and see


Friday 22nd of November 2019

I have been successfully drying parsley in my 1000 watt microwave for 10 + years. I have used paper plates or a big stoneware dinner plate with paper towels under the herbs and over. I do them for short intervals until dry enough to crumble. I strip the leaves off the stems before drying since the stems are woody. I have never burned any paper towels. Guess it is a matter of paying attention. Glad to know about the metal pieces in recycled paper toweling. Will check my brand. I will not use any that are recycled in the future. You can dehydrate any food in the oven or using a dehydrator. Use a mandoline slicer to get uniform pieces. The amount of liquid in a food will determine how long it takes to dy. I know someone who slices then dries his home grown hot peppers in a dehydrator and then pulverized them. He uses the hottest ghost pepper powder and a variety of other peppers to make his own salsas, sauces, etc and heats up all his food and loves doing it. Of course his taste buds are burned off, but that is what he likes. Due to health concerns, he lost 100 lbs in a year, is pescatarian but mostly vegan. He never eats sweets, and rarely bread or pasta. It works for him. All food is "dead" unless it is raw or fresh " out of the ground or off the stems. Eating a variety of colorful food is best for our bodies well being. Knowing what our body has to do to get the nutrients out of our food is essential to eating well and staying healthy. Drying food is only a means of convenience, but fresh is best. Happy eating All!

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