Basil Leaves To Dried Basil | Conversion and Measurements - Cheffist (2023)

Conversion and measurement are almost everyday activities in the kitchen. You are either converting fresh herbs to dry herbs or you’re making measurements based on the requirements of a recipe. In this article, fresh and dried basil leaves are the focus.

If you cook with herbs like basil, thyme, fennel, rosemary, and sage, you’re very familiar with words like fresh herbs, dry herbs, and sprigs. These are the different forms these herbs exist and how your recipe may require them as a flavoring for dishes.

For instance, your recipe requires fresh basil but what you have is dried basil. How much fresh basil equals dried basil? How should you measure basil, and how can you substitute one form for the other? These are the important questions this article answers.

What is basil?

Basil, a member of the mint family, is an aromatic herb that originates from Asia and Africa. Basil is mostly used to flavor meals and tea. The tender leaves are loaded with nutrients that provide health benefits.

Adding basil leaves to meals for aged people can help increase their mental alertness and slow down the aging process.

Also, basil can help reduce blood sugar and blood pressure, aid stroke recovery, relax blood vessels, improve fasting blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and prevent cancer.

Furthermore, basil has many varieties, some of which include: sweet basil, holy basil, lemon basil, cinnamon basil, Thai basil, lettuce basil, African blue basil, and Greek basil.

Sweet basil is the most common variety and is what is most times referred to as basil. Apart from flavoring dishes, the most common use of basil is in making pesto sauce.

How much fresh basil is equal to 1 teaspoon of dried basil?

Two teaspoons of fresh basil leaves are equal to 1 teaspoon of dried leaves.

SEE: Get a Chance to Win a $250 Gift Card at Sprouts Farmers Market

How much fresh basil is equal to 1 tablespoon of dried basil leaves?

Two tablespoons of fresh basil equal 1 tablespoon of dried basil. One tablespoon of dried basil is also equal to ¼ cup of fresh basil leaves.

½ cup of fresh basil leaves is equal to how much dried basil?

½ cup of fresh basil leaves is equal to two tablespoons of dried basil.

1 cup of fresh basil leaves is equal to how much dried basil?

1 cup of fresh basil leaves equals 1/3 cup of dried basil leaves.

How to measure basil leaves

Measure basil leaves only. Remove the leaves off the stem and put them into the measuring cup. While you want to fill the cup, you shouldn’t compress the leaves in the cup.

SEE: How To Measure Portions With Your Hands In Your Kitchen

How to make fresh basil leaves into dried basil

1. Oven drying

  • Gather basil from your garden
  • Wash thoroughly to remove dirt and bugs
  • Carefully remove the leaves from the stems
  • Then, use a clean paper towel to dab the leaves and absorb moisture. If you dry wet basil leaves in the oven, they’ll come out cooked instead of dried, so you must remove moisture
  • Preheat the oven to 170°F or 180°F (whichever is the lowest setting on your oven)
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Then, lay the leaves out on the baking sheet. Make sure they do not overlap
  • Allow the leaves to dry for about 20-25 minutes, depending on how many leaves you’re drying
  • Check the leaves to see if they are dry enough or almost there
  • You can dry them for another 10-20 minutes if they are not crisp dry
  • While you’re drying basil in the oven, make sure that the temperature in the oven does not exceed 170°F or 180°F
  • When you’re sure the leaves are dried enough, bring them out to cool fully
  • After, you can store them in an airtight container and out of sunlight and direct heat
  • When you need to use dried basil, crush only as many leaves as you need and store the rest

Note: in-between drying, remove any dried leaves to prevent them from getting burnt

2. Air-drying

  • Wash basil under running water to remove dirt and bugs
  • Remove the leaves from the stems
  • Then, neatly arrange them on a drying rack and leave them to dry
  • The leaves should be kept in a humidity-controlled room to dry. Check on the leaves regularly and move them if the room becomes too humid. Otherwise, they’ll develop mold
  • However, you can start drying them in front of a window for a short contact with sunlight to remove excess moisture before you dry them away from the sunlight
  • Air-drying takes the longest. It takes at least one week for the leaves to fully dry. While it takes this long to dry the leaves, it is your best bet at retaining the natural flavors

3. Use the microwave to dry basil

  • Gather basil leaves
  • Rinse them under running water to remove dirt and bugs
  • Then, use a clean paper towel to absorb moisture from the leaves
  • Afterward, neatly arrange the leaves on one clean paper towel and place the towel on the microwave plate
  • Cover the leaves with another paper towel
  • Microwave the leaves on a low setting for about three minutes or using 10 seconds bursts
  • Remove the leaves from the microwave and allow them to complete drying at room temperature
  • Store the dried leaves in an airtight container

SEE: Can You Put Parchment Paper in the Microwave or Not?

4. Dehydrate the leaves

  • Gather basil from the garden
  • Rinse them thoroughly to remove dirt and bugs
  • Carefully remove the leaves from the stem
  • Then, dab the leaves with a paper towel to absorb moisture
  • Afterward, lay the leaves out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a single layer and put it in the dehydrator
  • Dry the leaves at 95°F or 100°F (depending on the lowest setting)
  • It should take 12 to 24 hours for the leaves to fully dry. However, you should check on them
  • When the leaves are dried enough, bring them out and allow them to come to room temperature
  • Store the dried leaves in an airtight container
  • When you need dry basil, crush only as many as you can use at a time

Can you substitute fresh basil leaves with dried basil?

Yes, you can. Following the ratio of 1:3, you can substitute fresh basil with dried basil leaves. Replace three parts of fresh basil leaves with one part of dried basil.

Dry basil has a stronger and spicier aroma and taste when compared to fresh basil. So, you don’t want to overpower your meals with dried basil.

Can you replace fresh basil with dried basil when making pesto?

Yes, you can use dried basil leaves to make pesto, but it won’t be anything like pesto made with fresh leaves. Pesto made with dried basil will not have the vibrant green color that fresh leaves give pesto. Moreover, the dried leaves will give your pesto a slightly bitter taste.

SEE: Can You Can Pesto To Preserve It Longer?


How much basil is in two sprigs?

Two sprigs of basil will yield 2 tablespoons of chopped basil leaves. And each sprig holds about 3 to 4 basil leaves.

How much is a handful of basil leaves?

A handful of basil leaves is ½ of a cup.

How many leaves are in a cup of basil?

A cup of basil holds about 15-40 leaves. One bunch of basil leaves yields 1 cup of packed basil leaves, 1 cup of chopped basil, and 2 cups of loose basil leaves.

Should you chop fresh herbs before or after measuring?

When you measure basil depends on what the recipe calls for. If you need whole leaves, you’ll have to measure before you chop. But if your recipe calls for chopped basil leaves, chop before you measure.


Fresh basil leaves and dried basil are some of the forms of this herb you can find. Dried herbs are about three times more flavorful than fresh herbs. Also, dried herbs look more compact and smaller in quantity. So, the substitution ratio should be 1:3.

With this ratio, you can easily replace fresh basil leaves with dry leaves. You can also work with sprigs where that’s all you have.

I hope this article answers your questions.

Thanks for reading.

Want to be a kitchen expert? Visit Cheffist to read articles that show you how to get your kitchen measurements right.


How much dried basil equals a basil leaf? ›

The rule of thumb for basil is to use a 3:1 ratio. That being 3 parts fresh is the same as 1 part dried.
How To Convert Fresh Herb to Dried Herbs.
HerbFreshCorresponding Dried
Basil3 tsp finely chopped1 tsp dried
Bay Leaf1 leaf fresh2 leaves dried
Chervil3 tsp fresh1 tsp dried
Cilantro3 tsp fresh1 tsp dried
18 more rows
Oct 4, 2021

How much dried basil do I substitute for fresh basil? ›

One tablespoon of fresh herbs roughly equals one teaspoon of dried herbs. For example, if a recipe calls for one tablespoon of fresh basil, you need only one teaspoon of dried basil (or other herbs!)

How many teaspoons is 4 basil leaves? ›

Depends on the size of the leaf and a single leaf would only be a fraction of a teaspoon. It takes 4-8 fresh chopped or minced basil leaves to equal a single teaspoon of (crushed) dried basil.

Can you substitute basil leaves for dried basil? ›

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.

What is 2 tablespoons of fresh basil equals how much dried? ›

In general, the ratio of dried herbs to fresh herbs for substitution is approximately one to three, since dried herbs are more potent. In your case, two tablespoons is six teaspoons, and one-third of that is two teaspoons of dried basil.

How many leaves is 2 cups of basil? ›

Generally, we've found that anywhere between 15-40 basil leaves should fill up a cup.

Is fresh basil stronger than dried? ›

Dried herbs have been dried and often crushed, which concentrates their flavor, making them more potent than fresh herbs. Fresh herbs have a higher water content, so they're not as strong. If you're making a swap, use less dried herbs than you would fresh.

How much dried herbs do I use instead of fresh? ›

If a recipe calls for fresh herbs, but you only have dried herbs on hand (or you don't want to spring for fresh), replace the fresh herbs in your recipe with one-third as much of the dried equivalent. The flavor is much more concentrated in dried herbs, so less is required.

How much basil do I use? ›

The general rule is to use one-third the amount of dried basil when substituting it for fresh. For example, one tablespoon of fresh chopped basil equals 1 teaspoon dried.

Are dried herbs stronger than fresh? ›

Dried herbs tend to have a deeper, spicier flavor than fresh herbs. For that reason, you can usually add less dry herbs than you would fresh herbs. That way, those strong flavors won't overpower your dish. A good ratio is 1 to 3.

Does 2 tablespoons equal 1 4 cup? ›

There are 16 tablespoons in one cup, so the conversion formula is Tablespoons = Cups x 16.
How to Convert Tbsp to Cups.
2 tablespoons⅛ cup
4 tablespoons¼ cups
5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon⅓ cup
8 tablespoons½ cup
3 more rows
Apr 22, 2022

How do you measure basil? ›

Fresh Basil Leaves: To measure basil, just discard the thicker stems and lightly pack the leaves down into a measuring cup.

What herbs should not be dried? ›

Not all herbs retain their flavor when dried. Delicate herbs, such as basil, borage, chives, cilantro, and parsley, lose a lot of their punch when dried.

Is basil better cooked or raw? ›

If a recipe simply calls for “basil,” sweet basil is the way to go. Other varieties can have stronger flavors that can give you an unintended result in your recipes. Holy basil is best cooked (it can be bitter when raw), but purple basil is best raw as that pretty purple color turns black when cooked.

How do you use dried basil leaves? ›

Culinary Uses

Dried basil is used to flavour pizza sauce along with other dried herbs like oregano, thyme etc. It is a wonderful seasoning for salads and pastas. Add it to herbal teas for health benefits. Can be used in marinades too.

Why should you add herbs no more than 30 minutes before serving? ›

Fresh herbs lose flavor and aroma the longer they are exposed to heat. More delicate herbs like basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, and marjoram are best added in the last few minutes or sprinkled on top.

Does dried basil need to be cooked? ›

Fresh basil is much softer than dried, so if you're adding it to a dish last minute or even after it's cooked, you'll have the flavor of basil without feeling like you're chewing stems. Instead, dried basil needs to be cooked to rehydrate so that it has a more pleasant texture.

What can I do with basil stems? ›

They'll lend an herby depth to your finished product, and since you're straining the stuff anyways, you don't even have to chop them up—just toss them in and simmer away. You can also chop them finely and stir them into pretty much any soup right at the end of cooking to add a pop of brightness and texture.

Is dry basil good for you? ›

Though dried basil is more concentrated in nutrients, you use less in recipes compared to fresh. Therefore, neither is a significant source of most nutrients — except vitamin K. Basil also supplies beneficial plant compounds that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and other health properties ( 4 , 5 ).

How do you measure basil? ›

Fresh Basil Leaves: To measure basil, just discard the thicker stems and lightly pack the leaves down into a measuring cup.

How much is a sprig of basil? ›

A sprig is generally defined as a 2- to 4-inch piece of the herb plant. You can substitute about 1/2 teaspoon of dried herb for a sprig; however, be sure to read the recipe before you decide to substitute.

How much is a handful of basil? ›

the handful is a 1/2 of cup in volume. the fistful is 1/4 cup in volume. the pinch makes 1/4 teaspoon volume. the dollop is 1 and 1/4 tablespoons in volume, or a heaped Tbsp.

What is a sprig of basil? ›

A basil sprig is the top cluster on a stem including 3 or 4 leaves. A sprig of thyme, tarragon, or rosemary is 3 inches long or slightly less. A sprig of parsley could be just one solitary leaflet. Chives, garlic, and dill can be cut or chopped to make the customary teaspoon or tablespoonful.

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