Freezing Herbs

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Freezing herbs: Three methods for freezing fresh herbs like oregano, basil, parsley, and sage.

Though all fresh herbs can be frozen or dried, some herbs freeze better than being dehydrated. Freezing fresh herbs answers those questions like, “How can you preserve herbs for winter?” and “What do you do with extra herbs, anyway?”

I’ve got three methods for you today:

  1. Herbs flash frozen individually.
  2. Herbs frozen in measured amounts in water.
  3. Herbs frozen in oil (my favorite).

In the pictures at the top of this page, I am freezing oregano. Other herbs may be frozen using the same methods. And below where I’m freezing herbs in oil? That is basil. Ah, it smells heavenly as you chop, chop, chop.

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Freezing Herbs: Step-By-Step Directions

Your first step will be to harvest and clean your herbs. Simply rinse them if needed in clear water. Then be sure to pat them dry or spin them dry in a salad spinner. Don’t crush them.

You can also roll up the herbs in a tea towel to blot them dry. See pictures on my freezing peas page on how I do it if needed. Again, don’t crush them.

Be sure and label and date your frozen herbs! The herbs will all look similar when frozen and you may not remember which is which later.

How to Freeze Herb Leaves Individually

Holding a stem of herbs.

This is probably the easiest way to start freezing fresh herbs. Simply strip the leaves off the stems and spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet.

Herb leaves evenly scattered over a cookie sheet.

Place in the freezer.

As soon as they are frozen, place them in a freezer bag. Label and date. Since the leaves froze separately, you will be able to remove the amount you need.

How to Freeze Herbs in Ice Cube Trays with Water

Chopping a huge pile of fresh herbs with a chef's knife.

In this method, you will also strip the leaves off the stems. I like to then chop them as I would if using them fresh. This is optional.

Spooning chopped herbs into an icecube tray.

Now take an ice cube tray and fill it halfway full of water. Place your herbs in each section of the tray. I placed about a tablespoon in each. This way, I know when I use them how much each cube holds.

The herbs may float. Don’t worry about it too much. Just get them under the water as much as possible with no fuss. Place your tray in the freezer.

The next day, take them out and top off each cube. The herbs won’t float, and this way, the herbs will be fully covered and frozen. Place again in your freezer.

Frozen cubes of water and chopped herbs being packed with a freezer bag.

After the trays are fully frozen, pop out the herb cubes and store in a freezer bag. Be sure to label and date.

The cubes can be used in soups, stews, or other meals. And this method works really well when freezing spinach or other greens as well. They can all then be added to smoothies.

How to Freeze Herbs in Oil

Pouring olive oil into an icecube tray that's filled with chopped herbs.

Another great way to freeze herbs is in oil. You will again use an ice cube tray to freeze in cubes. I want smaller amounts of oil, so I’m actually using a small mold. I’m not sure if it is an actual candy mold, but I’d estimate each section holds approximately from 2 tsp. to 1 Tbsp. of oil. That is about what I’d want for some of my recipes. (There are only 3 of us now, so my meals are smaller.)

First, pick the leaves off the stems. Tiny stems are fine, but you probably don’t want any bigger stems. Just think about what you will want in your end recipe.

Then, chop your herbs. I pile the leaves up and use a large knife to chop, chop, chop. Using a rolling motion with your knife is best. Then, scoop them together and chop, chop, chop again.

You can decide how finely you want them. Again, just think about how you want the final result to be in your recipe. If you like fuller pieces, just stop before I did. I chopped mine pretty finely this time around, since I was using my small mold.

You can mix about 1/3 cup of oil with 2 cups of herbs. (Olive oil would work well.) Then freeze in the ice cube trays.

Or do like I did this morning. I packed my chopped herbs in the trays, and then I poured extra virgin olive oil over the top. The herbs don’t float like they will in water. (I like to use a spatula to scrape across the top of the tray to make sure all the spots are filled.)

Cover with plastic wrap and put in the freezer. When they are frozen, take them out and place in freezer bags and label. Put back in the freezer and pull them out as you need them.

Freezing Herbs Tips & FAQs

How to Use Frozen Herbs

To use the individually frozen herbs, you’d just measure as you would fresh and add it to your recipe.

The water-based cubes, you know you have 1 Tbsp., so just add a cube to your recipe.

Use the oil cubes as you would the water-based herb cubes. The nice thing about these is the oil. It is all ready for a recipe. Simply melt the oil and the herbs are ready to go.

I use this when I’m roasting veggies. Chop potatoes, carrots, turnips, rutabaga, cauliflower, broccoli, or whatever veggie you are roasting. Melt your oil and drizzle over the top.

Or toss a cube or two in a frying pan to melt, and then cook your chicken or casserole in it.

Don’t Leave the Cubes in the Trays

You don’t want to just leave the cubes of frozen herbs in the trays in the freezer. They will get freezer burned on the areas exposed to the air.

If you are like me and tend to forget to get the cubes out of the freezer to place them in freezer bags (’cause yeah, sometimes we are busy!), put a sticky note on your range hood or somewhere you’ll see it. This will remind you.

What Herbs Can You Freeze?

Freezing works well for basil, chives, oregano, lemon balm, mint, or tarragon.

How Do You Use Frozen Herbs?

Frozen herbs can be used in the same proportion as fresh herbs. Remember though they will be limp when defrosted. That means they are great used in recipes, but they don’t work well for garnishes.

Recipe Card

Freezing Herbs

Freezing herbs: How to freeze fresh herbs like oregano, basil, parsley, and sage, using three different freezing methods!
Print Recipe
An icecube tray filled with chopped fresh herbs.
Prep Time:30 minutes
Total Time:30 minutes



  • Fresh herbs like basil, chives, oregano, lemon balm, mint, and tarragon
  • Water optional
  • Oil optional


  • Harvest, rinse, and dry your herbs without crushing them, then proceed below.

Frozen Plain Herbs

  • Strip off leaves and spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
  • Place in freezer.
  • Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags/containers.
  • Remove air, seal, and label.
  • Freeze.

Frozen in Water

  • Strip off leaves, chopped if desired.
  • Fill ice cube tray halfway with water, then place your herbs in each cube.
  • Place in freezer.
  • Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags/containers.
  • Remove air, seal, and label.
  • Freeze.

Frozen in Oil

  • Strip off leaves and chop herbs.
  • Mix ⅓ cup oil with 2 cups herbs.
  • Freeze in ice cube tray.
  • Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags/containers.
  • Remove air, seal, and label.
  • Freeze.

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Freezing Herbs

Page last updated: 6/24/2021

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1 year ago

Can you use the frozen herbs in canning recipes? I have a bunch of herbs now, but my tomatillos are not ready yet, and I’d like to use the herbs in my canned salsa verde. Thanks!

Raymond Walker Thomas
Raymond Walker Thomas
2 years ago

5 stars
very informative article.

Laurie B
Laurie B
2 years ago

5 stars
Timing could not be better! I have an overgrown Aero Garden of herbs that I need to harvest. Great recipe, thank you so much!

Raymond D Cockerham
Raymond D Cockerham
2 years ago

5 stars
Great article. Have you ever thought of preserving herbs with something like a freeze dryer Harvest Right is one. or anything else preserved?

Rachel Abernathy
Rachel Abernathy
2 years ago

I don’t think Sharon has tried freeze drying herbs (thought I’m not 100% certain on that – I’ll let her follow up), but I DO know she has a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer that she’s used for fruits, veggies, etc. 🙂 You can read more about it on this page:

-Rachel (Sharon’s assistant)