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Substituting Dry Herbs for Fresh

Sally Painter
fresh and dried herbs

You can substitute dry herbs for fresh. However, when a recipe calls for fresh herbs, you'll need to reduce the amount of dried herb, as dried herbs are more potent than fresh herbs.

Ratio of Dry Herbs to Fresh Herbs

The formula for converting a recipe that calls for fresh herbs to dry herbs is very simple. It is a three to one (3:1) ratio. This means that you will use one-third the amount of dry herbs when substituting for fresh herbs.

According to North Carolina State University, a comparison of herb amounts that are equivalent to each other in potency is:

  • 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs = 1 teaspoon dried leafy herbs = 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground dried herbs

This equation isn't infallible. There are some herbs that have a stronger aroma, such as rosemary. You may need to adjust the amount of dried herbs based on which herb you're using.

Taste Test Best

The taste test is always a good measurement when you're unsure how much of a potent dried herb to use. Start out with a small amount of the herb and continue to add in small increments until you've reached the desired taste. It might not be as scientific as the 3:1 ratio, but it will prevent you from using too much of a dried herb.

Dried Herbs Are More Potent

The leaves of fresh herbs contain around 80 percent water. During the dehydration process, the essential oils in the leaf are preserved in the remaining leaf matter. This creates a more concentrated flavoring.

  • Dried herbs in bowls
    Dried herbs are best when used with cooked foods.
  • Fresh herbs work great with fresh and cooked foods.
  • Bruising fresh herbs before use helps release essential oils for potent flavoring.
  • As a rule-of-thumb, use one-third the amount of dried herbs to fresh herb amounts.

Company Story About Whole Dry Herbs

In her Food52 interview, Olivia Bloom asked entrepreneur Evangelia Koutsovoulou of Daphnis and Chloe the secret to her dried herbs. Evangelia's company has a reputation for the finest aromatic herbs. She shared how the Greek's dry herbs are more potent than any she'd used. The secret was drying the herbs as whole as possible. When a dried herb is ground or pulverized, it quickly loses potency. This, in turn, impacts the flavoring, often requiring more of the typical commercial dried herb.

Preserving Herb Essential Oils

Evangelia's whole herbs preserve the essential oils. Customers then grind the herbs just before using. This releases the essential oils, so the food receives the full flavor.

Adjusting Recipes for Herb Potency

In fact, Daphnis and Chloe herbs are so potent, you may need to reduce the amount of dried herbs customary to a recipe. Obviously, there are other factors involved in the product of their herbs, such as selection of herbs, where and how they are grown, harvested, and dried. However, the takeaway is potent unto itself and valuable to know if you plan to dry your herbs at home.

Make the Most of Dry Herbs

You can use dry herbs for fresh herbs when cooking to add potent, delicious flavors to your meals. Keep in mind, it only takes one-third dry herbs to substitute for fresh herbs.

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Substituting Dry Herbs for Fresh