Dried vs Fresh Herbs and Spices

Dried vs Fresh Herbs and Spices
Dried vs Fresh Herbs and Spices

Whenever you come across a recipe that includes herbs or spices, it will usually tell you whether fresh or dried are needed.

But what if you only have fresh or only have dried?

If it is crucial to use one or the other, the recipe will usually say this up front.

Using fresh is usually only critical if:

  • it is the star of the show (ie, a huge amount of basil is needed to make pesto and it must be fresh)
  • it is used as a garnish that needs a lot to be used to give the finished recipe a certain flavour or texture (ie. large leafed parsley on top of pasta)

When a recipe calls for herbs or spices as a seasoning within the dish, it is usually safe to assume that either fresh or dried will work.

THE GENERAL RULE
3 units of fresh herb = 1 unit of dried herb

Some herbs and spices are a little trickier to convert and do not follow the general rule.

Here is a table outlining some of the more difficult ones.

Keep in mind that these are general guidelines. There are a few factors that will come into play when doing the conversion:

  • How old are the dried spices being used (older spices become stale and lose flavour)
  • What brand is being used (some brands have stronger flavour than others)

The safest thing to do is to taste as you go and add more if needed.

Herb Amount of Fresh Herb Equivalent Quantity of Dried Herb/Spice
Basil 2 tsp finely chopped basil (about 5 leaves) 1 tsp dried basil
Bay leaves 1 fresh leaf 2 dried leaves
Chervil 3 tsp fresh cilantro 1 tsp dried cilantro
Chives 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh chives 1 tsp freeze-dried chives
Cilantro 3 tsp fresh cilantro 1 tsp dried cilantro
Dill 3 tsp fresh dill 1 tsp dried dill
Garlic 1 clove 1/4 tsp granulated garlic or 1/8 tsp garlic powder
Gingerroot 1 tsp grated fresh ginger 1/4 tsp dry ground ginger
Marjoram 3 tsp fresh marjoram 1 tsp dried marjoram
Onions 1 medium onion 1 tsp onion powder
Oregano 1 Tbsp fresh oregano 1 tsp dried oregano
Parsley 2 tsp finely chopped parsley (or 3 sprigs) 1 tsp dried parsley
Rosemary 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary (or 1 small/medium sprig) 1 tsp dried rosemary
Sage 7 leaves (or 2 tsp minced fresh sage) 1 tsp dried sage
Tarragon 3 tsp fresh tarragon 1 tsp dried tarragon
Thyme 1 Tbsp fresh thyme (or 6 sprigs) 3/4 tsp ground thyme

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