How to dry bay leaves: crucial tips specialists find useful

Dried bay leaves are very wonderful herbs, utilized as a spicy component in food. They have a specific scent and lovely flavor. Besides, bay leaves serve in the role of a inartificial antiseptic that has anti-inflammatory props and produce an analgesic effect.

If you have a bay tree at home in the garden, you have to be aware of cropping and drying fresh bay leaves. Below, there is beneficial information regarding harvesting and draining the herbs.

How to choose a fresh bay leaf?

Having bay trees in the garden is unusual even for many farmers. Taking into account the fact that the older the bay tree is, the better it becomes, specialists recommend to collect bay leaves after two years of growth. In this period they possess the finest floral flavor.

You are allowed to harvest bay leaves anytime in a year with a scissor, knife, or just bare hands. Look for large, fresh bay leaves, and lowny colored without dots and defects. You may prune them in winter for the plant to grow faster and reach the highest point. Clean up bay trees in summer to get the sheets with the most aroma.

Techniques of drying bay leaves at home

Two main techniques of drying bay leaves do exist: naturally and artificially. Big part of people suggests drying bay herbs naturally. At the end, probably they will not waste own specific qualities.

On the other hand, an artificial way of desiccation a bay leaf is considered to be an easier and quicker method. There you are allowed to use a microwave, oven, and dehydrator. However, you will risk the bay leaves’ capacity.

How to dry bay leaves naturally

Air drying is said to be the finest method to dry a fresh bay sheet. To reach the results you desire, you have to make the next moves.

In the beginning, spare all unnecessary, damaged bay leaves with mud and dots. Put all fresh herbs in cool water to clean.

After, gently shake fresh bay leaves and put them off to be dried. Locate the leaves on a paper towel. Dispose of the excess water from their surfaces by folding them until they are dried.

Locate another layer of a paper towel for air circulation to affect the bay foliage.

Next, put the paper towel with fresh leaves in a warm environment with a good ventilation system. Beware and avoid direct sunlight placing them in a dark place.

Finally, wait up to 2 weeks for bay foliage to get desiccated and tear up easily.

How to dry bay leaves: Oven & Paper towels

If you can not afford so many days for natural drying, oven is a good option for this process. It is a very fast and reliable way.

Here you should heat the stove to around 100C. Locate the baking sheet on a baking tray additionally to paper towels.

Then roast the fresh bay leaves for couple of hours until they become dried and fragile. Remember to turn over the baking sheet every 20-25 minutes.

Take them from the furnace and place them somewhere to cool off.

How to dry bay leaves: Microwave

Using a heating device is the quickest manner to dry bay leaves. 3 minutes are necessary for the whole process.

First, you need to place them on a plate. Beware that you can put only a few fresh leaves in a microwave.

After half a minute stop the microwave, invert the bay leaves, and turn on the device. Better do this every half a minute to acquire dried bay laviage. Finally, you can put and preserve dried bay leaves in an airtight container for limited amount of time.

How to dry bay leaves: Food dehydrator

It is a rare but useful method to turn fresh herbs into dried bay leaves. If you have a dehydrator, it is enough to dedicate five hours maximum.

Just lay fresh bay leaves in the device at the heat of 40C.

Look hourly if there are fragile dried bay leaves. Next, airtight container is needed to cool them down.


Having a bay tree, harvesting, and drying a bay leaf is an interesting occupation to enjoy. Dried bay leaves are a common spicy ingredient. A sweet bay leaf has the best flavor and scent for such types of food as broth and rice.

Dried bay leaves are also beneficial for immune system and can be an antiseptic. It is one more advantage of bay leaves.

A lot of methods of drying bay leaves at home exist and they are free to use. You can dry them naturally, given the process takes 2 weeks, or artificially, with the help of domestic technologies such as microwaves, dehydrators, and ovens. The last method is fast, but after the dried bay leaves can quickly lose their flavor.

It is all information gathered for you about drying bay leaves. Go after the instructions, and we hope they will help you a lot.


How long does it take to dry bay leaves?

Air drying or natural drying takes from 10 to 14 days to get dried bay leaves. However, you can shorten this period by using a furnace (1-2 hours), microwave (2-3 minutes), and dehydrator (1-5 hours).

Do fresh bay leaves need to be dried?

Yes, they do. To get the most flavor and scent in food, they should be dried. Otherwise, bay leaves will not be much effective.

Can you dry out bay leaves in the oven?

Yes, it is one of the fastest ways to dry herbs. The process will take 2 hours at most, and all you need are the oven, baking tray, and paper towels with bay leaves.

Can I use bay leaves straight from the tree?

You can use the fresh leaves from a bay tree. It is confirmed that they are not harmful to you if you add them to cooking without drying. However, to get the best results in form of wonderful scent and flavor you need to dry them out first. Anyway, before using bay leaves, do not forget to clean them in water.

Read also: Simple grilled Texas roadhouse herb-crusted chicken recipe

Elizabeth Martin

I am one of the best chefs and I work in a very famous Washington DC restaurant. My main hobby is to complement different dishes with fresh herbs. Almost all of them are grown in my house.

1 thought on “How to dry bay leaves: crucial tips specialists find useful”

  1. Thanks for the interesting article. To be honest, I did not know that bay leaves can be dried in a food dehydrator. I really like this spice and I use bay leaf in cooking many dishes, even in tea. I have a bay tree in my garden and therefore I often encounter the drying process. And I always use the natural way. But I don’t like that when it dries, some leaves curl and I don’t know how to avoid it.


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