What do you do with Lots of fresh herbs? Don’t let them go to waste. Learn how to freeze herbs in plastic bags or ice cube trays with either water, oils or butter. We show you how to freeze herbs whole on the stem, or the leaves. With additions or frozen alone. All these methods have different value to you as the cook.
Freezing Herbs retains the fresh flavors we value in cooking. This post teaches you how to freeze herbs in several methods.
One of my favorite gardens is my herb garden. I originally created my herb garden to attract pollinators and it has! The bees LOVE pretty herb flowers and I love using the fresh herbs in recipes. There are always more herbs than we need. So I learned several methods to freeze them.
If you don’t have room for a whole herb garden, growing herbs indoors in pots is a satisfying way to bring the beauty, scents and flavors of herbs right into your home. Read this post on our Contented Plant blog for more on that.
When you grow your own herbs, you’ll have extra more than likely. Freezing herbs is a simple way to store the flavors for use into the cold winter and into the next spring.
However you source organic fresh herbs you can freeze them. Frozen herbs have many uses. Frozen Herbs retain flavor (better than dried herbs) and hold up well when frozen correctly. Up to a year.
What is the best Way to Freeze Herbs So they are ready to use?
The method you choose for freezing herbs needs to take into account a few things. You need to know how to best freeze a particular herb to protect its flavor. And second, the herbs that you pull from your freezer need to be easy to use and properly prepared for the uses you intend.
Most herbs are easy to freeze. You’ll find many ideas here on how to freeze herbs in the best ways to retain good flavor.
Fresh frozen Herbs will wilt as they defrost, so don’t plan to use defrosted herbs as garnishes.
Freezing Herbs in Water works well for all the strong leaves herbs like oregano, sage and rosemary. The freezing method with water is the same as for freezing herbs in oils, just use water instead.
All the Ways to Freeze Fresh Herbs:
Freezing herbs in plastic freezer bags or ice cube trays are both easy. You can freeze herbs singly or make your own personal herb blends.
Herbs can be frozen alone or you can pour butter, oil or water over chopped herb leaves to create flavorful frozen infusions you can add to recipes.
So many choices. We cover them all below. you are sure to find what you need. Read on for each method in detail.
How to Freeze Herbs in Plastic Bags:
For some uses it’s best to have dry frozen herb leaves stored in bags. You can easily remove just the amount of herb leaves you want for a single use in whatever quantity you desire.
This is a good method for freezing your homemade herb blends for use in any recipe but it is especially handy for bread recipes, herbed pizza dough, Herbed pie crusts or in other recipes that require a dry herb.
You can add dry frozen herbs to all recipes for seasoning. The flavor is similar to fresh herbs.
TIP: Do not allow the bag to sit out open for long periods on the counter. You don’t want the leaves defrosting in the bag. Refreezing the bag can cause the herb leaves to lose flavor when they are refrozen.
Clumping can happen when there is any moisture in the bag and you refreeze it. Dry herb leaves are susceptible to freezer burn when exposed to the air. Keep the bag shut and oxygen out.
IDEA: It is easy to create your own personal mixes of herb leaves for recipes and freeze the mix in bags.
For example sage, thyme and rosemary make a good blend for meats. What are your favorite herb blends? Share in the comment section. We love learning from you!
To use the dry bagged frozen herb leaves, remove the frozen herbs you need from the bag and add them into your favorite recipes. Close the bag with the air compressed out and set it back in the freezer.
Do You need to Blanch Herbs before freezing?
Herbs do not need to be blanched before freezing in most cases. But you MAY blanch basil and other soft herbs to stop their enzyme activity and help prevent them blackening in the freezer. This is not something I do. but Here is the method if you want to further protect your herbs.
How to blanch herbs:
- Submerge your whole fresh herb leaves in boiling water for 15 seconds.
- Immediately remove and submerge the leaves into ice water to stop the cooking action.
- dry the herbs and proceed with your preferred freezing method.
Preparing Fresh Herbs for Freezing in Freezer Bags:
Prepare herbs so they are ready to use before freezing to keep your meal time prep easy. For herbs with lots of flavor in their stems, like rosemary, save that woody stem for making soups, broths and slow cooking with meats. The stems release flavor as they break down.
But you will still have to remove the stems before serving or your mealtime will be spent separating the stems from your food. I use herbs stems in my instant pot bone broth. It cooks a long time and the stems will hold up to the process and add excellent flavor to the broth. Rosemary, oregano and sage stems are good choices for this. After the broth is done, the stems are easily sieved out of the broth.
- Wash the herbs on the stems and pat them dry with a paper towel or roll them in a tea towel gently.
- Strip the leaves off the stems. You want to remove any stems bigger than you want in your final recipe. They are not comfortable to eat in a casserole, for example.
- Save the large thick stems of rosemary or other firm stems of herb with flavors you enjoy in bone stocks and marinades. Cut them to fit the bag width. (quart size works well) and freeze by themselves.
- If you are blanching, do it now.
- To freeze the herb leaves, Lay out the leaves in a scattered single layer on your baking sheet.
- Set in your freezer for an hour until the leaves are frozen.
- Scoop the frozen herb leaves into a plastic freezer bag.
- Suck out all the air from the bag. Close the bag top except a small hole. Insert a straw into the hole and use your fingers to complete the seal. suck out the air. Remove the straw and close the seal so the air stays out.
- label the bag with the herb name and date.
- Store in freezer 3 to 6 months.
- To use, open the bag and remove the herbs you need. Bruise or crush the frozen herb leaves in your fingers to release the fragrant oils in the leaves. Reclose the bag and refreeze unused herbs.
How to Freeze Herbs Whole Stick:
Can you freeze Fresh rosemary and Thyme? Rosemary and thyme are easily frozen with water, oil or whole stick methods. The quickest way to freeze them is on the whole stems with leaves on.
You can also freeze oregano, thyme and sage with whole stems and leaves.
You can throw a frozen whole leaved stem into a pot with roasts, bone broth, soups or stews and let them cook their flavors into the recipe. Before serving pull the herb stems out.
I also use whole stems with leaves on to make my sun dried tomatoes and other marinades. The woody stems hold up well in marinades and add flavor.
How to Freeze Herbs on the Stem:
This is the lazy way to freeze herbs. I do this all the time when I’m in a hurry and have extra sprigs of strong herbs.
- Wash the whole stem and leaves and pat or roll dry gently with a tea towel.
- Fold or cut the stem to fit your freezer bag.
- Fill the freezer bag.
- Roll the bag to squeeze out as much air as you can.
- Seal the bag.
- label the bag as needed.
How to Freeze Herbs in Butter, Olive Oil or Water:
You can use herbs frozen in water, in ice cube trays, by throwing a cube into your skillet and letting the water evaporate as the dish cooks up. OR you can defrost the ice cube and use the herbs alone. Whatever works best for what you are creating in the kitchen.
Herbs frozen in butter release flavor into the butter (or oils) they are frozen with. This makes a flavorful addition to sautés and makes a delicious butter for spreading on breads, toasts and crackers.
Add the whole frozen cubes into soups and stews, meat dishes or anywhere an herbed butter is useful in your kitchen.
Defrost the cubes of herbed butter for spreads by setting them in a cup or plate and allowing the butter to come to room temperature. You can also hold defrosted butters several weeks in the fridge.
Best Herbs For Freezing in oil or Butter:
ALL herbs can be frozen in oil or butter. But this is the best method for certain soft herbs..
Basil, cilantro, parsley and other thin fragile herb leaves can go black when frozen. Freezing theses delicate herb leaves in oil helps prevent the leaves losing flavor and turning black as they would when dry freezing them in plastic bags.
How to Freeze Herbs In ice Cube Trays:
This is the best freezing method for freezing chopped herb leaves that are soft and delicate or go black when frozen like basil, parsley, tarragon, cilantro, chives, mint and dill. However, You can freeze any herb in ice cube trays if you can fit the leaves into the holes.
Freeze fresh herbs in olive oil, butter or water in single serving size blocks. Choose an ice cube tray sized to your preference. You can find trays with various sized ice cube holes on Amazon here.
- Prepare the herbs by washing them and patting (or rolling gently) the herbs dry with a tea towel. Do not crush the herb leaves.
- Strip off the leaves from the stems of the herbs. Save strong thick stems and freeze them in a plastic bag for flavoring broths and stocks.
- Chop the leaves as necessary to fit into the ice cube holes. The more you chop the more flavor you release from the leaves so mince them small.
- Fill the ice cube tray hole up about 2/3 full with leaves.
- Pour the melted (warm, not hot) butter or oil over the leaves to top of ice cube hole.
- Release the air and push the chopped herbs down into the oil or butter until the leaves are completely submerged. This protects them from freezer burn.
- Freeze in the ice cube trays several hours until they are solid. but do not leave them in the trays.
- Transfer the oiled herb cubes to an airtight freezer container (or plastic freezer bag).
- Suck or squeeze all the air out of the bag.
- Remove frozen herb blocks as needed for use in soups, stews or stir fries. Add a block of oiled herbs to sauté your onions and other vegetables. This adds wonderful flavor to your meals and is so handy.
How to Freeze Herbs Flat:
Don’t want a thick cube of herbs? You can freeze chopped herbs flat in oil if you prefer. Here’s How.
- Prep the herbs as listed in the ice cube method.
- Pour or scoop the prepared herb leaves into a ziplock freezer bag.
- Pour oil over the leaves.
- Press and suck out the air and seal the bag.
- squeeze gently to distribute the oil throughout the leaves. Make sure they are all coated in oil.
- Lay the bag(s) on a flat baking sheet and press the bag flat.
- label the bag with herb name and date.
- Freeze on the baking sheet until frozen solid.
- Remove the baking sheet and stack the herb bag in the freezer.
- To use: Break off pieces as needed and return the bag to freezer.
We hope you found this post on how to freeze herbs useful.
One of these methods of freezing is going to work best for your situation and particular herbs you are freezing. Please let us know in the comment section below which method is your favorite. and how you use frozen fresh herbs.
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