Using herbs in cooking is one of my favorite ways to kick up the flavor in a meal without adding a lot of salt and fat. But how many times have you bought fresh herbs only to watch them wilt and turn brown when you go to use them in your fridge? That’s why I love using dried herbs as an alternative to fresh, especially during winter months when fresh herbs might be on the pricier side or not as accessible in your grocery store. These 5 tips make cooking with dried herbs just as tasty as fresh!

  1. A little goes a long way. Dried herbs are typically cheaper than fresh – and they last much longer. Try using them in place of fresh, particularly if the recipe only calls for a small amount of the fresh. Dried herbs are more potent than fresh, so if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of fresh, try replacing with 1 teaspoon of dried.
  2. Store dried herbs well. Dried herbs should be stored away from heat – so don’t put them above the stove or near your oven. It’s important to avoid moisture and direct sunlight. Stored properly, dried herbs should last about 6 months to 1 year.
  3. Make your own spice mixes. Many pre-packaged mixes are high in sodium and other preservatives. So I like making my own to control ingredients and most importantly, heat. Because some taco seasonings are spicy for my kiddos taste buds! Here’s our kid-approved homemade taco seasoning.
  4. Add at the start of cooking. Dried herbs and spices need time and moisture to rehydrate during cooking to release their flavor. So I like to add dried herbs around the start of cooking to help them reach their peak of flavor!
  5. Look for dried herbs in bulk. Admittedly I don’t usually cook with cardamom but never leave dried basil or Italian seasoning out of a recipe. So I suggest buying new-to-you herbs and spices in small quantities to experiment, then in larger quantities to save money when you find the ones you use most frequently.

I love using dried basil, what’s one dried herb you find yourself cooking with often? Or one you want to experiment with more?