How to Measure Dry Herbs

Dry herbs are generally the dehydrated leaves of plants like mint, oregano and basil. They provide cuisine with flavor when their essential oils are released into the food. Just like newly-picked herbs, dry herbs provide the most flavor when they are fresh. If you plan to substitute a dry herb for a fresh herb, keep in mind that the herb should be measured differently depending upon the fragility, freshness and type of dried herb. Read on to find out how to measure dry herbs.


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    Evaluate the age of your herbs. A dried herb only stays fresh for about 6 months, if kept cool and dry. When measuring dry herbs, remember that the fresher the herb, the less you need to use.
  2. Image titled Measure Dry Herbs Step 2
    Read your recipe to decide whether it calls for a dried herb or a fresh herb.
  3. Image titled Measure Dry Herbs Step 3
    Measure your dry herbs using tsp. or tbsp., or g, depending upon the prevailing region and recipe measurements. Weigh the herbs if you are measuring in g, or use a standard spoon measurement if you are using tsp. or tbsp.
    • A general United States to metric conversion is 1 tsp. of fresh basil equals about 0.5 g of dried basil. A similar measurement would work for other dried herbs. Fresh herbs are major in volume that dried herbs.
  4. Image titled Measure Dry Herbs Step 4
    Substitute dry herbs for fresh herbs by multiplying the measurement for two. Dry herbs have a more concentrated flavor than fresh herbs.
    • Alternatively, if you are substituting fresh herbs, add half as much as the original dry herb measurement.
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    Adjust your measurement to account for freshness. Many recipes will assume that the herbs are a few months old.
    • If your dry herbs are very new, then add slightly less than the amount for which a recipe calls. Adjust it to be a pinch less, generally regarded as 1/8 tsp. (0.07 g).
    • If your dry herbs are older than 6 months, then they may not contain as many essential oils as the recipe requires. Add a pinch or 2 more, depending upon the age of the herbs.
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    Adjust your measurement to account for the robustness of the herbs.
    • Robust herbs that tend to hold their flavor longer include: thyme, oregano, sage, marjoram and rosemary.
    • Fragile herbs that do not hold their flavor include: mint, chervil, basil and tarragon.


  • A general rule is that spices, dried and ground from seeds, roots and nuts, tend to be more pungent than herbs, so you may want to use less. Spices include cinnamon, pepper and nutmeg.
  • Store dried herb leaves and crush them by hand or with a mortar and pestle just before adding them to a dish. The flavor will be stronger because they will release more essential oils when crushed.
  • Buy herbs that are bright in color. This will attest to their freshness, and it will be easier to gauge how old they are.
  • Keep herbs fresh by storing them in a cool, temperature-controlled environment away from exposure to oxygen and light.


  • There is some disagreement about whether the conversion from dry to fresh herbs is 1 to 2 or 1 to 3, respectively. Fresher dried herbs should follow a 1 to 2 ratio, while old herbs can follow a 1 to 3 ratio.

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Categories: Herbs and Spices