Good Question: Substituting Dried Herbs for Fresh

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Dear Kitchen Editors,

Sometimes when a recipe calls for fresh herbs, I’d rather save myself the trip to the store, and use some of the dried stuff I have in my pantry. How do I know how much to substitute?


Dear Marisa,

You can definitely substitute dry for fresh, but keep in mind that in many recipes, if fresh herbs are called for, it is probably because the bright, alive flavor of a fresh herb are complementary to the recipe. However, not all is lost on dried herbs, and sometimes it makes little difference, or can even lend a new kind of flavor that you might prefer.

Dried herbs have a much more concentrated flavor, so the general rule of thumb is to use a third of the amount of dried as you would fresh herbs. Often a recipe will call for chopped fresh herbs in units of tablespoons. Since one tablespoon is equal to three teaspoons, use one teaspoon chopped dried herbs instead.

There is one more change you’ll have to make when substituting fresh herbs with the dried variety. Fresh herbs are almost always added to a recipe at the end of the cooking process to avoid destroying their color and delicate flavor with heat. However, dried herbs need time for their flavor to seep into the dish, so they should be added more toward the beginning.