Simplest way to preserve Bay leaves - update

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How to Dry Bay Leaves

Three Methods:

Bay leaves grow on a bay laurel tree, which can be found outdoors in the natural ground or planted in large containers (do not confuse with other laurels,whose leaves are poisonous). People cook with bay leaves in order to season their meats, sauces, soups and other hearty dishes. Bay leaves are also used in herbal remedies, to soothe inflammation and it has also been effective in keeping out weevils and other pests. When bay leaves are dried, they can be stored and used for up to a year. Dry bay leaves by picking and separating them, then leaving them in a well ventilated area that is warm and dry until all the moisture has evaporated.


Harvesting Bay Leaves for Drying

  1. Harvest bay leaves from plants that are at least 2 years old.
  2. Pick leaves during the middle of summer.The midsummer season allows bay leaves to produce their oils more abundantly, making harvesting easier.
  3. Take the bay leaves off the trees in the morning, after the dew has evaporated.This will ensure your leaves do not wilt.
    • Detach the bay leaves gently from the trees. You do not want to bruise them.
  4. Choose leaves that are healthy and undamaged.You should pick the largest leaves that are available, as these will have the strongest flavor and fragrance.

Drying Bay Leaves Naturally

  1. Place paper towels on a baking sheet.Make sure you have enough paper towels to cover the sheet, but you do not need more than a single layer.
  2. Spread the bay leaves onto the paper towels.Do not put leaves on top of one another; they should be separate and have their own space.
  3. Leave the bay leaves in a warm, dry room that has plenty of ventilation.They should not be in direct light of any kind.
  4. Allow the leaves to dry for 2 weeks.You can flip them once during the 2 week period to ensure each side dries evenly.
  5. Notice whether there is any remaining moisture left in the leaves.If they are still dark green in spots or soft, they may need 1 more week to dry.

Drying Bay Leaves with a Dehydrator

  1. Pre-heat your dehydrator to 95 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit (35 to 46 degrees Celsius).
    • Set the heat level higher depending on the area you live in. Places with high humidity, such as Florida, will need a higher dehydrator setting.
  2. Rinse the bay leaves under a cool, gentle stream of water.Shake off the water and pat them with a paper towel to dry.
  3. Arrange the herbs on dehydrator trays, in a single layer.Place the trays in the dehydrator and allow them to dry for 1 to 4 hours.
  4. Check the instruction booklet that came with your dehydrator for any other instructions.
  5. Check the bay leaves periodically.You will know they have completed drying when they begin to curl or crumble and the stems start to split.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Can I dry them in the oven?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, you can, but you need to dry them on a low temperature, or use the drying mode on your oven if your model has one.
  • Question
    Can I dry bay leaves in a microwave?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    That's not a good method for drying them.
  • Question
    Do I have to wash the bay leaves first?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, in a way. You should blanch them in boiling water to remove the slippery film off the leaf before drying.
Unanswered Questions
  • Can I dry bay leaves in an air fryer?
  • I see something about poisonous leaves. How can you tell the difference?
  • Do you have to wash store bought bay leaves before using them on cooking?
  • Should I still wash and blanch the leaves before drying if I'm drying them naturally?
  • How can you tell the good leaves from the poisonous ones?
Ask a Question
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Quick Summary

To dry bay leaves, place paper towels in a single layer on a baking sheet and spread the bay leaves onto the paper towels. Leave the bay leaves for 2 weeks in a warm, dry room with plenty of ventilation, flipping them once during that period. If you prefer, you can place them in a dehydrator instead. Rinse the bay leaves in cool water and pat them dry with a paper towel, then place them in a single layer into the dehydrator. Let them dry for 1-4 hours, with the dehydrator heated to between 95° and 115°F.

Did this summary help you?
  • Try drying bay leaves in a microwave oven when you only need a few leaves and you do not want to wait to dry a whole batch.
  • Remember that dried herbs are much stronger than fresh herbs. When you are using bay leaves in accordance with a recipe, remember to adjust the amount you use if your recipe calls for fresh bay leaves and you decide to use your dried bay leaves.
  • Store your dried bay leaves in an airtight container such as a plastic bag with a seal or a jar. As long as you keep them out of sunlight in a temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 24 degrees Celsius), they will be good for up to 1 year.


  • Do not dry your bay leaves outside in the sun. This will cause discoloration of the leaves and the herbs will lose their flavor.

Things You'll Need

  • Baking sheet
  • Paper towels
  • Dehydrator

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Views: 167,633


Jun 24

"Natural drying method really helpful also storage details helped. "

Sunny Nestler

Feb 14

"The pictures are very helpful! I'm going to try both drying naturally and dehydrating. One of my favorite veganbloggers took the little bits at the bottom of her spice jar and ground it into powder. Now she never has to worry about fishing the leaves out!"

Kathi Prochotsky

Jun 6, 2019

"Great to have pictures with the text. Great to have details like "pick the largest leaves because they havestrongest flavor." It is also helpful to know that the leaves are not necessarily dried while pressing them flat, like the bought bay leaves."

Lynn Barnes

May 27, 2019

"Extremely helpful. Initially I was intending to place fresh bay leaves in my pot of Italian sauce as I waspreparing it. After reading the articles, I realized that was not a good idea at all."

Liz Main

Aug 5, 2019

"I did not realize that you naturally dry out bay leaves. This was interesting to discover, as was the fact that youmust keep them out of direct sunlight."

Denise O.

May 21, 2019

"Just received several branches of fresh bay leaf from my mother-in-law. She said to just freeze them. I want to drythem, so this was helpful. "
Rated this article:

Rachel Capurro

Jun 23, 2019

"The article showed me what to do with leaves and other information about what to do when leaves haven't driedcompletely. Thanks."

A. Y.

May 18, 2019

"Excellent article with illustrations so that even a young child can understand and follow the instructions. Welldone!"

Jenny Forth

Apr 12, 2019

"Was given a quantity of fresh bay leaves and wanted to know how best to preserve them!"
Rated this article:


Dec 14, 2019

"I want to dry and store the harvested bay leaves methodically for commercial purpose."


Jun 24, 2019

"The whole thing was a great help. I had no idea of how to proceed until I read this."


Oct 18, 2019

"Entire article was helpful, knowing how to lay them out and how long it takes."

Lara Correia

Jul 26, 2019

"Good to read with pictures. It sure helps the Deaf and people who can't read."
Rated this article:

Leo John De Freitas

Jun 30, 2019

"Great, simple, straightforward advice for the novice gardener. Many thanks."


Jul 10, 2019

"How long it takes to dry bay leaves naturally was helpful to learn. Thanks."


Aug 17, 2019

"Presentation with pictures is very informative.

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