To freeze herbs, all you need are your favorite aromatics from the garden or the rest of that bunch of cilantro you bought last week, a little lovely olive oil, and an ice cube tray to preserve that herbaceousness for another day. You’ll never toss perfectly good herbs again.
Knowing how to freeze that abundance of herbs from the garden (or last weekend’s trip to the grocery store) is a little like being able to summon a spell. Simply plop the herbs in an ice cube tray and fill them with oil. That’s it. Unlike drying herbs, freezing herbs retains all the vibrancy in terms of both taste and color. Weeks or months later, when you’re ready to impart some summer herb awesomeness to anything—soups, stews, sides, fish, omelets, cooked vegetables, and so on—simply take a cube and gently warm it in a skillet.–Renee Schettler
How to Freeze Herbs
- Ice cube tray
- Fresh herbs (basil, thyme, tarragon, cilantro, dill, chives, rosemary, oregano, sage, or anything else)
- Olive oil or coconut oil (or substitute butter or ghee that has been melted and slightly cooled)
- Pour enough olive oil (or melted coconut oil, ghee, or butter) into each indentation to almost fill it. Place in the freezer for several hours or overnight.
- When the oil is frozen, remove the cubes from the trays, place them in a resealable plastic bag, label each bag with the type of herb using a Sharpie, and toss the bag in the freezer for up to several months. Pull out a cube or two whenever a little oil and fresh herbaceousness is desired, whether you're making sauces, soups, stews, braises, pan sauces, even eggs. And if all you need is a smidgen of green goodness rather than an entire cube, simply grab a knife and slice as little or as much off as you need.
How To Freeze Aromatics variationCitrus zest, grated ginger and fresh chili also work really well when preserved using this method, so get creative and make up some interesting mixes. Just remember to label the bags.
How To Freeze Herbs & Aromatics In Water variationFollow the recipe above, using cold water in place of oil. Plop the resulting ice cubes in cocktails, soda, or water.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This is a super quick way of storing herbs from the summer to use later when fresh herbs are not easily available. It adds much more flavor than dried herbs and takes the same amount of work.
I chopped some fresh thyme and sage, added 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil to my ice cube tray, popped the tray in the freezer overnight, and had herbs ready to use for stews and sauces.
Freezing herbs is an excellent way to preserve their freshness and vibrant taste. I often do this with fresh herbs as the bunches I get at the farmer's markets or stores are more than can be used in a week or 10 days. I have used these types of cubes in the past for pasta sauces, melting over grilled meats, in soup, rice dishes, to sauté various vegetables and meats, and stir-fries.
I made the following:
2 wells with chopped basil and extra virgin olive oil.
2 wells with chopped basil and a lemon-infused olive oil.
2 wells with the tips of the basil plants (tiny whole leaves) and regular olive oil.
2 wells with chopped cilantro and a chili-infused olive oil
2 wells with chopped cilantro and regular olive oil
2 wells with chopped basil chopped thyme, chopped parsley, and melted butter.
2 wells with chopped rosemary, chopped thyme, minced green onion, and melted butter.
2 wells with chopped rosemary, chopped thyme, and extra virgin olive oil.
2 wells with chopped rosemary, chopped thyme, minced green onion, and melted coconut oil.
2 wells with chopped dill, minced garlic and olive oil.
2 wells with chopped thyme, cilantro, parsley, minced green onion, grated ginger, and sesame oil.
2 wells with chopped parsley and melted butter.
2 wells with lemon zest, minced garlic, chopped cilantro, chopped parsley, grated ginger, and melted coconut oil.
And finally 2 wells with chopped tarragon and melted butter.
I am particularly fond of the tarragon and butter for cooking my weekend breakfast eggs. I find if one cube is too much, it is quite easy to slice a bit off. In a hot pan, the cubes take only a couple minutes to melt and release their flavor.
Originally published July 13, 2018