Looking to learn how to store basil when you found the perfect bunch at your grocery store? Here, you’ll learn methods for keeping this herb’s fresh flavor, whether at room temperature, in your fridge, in the freezer, and even dried. You’ll be able to enjoy fresh basil any time with our favorite recipes, too!

A fresh basil bouquet placed in a clear, vase of water.

How long does basil last?

​Fresh basil can last up to 10 days if stored properly. If you learn to preserve it, it can last up to a year. However, correctly preserved basil will lose its flavor over time, so use it up while you have it on hand. 

How do I keep basil fresher longer?

Like many fresh herbs, basil does not last a long time at room temperature or even in your fridge. To draw out its freshness over a couple of days, here are a few methods and tips that can help you along the way. 

Pro Tip: Washing your basil before storing it fresh will cause it to brown quickly. Avoid washing until you’re going to use it, or if you have already washed it, dry every leaf out as quickly as possible. 


Make sure your fresh basil leaves are completely dry. You can either dab them with a dry paper towel or use a salad spinner; whatever you do, the drier the better!

Loosely pack your basil leaves with a paper towel in an airtight container or plastic bag. Store this in your fridge crisper drawer like you would your salad greens.

The fridge is not the best way to store basil leaves because they like a lot of natural light. However, if it’s your preference and you know you’re going to be using it quickly, then the fridge is the way to go. Just know: the drier the environment, the better.


This water method is an easy way to store basil. And there’s an added bonus—it brightens up your kitchen! Follow these simple steps to properly store your basil in water:

  1. Remove any low leaves or else they’ll quickly turn brown from touching the water too long.
  2. Place the basil leaf stems in a vase or jar of water at room temperature.
  3. It should be placed out of direct sunlight on your countertop with a plastic bag. 
  4. Change the water every few days and cut the bases of the stems as they get slimy over time.
A pair of kitchen scissors cutting the bases of basil leaf stems.

How can I preserve and store fresh basil?

If you don’t plan to use all your basil leaves before they go bad, learn how to dry your basil or even freeze it with these handy methods.

How to Dry Basil

There are a few ways to dry basil either using the oven or an air fryer. With either kitchen appliance, follow these steps to properly dry your basil:

  1. Preheat your oven or air fryer to the lowest possible temperature, like 170-180°F.
  2. Place basil leaves in a single layer in the air fryer or on a baking sheet for the oven.
  3. Cook them for 15 minutes in the air fryer, checking at 5 minute intervals, or up to 1-2 hours in the oven, checking every 15 minutes. 
  4. Use a food processor, blender, or your fingers to grind up the dried basil leaves.
  5. Place the crushed basil leaves onto a sheet of parchment paper to funnel into a spice container. You’ll want to make sure this is an airtight container to best preserve freshness.
Dry, crushed up basil in a white, ceramic bowl with a wooden spoon.

How to Freeze Basil

The freezing method for long-term basil use is the best way to preserve it. There are a few different methods, but these first 2 steps need to be done for either method:

  1. Rinse your basil either under the faucet, in a colander, or in bowl full of cold water. 
  2. Pat basil dry with a paper towel or use a salad spinner to remove excess water.
Fresh basil leaves placed on a dry paper towel.

Ice Cube Tray

Below, you’ll find the steps for the best results when using ice cube trays to store basil: 

  1. Chop up your basil the way you normally would for cooking.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of basil to each slot in the ice cube tray.
  3. Add water or olive oil to each cube compartment.
  4. Cover the tray in plastic wrap to avoid freezer burn.
  5. Once frozen—after 30-40 minutes depending on how cold your freezer temperature is—pop the basil out of the ice cube trays and place them in a freezer-safe Ziplock bag for longer term storage.

These frozen cubes will last between 6-12 months. You can use them any time a recipe calls for the fresh stuff!

Flash Freezing

Follow these steps if you want to flash freeze your basil:

  1. Place the leaves on a cookie sheet, ensuring that they are not touching each other. Slide this into the freezer.
  2. After 10 minutes, take them out and place them in a freezer bag or a freezer-safe container.
  3. If they start to get crumbly, that’s okay! They’ll still be fine in the freezer.

These are best within 6 months of freezing but last up to a year.

Ice Cube Tray Pesto

Like the ice cubes method, you can make pesto out of your basil, and then freeze smaller portions in ice cube compartments. Once frozen, you’ll want to pop them out of the tray and put them in a freezer-safe bag to use for later. Try out our Easy Homemade Basil Pesto Recipeas it works great with this method!

What is the best method to preserve basil?

​The best way to store basil, based on convenience, would be to dry it out, OR freeze them in the ice cube trays

These 2 methods are the smartest ways to store basil because of how quickly you can use them when cooking. Whether it’s to sprinkle a dash of dried crushed basil or drop an oil-covered basil cube in your skillet, you’ll get that tasty basil aroma you’re craving. 

Basil FAQs

​How long does frozen basil last?

Frozen basil lasts anywhere from 6-12 months.

Can I make pesto to store fresh basil?

Yes, making pesto is an excellent way to use and store fresh basil. You can even freeze it in ice cube trays to preserve it for the longer term!

Healthy and savory tomato basil bisque is the perfect fall meal.

Favorite Basil Recipes

So, you have bunches of basil. In addition to learning how to properly store it, the best way to use it up is to cook with it! Try these recipes next:

5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

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