Do you have a garden full of rosemary? Learn how to dry rosemary using 3 different methods: electric dehydrator, air dry and the oven. As well as how to store your dried rosemary and how to use it!
Rosemary is a perennial, woody herb that is native to the Mediterranean. It’s usually used as a culinary addition, but it’s also great for infused oils and has a lot of health benefits.
Rosemary is an evergreen plant that is hardy to about 5F. If you live in a warmer climate, you may be able to grow rosemary all year long.
But if you can’t, it’s beneficial to preserve rosemary in the summer for use in the winter.
One of the easiest ways to preserve rosemary is to dry it! Drying rosemary creates a shelf stable herb that will last for at least a year!
When to Harvest Rosemary for Drying
The first step to drying rosemary is to harvest it at just the right time.
If you are using rosemary fresh, you can harvest rosemary any time, but since drying removes some of the potent oils, it’s best to harvest your rosemary at just the right time to ensure your final product has the best flavor and is very aromatic.
When harvesting rosemary for drying, wait until just before it blooms to harvest. This is the point when the needles are loaded with aromatic oils.
Now on to how to dry rosemary!
How to Dry Rosemary for Use All Year Long!
There are a couple of different ways you can make dried rosemary. Such as:
- In a solar dehydrator
- Hanging (air dry)
- Electric Dehydrator
- In the oven (not recommended)
They each have their pros and cons, but my favorite way to dry rosemary is by using an electric dehydrator because it’s a more reliable way to get dried rosemary that is uniformly dry in a quicker amount of time.
Hanging and solar dehydrating rosemary will depend on the conditions of the space (inside or outside)- how much sun, humidity, etc. If the correct conditions aren’t there, you may end up with moldy rosemary before the herb is completely dry.
An oven usually doesn’t stay at a low enough temperature to evenly dry the rosemary- and NOT cook it. An oven is more likely to destroy all the flavor and goodness inside your rosemary.
Herbs need to be dried at a fairly low temperature. 105F at the MOST or the taste will suffer.
I have an COSORI Food Dehydrator that I LOVE and use all summer long, but you can also check out my Dehydrator Buying Guide for other options. This dehydrator is perfect for drying herbs such as calendula, thyme, basil, oregano, dill and of course rosemary!
How to Dry Rosemary in a Dehydrator
You need to start with fresh, clean herbs. Since we grow everything organic, we don’t pre-wash, but if your rosemary isn’t organic or if it’s been sprayed then you will need to wash it first.
Be sure to pull out any obvious weeds, grass, bugs, or eggs that you see before drying your rosemary.
You can dry your rosemary either on the stem or dry the leaves individually. For rosemary I prefer to leave the needles on the stem since the individual leaves are very small. Plus, they are easier to remove once dry.
Make sure you have a single layer of rosemary on your trays so the rosemary needles dry evenly.
Set your dehydrator to 95-105F and close it up.
It should take 4-8 hours depending on how much rosemary l you are drying, if you left the stems on, and the humidity in your home.
Dried rosemary will be completely dry and crispy when it is done. The needles will be stiff and no longer pliable. If you feel any damp or non-crispy leaves, leave the rosemary in the dehydrator a little longer.
When it reaches this state, turn off your dehydrator and allow the dried rosemary to cool completely.
Now it’s time to store your dried rosemary!
How to Air Dry Rosemary
Air drying rosemary is super easy. All you have to do is hang bunches of rosemary and leave them alone until the needles are completely dry.
Don’t make your bunches too large or the middle stems won’t dry. If you’re drying a lot of rosemary, be sure there is plenty of air flow around your bunches.
To make your bunches, simply choose stems of similar length and width and tie them together tightly with cotton string, floss, a rubber band or even a twist tie.
Hang upside down in an area that has low humidity and a lot of air flow.
The cons of air drying rosemary is that it takes a lot longer than an electric dehydrator- a couple weeks versus a few hours. It can also take up a lot of space if you have a lot of bunches to dry. And finally, it depending on your home, it could collect dust as it dries.
After a couple of weeks (14-21 days) your rosemary should be completely dry. As with electric dehydrating, check each stem and make sure all the leaves are completely dry and stiff. If not, let them dry a few more days.
If you left the needles on the stem, remove them from the stems before storing.
How to Dry Rosemary in the Oven
First, I do not recommend dehydrating rosemary, or any herbs, in the oven. Heat will destroy the oils in your herbs and they will lose their health benefits and scent.
But, if you want to try drying rosemary in the oven, here’s how to do it:
First, set your oven on the lowest temperature. Remember 105F is the max temperature you want, so if your oven doesn’t go this low, you may want to use a different option.
Lay your rosemary on a baking try in an even layer. Place they tray in the oven.
Turn the trays and flip the rosemary a couple times throughout the drying process so that the herb dries evenly.
The rosemary is done when the leaves are stiff and no longer bend.
Note: If your oven doesn’t go low enough, you can turn it on the lowest temperature and allow it to heat. Then turn the oven off, and place the rosemary inside the hot oven with the light on, overnight. The initial heat, combined with the oven light will help dry your rosemary.
How to Store Dried Rosemary
Once your rosemary is dry, gently remove the needles from the stem.
This can be easily done by running your hand down the stem from the top down.
It’s best not to crush the rosemary at this time, keeping the entire leaf in tact will help preserve the scent and oils left inside the rosemary.
I store all of my herbs in glass mason jars with standard canning lids. I have found that plastic mason jar lids don’t keep the herbs as air tight as I’d like, so I stick with the metal lids and rings.
Then store your jar of dried rosemary in your spice cabinet, cupboard, pantry or other dry, dark location and try to use within a year.
How to Substitute Dry Rosemary for Fresh Rosemary
Do you have a recipe that calls for fresh rosemary and all you have is dried? Use these substitutions as a guideline:
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary needles= 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary = 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary = 1 teaspoon cracked/ crushed dried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary = 1/2 teaspoon powdered dried rosemary
Though, if you’re like me, there’s no such thing as too much flavor and I just throw a bunch in!
Dehydrating Rosemary FAQ
How much dried rosemary equals a sprig?
One sprig of fresh rosemary is equal to 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
Can I dry rosemary in the microwave?
No. You will be destroying the oils and nutrients in the rosemary. Plus you will likely cook your rosemary before it dries.
Can I dry rosemary in the Air Fryer?
If your air fryer can be set to a very low temperature (around 105F), then yes, you can dry rosemary in the Air Fryer without damaging it.
Are there other ways to preserve rosemary?
Sure! Rosemary can be frozen in water, in oil, or by itself. It can also be infused into oil, vinegar, or salt.
Learn more about drying herbs: