I use fresh herbs in abundance, especially in my Middle Eastern recipes. And parsley is a firm favourite.
When I don’t have my own parsley growing in the herb garden, I buy large bunches of flat-leaf parsley at the farmers’ market. And I often end up with a lot of parsley.
Sometimes I sneak the extra parsley into herbed sauces and salsas. But when I know I won’t use all the fresh herbs before they wilt, I dry them instead. And drying herbs in the oven is a great way to avoid wasting any.
Go straight to the step-by-step instructions for how to dry parsley in the oven, or keep reading for more tips and tricks for making dried parsley at home.
Ingredients & equipment for drying parsley
You don’t need fancy equipment – like a food dehydrator – to dry parsley at home. All you need is a baking tray, some parchment paper and an oven on its lowest setting.
Use fresh parsley, well-washed and dried, for the best results. I prefer flat-leaf parsley, but the curly variety works well too.
You can leave the parsley stems attached. Either include it in the dried herbs or remove the long stems before crumbling the dried parsley leaves into small pieces with your fingertips.
Different ways to dry parsley
There are many different ways to dry parsley. You can use
- your oven,
- a food dehydrator,
- air fryer,
- the sun,
- or air drying.
My preferred method is oven drying. But I will outline the instructions for air drying and air frying as well.
Sun drying takes a few days. It also introduces extra constraints, such as securing the parsley to keep an unexpected breeze from scooping up your almost-dried parley. And exposing the herbs to bright direct light can cause the tender leaves to bleach.
Air dry small bundles of parsley
To air dry your parsley, poke a few holes in a paper bag. Put the bunch of parsley into the bag – leaves first, with the stems poking out. Secure the bag around the stems with a rubber band or kitchen twine.
Hang the herbs from their stems in a warm, well-ventilated room.
The smaller the bundle, the faster it will dry. But the drying time is typically between one and three weeks to air dry parsley this way. It depends on the heat and humidity.
Use an air fryer to dry parsley
You can also use an air fryer to dry parsley. Set your air fryer to 350 ºF (180 ºC) and add a single layer of parsley to the air fryer basket or tray.
Weigh it down with a wire rack to keep the parsley leaves from flying around. Or tie the stems together with kitchen twine and fan the leaves out as much as possible.
Bake the parsley for three to five minutes and keep a close eye on the parsley to avoid burning. After the first three minutes, check it every minute until you have dehydrated parsley that crumbles easily between your fingertips.
How to dry parsley in the oven
Drying parsley in the oven could not be easier. It’s the best way to dry parsley quickly and efficiently without fear of burning.
- Step 1: Clean the parsley
- Step 2: Arrange the parsley on a baking tray
- Step 3: Bake in a warm oven until crumbly
Step 1: Clean the parsley
Rinse your parsley well with cold water to remove any visible dirt. Remove any soft or brown bits of leaves and stems. You want to use bright green parsley.
Dry the parsley with a clean kitchen towel or dab it with paper towels to absorb excess moisture. You can also use a salad spinner for this.
Step 2: Arrange the parsley on a baking tray
Line a baking tray or cookie sheet with parchment paper.
You can leave the parchment paper if your baking sheet has a clean non-stick surface. But the paper is a convenient way to slide the dried herbs into your glass container, and you can reuse the parchment paper.
Step 3: Bake in a warm oven until crumbly
Preheat your oven to 170 ºF (75 ºC) fan setting – or your oven’s lowest temperature. The fan helps to distribute the warm air and dry out the parsley evenly.
But, if you don’t have a fan-assisted oven, you can still oven-dry your parsley. Simply increase the oven temperature to 200 ºF (95 ºC).
You can also use the residual heat from cooking to dry your fresh parsley.
After removing your food from the oven, turn the heat down to the lowest temperature. Add the parsley and check after 15 minutes. Continue to roast, checking every few minutes, until your parsley is easy to crumble.
Allow the parsley to cool down, then transfer it to a small bowl. Use your fingers to crumble the dried parsley. And remove any large stems or leaves that don’t easily crumble.
I like to rub the dried parsley through a mesh strainer for a finer texture.
How to store dried parsley
Your homemade dried parsley will keep up to six months when stored correctly. Use airtight containers – like glass jars or mason jars with tight-fitting lids. Store the parsley in a dry, dark place.
If your parsley is not dry enough, it is susceptible to mould. Discard the dried parsley if you see any signs of mould. But if you dry it thoroughly, this won’t happen.
How to use homemade dried parsley
Parsley, dried or fresh, is such a versatile herb. Use your homemade dried parsley as you would use grocery store dried parsley.
- Add it to seasoning blends, like this Italian seasoning substitute.
- Mix it into labneh or yoghurt with dried garlic for a quick garlic and herb dip. Or try these garlic and herb labneh balls in olive oil with dried parsley instead.
- Use it to flavour soups, stews and stocks.
You can also use dried parsley as a substitute for fresh parsley. Just remember that dried herbs are stronger than fresh herbs. Aim for about a third of the fresh herb when substituting dried herbs in recipes.
So, use roughly a teaspoon of dried parsley to substitute a tablespoon of fresh parsley.
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
- Preheat your oven to 170 °F fan*.
- Wash the parsley with cold water. You can include the tender parsley stems – they have loads of flavour. But remove any brown bits – leaves and stems.
- Dab the wet parsley with a clean tea towel or paper towel to remove excess moisture – or use a salad spinner.
- Place the parsley on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer with enough surrounding space. Put the baking tray in the centre of your preheated oven.
- Check on the parsley after 20 minutes. The parsley is ready when you can easily crumble it with your fingertips. But it should still be green. If the parsley is still moist, return it to the oven for another 5 minutes.
- Use your fingertips to crumble the dried parsley into coarse flakes. Discard any large pieces of leaves or stems that don’t crumble. I like to rub the parsley through a mesh strainer for finer parsley flakes – or use a pestle and mortar.
- Transfer your dried parsley to an airtight container or spice jar.
- This method also works with the curly parsley variety. But I prefer the intensity of flat-leaf parsley (also called Italian parsley). So, this is what I typically plant.
- If you don’t have a fan-assisted oven (convection oven), increase the temperature to 200 ºF (95 ºC). After 15 minutes, check on the parsley every 5 minutes. Keep roasting until it crumbles easily.
- As long as your parsley is completely dried out, it will keep in an airtight container for up to 6 months. But, if there are any wet bits, the parsley will be susceptible to mould. If you see signs of mould, discard the parsley.