Dehydrate bay leaves at home and have brighter, more flavorful leaves to add to all of your cooking. These are so much better than what you typically get in a store!
Dried Bay leaves are such an integral component to stews and soups, but most people don't have bay trees in their backyards to use them fresh.
And what you buy in a store look weak and sickly a lot, don't they?
But if you have access to someone who can provide you with fresh leaves, drying them yourself makes a much better option!
Tip: If you check your fresh herb shelf at the store, you might be able to grab some on clearance!
By the way - have you ever smelled a fresh bay leaf? It is amazing!!
How to Dehydrate Bay Leaves
While you can just hang bay leaves to dry, or pick them off the stems and lay them between two towels to air dry, dehydrating just allows me to dry things more effectively in our humid climate.
Step one: Rinse bay leaves and clip off stems
You can dry on the stem if you'd like, but I find that they dry faster without the stem. Not only because they aren't laying on top of each other, but the stem takes a long time to dry.
Step Two: Place on dehydrator trays
Just don't be took picky about it. They'll move around a lot during the drying process.
Step Three: Dry at 95°F / 35°C for 18-48 hours.
The time frame does seem long, but it does take them a while to dry at a low temperature for herbs. They are leathery, thick, and full of fragrant oils. So just give them time to dry.
Learn more: Alternative ways to dry herbs
Bay leaves are dry when they are crispy and easily break when they are bent. Some may curl, and that's fine.
Store in an airtight container for years. But within the first year or so is your best use! Find more herb storage ideas here.
Why home-dried herbs are better!
Look at the difference between these home-dried bay leaves and the ones I recently purchased from the local grocery store.
The thing about purchasing dried herbs from a grocery store, big-box store, supplier, etc is that you don't know
- What temperature they were dried
- How old they actually are
- How long they've been sitting in a warehouse waiting to get to you
With those home dried bay leaves being greener, they are retaining more of the oils that make them so flavorful to start with!
Which one from above would you prefer to use in your meals!?
While there are many varieties of bay leaves from California to Indonesian to Mediterranian, the bay laurel tree is where most culinary bay leaves are sourced.
Yes! You can use a small pinch of powdered, dried bay leaves to a dish and not have to spend so much time digging the leaf out before serving a meal! (Have you ever been the one to accidentally get a mouthful of dried bay leaf in a stew? YUCK!)
How to Dehydrate Bay Leaves
- Bay leaves
- Rinse and separate leaves
- Place on dehydrator trays in single layers
- Dehydrate at 95°F / 35° for 18-48+ hours
- Leaves are dry when easy to tear or crumble
- Store in an airtight container for a year +