How to Freeze Basil (for the BEST flavor!)

This complete guide on how to freeze basil is such a life saver! This tutorial shows you the tricks and technique for the EASIEST way to freeze fresh basil. No pesto making required! 

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Fresh basil lends the perfect hint of sweetness to so many recipes and pasta dishes. For example, this Thai Beef Stir Fry with Basil & Chiles and this Broccoli Pesto Recipe

And while we may have an abundance of fresh basil growing in our herb gardens during the summer months, how do you preserve basil for the winter, after the growing season has ended?

I’ve come up with what I consider to be the BEST method for freezing basil. And I should know, since it’s one of my favorite herbs!

Why This Method is So Great

  • It stays green – So often, when you freeze basil, it becomes brown and discolored. I’ve got a trick for that! 
  • No pesto making involved Pesto is delicious, but sometimes you just want straight up basil, especially when you’re adding it to a recipe. 
  • Freeze whole basil leaves – No need to puree the basil or chop it up. We’re doing things the easy way!
  • Need just a little basil? With this method, it’s easy to snip off just a little bit, without thawing a whole bunch or whole basil cubes.

Many popular methods for freezing basil include making basil pesto, then freezing it into cubes. I’m not a fan of this method for a few reasons:

  1. The frozen cubs take a while to thaw, meaning you can’t use it right away, unless you’re adding it to a warm sauces, stews or soups.
  2. Sometimes I just want regular old basil to add to a recipe. I don’t want pesto flavorings of garlic, parmesan cheese, etc. in with my basil.
  3. Pesto takes time and a food processor.

Another method calls for placing fresh leaves of basil in a container of olive oil to preserve it. This is delicious, but again, I just wanted to freeze whole basil leaves.

That’s why I came up with this method. It’s a simple way to preserve fresh basil leaves so that you can add fresh flavor to your favorite recipes all year long.

Plus, it’s super simple. We’re just going to take whole leaves of basil, quick blanch them in boiling water (just microwave it), then add them to an ice bath (this is what preserves their green color), and freeze them in little rolls.

Then, when you’re ready to use it, you can either grab a whole roll of basil, or just slice off what you need from a roll.

This technique works for any type of basil too – sweet basil, Italian basil, Thai basil, etc.

How to Freeze Basil Leaves

  • Boil Water – Bring 1-2 cups water to a boil. I like to do this is the microwave in a glass measuring cup. Just microwave for 3 minutes.
  • Make an Ice Bath – Fill a small bowl with ice and cold water.
  • Blanch Basil – Place whole basil leaves in boiling water and blanch for 30 seconds. Bonus? No need to wash the basil first!
  • Remove Basil – Using a slotted spoon, remove the blanched leaves from the boiling water and immediately place in the ice bath.
  • Pat Dry – Arrange the basil on a clean dish towel or paper towel and press until dry.
  • Roll Up – Roll the basil into a short cigar like roll. Continuing to press out any excess water.
  • FREEZE! – Place in a small ziploc bag or a freezer-safe container and freeze.

How to Use Frozen Basil

  • To use, simply remove one of the basil bundles from the freezer and use the whole bunch, or slice off just what you need.

Uses for Frozen Basil

FAQs About How to Freeze Basil

How long does frozen basil last?

Frozen basil will keep in the fridge for up to three months when stored in a zip-top freezer bag.

What is the best way to freeze fresh basil?

It’s best to blanch your basil before freezing so that it will maintain its green color. To do this, cover basil leaves with boiling water for 30 seconds, then plunge the leaves into an ice bath.

Can I freeze basil leaves whole?

Yes! I love freezing whole basil leaves. It’s the easiest way to preserve fresh basil. Simply follow the directions in the recipe card below.

Can you freeze basil without blanching?

If you would like to preserve the vibrant green color of your basil, it’s best to blanch it first. The blanching process is easy – just add basil leaves to boiling water for 30 seconds, then plunge the leaves into a bowl of ice water.

How do you freeze basil without turning it black?

Basil is a delicate herb. In order to prevent your basil from turning black in the freezer you will want to blanch it first. The blanching method is super quick + easy. See above.

Is it better to dry or freeze basil?

In my opinion, it’s better to freeze basil. Dried basil has very little flavor. While basil that is frozen has the fresh taste of regular basil.


More Simple How To’s

Did you use this method for freezing basil?

Please leave a comment and rating below, if you loved this guide on how to freeze fresh basil. Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

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Be sure to check out these 35+ Basil Recipes too!



How to Freeze Basil

This complete guide on how to freeze basil is such a life saver! This tutorial shows you the tricks and technique for the EASIEST way to freeze fresh basil. No pesto making required! 
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • Bring 1-2 cups of water to a boil. Tip: You can do this in the microwave in a glass measuring cup. Heat on high for 3 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, fill a small bowl with ice and cold water.
  • Add the basil leaves to the boiling water for 30 seconds.
  • Remove leaves with a slotted spoon and immediately place in ice bath.
  • Arranged the basil on a clean dish towel or paper towels and press until dry.
  • Stack the leaves up on top of each other and roll the basil up into a cigar like shape. Pressing out any excess water as you roll.
  • Place the basil roll a small ziploc bag or a freezer-safe container and freeze.


Frozen basil will keep for up to 3 months. 
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Calories: 1kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.2g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 0.04g | Saturated Fat: 0.003g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.02g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 0.2mg | Potassium: 18mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.02g | Vitamin A: 317IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.2mg

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7 thoughts on “How to Freeze Basil (for the BEST flavor!)”

  1. Good recipe/technique but WEAR GLOVES!!!!…esp when rolling lots of basil…my fingertips, cuticles, under nails..,all stained brown!!!…have tried scrubbing w/nail scrub w/only faint help…apparently it must wear off in few days🫤

  2. 5 stars
    Your basil bundles look a little damp still… Is it ok if basil is slightly wet when freezing with your method? I’ve found it nearly impossible to get every drop of water out of basil when I have frozen it with simply washing/rinsing it before freezing.

  3. Hello, I was just given a large pile of basil and found your technique for freezing, just finished. My question, I found the rolling process a bit fussy. Is the rolling an important step in the final freeze/reuse success? Maybe just stacking flat and freezing and then still cutting off sections as needed will work as well? Do you have any experience or thoughts on this? Thank you.
    ps I expect to get lots more harvested basil so speeding up the process is a goal!

5 from 5 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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