Can You Freeze Basil?

Basil has got to be one of the most popular herbs going. It’s incredibly versatile but also essential in a range of dishes – especially those of Italian origin. B

ut you know how it is, you end up buying a whole basil plant from the supermarket and then realise you won’t use it all. So what do you do? Can you freeze basil leaves? How do you do it?

The Quick Answer

Yes, you can freeze basil. Basil can be frozen for around 6 months. To freeze basil, the best approach is to place the basil into an ice cube tray, cover it with olive oil and then freeze.

How to Freeze Basil

Freezing basil leaves whole is perfectly doable and safe. But it’s not the best approach to take when it comes to freezing basil. However, if you’re pushed for time, then this is the approach you’ll need to take:

  1. Clean
    First, give your basil a quick wash. You don’t want to freeze it with dirt or bugs.
  2. Dry
    Once washed, give it a good dry. You’ll need to pat it dry with a kitchen towel to absorb any of the excess water.
  3. Remove Leaves
    Pull the leaves of the basil from the stems as you want to freeze the leaves.
  4. Freeze
    Place your leaves into a bag and freezer.

It’s that simple. However, there are drawbacks to this simple method. The leaves may clump together, and you won’t be able to grab a few leaves at a time. This is why this approach is not necessarily the best approach to take when freezing basil. 

How to Freeze Basil in Ice Cubes

This is a far better method to follow when it comes to freezing basil. It will allow you to easily give your dishes that tangy hit of basil flavour, direct from the freezer.

  1. Clean
    Again, make sure your basil is clean of dirt and bugs.
  2. Remove Leaves
    Remove the leaves from the stems and then dice them up finely. You can do this by rolling the basil leaves up and slicing (not sure how – we’ve stuck a video down below from Gordon Ramsay).
  3. Fill an Ice Cube Tray
    Place the diced leaves into the slots of an ice cube tray. You will want to fill each cube up around two-thirds of the way.
  4. Cover with Oil
    Top the slots up with olive oil or water until nearly fill.
  5. Wrap in Cling Film
    Wrap the tray in cling film and then place in the freezer until frozen solid.
  6. Bag Up and Freeze
    Once your basil cubes are solid, pop them out and place them into a bag before returning to the freezer.

Don’t be afraid to add other flavours and herbs to your ice cube slots. You could try adding a little crushed garlic, mix it up with some fresh chill or combine other soft herbs.

3 Tips for Freezing Basil

Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing basil to have the best results:

  • Mix with Other Herbs – Don’t just freeze basil in cubes. Mix with other herbs, spices or flavourings. An Italian mix of basil, garlic and chilli can be the perfect mix for stirring into pasta sauce. An Asian mix of lemongrass, coriander, garlic and ginger is great for curries and stir-fries. 
  • Make Sure You Label – If you have frozen multiple herbs, then make sure you label each of them. When frozen, trying to work out which cube is basil and which is parsley can be challenging. 
  • Opt for the Ice Cube Method – The ice cube method may take a little longer to do, but it is well worth the effort. Where possible, use this method for freezing basil (and other herbs).

How Long Can You Freeze Basil?

Basil will last fairly well in the freezer for 4 to 6 months. With most herbs that are soft, like basil, you will see some discolouration and degradation in flavour the longer it is left in the freezer. That’s why we will also recommend labelling your frozen basil with the date it needs to be used.

You Can Freeze Basil for up to 6 Months

How Do You Defrost Basil?

The good news is that you don’t need to defrost it. If you’re using the ice cube method, then you can simply grab a cube from the freezer and toss it into your dish. It’ll melt away giving your meal that delicious hit of basil.

The same applies to whole frozen leaves.

Can You Refreeze Basil?

We would avoid refreezing basil as the flavour will begin to degrade rapidly, and you may no longer actually impact your cooking with the flavour of basil.

The only exception is if you have frozen basil and then stirred it into a cooked dish that you then want to freeze, such as pasta sauce

Does Basil Freeze Well?

If you’re looking to freeze basil so that you can impart its flavour on your meals, then yes, it freezes well. If, however, you were planning on throwing together a Caprese salad with fresh leaves then think again. The leaves will discolour and lose their texture when frozen.

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing basil or basil in general, then these may help:

Can You Freeze Basil Butter?

Freezing basil butter is a great way of preserving your excess basil. First, make your basil butter. Once you’ve made it, you can either freeze it in one log or freeze it in slices.

If you’re freezing in slices, then you’ll need to flash freeze it on a lined baking tray before storing it in freezer bags.

You can then grab a slice from the freezer and toss it in with your dish.

Can You Freeze Greek Basil?

Greek basil can be frozen in the same way as normal basil. The only difference being that the leaves are smaller, so you will probably want to stick to the ice cube approach.

Can You Freeze Basil Oil?

Basil oil can also be frozen using the ice cube method. Just make sure you don’t fill them too high or you risk the oil overflowing when it freezes as it will expand. Remember, however, that basil oil will last over a year in the cupboard, so do you really need to freeze it?

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