Can You Freeze Thai Basil?

With a slightly spicier taste than regular basil, Thai basil is a popular herb for many Asian dishes and recipes, as you would expect from its name! If you grow Thai basil at home and want to preserve it through the winter when growing conditions aren’t favourable, the great news is you can freeze it up and access it any time throughout the year that you need to use it.

The Quick Answer

You can freeze Thai basil for around 6 months. People freeze Thai basil, as well as other herbs, in a variety of ways. Blanching isn’t essential but can help it to retain some of its colour and flavour. The other option is to use an ice cube tray.

You can use the links below to jump through this article if you need help with how to go about freezing Thai basil, how to defrost it or whether it’s actually worth doing in the first place:

How to Freeze Thail Basil

Depending on who you ask, there are countless ways to freeze Thai basil and other herbs. Some people swear by blanching the basil first before transferring it to the freezer. While this is, of course, an option, we don’t think it’s necessary.

Below is a way of freezing your Thai basil so you can add it to your recipes all year round:

  1. Wash and Dry
    Place your Thai basil leaves in a sieve or colander and rinse well under the cold tap. Transfer them to a paper towel and pat until the excess water is removed from the surface of the leaves. Place them on fresh paper towels and leave them on the counter top until they are dry. 
  2. Layout on Greaseproof Paper
    Once dry, lay your Thai basil leaves on a sheet of greaseproof paper. Space them out, so they aren’t touching one another. Depending on how many leaves you have, you might need to use more than one layer of paper. 
  3. Freeze Until Firm
    Transfer the leaves into the freezer until they are firm. This usually takes around twelve hours. 
  4. Remove and Transfer to a Bag
    Once the initial freezing process has been completed, take the leaves out of the freezer, and transfer them to a freezer-safe bag. 
  5. Label and Return to the Freezer
    Once your leaves are inside the bag, press out as much air as possible before sealing. Write the use-by date (6 months from the time you initially freeze them) as well as ‘Thai basil’ on the bag, and return to the freezer. 

How to Freeze Thai Basil By Blanching

As many people insist on blanching Thai basil before freezing it, we have included the instructions below, should you wish to follow the process: 

  1. Wash and Dry
    Place your Thai basil leaves in a sieve or colander and rinse well under the cold tap. Transfer them to a paper towel and pat until the excess water is removed from the surface of the leaves. Place them on fresh paper towels and leave them on the counter top until they are dry. 
  2. Prepare Water
    Bring a pot of water to the boil, and fill another bowl with ice and cold water. Leave on the side. 
  3. Place Leaves In a Colander
    Place your washed, and dried Thai basil leaves in a colander that easily fits into the pot. Dip the basil leaves in the colander into the boiling water for no more than five seconds.
  4. Transfer Leaves to an Ice Bath
    Once you’ve dipped your basil leaves, you need to transfer them to the ice bath straight away. You should then pat them dry as best you can after leaving them to soak in the ice bath for a short while. 
  5. Freeze Until Firm
    Transfer the leaves into the freezer until they are firm. This usually takes around twelve hours.
  6. Remove and Transfer to a Bag
    Once the initial freezing process has been completed, take the leaves out of the freezer, and transfer them to a freezer-safe bag. 
  7. Label and Return to the Freezer
    Once your leaves are inside the bag, press out as much air as possible before sealing. Write the use-by date (6 months from the time you initially freeze them) as well as ‘Thai basil’ on the bag, and return to the freezer. 

As you can see, it’s much more labour intensive, but blanching helps to preserve the colour of the basil leaves and stops them from turning brown when in the freezer. 

How to Freeze Thai Basil in Ice Cubes

This is probably the best know approach to take when freezing any herbs. Follow the instructions above to clean and dry the Thai basil. Then pack the basil into an ice cube tray before topping up with olive oil, melted butter or even water. 

Freeze and then when you want a hit of Thai basil in your cooking, grab a cube and pop it into a pan. 

3 Tips for Freezing Thai Basil

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

  • Thoroughly Dry – You need to ensure your Thai basil leaves are dry before freezing. If you blanch your leaves beforehand, you can use a spin dryer to remove excess liquid from the surface of the leaves before placing them in the freezer. 
  • Freeze Instantly – It’s possible to freeze Thai basil leaves without freezing them individually; you can simply place them straight into a freezer-safe bag to save yourself time. However, they will freeze together as a clump and are likely to rip when it comes to defrosting, so just bear this in mind if you want to freeze them quickly.
  • Try Growing It – In most supermarkets, you can buy pre-frozen herbs like Thai basil. While it undeniably saves you time, it’s not as enjoyable as growing your own and preserving it for use throughout the year. 

How Long Can You Freeze Thai Basil?

You can freeze Thai basil for around six months. 

This is helpful to know if you grow your own basil, as it’s difficult to grow when the weather changes in the winter.

You Can Freeze Thai Basil for up to 6 Months

How Do You Defrost Thai Basil?

The best way to defrost Thai basil is to take it out of the freezer the night before you plan to use it. Place it in the refrigerator until it thaws, then it will be good to use. Many recipes allow you to use Thai basil straight from frozen, so check your recipe beforehand as you might be able to save yourself some time. 

Can You Refreeze Thai Basil?

Once thawed, it’s perfectly safe to refreeze Thai basil that has been defrosted in the refrigerator. Just be mindful that the texture, colour, and overall flavour of the basil will deteriorate the more times you freeze and refreeze it, so try and only take out of the freezer the right amount each time.

Does Thai Basil Freeze Well?

Thai basil freezes extremely well. Some people report that the leaves occasionally turn brown if left in the freezer for too long, but blanching it beforehand will help to prevent this.

Related FAQs

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

How Do You Freeze Basil Pesto?

Pesto can be frozen in an ice cube tray. Spoon portions of pesto into an ice cube tray. Seal the pesto with a thin layer of olive oil then freeze. When frozen solid, you can pop the cubes out into a bag to keep the pesto stored in the freezer

Can You Freeze Thai Basil With Other Spices?

Don’t limit yourself when freezing Thai basil. You could mix it together with chilli, ginger and lemongrass before packing into ice cubes so you’ve always got an easy way to instantly add iconic Thia flavours to your cooking. 

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