Bay leaves grow on a bay laurel tree, which can be found outdoors in the natural ground or planted in large containers (do not confuse with other laurels,whose leaves are poisonous). People cook with bay leaves in order to season their meats, sauces, soups and other hearty dishes. Bay leaves are also used in herbal remedies, to soothe inflammation and it has also been effective in keeping out weevils and other pests. When bay leaves are dried, they can be stored and used for up to a year. Dry bay leaves by picking and separating them, then leaving them in a well ventilated area that is warm and dry until all the moisture has evaporated.

Method 1
Method 1 of 3:

Harvesting Bay Leaves for Drying

  1. [1]
  2. The midsummer season allows bay leaves to produce their oils more abundantly, making harvesting easier.
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  3. This will ensure your leaves do not wilt.
    • Detach the bay leaves gently from the trees. You do not want to bruise them.[2]
  4. You should pick the largest leaves that are available, as these will have the strongest flavor and fragrance.
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Method 2
Method 2 of 3:

Drying Bay Leaves Naturally

  1. Shake off the water and pat them with a paper towel to dry.
  2. Make sure you have enough paper towels to cover the sheet, but you do not need more than a single layer.
  3. Do not put leaves on top of one another; they should be separate and have their own space.
  4. They should not be in direct light of any kind.
  5. You can flip them once during the 2 week period to ensure each side dries evenly.
  6. If they are still dark green in spots or soft, they may need 1 more week to dry.
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Method 3
Method 3 of 3:

Drying Bay Leaves with a Dehydrator

  1. [3]
    • Set the heat level higher depending on the area you live in. Places with high humidity, such as Florida, will need a higher dehydrator setting.
  2. Shake off the water and pat them with a paper towel to dry.
  3. Place the trays in the dehydrator and allow them to dry for 1 to 4 hours.[4]
  4. You will know they have completed drying when they begin to curl or crumble and the stems start to split.
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Community Q&A

  • Question
    Can I dry them in the oven?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    Yes, you can, but you need to dry them on a low temperature, or use the drying mode on your oven if your model has one.
  • Question
    Can I dry bay leaves in a microwave?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    That's not a good method for drying them.
  • Question
    Do I have to wash the bay leaves first?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    Yes, in a way. You should blanch them in boiling water to remove the slippery film off the leaf before drying.
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Warnings

  • Do not dry your bay leaves outside in the sun. This will cause discoloration of the leaves and the herbs will lose their flavor.
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Things You'll Need

  • Baking sheet
  • Paper towels
  • Dehydrator


About This Article

Ben Barkan
Reviewed by:
Garden & Landscape Designer
This article was reviewed by Ben Barkan. Ben Barkan is a Garden and Landscape Designer and the Owner and Founder of HomeHarvest LLC, an edible landscapes and construction business based in Boston, Massachusetts. Ben has over 12 years of experience working with organic gardening and specializes in designing and building beautiful landscapes with custom construction and creative plant integration. He is a Certified Permaculture Designer, is licensed Construction Supervisor in Massachusetts, and is a Licensed Home Improvement Contractor. He holds an associates degree in Sustainable Agriculture from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This article has been viewed 314,002 times.
47 votes - 96%
Co-authors: 6
Updated: January 16, 2024
Views: 314,002
Article SummaryX

To dry bay leaves, place paper towels in a single layer on a baking sheet and spread the bay leaves onto the paper towels. Leave the bay leaves for 2 weeks in a warm, dry room with plenty of ventilation, flipping them once during that period. If you prefer, you can place them in a dehydrator instead. Rinse the bay leaves in cool water and pat them dry with a paper towel, then place them in a single layer into the dehydrator. Let them dry for 1-4 hours, with the dehydrator heated to between 95° and 115°F. Keep reading to learn how to harvest bay leaves!

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