How To Dry Fresh Cilantro [Full Guide]

Drying your own fresh cilantro is a great idea if you want to use its flavor inside your favorite recipes. For instance, cilantro is used for various dishes, such as salsa, and can garnish.

So, can you dry fresh cilantro to keep it longer?

This article will answer that and more. First, we’ll talk about whether you can dry cilantro or not. Then, we’ll go in-depth about how to dry cilantro leaves, sharing a few drying methods. For example, we’ll talk about drying cilantro in the oven, microwave, using a dehydrator, or air-drying the herb.

After, we’ll discuss how long the process takes, whether you should wash cilantro before the drying process, and then ways you can store your dried cilantro after.

In addition, we’ll also explain how and when you can harvest your own fresh cilantro before drying it out. 

Can You Dry Cilantro Leaves?

You may be wondering, “can I dry cilantro?” The short answer is yes. You can dry cilantro leaves.

In fact, cilantro is high in water content. So, after its harvested, cilantro will only be fresh for about two or three days.

Drying your cilantro leaves will extend its shelf life. Thus, you can make the most out of your cilantro.

Read more about fresh cilantro vs dried cilantro here.

How To Dry Fresh Cilantro

Cilantro can be dried in a few different ways, each method having its own pros and cons.

For example, you can air-dry cilantro. It’s a natural process. However, humid climates may cause the cilantro to mold before adequately drying out.

On the other hand, using a microwave or oven will be faster than air-drying. However, the heat will cause the cilantro to lose some water content. In addition, it’ll lose some of its essential oils, which is its flavor. 

So, how do you dry cilantro? In the end, you can choose to dry your cilantro leaves in the way that works best for you. So, let’s talk about how to dry cilantro at home. 

how to dry cilantro
Dried cilantro

How To Dry Out Cilantro Using An Oven

Using the oven is a great method of drying out your cilantro leaves. It doesn’t take a long time. However, you’ll need to watch your oven and its temperature to ensure the cilantro leaves don’t burn or over-dry.

Step 1: Wash And Dry The Fresh Cilantro

Before you begin, wash your cilantro well after harvesting. This will get rid of any dirt or other pesticides that might have been used.

To wash your fresh cilantro, run the stems under cool, running water. Then, you can pat them dry gently with a paper towel.

Step 2: Preheat The Oven And Prepare

Once your cilantro leaves are well-rinsed, preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. While the oven preheats, remove the leaves from its stems to ensure maximum drying.

Then, spray a baking sheet with baking spray so the cilantro leaves won’t stick to the pan. Next, lay the cilantro leaves in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Step 3: Bake The Cilantro Leaves For 30 Minutes

Once the oven is ready, put the cilantro in the oven for about 30 minutes. Place the baking sheet in the middle of the oven, so all the cilantro leaves get the most heat.

Step 4: Let Cool And Then Store

After 30 minutes, take your cilantro out of the oven and allow it to cool for about ten minutes.

Finally, you can store the fresh leaves or crush them before storing them. You can easily keep your cilantro in air-tight containers or the fridge.

Read my full guide to drying cilantro in the oven here.

How To Dry Cilantro In A Microwave

Using a microwave is a quicker option than using the oven. Drying fresh cilantro in the microwave is a great option if you’re in a pinch. However, this method can easily start a fire or burn cilantro.

Step 1: Wash And Dry The Cilantro Well

First, wash your cilantro well. Make sure to get all of the dirt off if you harvested from the garden. Or, if you bought fresh cilantro from the store, this will get any possible pesticides off.

Simply wash your cilantro under cool, running water. Then, lay it flat on a paper towel and pat it dry well.

Step 2: Prepare The Cilantro

Next, take the leaves off of the stem. Then, lay them flat on a microwavable plate in a single layer.

Step 3: Microwave The Cilantro In 15-Second Increments

Finally, you can microwave your cilantro leaves for two minutes. However, only place the leaves in for about 15 seconds at a time.

Otherwise, your cilantro could burn, and you won’t be able to use it. But, on the other hand, it could start a fire if you’re not paying attention. 

Step 4: Store

Once you’ve dried all of your cilantro, you can now store the leaves away whole or crushed. Put the cilantro in an air-tight container or jar, sealed plastic bag, or the fridge.

How To Dry Fresh Cilantro Leaves Using A Dehydrator

Using a dehydrator is a similar method to using the oven or the microwave. However, this process takes a much longer time.

On the other hand, a dehydrator will dry the leaves slowly. Thus, preserving some of the essential oils, flavor, and water content. Here’s how to dry cilantro in a dehydrator. 

Step 1: Wash And Dry Cilantro Leaves Well

First, you need to thoroughly wash and dry your cilantro leaves. Simply take the stems and rinse them well under cool, running water.

Then, lay them flat on a paper towel and pat them dry. Make sure the leaves are dried completely before putting them in the dehydrator.

Step 2: Set Your Dehydrator To 95 Degrees F

Next, you can set your dehydrator to 95 degrees F. This will slowly dry out the leaves, preserving the flavor and water within the cilantro.

You can set your dehydrator to a higher temperature (about 225 degrees F) to dry them out faster, but more flavor will be lost.

Step 3: Let The Leaves Dry For 4 To 5 Hours

At 95 degrees F, place your cilantro leaves in a single layer on the tray. Then, let the leaves dry for about four to five hours.

Check on your cilantro periodically and do not leave the dehydrator on while outside of the house. Every dehydrator is different, so your cilantro leaves might dry out faster or slower.

Step 4: Let Cool And Then Store

Once dry, you can let the cilantro leaves out of the dehydrator to let them cool for about five to ten minutes.

Finally, crush the leaves (or leave them whole) and place them in an air-tight container or in the fridge.

How to Air-Dry Fresh Cilantro

Let’s discuss how to dry cilantro naturally. Air-drying is the most natural process, but it also takes the longest and will take over a good amount of space in your kitchen.

Step 1: Rinse Your Cilantro Leaves Well

As with all methods, you’ll want to rinse your cilantro leaves thoroughly. Then, pat them dry with a paper towel.

Allow them to air-dry on the counter for a few minutes to ensure the leaves are completely dry.

Step 2: Tie Bundles Together With String And Hang Upside Down

Once you know the leaves are dry (to avoid mold from growing), tie bundles of cilantro together using string or an elastic.

Ensure the bundles are light enough that each stem of leaves has proper ventilation. Bundling three to five stems together is a good range.

Then, hang the bundles upside down in a well-ventilated area of your house. Keep it away from the bathroom or stove, or other humid areas in the house. 

Humidity can cause your cilantro to grow mold.

In addition, you can put the bundle in paper bags with poked holes for ventilation. The bag will protect it from dust. Also, it’ll protect it from the sun.

For instance, putting cilantro in the sun will speed up the drying process. But it will cause the cilantro to lose some of its flavors while doing so. So, keeping your bundles in a shaded area is ideal. 

Step 3: Wait 1 To 2 Weeks Then Store

Finally, wait about one to two weeks for your cilantro leaves to completely dry out while checking on them a few times per day to ensure no mold grows.

Once dry, you can remove the leaves from the stems, crush them if needed, and then store them in an air-tight container or the fridge. 

How Long Does It Take To Dry Cilantro Leaves?

Drying cilantro leaves can take as little as two minutes or as long as two weeks. It’ll depend on the method your use.

No one method is better than the other. If you need to get it done quickly, use the microwave. On the other hand, if you want to retain the flavor and use a natural process, then air-drying is the way to go. 

Do You Wash Cilantro Before Drying?

Yes, you should wash your cilantro before drying the leaves out.

If you harvest the cilantro from your garden, then you’ll know where it’s been. However, bugs and dirt could have been on the cilantro leaves. So, it’s a good idea to wash it well.

On the other hand, if you buy fresh cilantro from the grocery store, you don’t know where it’s been. If you buy organic, you can be sure that no herbicides or pesticides were used, but it’s a good idea to wash it anyway, just in case. 

How And When To Harvest Cilantro

You’ll know when to harvest your cilantro plant when the leaves are at their biggest. In addition, you can harvest the leaves about two to three times per cycle since cilantro will grow back annually.

Also, you won’t need to wait for your cilantro to grow about for a while. You can harvest it whenever you need to, as long as the leaves grow.

However, if you take a bunch of stems, it’s a good idea to leave the plant alone for about a week to allow it to regather itself.

When harvesting, snip off the stems next to the base of the plant. Begin with the stems on the outside of the bush since these stems are the oldest. You can make your way toward the middle, but you’ll know the leaves on the outside stems will be ready for harvest first.  

How To Store Your Dried Cilantro Leaves

Did you know that you can increase its shelf life for up to two years by drying cilantro? However, after about a year, it’ll begin to lose its flavor.

You’ll want to store it in a cool, dry environment. Otherwise, the cilantro might grow mold and lose its flavor quicker.

You can store your dried cilantro in a few ways, such as placing the leaves in an air-tight container or sealed glass jar.

Alternatively, you can store it in the fridge in a container or plastic bag.

Otherwise, if you have a lot of cilantro and need to keep it for a longer period, you can put your dried cilantro in the freezer.

Final Words

So, what is the best way to dry cilantro? That’s entirely up to you.

Cilantro can be used in many dishes, so it’s a good idea to have this herb on hand. Fresh cilantro is great but doesn’t have a long lifespan.

So, drying out cilantro is a great idea if you want to keep some of this herb on hand in your own kitchen.

Want to learn more? Click here to find all my cilantro guides.