How To Dry Sage In The Oven: Quick And Easy

So, you’ve added a sage plant to your garden, and now you want to harvest its leaves and dry them out for some new recipes.

Did you know you can dry out this herb in many different ways? One of them is in the oven, and that’s what we’ll discuss in this article.

First, we’ll talk about why you should dry sage in the first place and its benefits. Then, we’ll share some different methods of drying out sage before talking about how to dry sage in the oven with a step-by-step guide.

We’ll also include how to wash your sage leaves and how long it’ll take to dry them out in the oven.

Finally, we’ll share how and when to harvest your sage plant and then how to store your dried sage leaves, so they last as long as possible. 

Why Dry Sage?

There are many reasons why you should dry out your fresh sage leaves. One of those reasons is so that you can keep and use your sage leaves longer.

For instance, drying out herb leaves keep much longer than fresh leaves.

So, if you use sage often enough, you can keep it all year long for various recipes.

In addition, you can harvest your sage plant often enough, and drying out the leaves will ensure that none of it goes to waste.

Finally, you can buy dried sage leaves from your local grocery store. However, there’s a certain satisfaction about drying it out yourself. Also, you know how the herb was grown and that it was well cared for without any chemicals.

Read my full guide to how dry sage compares to fresh sage here.

Dried Sage
Dried Sage

How To Dry Fresh Sage

Did you know that you can dry out fresh sage leaves in four different ways? There’s no one right way over the others, and it’s all about preference and what you have in your kitchen.

For instance, you can dry out your sage leaves by using the following methods:

This article will discuss how to dry fresh sage leaves in the oven.

Using the oven is an excellent way to dry out your herbs because it’s low-maintenance to do. Of course, once it’s in the oven, you’ll want to check on it from time to time, but there’s little work and effort for you to do.

Also, drying sage leaves in the oven is relatively fast, and you can dry out many leaves at once, depending on how big your oven is.

How To Dry Sage In Oven

So, let’s talk about how to dry sage leaves in the oven. 

Step 1: Turn On The Oven To The Lowest Temperature

First, you’ll want to preheat your oven to the lowest temperature setting. This temperature will vary from oven to oven, but 170 degrees F is a good mark.

While that’s preheating, you can move along to step two.

Step 2: Prepare The Sage Leaves

Next, you need to prepare your sage leaves for the oven. To do so, remove the sage leaves from the stems.

Then, rinse the leaves under cool, running water. Dry them entirely so that no moisture ends up in the oven. Otherwise, your leaves will cook rather than dry out. You can dry them completely by patting them with a paper towel or using a salad spinner.

Once your leaves are rinsed and dried, then you can use a sharp kitchen knife to chop the leaves into smaller pieces.

However, you don’t need to chop the leaves into smaller pieces. Instead, you can dry out the whole leaves and then crush them after drying with your hands or a mortar and pestle. 

Step 3: Place The Sage Leaves On A Baking Sheet

As soon as that’s done, you’ll want to prepare the backing sheet. Place parchment paper or a non-stick baking sheet in the pan before spreading the chopped sage leaves onto the baking pan.

Make sure you lay the sage leaves in a single layer on the baking sheet. Otherwise, any leaves underneath some leaves won’t dry out properly.

Depending on how many baking sheets you have or how big your oven is, you may need to dry out the sage leaves in batches.

Step 4: Put The Sage Leaves In The Oven, Checking Occasionally

Now, you can finally put your sage leaves in the oven. This process should take about an hour before your herb is completely dry.

However, you can’t put the leaves in and walk away for an hour. So you’ll need to check on them every 15 minutes to ensure they’re not cooking or burning.

After about 30 minutes or so, you can turn the baking sheet around to ensure that all sides of the leaves get dried out, but this isn’t necessary.

Depending on how many leaves you have, this process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

Step 5: Let Your Sage Leaves Dry And Then Store

Once your sage leaves are completely dried out, take them out of the oven. Don’t forget to turn your oven off (or you can put in a new batch of sage leaves). 

Then, when your dried sage leaves are completely cooled, you can store them in a glass container with a tight lid.

How Long Does It Take To Dry Sage In The Oven?

Drying sage leaves in the oven should take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. However, to ensure it’s dried well, an hour will be ideal.

Of course, this can depend on a few factors. Every oven is different so the lowest temperature setting will vary. Depending on the temperature, your sage leaves might dry faster, or they could dry slower.

This is why it’s essential to check on your sage leaves every 15 minutes. So you can see how quickly and how well it’s drying.

After you dry out these leaves the first time, make a note of how long it took. Then, you’ll know for next time the approximate time it may take.

Do You Wash Sage Before Drying?

While it’s not necessary to wash your sage before drying, you should.

You can get fresh sage leaves from your garden. In that case, you know how the plant was grown and know where it came from. Also, chances are you didn’t use any herbicides or pesticides in your garden, so you shouldn’t need to rinse your sage.

However, it doesn’t harm the sage leaves, and by rinsing it off, you can ensure there are no pests or dirt on the leaves when it gets dried.

On the other hand, you’ll want to rinse your fresh sage leaves if you buy them from the grocery store. Unless it’s organic, it could have been grown with chemicals. Even if the herb is organic, you want to ensure there’s no dirt or anything else on the leaves. 

In other words, you should wash your sage before drying it out to ensure it’s healthy and safe to eat later.

How And When To Harvest Sage

The best time to harvest sage is in the early morning after the dew has dried off the leaves.

Then, take a look at the leaves and choose healthy leaves that aren’t yellowed or shriveled. Healthy leaves should be pinched off the stems from the leaf’s stem.

During a single harvest, you’ll want to only take about one-third of the healthy leaves. This will allow the other leaves to continue growing and help new leaves generate.

If you notice any flower buds producing, you can pinch those off as well. This will also encourage the sage plant to continue producing sage leaves.

However, this is a good sign if you see flowers beginning to bud. You can be sure that your leaves will have the strongest flavor at this point. So, you can harvest the leaves and pick off the buds to encourage new growth.

Alternatively, you can snip stems from the plant that hold onto multiple healthy leaves. However, you’ll want to leave at least two inches of the stem from the base of the soil to ensure the stem continues to grow and produces more leaves.

You can expect your first harvest to occur about 75 days after planting your sage. This is when the plant will be mature enough to give you fresh, healthy leaves.

How To Store Your Dried Sage

The best way to store your dried sage is to place it in a clear glass jar with a tight lid.

After you dry out this herb and it’s cooled completely, you can add it to the jar and put the lid on tightly to keep it fresh and ensure the dried leaves will last as long as possible.

Believe it or not, dried sage leaves can last up to three years if stored properly.

Final Words

Sage is a great herb to have in your kitchen for several recipes. Drying out the leaves will ensure that you can keep your harvests longer.

Using the oven is one way to dry out these leaves, and it’s also effective.

Want to learn more? Click here for my full guide to drying sage in the microwave and here for how to freeze sage. Find all my guides to growing sage here or read how ground sage compares to dried sage here.