How To Freeze Thyme [Full Guide]

Thyme is a very common herb used in cooking many dishes like meats and soups. It seems to add a hint of a minty flavor to food that is more subtle than mint itself.

Anyone who has cooked with herbs can tell you that it can get expensive. Fresh herbs are the best to cook with, but they can be pricey, and you won’t use very much.

So, what are you supposed to do with all the leftover thyme? It seems a waste to just throw it out. Have you ever asked yourself, “Can I freeze fresh thyme?”

Freezing fresh thyme is a great way to solve this dilemma. Cook with your fresh thyme, and then freeze whatever is left over. Now, to save your thyme for a long time — see what I did there? — you’ll need to prepare it properly before freezing. Don’t worry, you can learn how to do that here.

Below, I cover all your options for freezing thyme as well as exact instructions for how to freeze thyme, how long it lasts and how to best thaw thyme to use it.

Can Fresh Thyme Be Frozen?

Like many herbs, it is recommended to freeze fresh thyme. Sure, fresh thyme is always the best option when cooking, but this isn’t always possible.

Usually, when you harvest or buy fresh thyme, you’re not going to be able to use it all before it goes bad. This is where freezing comes in.

Options For Freezing Thyme Herb

So, we’ve discussed that freezing is a great way to keep your thyme herbs preserved, but how do you preserve them?

Freezing herbs in cubes

Freeze As-Is

If you don’t want to spend much time prepping, you can always just place the thyme into a freezer bag and into the freezer. Some people will freeze entire thyme sprigs, while others will freeze just the leaves.

But, freezing without any preparation usually isn’t the best idea. Without any prepping, thyme will only stay good in the freezer for about 1-2 months.

Blanching

Blanching is a great preparation option because it helps keep the color and the texture too, not just the flavor. When you blanch thyme, you’re getting rid of some of the woodiness of the plant. Getting rid of the woodiness will minimize the texture and flavor of the herb, but only subtly.

This option is best for when you’re cooking soups, stir-fry, or chowders.

Flash Freeze

Have you ever frozen your herbs and gotten annoyed when you tried to use some later? The herbs just stick together and won’t come apart easily.

If this is the case, flashing freezing might be a good method for you. It prevents herbs from sticking together during freezing.

Ice Cube Trays

Another option to preserve your fresh thyme is to freeze it inside ice cube trays. This method is nice because you’ll place a set amount of thyme into each ice cube spot.

This makes cooking easy because you’ll know exactly how many “ice cubes” you need for your dish and can just thaw that amount. The water and oil in the ice cube tray will also help keep the herb fresher for longer.

Many people like this method because it can be added directly to food while it’s cooking. It’s one of the most popular methods for putting together stews and chowders.

How To Freeze Thyme

How do you freeze fresh thyme? Freezing thyme is quick and easy, even with the prep work involved. If you plan to use it within a month or two, simply stick it into a freezer bag and freeze it.

If you want to keep it longer than that, make sure to prep it first. Blanching, flash freezing, and creating ice cubes are all good options for preserving thyme.

How To Freeze Fresh Thyme Sprigs & Leaves

As I said above, whichever method you choose above will determine how you’ll freeze your thyme. Let’s get into the instructions here.

Freeze As-Is

This method is the easiest:

  1. Place your sprig or leaves of thyme into a freezer bag
  2. Squeeze out all the air in the freezer bag and close it
  3. Place the bag into the freezer

Blanching

Blanching will take a few more steps, but that’s okay because your herb will last longer:

  1. Rinse the thyme to remove any debris
  2. Boil a pot of water
  3. Place the sprigs of thyme into the water for 45 seconds
  4. Immediately remove the thyme and place it into a bowl of cold water
  5. Allow the leaves to soak in the cold water for about 10 minutes
  6. Remove the thyme and place on a paper towel
  7. Pat the thyme dry with the paper towel
  8. Place the thyme into a freezer bag. You can freeze entire sprigs or just the leaves
  9. Squeeze excess air from the bag and close it
  10. Place the bag in the freezer after labeling it with the date

Flash Freezing

This method is for anyone who is sick of their herbs sticking together when they’re frozen:

  1. Rinse the thyme to remove any debris
  2. Place on a colander or on a drying rack for 10 minutes to dry
  3. Place the thyme on a paper towel and pat dry
  4. Remove the leaves from the stems and place them in a bowl
  5. Prepare a baking sheet with a sheet of wax paper
  6. Lay the leaves evenly across the wax paper without any overlapping. You should form a single layer with no leaves touching
  7. Place the tray of leaves directly into the freezer for 1-2 hours
  8. Remove the tray and move the leaves into a freezer bag
  9. Squeeze any excess air from the bag and seal it
  10. Label the bag with the date and place it in the freezer

Freezing In Ice-Cube Trays

  1. Rinse the thyme to remove any debris
  2. Take the leaves off the stems
  3. Using a knife and cutting board, dice up the thyme leaves
  4. Spray a thin layer of oil into the ice cube tray. You could also soak a paper towel in oil and rub the ice cube tray with the paper towel
  5. Sufficiently fill each ice cube spot with the diced thyme
  6. Fill each ice cube spot with water, but leave a bit of space at the top
  7. Finish filling the ice cube spots to the top with a bit of olive oil. At this point, all the leaves should be submerged
  8. Wrap the tray with plastic wrap to prevent spilling (optional)
  9. Place the ice cube trays into the freezer
  10. After the ice cubes are completely frozen, you can remove the cubes from the tray and place them into a freezer bag
  11. Squeeze extra air out of the bag and seal it
  12. Label the bag with the date and place it in the freezer

Should You Freeze Dried Thyme?

Fresh thyme doesn’t last very long after you’ve harvested it, or if you bring it home from the store. Usually when you use fresh thyme, you’ll have a lot left over. If you can’t use all of it within a weeks time, it’s going to go to waste.

A good way to solve this is to freeze it. Freezing will keep your thyme usable for months. When you freeze your herbs, you’re ensuring that you’re not wasting anything, and it allows you to be prepared for the future.

If you don’t want to freeze your thyme, but still need a way to preserve it, try drying it instead. Drying is another great method for preparing your fresh thyme. Like freezing, drying the herb will make it last for months, saving you plenty of money.

Can You Freeze Thyme Sprigs?

Technically, yes, you can store entire sprigs of thyme in the freezer. However, I don’t really recommend it. Thyme will always last longer in the freezer than it will in your fridge.

Íf you want your thyme to last for several months, you need to prepare it properly before freezing it. Preparing thyme is simply easier when the stems aren’t involved and you just use the leaves.

Still, if you only need to save your thyme for a few weeks, feel free to go ahead and freeze the whole sprig. The leaves will fall off the sprig after they’re cooked, so many people find it easier to just leave them attached.

How Long Does Frozen Thyme Last?

If you freeze whole sprigs without preparation, they’ll probably only last a few weeks before they become freezer burnt.

But, if you prepare your thyme before freezing, you can save it for up to 6 months. Think how much money you can save by prepping and freezing your extra thyme!

How To Thaw Thyme (And Use It)

In most cases, you won’t need to thaw it. You can simply toss the frozen thyme into whatever dish you’re working on, and it’ll thaw on its own. Of course, if you’ve frozen the entire sprig, you’ll need to remove the leaves from the stem first.

In fact, if you do choose to thaw your thyme, it can go bad if you leave it out for too long. Thyme is very thin, so it thaws very quickly. If you don’t use it within an hour of removing it from the freezer, it will become soggy.

If you feel the need to thaw your thyme, make sure you place it into the refrigerator. This will allow the thyme to safely defrost without going bad.

Final Words

Thyme is a very common herb that cooks use all over the world. It’s great to cook with fresh thyme if you can, but that’s not always an option. Fresh thyme doesn’t last for very long, so you usually end up throwing away whatever you don’t use in your meal.

Freezing solves this problem by allowing you to save that leftover fresh thyme for later use. Blanch it, flash freeze it, or make it into ice cubes. The choice is yours.

Want to learn more? Read how to store thyme here. Click here to find out how to dry thyme in the microwave and oven here. You can also find all my thyme guides here.