How to Freeze Fresh Basil
This post will show you How to Freeze Basil, and frozen basil is a wonderful thing to have in the freezer when basil is out of season! I’ve been freezing basil for years, so I’ll also give you some recipe suggestions that can work with frozen basil.
Have you ever tried freezing basil? When I wrote a quick little post about How to Freeze Basil years ago for a blogging event called Weekend Herb Blogging, I didn’t realize it would turn into one of the most popular posts ever on Kalyn’s Kitchen!
I’m still growing and freezing fresh basil every summer and if you have a garden where you’re growing basil or one of those basil plants from the grocery store on your counter, this post will help you freeze that basil it to use all winter in soup, stew, and pasta sauce.
And whether you use your frozen basil for summer treats like Basil Vinaigrette or use it in the winter to add to soups and stews, I bet you’ll be so happy you learned how to freeze basil once you see how easy it is!
Check out ideas for using frozen basil and more tips for preserving basil after the photos, and then get busy freezing some basil for winter!
Step One: Trim your basil plants often!
If you’re a gardener who’s growing basil, trimming your basil plants regularly will let you freeze basil to use all through the winter. I do this several times each summer, whenever I have basil that needs to be harvested. Here’s how my basil looked before I trimmed the plants and pulled off the big leaves.
Here’s my basil after I trimmed it. Basil will actually produce more leaves if it’s vigorously trimmed a few times each year, since everywhere you cut the stem it produces two new stems. Just be sure to keep a few leaves on each stem (remember high school botany, that’s where the plant gets food.)
Step Two: Wash the basil leaves and dry them well!
I pinch off all the basil leaves, discard the stems, and wash the leaves very well in a salad spinner (affiliate link). Spin them as dry as you possibly can. If you don’t have a salad spinner, just wash your basil leaves in the sink and dry them well with paper towels.
Step Three: Chop the basil leaves in a food processor!
Put a few of handfuls of basil into the Food Processor (affiliate link), using the steel blade. The food processor bowl should be full, but not tightly packed. (I haven’t tried chopping up the basil by hand, but I’m sure it can work if you don’t have a food processor.)
Step Four: Add olive oil while you chop the basil!
I pulse the food processor with one hand and drizzle olive oil into the feed tube with the other hand, just pulsing until the basil is coarsely chopped. You should make sure that all the basil is coated with oil, which keeps it from going dark in the freezer.
I use about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil for each batch in the food processor when I’m making coarsely chopped basil like this to use for pasta sauce, soup, or stew during the winter. When I’m making basil puree to add to Basil Vinaigrette I use more oil and chop the basil much more finely.
Step Five: Put the chopped basil in containers for the freezer!
I have two sizes of these little plastic containers with tight lids that I use to freeze the basil. It doesn’t matter what size container you use, but a good trick is to measure the containers before you first use them. That way, when you pull one out of the freezer for a recipe, you’ll know how much it is. Some people like to freeze the chopped basil in ice-cube trays, then pop them out and seal with the FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer (affiliate link).
Another way of freezing basil is in a quart-size plastic bag, smashing the basil down flat and pressing all the air out of the bag. This is easy to fit into a crowded freezer, and when it’s time to use some of the frozen basil you can just break off a piece and put the rest back into the freezer.
Ten Recipes for using Frozen Basil:
- Basil Vinaigrette
- Italian Beef Stew with Zucchini, Mushrooms, and Basil
- Tomato Chickpea Soup
- No-Noodle Lasagna with Sausage and Basil
- Instant Pot Pasta Sauce
- White Bean Soup with Italian Sausage, Zucchini, and Basil
- Ratatouille Stew with Italian Sausage
- Sausage and Basil Marinara Sauce for the Freezer
- Leftover Roast Beef Stew
- Italian Sausage, Zucchini, and Macaroni Soup (with low-carb pasta)
More tips for preserving basil:
- If you don’t have enough basil to freeze, here’s How to Preserve Fresh Basil on the Countertop.
- Something I make with basil every summer is Basil Pesto with Lemon, which also freezes well.
- You can make and freeze French Pistou Sauce from Julia Child if you want a dairy-free sauce with basil.
Want Recipes that use Fresh Basil?
You can find all my favorites recipes that use fresh basil in my post on Cooking with Fresh Basil.
More tips for freezing herbs and vegetables:
- Freezing Garden Tomatoes, Fresh Herbs, and Vegetables
- How to Freeze Fresh Herbs: Rosemary and Thyme
- More about Freezing Fresh Herbs: Freezing Sage, Tarragon, and Mint
Historical Notes for this Post:
This post with all my tips for How to Freeze Basil was first posted in 2006, and I’ve been freezing my basil ever since then! The post was updated with better photos and more information, July 2008. It was last updated with more information in 2023.