Make the most of culinary herbs and spices.

Fresh vs Dried QandA

Hi, I want to make liquer for pie and mash but haven't got fresh parsley can I use dry? CF

Thanks for introducing me to a new dish. I think this is one of those times that the dried herb wouldn't work nearly as well as the fresh. Please see the article "Fresh or Dried?" for more information.


Since noticing almost instant health benefits – reduced joint swelling and no more stuffy sinus in the mornings --I’ve been experimenting with turmeric. In addition to the powder, I bought turmeric fingers but have no idea how to use them beyond grinding into powder. Can you enlighten me on the use of turmeric fingers? BH

You're lucky to find turmeric fresh, we don't see it very often where I live. I would use it like fresh ginger. After peeling, grate it or mince it or even slice it into thin disks for soups. You'll probably find recipes that call for it fresh in Thai cookbooks.


When recipe asks for a sprig of Thyme, how much is that in dried or ground? Thank you! MH

A four-inch sprig of thyme would probably be equal to 1/4 teaspoon dried and just a bit less than that of ground.


What is the standard conversion of freshly grated orange peel versus dried? Believe it or not, I can't find this on any website! JD

My jar of Penzey's Orange Peel says to rehydrate the dried spice with 3 parts water to 1 part spice. So to equal 1 Tablespoon fresh you would used 1 Tablespoon water with 1 teaspoon dried peel. If I am adding it directly into a recipe I just use the standard herb conversion of 1 teaspoon dried to 1 Tablespoon fresh.


Please let me know how to dry dill seed. I've looked at multiple sites and the all talk "about" dry seed, but not one of them tells me how to dry the seed. Thank you. CM

We cover this topic in the article "All About Dill."


Can you tell me the benefits of whole dried lemons (crushed) from middle east versus fresh lemon juice (squeezed). Thank you SM

You stumped me a bit on this. Dried lemons seem be be prized by cooks perhaps because they are delicious and difficult to find outside the Middle East. They impart an intense lemon flavor but should be removed from a dish before serving. I am guessing that in contrast to a squeeze of fresh lemon juice added at the end of the cooking process, dried lemons provide a deeper flavor to foods because they can handle long cooking times.


I’m making an infused olive oil for Christmas gifts but I’m concerned about spoilage. The recipe calls for 2 sprigs each of fresh thyme, rosemary and oregano. Can I substitute dried to lengthen the shelf life and if so, how much dried equals 2 sprigs fresh? Also, would the substitution of dried basil leaves in place of fresh basil leaves equal the same amount? Thanks! B

I can't recommend using dried herbs any more than fresh in an oil that is not going to be consumed right away. You really don't want to take the risk of making your loved ones ill. Maybe you should consider about making flavored vinegars instead.


I have a recipe for Veal and Rosemary that calls for dried rosemary to be crushed by hand and added liberally to the veal and then dry roasted for a certain amount of time. Then wine and a broth mixture are added to and the roasting of the veal continues. I have an abundance of fresh rosemary in my garden and was wondering if the fresh will work as well as the dried or will the flavor be altered somewhat? Thank you. DS

In my humble opinion, fresh rosemary would only make this dish more delicious.


I have a recipe that calls for 2 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger. Can I substitute ground ginger, and second, I have ginger juice, can that be used instead. The recipe if for a paste used with sirloin skewers. Thank you. SS

Ground ginger is generally not a good substitute for fresh ginger. Since you are preparing a sort of a marinade, the ginger juice would probably work well in equal amounts.


HI, Do you now approximately how many cups of chopped dill I would get from one head of dill? Also, I have bought frozen dill cubes - they are little cubes individually packed in a sleeve that holds 20 cubes. Each cubes equals one teaspoon of chopped fresh dill. I am trying to figure out how many of these cubes I would need for 1/2 head of fresh dill, chopped. Thanks, CC

There is an important distinction to be made here: A dill head contains dill seeds, not dill weed. You would want about 3/4 teaspoon of dill seeds to equal a head of dill. Dill weed is far less potent than the seed so you may not want to interchange them. And who knew you could buy frozen dill cubes!?


I don't have fresh recipe calls for 1/2 cup fresh coriander. How much ground coriander do I use? DH

Did you know that fresh coriander is really cilantro? Ground coriander is the seed so the flavors will be somewhat different. If I were going to make this substitution I would sprinkle a half cup of fresh parsley leaves with a teaspoon of ground coriander and then chop up the parsley.


Can you tell me how much dried Paprika equals 1/4 Cup of fresh Paprika? KL

This is an uncommon comparison since dried paprika is a spice and fresh paprika would be a vegetable.


My recipe calls for adding dried herbs and simmering for another two hours. But what if I want to add fresh herbs instead? When do I add? At the beginning or when the recipe calls for the dried herbs? MO

Actually, you will want to add the fresh herbs during the last ten minutes or so of the final cooking time. If it is a large quantity of herbs, you might consider adding half of them when the recipe calls for the dried and then the remainder in the last ten minutes.


Hi: If a recipe calls for 1 T of fresh grated ginger (not available where I am) what is the equivalent dried? JD

Ground dried ginger is not a suitable substitute for freshly grated. You are better off using crystallized ginger that has been rinsed to remove the sugar. The Cooks' Thesaurus suggests 1/4 cup minced crystallized ginger is equal to 1 tablespoon of freshly minced ginger.


I have searched for fresh dill at the supermarket produce section but have not been successful in my search. Next year I plan to grow my own but until then I need to make dill pickles...I have used dill weed in the past but have now found dill seed. If I am reading correctly I should use less dill seed than I did weed (although I understand they not necessarily interchangeable!). Do you have an equivalency (or a best guess) on how much dill seed would substitute for a dill head? And since I am evidently not the only one having trouble, maybe I have found my cottage industry niche! Thanks~JM

About 3/4 of a teaspoon dill seeds would be equivalent to an average dill head. Judging by the amount of mail we get on this subject, I think you are correct about finding a good cottage industry.


Can dill weed be substituted for fresh dill sprigs? What is the formula for substitution? BS

Assuming that you mean dried dill weed, you won't get as much flavor but you could use about 1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed to equal a four-inch sprig of dill.


How much dill weed equals 1 dill head? Also how much chopped garlic equals 1 garlic clove? KB

A head of dill is actually composed of dill seeds. Please see the question above. One clove of garlic is generally considered to equal 1 teaspoon chopped.


Hello--Could you tell me which is better, grinding or chopping fresh herbs. I recently read about a caterer using a grinder, but don't know if that's just to save time or if it's better for the herbs. Thanks, MG

Grinding fresh herbs sounds a little messy to me. The caterer is probably working with larger amounts than most home cooks and finds that a "buffalo chopper," a commercial food chopper that's almost like a grinder, is a good way to make quick work of it.


I have a recipe that calls for 1 lemon, peel cut into strip, the juice squeezed and strained. It also calls for 1 orange, similarly prepared. How much ground and dried peel (that I bought in a grocery store) should I use? J

You can use equal amounts of dried lemon peel for fresh (about 1 teaspoon equals a lemon) but you won't be able to use it for substituting the juice. I encourage you to go get a lemon and an orange! Your recipe results will be better for it.


A 25g bag of fresh oregano is equivalent to how much dried oregano. JW

You stumped me on this one. I never thought to weigh an herb before drying. Many other variables would come into play like just how fresh it really is (water content) and the stems which would be removed for dried oregano. Sorry I can't help more.


I have a pickle recipe that calls for dill seed and it has been many years since I have done any pickling, but years ago I used dill seed to replace "fresh dill sprigs", but now this new recipe ( which is in a gallon jug and keeps in the fridge for weeks) calls for dill seed at this writing, I cannot find any "dill seed" in the spice section of the grocery store, only "dill weed". Can I substitute? Or do I need to maybe find a local farmer and buy "fresh" dill and if so, how much of that should I use? What would be the equivalent of fresh to dried?? Any information you could provide would be very much appreciated...Thanks in advance. NG

Finding the fresh "dill heads" would be worth your effort, I think. Many supermarkets stock them in the produce department at this time of year but the farmer's market is always a good source to start with.


Someone asked me to find out how to measure fresh dill versus dill seed that you buy in a store. I have never canned anything but I told them I would try to find out for them. I don't even know what fresh dill looks like but she was asking something about dill "head" and how to measure it. The recipe call for 1 teaspoon of dill seed. How much should be used of fresh dill. Thank you. CP

A dill head is the flower of a dill plant. Left to develop, it will go to seed. The seeds have a strong dill flavor but aren't particularly interchangeable with dill weed which loses flavor when exposed to heat.


Greetings, I was just surfing around, trying to find a picture of epazote, and I read your " all about epazote", and I wanted to add, that as far as I know, the dried epazote is never used in culinary dishes, but is only used for medicinal uses. I think it was in one of Rick Bayless' books, he said if one tries to use the dried epazote to cook with you will get a horrible taste. Have you ever tried cooking with dried epazote? I love epazote with roasted tomatillo sauce, in a dish called chillaquilles. Topped with crema and a slice of raw onion ring, mmm. Anyways, thanks for the info. you have posted. Keep up the good work! KE

I've never even seen fresh epazote so I have always used the dried version. Bayless is a stickler for authenticity, I know, but I often prepare a bean soup recipe from by                                                  by Deborah Madison (no slouch in the kitchen herself!) that calls for dried epazote. My own recipe for the Corn and Black Bean Salad at "All About Epazote" calls for the dried herb.


My recipe calls for 2 sprigs of tarragon. What is the equivalent to dry tarragon? I do not have fresh tarragon, but the dried leaves. TC

I would use about 1/2 teaspoon tarragon leaves.


Is it possible to substitute powdered ginger for fresh in Thai recipes? If so, what would the conversion be for 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger? Thank you. DW

The two really aren't interchangeable because the flavors are so different. Sometimes in baking they are used together to complement one another. For ethnic dishes where fresh is used think of it more as a vegetable than a spice. Fresh ginger freezes nicely if you cut it into inch-long lengths and wrap them individually.


Could you please tell me how much dried Kaffir lime I would use to replace fresh Kaffir Lime leaves. Thank you. Kind regards, LY

The dried leaves don't have nearly as much flavor as the fresh so you will probably want to use twice as much.


How much dry dill weed replaces ¼ cup fresh dill? WP

I would go with about 4 teaspoons.


Could you tell me what would be the equivalency of dill weed to dill seed? One tsp. of dill weed = 1 what of dill seed? Although I do understand they have their own flavor. NC

If one were to substitute dill weed for 2 tsp. of dill seed in a bread recipe, how much should be used? Would it give a more subtle flavor to use dill weed rather than dill seed? Thank you. MK

Interesting these two questions would come up at the same time. Since dill weed is an herb and dill seed is a spice they do, indeed, each have their own flavor and are not generally interchangeable. Dill weed has a fresh grassy flavor while the seed has a sort of toasted grass taste. If pushed to make an estimate of one for another, I would start with twice as much dried dill weed as the seed.


How much dried thyme equals 6 sprigs? KL

It depends on the size of the sprig, really. For a 4-inch sprig, you would probably get about a Tablespoon of leaves from six of them which would then translate into one teaspoon of dried.


My recipe calls for 1-1/2 teaspoons of fresh thyme. How much of ground thyme do I use. If I use 1/3 to 1/4 of ground to fresh, is this an ok calculation. Thanks sincerely. RB

Normally you would use one-third as much dried as fresh herbs but when the dried is ground it is probably best to go down to one-quarter. Do make sure your ground thyme is fresh. The ground form of herbs and spices loses flavor the fastest.


1/2 cup of fresh cilantro would equal how much dried cilantro? Is there a chart of some kind that I can get for dried spices to fresh spices conversion available That I can down load on the comp?? DL

The basic conversion method is straightforward: 1 Tablespoon of fresh herbs is equal to 1 teaspoon dried. Your half cup of fresh cilantro would be equal to 8 teaspoons of the dried version. Be sure to see the article "Fresh or Dried?" for more information.


I have heard that cilantro is best to be used fresh. Can you dry it so that you can enjoy it over the winter? LB

It's true that cilantro is best used fresh but you can certainly dry it. You might retain more of the flavor by freezing it though. Roughly chop it, place into ice cube trays with water. After they are frozen, transfer to a plastic bag. When you want that summer-time flavor you can use the cubes as they are or melt them in a colander that will let the water wash away while the leaves stay behind.


I have couple of recipes which require fresh herbs but I need to know how much a sprig of thyme is and how much a sprig of rosemary is when using fresh herbs? Thank you for your help. J

Most recipes that call for sprigs of herbs refer to a 2-4 inch length. This would equal approximately a teaspoon or so.


I would like to know where I can get a conversion chart for using the amount of fresh herbs and spices to the amount of dried herbs and spices. If a recipe calls for fresh spice what percentage of dried spice would be the same? Thank You G

I am not aware of any chart of this nature but you will find more information on this topic in the article "Fresh or Dried?" A general rule of thumb in converting is to use about half as much dried as fresh herbs.


Great Website!! Could you tell me how much dry basil you need to equal the same amount of fresh basil? I have a recipe that calls for 4 oz of fresh basil and I would like to use dry basil. Thanks!! AD

Generally, you use one-third to one-half as much of a dried herb to substitute for fresh. Since your recipe calls for so much fresh basil, it must be a central part of the dish, you may not get the same results if you use a dried version. Read more on this subject at "Fresh or Dried?"

How much dried basil do I need to equal 1/2 cup of fresh basil?

A general rule of thumb is to use half as much of a dried herb as a recipe calls for fresh. In this case you would need 1/4 cup dried basil.


Here's one that's full of our favorite recipes because we wrote the book! It is also full of information, helpful hints and ideas for using herbs and spices in your kitchen.

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