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How to Store Fresh Basil

Fresh basil is the best, right? The aroma alone can transport you to an Italian kitchen or a sunny herb garden.

Its flavor can transform simple dishes into mouth-watering culinary creations. But the challenge with basil is that it’s easy to buy or grow more than you can use.

So, how can you store fresh basil so that it keeps its flavor and vibrant green color? Let’s explore some effective methods to keep your basil looking and tasting like it was just picked.

Fresh basil on a dark wooden cutting board.

Store fresh basil by placing trimmed stems in a water-filled jar and covering them with a plastic bag. Keep on the counter for 1-2 weeks, in the fridge for 3-5 days, or freeze for up to 6 months.

How To Store Basil

Basil is a delicate herb that comes from the mint family. Because it’s so tender, it’s very sensitive to cold temperatures, which is why tossing it in the fridge isn’t always the best idea.

It also loves moisture, but not too much, or it’ll get moldy. It’s all about balance!

Storing Basil On The Counter

This method is great if you’ll be using the basil in a week or two. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Trim the Stems: Cut the ends off the basil stems, just like you’d trim flowers before putting them in a vase.
  2. Use a Glass Jar: Fill a glass jar or a cup with fresh water.
  3. Place the Basil: Put the basil stems into the jar, making sure that the leaves are well above the water line.
  4. Cover it Up: Loosely cover the basil with a plastic bag.
  5. Store: Put the jar on your kitchen counter away from direct sunlight.

Voila! You’ve got yourself a basil bouquet that’s not just good-looking but will stay fresh too!

Storing Basil In The Fridge

Sometimes you’ve got no choice but to put basil in the fridge. Maybe you have a ton, or perhaps you’re going on vacation. But beware—basil and fridges have a love-hate relationship.

  1. Wash and Dry: Gently wash the basil leaves and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  2. Wrap in Paper Towel: Lay the basil leaves on a paper towel and roll it up gently.
  3. Put in a Bag: Place the rolled-up basil inside a resealable plastic bag.
  4. Seal and Store: Push out as much air as possible, seal the bag, and put it in the fridge’s vegetable drawer.

Remember, basil stored in the fridge won’t last as long as basil stored on the counter, so try to use it up quickly!

Storing Basil In The Freezer

The freezer is like a time machine for basil—it stops time and keeps your basil almost as good as new. This method is perfect if you have more basil than you know what to do with.

  1. Wash and Chop: Wash the basil and chop it finely.
  2. Portion: Use an ice cube tray to portion out the chopped basil.
  3. Add Oil or Water: Pour a little olive oil or water over each basil-filled cube. This helps preserve the flavor.
  4. Freeze: Put the tray in the freezer until the cubes are solid.
  5. Store: Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a resealable plastic bag and keep them in the freezer.

Frozen basil works best in cooked dishes like stews or pasta sauces. It’s not great for garnishing, as the freezing process changes the texture.

How To Store Other Herbs

If you’re interested in keeping other herbs fresh and ready to use, be sure to check out our comprehensive guide on how to store a variety of fresh herbs for maximum flavor and longevity.

How Long Does Fresh Basil Last?

We all want to enjoy our basil for as long as possible, but the reality is that even the freshest basil has a limited shelf life.

Different storage methods can extend its life, but it’s still important to know just how long you can expect your basil to stay fresh.

Storage MethodShelf Life
On the Counter1-2 weeks
In the Fridge3-5 days
In the FreezerUp to 6 months

If you’re storing your basil on the counter in a glass of water, you can expect it to last about 1-2 weeks. Just remember to change the water every couple of days and you’ll be in good shape.

On the other hand, basil stored in the fridge usually only lasts about 3-5 days. It’s a little tricky because the cold temperature can turn the leaves black.

That’s why this method is best for short-term storage or when you’ve already chopped up the basil.

But what if you’re looking at really long-term storage? Maybe you’ve grown a ton of basil in your garden and want to enjoy it all winter long.

That’s when the freezer comes to the rescue. When properly stored, frozen basil can last up to 6 months.

Imagine, in the middle of winter, pulling out some basil cubes and throwing them into a steaming pot of homemade soup. Try out my homemade chicken noodle soup recipe and add in some fresh basil! Let me know what you think!

So, depending on your needs and how soon you plan to use your basil, you have several options to make the most of this flavorful herb. Choose the one that fits your life best!

If you’re interested in preserving basil for even longer, check out our guide on how to dry basil for a flavorful addition to your pantry staples.

Recipes With Fresh Basil

Fresh basil can make a good dish great. Its unique flavor pairs well with both savory and sweet foods. Ready to spice up your culinary skills? Here’s a quick list of recipes you’ll want to try.

  1. Classic Basil Pesto
    • Great for pasta or as a spread.
  2. Caprese Salad
    • Fresh and light; perfect for a quick snack.
  3. Thai Basil Chicken
    • A fast stir-fry with a kick of flavor.
  4. Basil Lemonade
    • A refreshing twist on a summer classic.
  5. Tomato Basil Soup
    • The ultimate comfort food.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Store Fresh Basil

Basil leaves might turn black if exposed to too much moisture or cold temperatures, which is why fridge storage can be risky for longer periods.

Storing basil in a water-filled jar on the countertop is better for short-term use, while fridge storage may be suitable for slightly longer periods but risks leaves turning black.

Fresh basil can be stored on the countertop for 1-2 weeks, in the fridge for 3-5 days, and in the freezer for up to 6 months when properly stored.


Basil is like the star player of the culinary world—it can make almost any dish go from good to great. But even star players have their weak spots: in basil’s case, it’s how you store it.

So whether you decide to keep your basil on the kitchen counter, tucked away in the fridge, or stashed in the freezer for long-term use, you now have the knowledge you need to keep it at its flavorful best.

Fresh basil on a dark wooden cutting board.

How To Store Fresh Basil

Storing fresh basil can be a bit tricky, but with the right methods, you can keep it vibrant and full of flavor. Whether you've got a week or several months, this card shows you how to make the most of your basil's shelf life.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 2 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American


  • Glass jar or cup
  • Resealable plastic bags
  • Optional: Ice cube tray and olive oil for freezing


  • Fresh Basil


On The Counter (1-2 Weeks)

  • Cut the ends of the basil stems.
  • Add water to a glass jar.
  • Place basil stems in the jar, ensuring leaves are above the water.
  • Drape a loose plastic bag over the basil.
  • Place on the counter, avoiding direct sunlight.

Fridge (3-5 Days)

  • Gently wash basil leaves and pat them dry.
  • Place the leaves on a paper towel and roll up gently.
  • Insert the rolled-up towel into a resealable plastic bag.
  • Expel excess air, seal the bag, and place it in the fridge’s vegetable drawer.

Freezer (Up To 6 Months)

  • Clean and finely chop the basil leaves.
  • Divide the chopped basil into portions in an ice cube tray.
  • (Optional): Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over each portion.
  • Place the tray in the freezer until the cubes are solid.
  • Transfer frozen cubes to a resealable plastic bag and store them in the freezer.
Keyword How To Store Basil
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