Homesteading Family Logo
This site contains affiliate links to products we recommend. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

How to Freeze Basil

Do you have fresh basil from your garden and need a quick and easy way to preserve it? Learning how to freeze basil in oil (or butter) using ice cube trays can allow you to enjoy that excellent fresh basil flavor all winter. 

An ice cube tray filled with basil and oil.

Read on to learn why hanging basil to dry is not an excellent way to preserve it and how you can make cooking with basil so fast and easy with these simple techniques for freezing and storing this healthy herb.

Why I Love to Freeze Basil

Many people may think that hanging herbs to dry is the only way to preserve them. Drying herbs is the primary way I put up most culinary herbs from my cottage garden. However, drying herbs is not the ideal preservation method for delicate leafy herbs, such as basil, cilantro, tarragon, lemon balm and mint.

If you’ve tried hanging fresh basil leaves to dry in the past, I’m sure you noticed that they quickly lose their vibrant green color and begin turning black. 

These leafy herbs aren’t ideal for air drying due to their high moisture content. They must be dried quickly, or they will turn dark and mold. 

You lock in that wonderful flavor and beautiful green color by freezing the basil plants and storing them in freezer bags. You can use this technique for all kinds of basil; Sweet, Thai, Purple, and Lemon. 

What Is the Best Way to Freeze Fresh Basil?

Freezing fresh basil is one of my favorite ways to preserve this delicious herb. Many people utilize frozen basil leaves in their kitchens. However, this method is one that you can’t mess up, and it doesn’t take all day.

Unlike other methods of freezing basil, this one doesn’t need boiling water or blanched basil leaves to complete it. While you can also freeze whole basil leaves, freezing them in the ice cube trays with a bit of oil makes this so fast and easy.

Not all foods should be frozen. That’s one reason we try to use multiple preservation methods whenever preserving foods on the homestead.

While freezing basil is my favorite method, it is good to have other reserves. You can also learn to preserve basil in salt, use a freeze dryer, or you can learn to dehydrate using our introduction to dehydration.

Homemade pizza cut up into squares on a cutting board.

Uses for Frozen Basil

Using ice cube trays to make the basil cubes creates a great concentrated serving size that’s perfect for cooking and has much more flavor than dried basil. You can use them in many different ways. Just think about how YOU want to use them. 

I love to use frozen basil in savory dishes such as homemade pizza and pasta sauces (like my creamy leek pasta), or even as one of the options for my 5-minute no-knead bread dough variations

Herb butter in ice cube trays.

Variations for Frozen Basil

You can substitute the olive oil to suit frozen basil for specific recipes. 

Frozen basil and oil cubes.

Storing Your Basil Cubes

Freezing the basil in ice cube trays is part of what makes them so easy to grab and use all winter long. Transferring them into bags after frozen allows you to keep your ice cube trays open for other herbs you may want to freeze next. 

Ice cube trays are truly a best friend when preserving fresh herbs. When you’re ready to use one, just remove it from the freezer and let it defrost. You can even defrost it faster by heating it. I will often toss a frozen basil cube right into my pot of cooking sauces, soups or stews and let it melt into the recipe! 

A woman adding oil to the blender for frozen basil cubes.

Supplies Needed

The materials and supplies needed for freezing basil are simple, and you most likely already have them in your kitchen. This convenience is another reason this method is one of my favorites!

  • Blender – You can use any kind of blender you have. If you do not own a blender, you can also try using a food processor, a stick blender (immersion blender) or chop the basil by hand with a sharp knife.
  • Ice Cube Trays – Any ice cube tray will work for this. I use plastic here, but silicone or metal works great too.
  • Freezer Bags – Feel free to use whatever you prefer, whether Ziploc bags, reusable freezer bags or even by vacuum sealing.
Fresh basil growing in the garden.

Ingredients Needed 

  • Fresh Basil – Whether using basil from your garden or store-bought basil, you want to ensure it is clean and dried thoroughly. Placing a paper towel on a baking sheet and spreading the leaves to dry is a great way to dry it.
  • Olive Oil – I use olive oil in this video, but you can substitute it for another oil (try pressing your own oil) or one of the other options I listed above, depending on how you plan to cook with it.
A woman pouring basil and oil into ice cube trays.

How to Freeze Basil

  1. Begin by harvesting your fresh basil. Homesteading Hack: The best time to harvest fresh basil from your garden is in the morning. Harvesting in the morning will give you the sweetest leaves. 
  2. Make sure your basil is clean. If needed, wash it with cool water and lay it flat on a baking sheet covered with a paper towel to dry. Dry basil leaves completely before proceeding.
  3. While drying, you can label your bags for the freezer. I like to write the date I am freezing them and the kind of herb it is. It’s a lot easier to write on them when they are empty. Tear the basil by hand into chunks. Use the leaves, and softer stems, and put it in the blender. Homesteading Hack: Did you know that the stem tastes like basil too? Don’t worry about getting all the leaves from the stems. As a great time-saving technique, you can blend it all. I like just to remove any stem ends that seem overly thick. Don’t worry about packing it down into the blender. Just leave it loose.
  4. Add your olive oil (or other liquid). There is no exact measurement for this. You simply want the mixture to have enough olive oil to blend into a smooth, thick puree. Start with a little and add more as needed. You really can’t get this wrong. You want it to be mostly basil with just enough oil to blend. This way, you will have that strong, concentrated basil flavor. Remove the basil from the container by pouring the basil puree directly into your ice cube trays, and use a spoon or spatula to smooth and level the top. 
  5. Put the ice cube trays into the freezer and leave until solid. Depending on your freezer, it should take between 12-24 hours.
  6. Once frozen solid, remove your basil cubes from the ice cube tray and put them in your pre-labeled freezer bags. Place the bags back into your freezer for use all winter.

Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a star rating in the recipe card below. Then snap a photo of your frozen herbs and tag us on social media @homesteadingfamily so we can see!

Hanging herbs tied in bundles.
An ice cube tray filled with basil and oil.

How to Freeze Basil (Basil Cubes)

Do you have fresh basil from your garden and need a quick and easy way to preserve it? Learning how to freeze basil in oil (or butter) using ice cube trays can allow you to enjoy that excellent fresh basil flavor all winter. 
3.79 from 133 votes
Print Pin
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Freezing Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 5 minutes
Servings: 9
Calories: 160kcal
Author: Carolyn Thomas

Equipment

  • Blender or stick blender

Ingredients

  • 5 cups basil roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup olive oil or other liquid of choice

Instructions

  • Begin by harvesting your fresh basil. Homesteading Hack: The best time to harvest fresh basil from your garden is in the morning. Harvesting in the morning will give you the sweetest leaves. 
  • Make sure your basil is clean. If needed, wash it with cool water and lay it flat on a baking sheet covered with a paper towel to dry. Dry basil leaves completely before proceeding.
  • While drying, you can label your bags for the freezer. I like to write the date I am freezing them and the kind of herb it is. It’s a lot easier to write on them when they are empty. Tear the basil by hand into chunks. Use the leaves, soft stems (remove the larger woody stems), and put it in the blender. Homesteading Hack: Did you know that the stem tastes like basil too? Don’t worry about getting all the leaves from the stems. As a great time-saving technique, you can blend it all. I like just to remove any stem ends that seem overly thick. Don’t worry about packing it down into the blender. Just leave it loose.
  • Add your olive oil (or other liquid). There is no exact measurement for this. You simply want the mixture to have enough olive oil to blend into a smooth, thick puree. Start with a little and add more as needed. You really can’t get this wrong. You want it to be mostly basil with just enough oil to blend. This way, you will have that strong, concentrated basil flavor. Remove the basil from the container by pouring the basil puree directly into your ice cube trays, and use a spoon or spatula to smooth and level the top. 
  • Put the ice cube trays into the freezer and leave until solid. Depending on your freezer, it should take between 12-24 hours.
  • Once frozen solid, remove your basil cubes from the ice cube tray and put them in your pre-labeled freezer bags. Place the bags back into your freezer for use all winter.

Notes

  • This method works great for so many herbs! Try it with cilantro, mint, lemon balm, or any other tender herbs.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cube | Calories: 160kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.1g | Protein: 0.2g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 16mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.02g | Vitamin A: 281IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Tried this recipe?We want to see! Tag @homesteadingfamily on Instagram.
A man and wife smiling.

Welcome to Homesteading Family!

Josh and Carolyn bring you practical knowledge on how to Grow, Cook, Preserve and Thrive on your homestead, whether you are in a city apartment or on 40 acres in the country. If you want to increase your self-sufficiency and health be sure to subscribe for helpful videos on gardening, preserving, herbal medicine, traditional cooking and more.

Sign Up for Updates

Get the latest homesteading tips delivered to your inbox weekly.

Popular Posts

Read by Category

Healthy Healing at Home

Free 4 video workshop on how to confidently use homemade herbal remedies!

More to Explore

Continue Reading

A man standing in a barn with test result papers in his hand.

Our Journey With Glyphosate Toxicity

Carolyn and I have been working for over twenty years to help clean up our food supply and eliminate unnecessary toxins. So it came

Previous
Next

Homestead Kitchen Membership!

Join over 1,500 Homesteaders and grow together.

Become a Confident and Self-Sufficient Homesteader