I have made no secret about my love for fresh herbs, and no, I am in no way in cahoots with Big Herb. They’re just an affordable, easy way to make simple cooking seem like it was a big fussy to-do, and if you don’t believe me, throw a handful of chopped cilantro into a bag of Cheetos and see how that makes you feel. On the days where you’re too busy or stressed to pull off a proper recipe, you can cover just about anything warm in butter and fresh herbs and it’s like you’re dining at the Four Seasons. Magic!
But, sometimes, you simply can’t use all the fresh herbs you have, no matter how hard you try. Maybe your herb garden grew far beyond control, or you grossly overestimated how much tarragon you needed when ordering groceries. Whenever that happens you have a few options: shove them in the back of the fridge and forget about them until they rot, freeze them in an airtight ziptop bag, or dry them out.
I am a fan of the latter, and to do this in minutes, I turn to my handy dandy air fryer. Since air fryers are just tiny convection ovens, they’re a perfect shortcut to making potent dried herbs that you can keep in the pantry. Here’s how to air-fry herbs to dry them out:
1. Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees.
2. Use a small piece of kitchen twine to tie the herbs in a bundle, which will keep them from flying all over the place inside fryer basket while the air is circulating.
3. Toss the herbs in the fryer and check on them every 30 seconds. The exact cooking time will depend on the size of your air fryer and how many herbs you’re drying, but I can tell you that in a 4-quart basket model, a large bunch of basil took about 90 seconds.
If you find your herbs flying all over the place despite the bundling, weigh them down with a scrunched-up piece of aluminum foil, remembering to use tongs to pick it up when you’re checking their progress. You won’t be able to love your dried herbs to the fullest if you resent them for giving you finger burns.