Have you ever tried to dry cilantro?
If not, you should try it. It’s easy and ensures you always have some on hand!
Fresh cilantro is a great option, but dried is fantastic too.
It’s citrus-like flavor is common in many Latin-American dishes. However, its use has expanded and is now incorporated into all sorts of recipes.
Let’s learn how to dry it at home, shall we?
How to Prep Cilantro for Dehydrating
There are a few methods you can use to dry cilantro. Regardless of which method you choose though, you’ll start by prepping it.
All cilantro, whether purchased or grown in your garden, should be thoroughly washed.
It’s not a bad idea to use a vegetable wash (like 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water) and soak the cilantro for a few minutes.
After soaking, dry the cilantro in a salad spinner or use a dish towel.
This next step is optional but you may want to remove the stems. The primary flavor in cilantro is the leaves. The stems dry down to almost nothing.
If you plan to grind the leaves down to a powder, don’t take the time to remove the stems.
Depending on your preference, you can remove the stems completely, partially, or not at all. Don’t worry, it’s not going to affect the flavor.
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How to Dry Cilantro in a Dehydrator
If you have a dehydrator, this is an easy way to dry your cilantro.
Once the leaves are both clean and dry, lay them on dehydrator sheets in a single layer.
The leaves can touch as they will not stick together when dried.
The optimal temperature for a dehydrator is 110 degrees F.
Since the leaves are fairly thin, they should dry in 1-3 hours.
Keep a close eye on the cilantro though since it dries quickly. you can check if the leaves are dry by crumbling them between your fingers.
How to Dry Cilantro in the Microwave
It’s not common to dry cilantro in the microwave, but it can be done.
To do this, spread your cilantro between two paper towels and place on a plate that’s microwave-safe.
The cilantro should be in a single layer (this is important – don’t layer or overlap).
Microwave for two minutes and then remove from the microwave and allow to cool for an additional minute
Check the cilantro to see if it’s brittle.
If you still sense any moisture, microwave for an additional 30 seconds at a time.
Now let’s talk about oven drying cilantro…
- Fresh cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Coat a baking tray with baking spray to prevent the cilantro from sticking. With oven drying, it’s best to separate the leaves from the stem as this allows for more even drying.
- Spread the leaves on the baking tray to form a single layer. Once the oven is at its temperature, put the tray in the middle of the oven for even heating. Let the leaves dry for 30 minutes.
Avoid opening the oven door during this process.
Remove the tray from the oven and allow cooling for 10 minutes. Scrape the leaves from the pan and then gently break up into larger chunks.
Can You Air Dry Cilantro?
If you’d rather dry your cilantro a more natural way or have larger batches to dry, air drying is a great option.
With this method, you’ll gather the cilantro into bunches and then tie the stems together with wire or string.
Hang the bunches upside-down and allow them to hang in a cool, dry place.
After a few days, put the cilantro into a paper bag that has air holes and then tie a string on the open end of the bag.
Hang it in the same location. When the leaves have thoroughly dried, crush them and place in a container.
How to Dry Cilantro in the Sun
If you have plenty of sunlight, you can also dry your cilantro in the sun.
Place the cilantro on drying racks or screens and place in the sun.
Rotate them to ensure that the cilantro dries evenly.
This may be a slower process so make sure that you bring in the screens at night to avoid getting dew on them.
I also like this kind of design for a solar dehydrator as it saves space and keeps the bugs out:
Dry Cilantro vs Fresh: Is Dried Cilantro Any Good?
Although most people prefer the fresh version of herbs, there are reasons why dried cilantro is more preferable for some dishes.
The flavor differences are noticeable though.
While fresh cilantro has a strong flavor, the dried cilantro has a milder flavor. This may be better for people who don’t like the sharp qualities of the herb.
Keep in mind that you can’t use the dried and fresh versions interchangeably.
Dried cilantro works best in longer-cooking dishes such as marinades while fresh works best in ready-made sauces like chimichurri.
How to Store Dried Cilantro
All dried herbs should be stored in airtight containers. It’s best to store them in a cool, dry place.
How Long Will Dried Cilantro Last?
Dried cilantro will retain its flavor for approximately one year. You can keep it for up to 2 years, but it may lose a little flavor.
Discard any cilantro that gets mold or moisture in the container.
Ratio of Fresh Cilantro to Dried Cilantro: How Much to Use
If you do end up using fresh and dried cilantro, then you should know the equivalent:
Three teaspoons of fresh cilantro corresponds best to one teaspoon of dried.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I use dried cilantro in salsa?
Yes, but you may not enjoy the flavor as much. It will give a much more subtle flavor so you may miss the strong notes of fresh cilantro.
2. Are there any other storage options for cilantro?
Refrigeration can increase its storage time. Any sauces that contain fresh cilantro may also be able to be frozen.
3. How much cilantro should I dry for use?
It depends on how often you use dried cilantro in dishes. In general, drying any extra that you have on hand to prevent it going bad will get you started.
4. What’s the best drying method?
There’s no one correct drying method so choose the one that works best for your time frame and kitchen.
I’m a foodie that’s slightly obsessed with drying fruits, veggies, beans, and more – especially from my own garden! It started as a hobby but became a “must” when my family fell on hard times, and my dried food stash sustained us. Now I’m always experimenting with different techniques and recipes and sharing them here!