How to substitute fresh herbs with dried

Unless you're lucky enough to have a green thumb that allows you to successfully keep pots of herbs in your home during the colder months of the year, chances are you've found yourself cooking in the kitchen without fresh herbs. Fresh herbs are a game-changer when it comes to adding fresh flavor and brightness to dishes. Dried herbs can still be potent when they are properly stored, but you still need to know the correct amount to use when substituting them for fresh herbs. So, to successfully use dried herbs in your dishes, start by taking care of them in your pantry.

According to Alex Wilkins, who is the head of sourcing for The Spice House, dried herbs need to be kept "away from light, heat, air, and moisture." That means they need to be stored in a very dry, airtight container that's cool and dark. If properly stored, the dried herbs should last about six months. So, don't buy too much at one time (via Epicurious).

When you do go to use your dried herbs, Wilkins believes you should "crush a pinch of herbs between your fingers and smell them." This allows you to smell if they are aromatic and potent or if they are lacking. When you can really smell the herbs, you'll know they will add to your dish. Otherwise, they won't do much to add flavor.

The amount of dried herbs you should use

If your dried herbs are really aromatic and you've determined that it is worth substituting them for fresh herbs, then there is a simple ratio that determines how much of your dried herbs to use. Generally, you should use one teaspoon of dried herbs for every tablespoon of fresh herbs. Therefore, a recipe that calls for one tablespoon of fresh oregano, basil, dill, parsley, or any other fresh herb should also be successful with one teaspoon of the dried version of the herb instead. This rule typically works because the dried herbs are more potent which means you need less of it to have the same impact (via Martha Stewart).

So, the next time you find yourself with no option but dried herbs, don't hesitate to add them in. Just keep in mind that you will need to use a smaller amount. Otherwise, the herb could become too strong and overpower the other flavors in the dish.