How Bay Leaves Affect The Taste Of Soup, According To Reddit

Have you ever tossed a bay leaf into a simmering pot thinking, "Hey, it can't hurt"? Well, you're probably correct. Bay leaves don't have a strong or overly noticeable flavor. But they can be an important building block when combined with other ingredients in a recipe. 

The scent that emerges from a jar of dried bay leaves is subtle at its strongest. And if this 2016 article from The Awl is any indication, many doubt this little leaf's ability to actually make an impact in the culinary world.

The prickly bay leaf orginally came from the laurel plant and it can't be ingested whole. Some chefs swear that a few bay leaves will increase the depth of flavor in your dish if added early on in the cooking process, which gives them time to release their elusive flavors.

Some haters, who have deemed bay leaves a pointless and nonsensical addition to any recipe, say they have no taste at all. However, the cooking community on Reddit wholeheartedly disagrees.

Redditors swear by bay leaves

Chefs have gone to Reddit to defend the bay leaf as a culinary superhero, claiming that they have proof of its potency. "Make two small portions of rice, one with bay leaf and one without," one user suggested, adding that it "Makes the difference so clear" and is "a really great way to understand how bay leaves flavor a dish."

Almost every comment on the Reddit thread, which began with a user questioning the effect of bay leaves in soup, said this herb makes a difference in a finished meal. "I did a side-by-side comparison once. Everything was identical in two chili pots (ingredient amounts, cooking time, etc.) other than the bay leaf," one Redditor writes. "It really does add something, but I haven't been able to identify exactly what. The chili with the bay leaf had a bit more depth and roundness of flavor. Not a lot, but noticeable in a blind taste test." The thread booms with comments like these, and very few commenters had anything negative to say about the dried green herb. 

Even if you aren't interested in using bay leaves in your own cooking, the spice rack staple has other uses, including repelling pests from your pantry.