The scent that emerges from a jar of dried bay leaves is subtle at its strongest, but some chefs swear that adding a few bay leaves early in the cooking process will increase the depth of flavor in your dish. Although there are bay leaf haters out there who say they’re pointless, the cooking community on Reddit wholeheartedly disagrees.
Chefs have gone to Reddit to defend the bay leaf as a culinary superhero, claiming that they have proof of its potency. One user suggested making two rice dishes, one with bay leaves and one without, because the difference will be clear, and you will “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. 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.