11 Ways to Use Fresh Herbs

11 Ways to Use Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs can easily be grown in a small indoor garden or in an outside garden. But what do you do when you have an overabundance of herbs?

Cooking with fresh herbs is the best way to get all of the flavor from an herb. But sometimes, we end up with too much! I know I’ve gone to the store, bought a container of herbs, and only used some for a recipe. Or, now that we have our own herb garden growing, I end up with more than I can use.

We’ve been adding fresh herbs as a garnish to a lot of our meals. I like to add some basil leaves to our homemade pizza. We purchased an AeroGarden a few months ago so we never run out of fresh herbs.

Originally Published On: February 26, 2019

Last Updated On: July 23, 2020

Food using Fresh Herbs

Compound Butter

Compound butter is butter that has been softened and mixed with fresh or dry herbs. You can easily make this by cutting 8 tablespoons of butter into small chunks, mixing in about 1 tablespoon of herbs, and forming it back together. Refrigerate or freeze until you are ready to use it. Compound butter is a great way to add flavor to bread as well as meat such as steak.


Most pesto recipes are based with basil and parsley. So if you have an excess of these herbs, blend them in a food processor with some garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. Pesto goes great on top of pasta, spread on a sandwich, or as a pizza topping instead of red sauce. There are plenty of uses for pesto, and it will use up a lot of herbs.

Thai basil pesto in a small round white bowl with a small spoon next to a piece of basil and a bamboo tray with flatbread pieces all on a grey placemat on a wooden surface

Infused Oil & Vinegar

If you are a salad lover, try infusing some olive oil and/or vinegar with some of your favorite herbs. The flavor will seep into the oil and vinegar adding a zing of something extra to your next salad.

Fresh Herb Recipes

Of course, there are so many recipes that use fresh herbs in them. If you have a lot of extra herbs, do a quick search online for recipes using that ingredient.


Ever since I started saving kitchen scraps and learned how easy it is to make vegetable broth at home, I haven’t bought a can. You can make a delicious stock from leftover vegetable scraps and extra herbs. The best part is there’s no set recipe, so you can use up whatever you have on hand.

Vegetable broth in a glass jar on a bamboo tray with vegetable scraps with a white and grey towel behind

How to Store Fresh Herbs


When we have a plethora of leftover herbs, I like to dry them out to save for future use. To do this, I cut as much from the plant that needs to be trimmed, and bunch them together with twine. Then, I have a few clips in the laundry room that I use to hang the herbs. Once they have completely dried, I crush them up into storage containers to use in recipes.

I’ve also started using a dehydrator and it works much quicker than hanging to dry. But, if you don’t have a dehydrator, then the hanging method works, too.


Another option to store extra herbs is freezing them. The trick I’ve always heard and tried with extreme success, is to freeze herbs in an ice cube tray with olive oil. The amount of oil will be so small that it shouldn’t effect a recipe, but it’s enough to hold the herbs. Once they are frozen, you can empty the tray and store them in a jar.

Other Uses for Fresh Herbs

Replant to Grow Again

This is commonly known as “scrap gardening” because there are so many kitchen scraps that can be planted and regrown without a lot of effort. Plants typically have all of the cellular information they need in each cell to reproduce. Because of this, you should be able to plant a small stalk from an herb and it will grow again.

Related: How to Start an Indoor Herb Garden

DIY Beauty Products

Making beauty products with kitchen scraps, including herbs, is the one thing on this list that I have not personally tried. But, there are plenty of “recipes” available online that instruct you how to do this. Think about your lavender bath bombs, and how you could make those yourself with fresh herbs.

Share with Neighbors

Be a good neighbor, and share the wealth! I’ve done this before with some of the plants we grow in the garden. One week we had more lettuce than we could ever eat so I gave a head of lettuce to a few of our neighbors. You could do the same with fresh herbs if you have some that are producing more than you can consume.


In my opinion, this is the last place to use up any leftover herbs. We started our own compost, and while the herbs are great “green” items for the bin, it seems like a bit of a waste. There are so many other options to use the herbs in the kitchen before tossing them. But, if you are out of ideas or time or just have way more than you need, compost is still better than throwing in the trash.

Double compost bin being emptied into a raised garden bed

More No Waste Kitchen Ideas

28 thoughts on “11 Ways to Use Fresh Herbs”

  1. These are all great ideas for ways to use herbs! I have heard of freezing before but now I know how easy it is to do with olive oil!

  2. Yessss to compound butter! I discovered how to make cilantro lime butter with a meal kit service and now my hubby and I are obsessed with it! So yummy on steak, chicken, salmon, anything.

    1. I only have three growing right now (two died off) but it’s on our to-do list this weekend to go get the seeds to plant more herbs and start our outdoor garden!

  3. I love fresh herb, I use them in my cooking on a daily basis. I can’t live without my mint which I use on my iced tea. Thanks for sharing, Stephanie.

    1. My husband just started adding mint to his tea, too, and loves the flavor of it! The fresh herbs just taste so much better than dried ones.

    1. I know, it’s been a long time since I hate, too. We made one years ago that was great for dipping fresh bread in, I’ll have to make it again and write a post about it.

    1. Luckily, herbs are pretty hardy if you have a good sunny window. Mine were all but dead a few weeks ago and they came back quickly after a few days of watering.

    1. I’ve made pesto a few times, but I haven’t quite found one that I love yet. But, I plan to keep trying!

  4. Infused oil sounds so delicious! I’ve never tried to make it myself. Looks like I know what I’m doing this weekend.

    1. Yes! I used to buy butter that had herbs in it but couldn’t find it when we moved and have a different grocery store. Then I learned how easy it is to make myself!

    1. We like to grow ours, but sometimes have to buy them if ours aren’t ready or it’s something we don’t grow. But when I do, we always have extra so try a few of these ideas, depending on what we need at the time.

  5. I use herbs and spices in my cooking and find any ways to prolong them and use them. These are good tips.

    1. I mostly use them in cooking, too, but have tried a few other ideas when I have more than we can cook with.

  6. I have never really used beauty products with any sort of herbs. I never would have thought that was even a thing but now I am definitely interested!

    1. I’ve used some with essential oils in it, but not the herbs themselves. I also want to see if I can find or make some to try out.

  7. Oh yes! I love herbs in both dried and fresh forms, some of the herbs are good taken fresh if available. I like the idea of replanting to grow again. I am glad to know all that, I am so amazed and thanks for sharing ♥

    1. I’ve replanted quite a few and had pretty good success with it! Then we always have fresh herbs for the kitchen.

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