Remove basil leaves from the stem portion, and discard (compost) the stems. Wash the leaves in cool water.
Remove excess moisture. Either shake the leaves around in a strainer, lightly pat them dry with a clean lint-free towel, or toss them in a salad spinner.
If you’re going to dry basil in the oven, preheat the oven to the lowest temperature setting now (usually 175-200F for most ovens).
Next, spread the basil leaves out in an even single layer on your dehydrator trays or baking sheets, depending on which method you’re using. Do not overlap the leaves!
Dry the baking sheets of basil in the oven for about 2 hours, checking more frequently towards the end to ensure they do not burn. Or, place the trays of basil in your dehydrator. We set our dehydrator to the “herbs” setting, about 100 to 105 degrees F.
The time it takes to dry basil depends on your individual machine or oven (and the amount of basil), so this is more of a sensory experience than a steadfast rule. On average, it will take a couple of hours in the oven, and up to a day in a dehydrator. Allow the basil to dry until it is totally crispy and crumbles easily. This is key for good long term storage! It shouldn’t bend or have any obvious moisture left, will turn olive green, and sound nice and crunchy too.
Whole dry basil leaves retain aromatic oils and flavor better than crushed leaves over time. Therefore, I suggest to crush only a small portion of your dried basil at a time and store the rest as whole leaves - especially if you dried a large amount.
Crush dry basil leaves using clean dry hands, a ziplock bag, food processor, or mortar and pestle.
Store dried basil in a glass container with an air-tight lid in a dark, cool, dry location. It should remain very flavorful and crisp for over a year stored in the pantry. Enjoy!