Cooking with herbs adds a lot of natural fresh taste to dishes. Herbs greatly enhance your food's flavor, and here we share what they taste like and how you can use them. These top ten fresh herbs add a lot of natural flavor even before using heat or spices.
By- Reviewed . Published Aug 29, 2023.
Parsley has a greeny, fresh flavor. It’s mainly added at the end of cooking or as a garnish to brighten the dish, but it can also be featured prominently in some sauces and dishes.
There are two types of parsley: flat (Italian parsley) and curly parsley. They can sometimes be interchangeable, but check the recipe to be sure.
Recipes with parsley
- Argentinian chimichurri sauce: Parsley is featured prominently in this famous sauce with fresh parsley, garlic, onion, chives, and lemon juice. Grilled steak is not the same without it.
- Potato with cream and parsley sauce: This Danish-inspired creamy potato dish is one of my favorite ways of serving potatoes and a great way to feature curly parsley.
- Wasakaka sauce: A popular garlicky Dominican sauce that goes great drizzled over grilled or roast chicken.
- Tipile sauce: Tabbouleh is a very popular bulgur wheat salad in the Middle East, and parsley is one of its main ingredients. This one is the Dominican version.
- Gluten-free tabbouleh: A recipe that is closer to the original Middle Eastern version but instead of bulgur uses a gluten-free alternative.
Very aromatic herb, earthy, slightly bitter, used fresh or dry. There are several varieties of oregano, and they taste slightly different from each other. This is an indispensable herb in Italian cuisine and is popular in Mexican and Caribbean dishes.
Oregano is one of the dried herbs that tastes stronger than fresh.
Recipes with oregano
- Vegan pasta with textured soy: Oregano features in this lovely, filling, and comforting spaghetti dish.
- Pasta with mozzarella meatballs: The most fun pasta with meatballs you'll ever find, with a little secret inside.
- Salted meat: Before freezer and freezer bag meals were invented, salting meat was the way to impart flavor and store meat.
- Goat meat curry: In many Caribbean countries, goat meat is preferred over lamb, and this Dominican classic is famous because the goats graze on oregano plants.
- Pulled chicken with tomato sauce: A favorite poultry dish, this is perfect for filling for casseroles and empanadas.
They impart a mild oniony flavor without overpowering the dish. Add during cooking, or chop them up and sprinkle the dish with them.
Recipes with chives
- Mashed potatoes with sour cream: The creamiest, smoothest, most flavorful mashed potato you'll find.
- Sweet and sour pork with pineapple: An Asian-inspired dish with a lovely combination of sweet and savory flavors.
- Mashed potatoes stuffed tomatoes: A fancy way of serving mashed potatoes.
- Savory Greek yogurt dip: With a peppery bite, this savory dip is easy and perfect for snacks and as an appetizer.
- Plantain fritters: Crispy plantain fritters with an oniony taste.
- Chofan rice: The Caribbean version of chow fan fried rice.
- Breakfast plantain bites: Another lovely, cute plantain dish for a brunch to remember.
- Chapsui: The Caribbean version of chop suey.
It’s a very savory herb with a distinct flavor. You can use it in marinades, in raw salsas, or added at the end in raw or cooked sauces.
Be warned that many people are genetically predisposed to perceive a strong soapy flavor in cilantro, so I always check with my guests beforehand because – much as I like cilantro – I wouldn't want them to soldier through a meal they find disgusting through no fault of their own.
Recipes with cilantro
- Skhug sauce: Add flavor and heat to your meal with a teaspoon (or tablespoon) of this Middle Eastern sauce that combines spicy pepper, black pepper and fresh cilantro and parsley.
- Garlic shrimp skewers: A most flavorful shrimp skewers recipe you'd be pressed to find.
- Spicy bean stew: A lovely latino-inspired bean stew.
- Avocado dipping sauce: Avocado and cilantro go great together in this creamy, rich dip to serve with chips or vegetable sticks.
Earthy, with a slightly mint flavor, this herb is a mainstay of French cuisine and part of Mediterranean cookery. Use it in a bouquet garni, or remove the stems and use the leaves for soups and stews.
Thyme can be dried or fresh. If using dried, it should be added toward the beginning of the recipe to allow time for its flavor to infuse the dish.
- Arracacha soup: If you're looking for a great way to prepare this Andean root vegetable, this will be a great way to start.
- Broccoli and cheddar soup: Flavorful and comforting combination of broccoli, cheddar, cream and fresh herbs.
- Habichuelas guisadas: The famous Latino stewed beans dish that you'll fall in love with.
- Garlic shrimp skewers: Intense Caribbean flavors and grilled shrimp in a dish that makes summer better.
A mainstay of Cuban cuisine, bay leaves are described as having the flavor of eucalyptus, menthol, and pine."
When dry, the flavor profile in bay leaves changes and mellows. It's perfect for soups and stews.
Bay leaves recipes
- Cuban ropa vieja: A classic Caribbean dish full of flavors in a beef and vegetables dish.
- Chicken ropa vieja: A lighter version of the above dish.
- Braised rabbit: Learn how to make this unusual cut in the best possible way.
- Beef picadillo: A Latino favorite, inexpensive dish that is surprisingly flavorful.
Sweet and very aromatic herb primarily used in Italian and Mediterranean cuisines.
Recipes with basil
- Pesto: The classic Italian sauce. Need say no more.
- Spaghetti casserole: An interesting and tasty way to serve pasta.
- Vegan grilled eggplant sandwich: Intense flavors in a healthy vegan dish.
- Easy lobster pasta: You won't find an easier way to make this combination.
- Stuffed cubanelle peppers: Healthy, filling and gorgeous dish.
- Vegan polenta casserole: Mediterranean ingredients and flavors to dream about.
- Pasta pie: Meatless but cheesy spaghetti bake.
- Zucchini noodles with shrimp: A keto and low carb favorite.
Dill has an intensely sweet, strong flavor. A little bit goes a long way. It’s best added toward the end of the cooking time.
Recipes with dill
- Smoked salmon appetizer: Salmon and dill go together so well, and you'll love the flavors in this easy dish.
- Cream cheese and tuna dip: Another favorite appetizer that will make you want an encore.
- Easy party foods: 4 different fancy-looking hors d'oeuvres that are surprisingly easy to make.
- Cucumber sandwich: The classic tea sandwich.
Rosemary is a very aromatic herb, and you just need a small amount. It has an earthy, slightly lemony, and piney flavor. It's favored in pot roasts.
Recipes with rosemary
Tarragon imparts a licorice flavor, best if added to the end of the cooking to preserve its delicate flavor.
Recipes with tarragon
- Easy pork escalopes: A very quick dish to have dinner ready in no time.
This leaf is tough and a bit bitter if eaten raw. It is best to chop it and use it raw in marinates or rubs or to cook it in sauces.
Recipes with sage
Pork chops: Sage is perfect for seasoning pork chops.
How to store herbs
How to dry
You can use a dehydrator, a cooling oven, and even a refrigerator to dry herbs. Dry herbs can be mixed in a convenient seasoning powder. Once dry, you can store herbs in a plastic bag or airtight container.
I prefer to keep dry herbs refrigerated to maintain their flavor for months.
To cook with dry herbs (except oregano), you'll need to add more than the recipe suggests for fresh herbs, as some of the flavors and aromas decrease when drying.
How to refrigerate
Fresh herbs can be stored standing inside a vase or glass with a damp paper towel at the bottom. For cilantro, put the glass and cilantro in a loosely tied plastic bag to maintain humidity.
How to freeze
Mince fresh herbs with shart knife and mix with olive oil, then freeze them in portions in an ice cube tray covered with a lid or plastic wrap.