How To Dry Spearmint Leaves [Full Guide]

If you love to use spearmint in your cooking, you know that buying fresh herbs regularly can become expensive. Fortunately, there is a way to preserve your herbs for longer use. Drying!

The great thing is, there are three popular ways to dry spearmint leaves, and we’re going to cover them all here. I also cover how long it takes to dry spearmint leaves, whether you should wash them before drying and how to store your dried spearmint so it lasts as long as possible.

Let’s start!

Can You Dry Spearmint Leaves?

Spearmint is one of the most popular kinds of mints used for cooking and for scents. It’s the sweeter, subtler version of peppermint. As with any kind of mint leaf, you can dry spearmint leaves for later use. But what are the uses for dried spearmint?

Mint is a popular herb. Almost everyone loves its taste and smell. So, it’s used in almost everything. Dried spearmint can be used in cooking, brewing tea, as fragrance, for medicine, and as a pest deterrent.

How To Dry Spearmint Leaves

Fortunately, there are a few different ways to dry spearmint, so everyone can do it. If you’re limited on resources, you can easily dry spearmint. Or maybe you’re picky and only want the best supplies for your spearmint. There’s a method for everyone. We’re going to cover the benefits and drawbacks of each method here.

If you want to know specifically how to dry spearmint leaves for tea, any of these methods will work.

Dried spearmint
Dried spearmint

Air Drying

This is the simplest method of drying spearmint leaves. It requires nothing but a string and a place to hang your leaves.

Unfortunately, you might not be able to use this method depending on where you live. Only people living in warm climates with low humidity should use this method. If you live where it’s cold or where it gets very humid, your spearmint leaves can develop mold. The best temperatures for drying will be between 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit.

After you’ve washed and dried your spearmint leaves, you gather them into a bundle – leave the stems attached to the leaves and bundle them into a bouquet. Tie the bouquet together with a piece of string at the base of the stems.

Then, simply hang your bouquet in a room that is warm and well-ventilated. Do not put it in direct sunlight. Too much sunlight will cause the essential oils to evaporate.

We stated before that you need to live in a warm and dry climate to use this method. Besides that, there is another downside to this method: it takes a considerably long time. Depending on the exact climate where you live, it can take between 2 days and 2 weeks for the leaves to fully dry.

You’ll know your leaves are finished when they feel crumbly and dry when touched.

To protect your leaves from dust and pests, you can also cover them with a paper bag that will act as protection.

Here are step-by-step instructions:

  1. Harvest your spearmint
  2. Wash and dry
  3. Bundle your spearmint into a bouquet, both leaves and stems
  4. Tie the bouquet together with a piece of string. This should be done at the base of the stem
  5. Hang the leaves
    • You can use string, a hanger, an herb dryer, or anything else creative you can think of
    • Place a plastic bag over your herbs for protection (optional)
  6. Allow to dry for 2 days to 2 weeks

With A Dehydrator

After your spearmint is washed and dried, you’ll want to separate the leaves from the stems. You can always dry the stems separately if you’d like, but there isn’t much use for them.

Your dehydrator is going to come with one or more trays. You’re going to lay the leaves on the tray(s) in a single layer. You don’t want them stacked or they won’t dry properly. You also don’t want them to touch. Make sure the leaves are adequately spaced from one another to allow for adequate airflow.

Spearmint dries better on low temperatures which is why a dehydrator is a great option. It’s going to prevent your leaves from becoming too “cooked”. You’ll want to set your dehydrator to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and leave it to work for 2-5 hours.

You’ll want to check on it periodically to see when you need to remove your leaves. Check on them after the first 2 hours and then every 15-20 minutes after that. The leaves should still be green, but will crumble to pieces when you try to bend them.

Here are step-by-step instructions:

  1. Harvest your spearmint
  2. Wash and dry
  3. Separate leaves and stems
  4. Layer leaves on dehydrator racks in a single layer. Allow plenty of space between each leaf for air circulation
  5. Set the temperature of dehydrator to 105 degrees Fahrenheit
  6. Dehydrate for 2-5 hours
    • Check after 2 hours
    • Then, check every 15-20 minutes
  7. Allow leaves to completely cool before storing

In The Oven

Drying your spearmint leaves in the oven is the next best option to using a dehydrator. The oven acts very similarly to a dehydrator, so this method can save you money. You just need to be extra careful with this method that you don’t accidentally burn your spearmint leaves.

After your spearmint is washed and dried, you’ll want to separate the leaves from the stems. You can leave the stems if you’d like, but they don’t offer much of a use.

oven dry mint leaves
Getting ready to dry mint in the oven

Next, you’ll want to line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Then, lay the leaves on the parchment paper in a single layer. You don’t want to stack the leaves because they won’t dry properly. You also want to leave adequate space in between each leaf for proper air circulation. No leaves should be touching.

Place the trays in the oven at your oven’s lowest temperature. All ovens are different and will vary on how low they will allow you to set them. Ideally, if you can set them between 105 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit that will be best. However, never go above a temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

At temperatures above 200 degrees, the spearmint will no longer dehydrate. Instead, it will “cook” and all the spearmint’s essential oils will evaporate.

How long it takes to dry your leaves like this depends on how hot your temperature is. Lower temperatures of about 120 degrees Fahrenheit will likely only take 1-2.5 hours to dry. Higher temperatures around 180 degrees Fahrenheit might take 1.5-4 hours total.

You’ll know your leaves are finished when they crumble as you try to bend them.

Also, because the drying spearmint will produce steam, you’ll want to alleviate that. You can use something fireproof, like a utensil or pot holder to prop the oven door open a crack. Allowing that steam to dissipate will help your leaves dry faster.

For even faster drying, try flipping your leaves every hour. This allows them to dry more evenly.

Here are step-by-step instructions:

  1. Harvest your spearmint
  2. Wash and dry
  3. Layer a baking sheet with parchment paper
  4. Spread your spearmint leaves on the parchment paper in a single layer ensuring the leaves have plenty of space and are not touching
  5. Place the baking sheet in the oven at a temperature below 200 degrees Fahrenheit
  6. Cook your leaves for 1-4 hours depending on the temperature of the oven
    • Prop open the oven door with a utensil or pot holder
    • Turn your leaves every hour
    • Leaves are finished when they are brittle and crumble at touch

Read more about drying mint in the oven here.

How Long Does It Take To Dry Spearmint Leaves?

How long it takes to dry spearmint leaves depends on which method you use. Air drying takes between 2 days and 2 weeks.

Oven drying takes between 1-4 hours.

A dehydrator takes between 2-5 hours.

Do You Wash Spearmint Leaves Before Drying?

It is essential that you wash your spearmint leaves before using them. The leaves are going to be dirty, so you’ll want to get all that dirt off.

If you do grow your mint outside, you should let it sit after harvesting to get rid of bugs. Set your spearmint on a towel or dish cloth outside for about half an hour. This should prompt any remaining bugs to vacate your spearmint clippings.

After that, you’re going to fill a bowl or sink with cool water. Completely submerge the mint into the water. Some people have found that it’s better to keep the stems attached at this point. The extra weight helps the plants to sink into the water.

Once your spearmint is submerged, you should swish it around with your hands or a utensil. This will dislodge any stubborn dirt.

Next, you’re ready to remove the spearmint for drying. If you have a dish rack to place your spearmint, that’s perfect. You can also place them on a dish towel and gently pat them dry.

Make sure that your spearmint is completely moisture-free before trying to dry it. It’s extremely important to get rid of any excess moisture on your leaves beforehand. Patting dry is a good option.

Still, you should let your leaves airdry for 30-60 minutes after and finish up by patting it dry a second time.

How To Store Your Dried Spearmint Leaves

Storing your dried spearmint is really quite simple. The most important thing is to make sure your leaves are completely dried before storing. It’s good practice to check your container the first few days for any signs of condensation. If you notice condensation, then you’ll need to dry your leaves some more.

Before storing, you’ll also want to make sure your leaves dried correctly. They should be a nice green color and have a strong minty scent. If they lack a scent and are brown or black in color, then they’ve been overcooked.

Leaves can be left whole, crumbled up, or ground into a powder.

An airtight glass container is the best option for storing. Plastic can sometimes be porous and will absorb the essential oils from your leaves.

Containers should then be stored somewhere cool and dark. Herbs will be good for up to 12 months after drying. Any longer than that and the herbs begin to lose their flavor.

Final Words

As you can see, drying spearmint leaves is very easy, and it doesn’t take much time at all. Everyone can dry spearmint leaves no matter what appliances they have in their kitchen.

If you love using spearmint in your cooking but want to save some money, try preserving your fresh spearmint by drying.

Want to learn more? Click here for specifically how to dry peppermint leaves and here for how to dry mint leaves in the oven. You can also learn how to make a great peppermint tea with your dried leaves here, learn whether spearmint repeals bugs here or find all my guides to mint here.