How To Dry Thyme In The Microwave: Quick And Easy

If you like to cook, you’ve most likely heard of the herb thyme. It’s used in many dishes including Mediterranean, European, and Asian-style dishes.

Many people that cook frequently like to grow their own herbs. It’s more rewarding than buying them, and it costs less too.

Rather than always using fresh herbs, though, drying can be more convenient. But, which method of drying is right for you? If you’re in a pinch for time, I suggest the microwave method.

Below, I cover all the ways you can dry thyme leaves before going in-depth with exactly how to dry thyme in the microwave, how long it takes and how to store your dried thyme afterwards.

Why Dry Thyme Leaves?

Thyme is a very popular herb that is used frequently for cooking. Sure, you can go to the store and buy dried thyme or even fresh thyme, but the cost can add up. If you have your own thyme plant, it’s better to dry the leaves yourself.

Drying your own thyme leaves allows you to have fresh dried thyme at your fingertips whenever you need it.

How To Dry Thyme Leaves

There are several different ways to dry thyme leaves. Whichever option you choose really depends on your personal preferences.

Some options are more eco-friendly, but take longer. Some options are quick, but will potentially eliminate some of the flavor.

Microwave

Using a microwave is clearly the quickest option, but many people aren’t familiar with this method. It’s said that drying your thyme in the microwave will cause your leaves to loose a bit of their flavor. Still, this method is great if you’re in a pinch for time.

Using a microwave will allow you to have fresh dried thyme in less than a minute. As far as flavor goes, just be careful not to overcook your thyme leaves. Simply check on your leaves frequently as they’re drying and remove them when they’re finished. Doing this prevents you from losing almost any flavor.

Air-Drying By Hanging

Air-drying is definitely the simplest method, and it’s also the most eco-friendly. You don’t need anything other than your sprigs of thyme and a little bit of string.

All you need to do is bunch up multiple sprigs and tie them together with a bit of string.

Then, you’ll just hang the sprigs up to dry. Choose a location that is warm and dry, but isn’t in direct sunlight.

There are a couple downsides to this method, the main one being time. Hanging your thyme is the easiest way to dry them, but it also takes the longest. It will take about 1-2 weeks for your thyme to dry completely.

Also, this method is incompatible for wet or humid climates. You should only use this method if you live somewhere warm and dry.

Air-Drying With A Tray

Air-drying your leaves on a tray is similar to the hanging method, but is much quicker. Unlike the hanging method, it will only take a couple days for your leaves to dry.

All you need to do is select a baking tray and line it with parchment paper. You’ll place the leaves onto the paper in a single layer. Make sure that you rotate the leaves every 12 hours for even drying.

Dehydrator

Using a dehydrator is one of the best options for drying thyme if you’re low on time. It dries the leaves at a low temperature so that you don’t have to worry about overcooking them.

The downside to this method is that you have to purchase a dehydrator, which can get pricey.

With a dehydrator, you’re going to place the leaves across the trays in a single layer. You’re then going to dehydrate the leaves at 95 degrees Fahrenheit for 2-4 hours.

Oven

The oven method is great because it’s one of the quickest methods, but it doesn’t require you to purchase any special equipment. When using an oven, your leaves will dry out in only 1-2 hours, which is great if you don’t have days to wait.

When drying in the oven, you want to set the temperature to no higher than 150 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re able to set it lower than that, that’s even better.

The problem with ovens is that they can overcook the leaves which will cause them to lose flavor. To avoid this, you’re going to want to check on your leaves every 15 minutes after the first hour.

Also, you need to keep the oven door propped open to let out any excess moisture.

To learn more about the oven method, read our article here.

Dried Thyme
Dried Thyme

How To Dry Thyme In Microwave

So, you have a big meal planned tonight and you need dried thyme. You’re running out of time and can’t go to the grocery store to buy some, so what can you do? You have fresh thyme available, but you need it dried.

Not to worry, pop those fresh thyme leaves into the microwave and you’ll be ready to go in under a minute.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove the leaves from the sprig
  2. Lay the leaves on a piece of paper towel
    • Make sure that you only do a single layer
    • If leaves are laying on top of each other, they won’t be able to dry properly
  3. Place a second paper towel over the leaves and the first paper towel
  4. Place the leaves and paper towels into the microwave
  5. Microwave on high for 30 seconds
  6. Check the leaves
    • You’ll know the leaves are finished when they’re brittle and crumble at the touch
    • If they still have moisture, they need to be dried again
  7. Continue microwaving in 15 second intervals until the leaves are completely dry
    • The leaves should be dry and brittle, but not overcooked
    • Remove the leaves as soon as all the moisture is gone

How Long Does It Take To Dry Thyme In Microwave?

Drying thyme in the microwave is very quick. For most microwaves operating at high power, the leaves will dry in under 1 minute.

Do You Wash Thyme Before Drying In Microwave?

Really, you want to avoid washing your thyme before drying it if possible. Washing the leaves will strip them of the essential oils that give the herb its flavor.

Washing will also add time to the whole drying process because you can’t dry leaves with moisture on them. Leaves must be completely dry on the outside before you can begin drying them on the inside.

However, if your leaves are dirty, or if you use pesticides in your garden, you can do a light rinse of your leaves. Rinse with just a thin stream of water and gently pat dry with a towel. You’ll likely need to let it air dry as well.

Remember, leaves must always be dry on the outside before you can begin drying them on the inside.

Dried thyme
Dried thyme

How To Store Your Dried Thyme Leaves

Storing your dried thyme leaves is fairly simple, you just need to know which containers are best.

The main thing you need to know when storing your dried herbs is that they should be in a dry place with little to no light. Moisture can quickly ruin any herb because it causes mold to grow. Light will cause the herb to age more quickly and it will lose its flavor sooner.

The best containers to use are glass or ceramic. Avoid plastics because they are often porous. Porous containers will soak up the essential oils from your thyme, causing the leaves to lose flavor.

Make sure to never store leaves that have any kind of moisture in them. If you are unsure if your leaves are completely dry, just keep a close eye on them. Check the container once a day for any condensation.

If you notice condensation, then you need to dry the leaves more. If you haven’t seen any condensation after a few days, then the leaves are fine.

It’s also best to store your leaves in a cupboard where they will not be exposed to light.

If you do all these things, your dried thyme will be good for about 6 months before it begins to lose flavor.

Final Words

There are 5 different methods for drying herbs. Each method is useful in its own way, it really depends on your personal preferences.

But, if you don’t have a lot of time, I suggest that you use the microwave method. In under 1 minute, you’ll have freshly dried thyme right at your fingertips.

Want to learn more? Click here to learn how to dry thyme in the oven and learn how to freeze thyme here. You can also find all my guides to growing thyme here.