How to Dry Mint (Three Easy Ways)

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How to dry mint leaves, including air-drying, using a food dehydrator, or drying it in the oven. Once dried and stored, mint has a shelf-life of at least a year, and you can use it to make fresh mugs of peppermint tea, food recipes, or handmade soap.

My mint grows from March to October, but after that, each dozen or so plants die back for the winter. That means I have two options to keep myself stocked up in mint over the cold months. Bring some of them inside to grow, or dry mint leaves to use until they start re-growing in spring. I usually choose the latter because it’s dead easy, and dried mint can last at least a year. There are several ways to dry mint, including in the oven, air-drying, and a food dehydrator. All three work a treat, and I’ll take you through each below.

But why dry mint at all? Carefully drying herbs can preserve the taste, color, and essential oils from the plant for months to come. Once dried, mint can last for at least a year in the cupboard, and you can use it in mint tea, herbal oils, food recipes, and skincare. The methods I share for drying mint apply to other leafy herbs, too. So, if you have a garden filled with lemon balm, basil, and parsley, you can dry them similarly.

When to Harvest Mint

The first step to drying mint is harvesting it. You can dry any variety of mint, and aside from Eau de Cologne mint, any type can be used to make tea or in cooking. Some varieties are better, though! I dry peppermint, spearmint, chocolate mint, and strawberry mint. There are dozens of different types of mint to grow, and collecting them is a fun garden hobby. One of the most unusual I’ve come across is ginger mint, and a new one I’ve added to the collection is blackcurrant mint.

As far as harvesting, cut mint anytime during the growing months, but try to aim for when it’s looking its best in late spring to early summer. The volatile oils (flavor!) will be at their highest just before the flowers bloom. The time of day matters, too. Try to pick mint on a calm, sunny day in the late morning. That’s usually before the sun can evaporate away essential oils.

Three ways to dry mint including air-drying, using a food dehydrator, and in the oven. Once dried, mint has a shelf life of at least a year and is great for making herbal tea #herbgarden #preservingfood #herbalism

If your mint looks tired or scruffy, it won’t be the best for drying. That’s alright, though, because if you have enough of a growing season left, you can cut it down to an inch from the ground and let the plant regrow. Within weeks, you’ll have plenty of fresh green leaves to dry. You can do this several times over the spring and summer, and mint will happily rebound to give you even more aromatic leaves.

Rinsing and Drying Mint

Before you use any of the below drying methods, make sure to clean the mint. It will have been outside and may have dirt, insects, and whatever else on the leaves. First, lay the mint on a cloth outside in the shade for thirty minutes. This gives bugs a chance to fly off.

Peppermint is best for harvesting just before the flowers bloom.
Essential oils and flavor are at their peak just as mint’s flowers are beginning to open

Next, fill the sink with cold water and submerge the leaves. It’s easiest to do this if they’re still on the stem. Swish the mint around gently, then take it out and dry off the excess moisture. A salad spinner or dish rack works, but you can also spread it out on a kitchen towel and pat it dry, too. It’s better not to leave mint to dry in direct sunlight, though. It can scorch and zap the leaves of flavor, color, nutrients, and volatile oils.

Air drying herbs on a cloth drying rack is both easy and uses no electricity.
Air drying mint is easy and requires no electricity

How to Dry Mint

The traditional way to dry mint is by air drying it. Allowing moisture to be pulled from the leaves by simply the power of the air! There are two main ways to air-dry mint. You can tie small bunches with string and hang them upside down in a warmish, dry, dim, and airy place. It could be inside or on a protected porch. To keep dried leaves from scattering on the floor below, loosely tie a paper bag over the bunch. It’ll catch any bits that fall, so they won’t make a mess and won’t go to waste. The mint should be bone dry after a week, but if it takes longer, the air in the room might be too humid. In this case, you can investigate the oven or dehydrator methods below.

Another way to air-dry herbs is to use a drying rack. There are many types out there, but I have a small cloth one that I use regularly. I lightly spread the mint on, stems and all, and leave it there to dry. It usually takes a week to dry if the room is warm enough.

Three ways to dry mint including air-drying, using a food dehydrator, and in the oven. Once dried, mint has a shelf life of at least a year and is great for making herbal tea #herbgarden #preservingfood #herbalism
Dried mint is perfect for making herbal tea.

How to Dry Mint in a Food Dehydrator

To dry herbs quickly, I use a food dehydrator. It’s great for drying mint, basil, other herbs, and fruit and veggies, especially those with high water content. It’s also reliable and easy, and the temperature can be adjusted and monitored. The only downside is that you need to buy a food dehydrator (or borrow one), and they use electricity. Not a huge amount, though.

Three ways to dry mint including air-drying, using a food dehydrator, and in the oven. Once dried, mint has a shelf life of at least a year and is great for making herbal tea #herbgarden #preservingfood #herbalism
Food dehydrators speed up the drying time

To use this method, clean the mint as instructed further above. Next, lay the mint sparsely in a single layer on each dehydrator tray and dry the mint at 40°C/105°F for three to five hours or until the leaves are brittle and crumble when rolled between your fingers.

You can either pluck the leaves from the stems or dry the leaves on the stems if that’s more convenient for you. Know that drying the leaves on the stem can increase the drying time, though. Also, it’s best to remove the leaves from the stems for storage, so either pluck them before drying or pull them from them afterward. Allow the mint to cool down before you store the leaves in jars or plastic bags. Residual heat can cause condensation in the jars, spoiling the mint.

You can dry any type of mint including these four types: chocolate mint, strawberry mint, apple mint and spear mint.
Pots of chocolate mint, strawberry mint, apple mint, and spearmint.

Oven-Drying Mint

The first two methods to dry mint are very easy but need either a food dehydrator or an environment where mint will air-dry quickly. What if you don’t have either and want to dry a bunch now? Fortunately, there’s another method that doesn’t require specialist equipment and is quick, too. You can dry it in the oven.

Young and green leaves are perfect for harvesting and preserving.
Young and fresh leaves are perfect for drying.

Once the mint is rinsed and dried, pluck the leaves from the stems and lay them in a thin layer over a lined baking tray or cookie sheet. Dry them in the oven at 40°C/105°F until you’re sure it’s completely dry. Turn the leaves every half an hour or so and keep the oven door wedged open a crack so that moisture can escape. A tea towel or pot holder can help keep it open.

Oven-drying mint will take just as long as drying it in a food dehydrator. Drying large amounts of mint at a time can take even longer. So there’s an electricity cost included here, but it does work a treat! If you use this method, I recommend avoiding drying large piles of mint at a time since it will take so much longer to dry. The herb’s scent and flavor can be impacted, too.

Dried herbs are best stored in an air-tight container such as a glass jar.
Dried mint leaves stored in a glass jar

Storing Dried Mint

High-quality dried mint is still green, and the scent and flavor will be very minty. If it’s black or lacks aroma, it likely spent too much time being heated. Try for smaller batches next time, and I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it.

When the mint is bone dry and at room temperature, you can put it in airtight containers to store. Make sure the leaves are nice and crumbly, though, since any moisture can cause the mint to mold over and spoil the rest.

Dried mint created the speckles in these light green colored soap bars.
Use dried mint to make peppermint soap.

Don’t be tempted to crumble the leaves too soon since they’ll lose their flavor more quickly if you do it. Store dried mint in a dark place at room temperature, and it will have a shelf-life of at least a year but up to two. After that, it tends to lose its flavor and color. Also, know that mint leaves will dry into a fraction of the size you began with. Plan to use a container that’s a quarter to one-eighth the size of the mint when fresh.

How to Dry Mint

Tanya Anderson
Three ways to dry mint at home using a simple air-drying method, a food dehydrator, and the oven. A great way to extend your mint harvest for tea, skincare, and food, right through the winter.
5 from 18 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 4 hours
Course Preserves
Cuisine American, British
Servings 2 cups
Calories 1.4 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups fresh mint leaves

Instructions
 

Clean the mint

  • Lay the freshly picked mint on a cloth outside in the shade for thirty minutes. This gives insects a chance to fly off.
  • Next, fill the sink with cool water and submerge the leaves — it’s easiest to do this if they’re still on the stem. Swish the mint around gently, then take it out and let it dry.

Method 1: Air-dry mint in bunches or on racks

  • Dry mint in bunches: Tie small bunches of mint with string and hang them upside down in a warmish, dry, dim, and airy place. To keep dried leaves from dropping down to the floor below, loosely tie a paper bag over the bunch. Leave the mint to hang and it should be dry in about a week's time.
  • Drying rack: Another way to air dry mint is to use a drying rack. There are many types, but I have a small cloth one that I use regularly. I lightly spread the mint on, stems and all, and leave it there to dry. It usually takes a week to dry if the room is warm enough.

Method 2: Dry mint using a food dehydrator

  • Spread the mint, either plucked from the stems or still on, in a thin layer on the racks of a food dehydrator. Plucked and it will dry faster, though. Dry at 105°F (40°C) for three to five hours or until the leaves are brittle and crumble when rolled between your fingers. Allow to fully cool down before you store the leaves.

Method 3: Oven-dry mint

  • Spread the mint, either plucked from the stems or still on, in a thin layer on a lined baking sheet. If you pluck the leaves from the stems first, the mint can dry quicker. Dry the mint in the oven at 105°F (40°C) until bone dry. Turn the leaves every half an hour or so and keep the oven door wedged open a crack so that moisture can escape. A tea towel or pot holder can help keep it open the right amount.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tspCalories: 1.4kcalSodium: 1.7mgFiber: 0.1gVitamin A: 75IUCalcium: 10mgIron: 0.6mg
Keyword Mint, peppermint
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Lastly, if drying mint seems like too much trouble you can also freeze it. A good friend of mine buys bunches of peppermint at the farmers market, pops it in the freezer, and takes handfuls out when she makes mint tea. She puts the frozen mint in a mug, pours over scalding hot water and allows it to steep. It’s an incredibly easy way to preserve mint for fresh peppermint tea!

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26 Comments

  1. Can you dry mint in the microwave on a paper towel?

  2. 5 stars
    Dear Tanya , just wanted to say thank you for sharing your knowledge on herbs ,soaps and your shining ? heart ,,,, I started to make soaps and be more connected to my garden following your great tips,,, all the best to you, ShalOm from south of Portugal, moksha ?

  3. 5 stars
    These are exactly the sort of directions I was hoping for as a first-time mint gardener with a huge mint plant. Thank you!

  4. Karen Young says:

    5 stars
    I love the drying rack you have. Simple and easy. Do you mind sharing where you got it from? Great tips! Thanks!

    1. Sharon Sanderson says:

      $4.00 a wooden shoe rack with paper towels spread across it and I washed the peppermint carefully and shake it a little bit and set it on the rack it has two shelves and only cost me $4

  5. Maria Bradley says:

    5 stars
    Tanya
    Thanks for the ideas on how to dry mint. I usually dry mint on a kitchen towel but the drying rack is an excellent idea.
    I love all your tips on gardening, creams and soaps which I myself made some of them.
    Take care
    Maria

  6. 5 stars
    Thanks for your mint-drying methods. I decided to air dry, so after snipping the mint and rinsing it, I dried it all in a salad spinner and laid it all out on a sweater drying rack in my living room. I’ve enjoyed several of your other videos, too. Thanks for posting!

  7. Since my husband is allergic, I'll stick to the oven method, which I can do while he is at work. Thanks for the tip.

  8. Tanya, you are really very skilled at such crafts… hmmm, I salute you…

  9. I've never dried my mint in the oven…I tend to just hang bunches in the kitchen…this does seem quicker though…can you dry all herbs this way??

  10. 5 stars
    Hello Tanya!

    Thank you very much for the tip. I have a lot of peppermint growing in the garden and this is a quick way of dealing with the amount I'm going to cut away.

    Regards
    Garden Chair

  11. 5 stars
    I use a dehydrator for drying herbs, I also dry Rosella's and use them for making a delicious tea. Herb Robert is another favourite after reading of the huge health benefits of using it fresh or dried and used as a tea. I also love the Wild Flower post, very beautiful. Shirley

    1. 5 stars
      We've got plenty of Herb Robert but making it into tea has honestly never occurred to me. I've just had a peek online and it seems it has cancer-fighting properties – thanks for the tip and I'll definitely give it a go! Have a nice weekend Shirley :)

  12. 5 stars
    I can only imagine how heavenly the house smells using that method! Sounds easy.
    We live in Sahara-like conditions—a day or two hanging from a clothesline in my garage does the trick…..but, are the mice enjoying it? I think I'll try it YOUR way. Have a great weekend, Tanya!
    :)

    1. Mint drying on the line…you should get a picture of that! :) I may have to try that if we get a few hot days this summer – it's back to raining for now and apparently we're due a 'British Monsoon' next week. Joy.

    2. Mice HATE mint! It is wrapped in fancy packaging and sold as rodent deterrent for high prices!
      GG

  13. I'm drinking home-dried peppermint tea right now actually, I use a dehydrator, or just air dry if the weather isn't too humid. Drying makes it easier to take it to work.

    1. Ideally I'd love to dry mint in the air or in a solar dehydrator – so much more energy efficient. Unfortunately we don't really get much heat this far north and herbs can tend to go mouldy using air drying methods. I suppose suspending small bunches of them over a radiator (if they're on) or using an electric dehydrator are some other ways to dry it for us. I really wish we had your Australian heat sometimes :)

  14. Mint grows wild around our spring and it is nice to walk through it as it fills the air with the wonderful smell. It is hard to kill though our patch has moved around the building because a tree is shading the original patch now. Have you ever used blackberry leaves for tea? They are good and a medicine as well.

    1. That's a really lovely mental image Sunnybrook :) Do you know what type of mint it is?

      I've never used Blackberry leaves for tea before – does it taste nice? I'll have to look up their medicinal qualities.

  15. 5 stars
    I might try this Tanya – I have loads of the stuff growing in my garden and – yes – you are quite right, if you let it it will take over the whole garden.

    1. It's a lovely herb but I think there can be too much of it… It really loves our cool wet climate and does seem to take advantage if you turn your back on it! Good luck with drying some yourself Pat :)