| |

Have Too Much Basil? Here’s What To Do With Extra Basil!

Pinterest Hidden ImagePinterest Hidden ImagePinterest Hidden ImagePinterest Hidden Image

Did you end up with a huge supply of fresh basil this season? Here are 11 delicious ways to use up that bumper crop when you’re trying to figure out what to do with basil.

A large sprig of fresh green big leafed basil against a bright white background.

If there’s one herb I love, it’s basil. That sweet, slightly floral smell reminds me of summer and delicious food, and it just sucks me in every time! 

Believe it or not, this herb is a part of the mint family. Its notable flavor is frequently used in Mediterranean dishes, and it contains many antioxidants and other nutrients. Lots of people use dried herbs in their dishes, but fresh basil will take any dish to an entirely new level.

If you’re growing basil in your container garden this year, you may be surprised at just how much you have to harvest before the weather turns! Now, while some people may see that as a problem, I see having “too much” of this herb as an opportunity!

Growing and Harvesting Basil

Before we get into how to use up an excess of this aromatic herb, let’s do a very quick overview of how to grow it so that you end up with a very prolific crop to use in many different ways. 

The good news is that you don’t need a green thumb because it’s actually very easy to grow! It works well as part of either your indoor herb garden or your outdoor container garden

Basil grows best in a warm spot that gets at least 6 hours of direct sun each day with moist, well-draining soil and a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer application once every 1-2 weeks. That’s it. Easy, peasy, right?

To harvest, simply pull off a few leaves from different spots around the plant and use them in your cooking. If you want to harvest as much as possible at the end of the season, cut from the top of the plant and move down, cutting the stems. Then, simply pull the leaves off the stems and use them.

Bright green, healthy, basil plant in a terracotta pot.  Smaller purple basil plants are seen in the background and edges of the image.

What To Do With Basil: 11 Delicious Ideas

I get it. Having so much of just one vegetable or herb can be overwhelming. However, when it comes to basil, there are so many things you can do with it that having too much is (almost) not possible!

Turn your concern into a world of possibilities for utilizing this versatile and delicious herb with these ideas.

fresh garden herbs and lemon on a white surface

Make Pesto

Making pesto is at the top of the list for most people when it comes to using up basil because pesto requires a large number of fresh leaves. Plus, just like the herb, pesto is versatile and delicious! 

If you end up with more pesto than you can use, you can always preserve it in the freezer until you’re ready to use it.

Jars of bright green homemade pest on a  rustic wooden cutting board with a linen napkin.  Fresh basil can be seen in the background.

Make Infused Olive Oil

This only takes a few minutes and will make any dish you create with the oil extra delicious! If you’ve never made infused oil before, try this easy recipe.

A jar of infused olive oil with a sprig of fresh basil against a bright white background.

Infuse Condiments

Along with the same idea of infusing oils, you can add herbs to condiments such as butter or mayo to spice them up.

To make basil butter, simply cut up fresh basil and mix it into ¼ cup of butter. Toss it into pasta or steamed veggies for a delicious twist.

Making basil mayo is a very similar process. Chop up a handful of fresh basil and mix it into ¼ cup of mayo. Add a dash of fresh garlic, and you’ll have your new favorite condiment for sandwiches!

A rustic wooden cutting board with a bowl of basil infused butter.  The image contains random sprigs of basil and fresh slices of lemon.

Add Basil To Your Salads

The herb’s flavor naturally pairs well with a huge variety of veggies, so adding a bit of chopped fresh basil leaves to your vegetable salads is a simple way to use up some extra supply while also elevating your salad.

Don’t even get me started on Caprese salads because the combination of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil leaves is my favorite!

Want something a little sweeter? Try tossing fresh leaves into your watermelon salad or pair it with other melons.

Infused Water

Have you ever tried adding basil leaves to your water? Or better yet, infuse your water with strawberries, basil, and a touch of lime. Refreshing! Plus, it’s a way to get some fruit, vitamins and add delicious flavor to bland water.

A clear water jug filled with fresh water and springs of fresh basil against a bright white background.

Throw Some Into Other Drinks

Basil tastes great in a huge variety of drinks. Love boozy drinks? Try adding some to your mojitos. Of course, if you’re making mojitos you’re going to want to grow some mint as well! For a family-friendly option, make a refreshing basil lemonade or a berry basil smoothie. Now that’s a delicious way to cool down on a hot summer day!

A glass and jug of light pink lemonade infused with strawberries, basil and fresh lemon.  Lemon wedges and basil can be seen on the table in front of the jug.

Basil On Pizza

Still, wondering what to do with basil? Pizza will come to the rescue! Adding fresh leaves to pizza is probably my favorite way to enjoy this herb. It adds that perfect distinctive flavor that makes me say “Mmmmmm”. 

Even if you’re gluten-free, you can enjoy basil on pizza. Try adding it to your gluten-free or cauliflower crust pizza!

A fresh homemade pizza with melted mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, and sprigs of fresh basil.

Finger-Lickin’ Good Appetizers

Make a few easy finger foods for guests the next time you host a gathering. Varieties of bruschetta and Caprese skewers are always a hit!

Rustic white bread with cheese, tomatoes, avacado, cheese and big fresh leaves of basil.  Infused olive oil is being poured over the bread.

Take Your Soups Up A Notch

Almost any tomato or veggie soup can benefit from adding some chopped fresh leaves. Tomato and basil were just meant to go together, but this herb would also taste amazing in squash, zucchini, or minestrone soups too!


Preserve It For Later

Even with all these ideas for using up basil, you may find that you want to store some to use and enjoy over the winter. You can dry the leaves in a dehydrator and store them in a glass jar for up to a year.

But, my favorite way to use fresh basil over the winter is to chop up fresh basil leaves, add them to olive oil, and freeze it in ice cube trays. Then, when I’m cooking over the winter, I simply pull out an ice cube or two and throw it into my recipes for that fresh taste I crave!

Dried Basil being sprinkled into a mound against a bright white background.

Give It Away

When you’ve tried everything else and still have too much basil to use up (with all these ideas, that won’t happen), a super-easy way to reduce your fresh supply is to share it with friends, family, or neighbors. 

A lovely  rustic grey wooden pot with fabric bow filled with a healthy bright green basil plant.

Final Thoughts On What To Do With Basil

Go ahead and grow basil this year! When it comes to harvesting a large amount of this versatile and delicious plant from the herb garden, the hard part isn’t figuring out what to do with basil. Instead, the hard part is deciding just how you want to use it first!  

Be sure to have the right tools for your indoor garden – they make the job easier and promote healthy growth.

There are several different varieties of basil that you can grow and each has a special place in the kitchen. We wrote this post to help you identify, grow and use all the popular varieties of basil

More Gardening Inspiration

Check out all gardening posts!

Similar Posts