Do Bay Leaves Go Bad? How Long Do Bay Leaves Last?

Bay leaves are used as an herb. They come fresh or dried, and you can choose whether to buy the whole leaf or buy containers where the dried leave has been finely chopped up. Either way, they are great to add to new recipes! Do they ever go bad? This article will go over that subject, as well as storage methods and other frequently asked questions.

Quick Answer

Bay leaves will not necessarily go “bad”, but they will lose their flavor over time. If you store dried bay leaves outside at room temperature, they can last between 1-3 years in a cool, dark environment. Fresh bay leaves will last about a week outside if stored in an airtight container. If you store bay leaves in the fridge, they can last for up to 10 days. Store them in damp paper towels in airtight container for best results. Storing bay leaves in the freezer is actually one of the best ways to store them, especially if the bay leaves are fresh! Simply place them in an airtight container, label and freeze! They will keep for at least 3 years this way, maybe longer.


Alright, now that we know the basics let’s take a closer look into the details of each storage method.

Do Bay Leaves Go Bad? How Long Do Bay Leaves Last?

Bay leaves are a great herb to add to some of the new recipes you want to try out. After you bring some bay leaves home, how are you going to store any extras? It’s always good to consider the different storage methods you have to choose from.

How Long Do Bay Leaves Last Outside?

As long as the environment you’re storing the leaves in is dry and free of moisture, bay leaves can last between 1-3 years. Storing the leaves in the pantry or a drawer may be the most beneficial.

When storing bay leaves outside or at room temperature, be sure to keep the leaves in a dry place away from light. This will help preserve the flavor as well as the texture of the leaf.

If you’re storing fresh bay leaves outside or at room temperature, they may only last a week. This will depend on whether you use an air tight storage container or not.

How Long Do Bay Leaves Last in the Fridge?

If you buy fresh bay leaves, you will want to store them in the fridge to maximize shelf life. Bay leaves that are properly stored in the fridge last between 7-10 days.

To properly store fresh bay leaves in the fridge, you will want to place the bay leaves between damp paper towels. Then, place that in an airtight bag such as a ziplock, then place on the highest possible shelf.

Why place them on the highest shelf? This will help prevent any bruising of the bay leaf, as fresh bay leaves are very fragile.  It is also the warmest place in the fridge, and will help maintain the flavor and aroma of the leaf.

How Long Do Bay Leaves Last in the Freezer?

Unlike many of their herb counterparts, bay leaves actually do very well stored in the freezer. Storing bay leaves in the freezer will help preserve a lot of the flavor, as well as the aroma.

Bay leaves that are stored in the freezer can last for many years, at least 3. This is due to the cold environment of the freeze. It helps preserve the flavor, texture and aroma of the bay leaves.

When storing bay leaves in the freezer, be sure to keep them in an airtight container such as a ziplock or other storage bag. This will prevent freezer burn and oxidation, which can affect the quality of the bay leaf.

It’s fascinating to learn the different ways bay leaves are stored. Now, let’s dive into way you can tell whether your bay leaves are going bad, and how to tell if they are fresh.

How To Tell If Bay Leaves Have Gone Bad / How To Know Bay Leaves are Fresh

One day you’re rummaging around in your cupboard and happen to notice that your dried bay leaves have been in the cupboard for a while. You had forgotten all about them until a new recipe calls for a few. Can you still use your bay leaves, or have they gone bad? How can you tell?

  • Appearance: If your bay leaves begin to go bad, you may notice them lacking in vibrant color. If your bay leaves come in contact with moisture, you may notice mold growing on some of the leaves.
  • Taste: Bay leaves that are considered “going bad” will have a bland flavor to them. Their pungency and unique flavor will be lessened, if you can taste anything at all.

Fresh bay leaves will have a bright green color with a smooth leaf. Their aroma will be strong and pleasant, and their taste will be unquestionable. While dried bay leaves are easier to find, you can probably purchase fresh bay leaves at certain health stores or supermarkets. For the greatest chance of success, you will want to look in the produce section of these stores. You can also ask a store associate for help if you don’t know where else to look.

How to Store Bay Leaves?

After you purchase your bay leaves, you may be wondering how to store them. Basically, the main thing to remember is to keep moisture and light away from the bay leaves. This will help preserve them for the longest period of time.

Bay leaves can be stored at room temperature if they are dried. You will want to keep them in an airtight container, away from light and moisture. Fresh bay leaves can be stored at room temperature for about a week if stored in an airtight container. Otherwise, they can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Can You Freeze Bay Leaves? How?

So far we’ve learned that whether your bay leaves are fresh or dried, freezing them is by far the best method of storage if your goal is to preserve the flavor, aroma and texture for as long as possible. When you come home with your bay leaves and are ready to store extras in the freezer, is there a right way to do it?

Make sure you keep air, moisture and light away from them. You can do this by placing the bay leaves in an airtight container, such as a ziplock bag, or other container. After you label, place in the freezer.

Periodically check the container for any condensation. This means that moisture is somehow getting in, and this will ruin your bay leaves. Moisture buildup can be the results of opening and closing the freezer door, so try to store the leaves in the back of the freezer whenever possible.

How to Thaw Bay Leaves?

When you decide to use some bay leaves in your next recipe, you remember you stored some in the freezer. You pull them out, but how do you thaw frozen bay leaves?

The best way to thaw frozen bay leaves is to let them sit on the counter until they are ready for use. This should not take longer than an hour.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bay Leaves

How Can I Dry Fresh Bay Leaves? Bay leaves can be dried by first harvesting them during the warmest time of the harvest. This ensures the most oils are being produced by the plant. You will blanch them in boiling water for no longer than 5 seconds. Remove from water and pat dry with paper towel. They can also be dried by the sun.

Are Bay Leaves Healthy? Many don’t know the health benefits of bay leaves. These green leaves are packed with antibacterial properties that aid in wound healing, helps to treat kidney stones, promotes good digestion, and can even improve hair growth!

Wrap Up

Bay leaves are a great herb to add to your meals. You can buy dried or fresh. Storage options include room temperature, the fridge or the freezer. Dried bay leaves can last years at room temperature, provided they are kept in a cool, dark place. Fresh bay leaves are best kept in the fridge and can last for about 10 days. Fresh or dried bay leaves can last years in the freezer. Do you like bay leaves? Let us know in the comments below.

Leave a Reply