12 Culinary Herbs to Grow For Passionate Home Cooks

Incorporating fresh herbs into your recipes is one of the best and easiest ways to liven up your cooking and take it to the next level. If you’re not growing your own culinary herbs yet, you’re missing out on freshness, flavor, and cost savings.

These are the versatile and popular culinary herbs you need to grow if you love to cook.

Growing Herbs is Easy

Basket of plants and herbs.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

To grow herbs successfully, select a sunny spot with well-drained soil for your herb garden. Ensure your herbs receive consistent watering, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged. Mulch can help retain moisture and suppress weeds. Regular pruning promotes bushy growth and prevents legginess.

For those short on garden space, consider growing herbs in containers.

Choose pots or containers with good drainage to prevent waterlogging. Terra cotta or plastic pots provide adequate airflow and moisture retention. Be sure to select containers large enough to accommodate the root systems of your herbs, allowing for ample growth. Container gardening offers flexibility, allowing you to move your herbs to sunnier or shadier spots. With the right containers and proper care, you can enjoy fresh herbs at your fingertips, even in limited spaces.

Cilantro (Coriander)

Cilantro.
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Cilantro leaves have a bright, citrusy flavor with subtle hints of parsley and spice. This herb is a staple in Mexican, Indian, and Southeast Asian cuisines, where it’s used in salsas, curries, tacos, and noodle soups. Cilantro also adds freshness to salads, guacamole, and grilled fish. Grow cilantro in rich, well-drained soil and partial sunlight.

Basil

Basil
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Basil boasts a sweet, slightly peppery flavor with hints of clove and anise. This versatile herb is essential in Italian cuisine, where it’s used in pesto, caprese salads, pasta dishes, and tomato-based sauces. Grow basil in well-draining soil and provide plenty of sunlight for optimal growth.

Recipe: Traditional Mortar & Pestle Basil Pesto {Made In the Correct Order}

Parsley

Parsley.
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Both flat-leaf (Italian) and curly-leaf parsley offer a fresh, grassy flavor with subtle hints of peppery bitterness. Flat-leaf parsley is preferred for its robust flavor and is commonly used in tabbouleh, chimichurri sauce, and Mediterranean dishes. Curly parsley is milder and often used as a garnish. Grow parsley in rich, moist soil with partial shade.

Recipe: German Bread Dumplings (Semmelknödel)

Rosemary

Rosemary.
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Rosemary features a bold, pine-like flavor with earthy undertones. Its aromatic leaves are ideal for seasoning roasted meats, poultry, potatoes, and bread. Rosemary also pairs well with grilled vegetables, soups, and stews. Grow rosemary in well-drained soil and provide full sunlight and good air circulation.

See Also: How To Propagate Rosemary {It’s Easy}

Thyme

Thyme.
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With its subtle, earthy flavor and floral aroma, thyme is a versatile herb used in a variety of savory dishes. For a boost of flavor, add fresh thyme leaves to soups, stews, roasted meats, and vegetable dishes. Thyme also complements poultry, fish, and marinades. Grow thyme in well-drained soil and full sunlight.

See Also: 11 Homemade Salad Dressings Better Than The Bottled Stuff

Sage

Sage.
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Sage offers a savory, slightly peppery flavor with hints of eucalyptus and citrus. Its velvety leaves are perfect for seasoning poultry dishes, stuffing, and hearty stews. Sage pairs well with pork, sausage, and creamy sauces. Fry sage leaves for a crispy garnish or infuse them into butter for a flavorful sauce. Grow sage in well-drained soil and full sunlight.

Recipe: Fresh Sage Herbal Tea {Hot or Iced}

Chives

Chives.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Chives impart a mild onion flavor with delicate hints of garlic. These slender, grass-like leaves are commonly used in salads, omelets, soups, and creamy dips. Chives also make an attractive garnish for baked potatoes and deviled eggs. Grow chives in moist, well-drained soil with partial sunlight.

Recipe: German Potato Salad

Mint

Mint.
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Mint offers a refreshing, cooling flavor with sweet undertones and a hint of menthol. This aromatic herb is prized for its versatility in both sweet and savory dishes. Use mint leaves to garnish cocktails, teas, salads, and desserts. Spearmint and peppermint are popular varieties for culinary use. Grow mint in moist, well-drained soil with partial to full sunlight.

Recipe: Easy Fresh Mint Tea {Hot or Iced}

Dill

Dill.
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Dill features feathery leaves and a delicate, grassy flavor with subtle hints of anise and lemon. This versatile herb is commonly used in fish dishes, salads, pickles, and creamy sauces. Dill also adds brightness to potato salads, soups, and dips. Harvest dill leaves just before flowering for the best flavor. Grow dill in well-drained soil with full sunlight.

Recipe: Creamy German Cucumber Salad

Oregano

Oregano.
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Oregano boasts a robust, slightly bitter flavor with hints of citrus and pepper. This aromatic herb is a staple in Mediterranean and Italian cuisines, where it’s used to flavor pizza, pasta sauces, grilled meats, and roasted vegetables. Greek oregano is prized for its intense flavor. Grow oregano in well-drained soil with full sunlight and good air circulation.

Recipe: Greek Grilled Octopus {Traditional Mediterranean Recipe}

Lovage

Woman harvesting fresh lovage and putting it into a basket.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Lovage offers a bold, celery-like flavor with hints of parsley and citrus. Its aromatic leaves and stems are used to flavor soups, stews, stocks, and salads. Lovage also adds depth to potato dishes, roasted vegetables, and creamy sauces. Grow lovage in moist, fertile soil with partial sunlight.

Recipe: Chicken Feet Bone Broth Stock {Stove Top or Instant Pot}

Marjoram

Marjoram.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Marjoram is a member of the mint family and has a delicate, sweet flavor with hints of pine and citrus. Its aromatic leaves are prized in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, where they’re used to enhance soups, stews, sauces, and meat dishes.

Marjoram pairs particularly well with poultry, lamb, and vegetables, adding a subtle yet distinctive flavor. This herb is also valued for its medicinal properties, known for its calming and digestive benefits. In the garden, marjoram is easy to grow, thriving in well-drained soil and full sunlight.

Recipe: Liver Dumpling Soup

Preserve Your Herbs

Herbs and spices.
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Preserve your fresh herbs for year-round enjoyment.

Learn More: 8 Ways To Preserve Fresh Herbs

Salad Dressings Full of Herbs

Salad dressings.
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One of the best ways to use your kitchen herbs is in homemade salad dressings.

Learn More: 11 Homemade Salad Dressings Better Than The Bottled Stuff

Homemade Spice & Seasoning Mixes

Spices.
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It’s easy to make your own seasoning and spice mixes — they’re cheaper and better too.

Learn More: 16 DIY Seasoning Mixes That Will Make You Ditch Store-Bought Forever

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