If you love cooking with fresh culinary herbs, you are going to love how easy growing herbs indoors can be. There is nothing like cutting your own fresh herbs to add to your recipes! Here are my favorite fresh herbs that you can grow indoors in your kitchen window!
Don't forget to check out my post on how to use fresh herbs in your cooking. It has tons of mouthwatering recipes for you to make!
If you are new to gluten free living, don't forget to check out my easy tips for gluten free living to help you both learn to cook and bake gluten free, but it will also give you tips to dine out safely in restaurants too!
This is my kitchen window :-). My daughter made me this fabulous indoor herb garden and drew cute mandala labels as a gift. (I keep telling her she needs to sell her work. You can see her art on Instagram at artbykaelag.)
Here are some cute windowsill garden boxes to grow your herbs in. Growing herbs in pots mean a lot less mess!
Common Herbs for Cooking
There’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh herbs in recipes you cook and bake. If you’re lucky enough to have an herb garden, you can enjoy that great taste anytime you like. What do you do if you don’t have space for a garden outdoors? Grow them indoors!!
Growing Herbs Indoors
Most herbs are very easy to grow indoors in small areas such as kitchen window sills. Herbs need warmth, sunlight, and water if you want these plants to thrive. (Keep in mind that if your kitchen doesn’t have enough natural sunlight during the day, you can also place the herb containers in rooms with better natural sunlight.)
When considering what herbs to grow, you will want to look for herbs which will remain relatively small. Herbs which are wide or tall may not fit in the area you’ve chosen to grow them. You’ll also want to consider the type of cooking you do most often and choose herbs which will match that type of cooking."
Herb seeds and seedlings can be found at many discount stores, grocery stores, as well as farmer’s co-ops. If you choose to grow your herbs from seeds, follow the instructions on the packet to plant them. Before you know it, you’ll have fresh herbs to harvest and enjoy in your home-cooked meals!!
Here are some of the best herbs for growing indoors:
Chives flavor tastes like a combination of garlic and onions and they can be added to homemade salad dressing, sour cream, soups, or even ground hamburger or turkey meat. You may want to substitute chives for onions in some recipes to give your food a little different flavor profile.
Chives are very easy to grow and can be started from seeds easily. When I need chives, I take my kitchen shears and chop off what I need. Use a sharp knife to then dice it.
You will love the chives in these Curried Sweet Potato Hashbrown Waffles.
Basil is used in many ethnic foods such as those from Italy and Thailand. If you’re preparing a dish with tomatoes, basil is a natural herb to choose. There are several varieties of basil to choose from including the most commonly used: sweet basil, lemon basil, and Thai basil.
Basil can get leggy, meaning the stalks have very few leaves. To prevent this, pinch the tops of the stalks and remove the tiny new leaves. This will encourage more bushy growth and more leaves to use in recipes.
Try fresh basil in this Baked Ziti Casserole or these Italian Pork Meatballs.
Cilantro (aka Coriander)
Cilantro is another herb that can be grown easily from seeds. My son likes to scatter cilantro seeds in our garden box so we have cilantro year-round. It grows well either indoors or outdoors. Depending upon whether you’re using the leaves or allowing the herb to go to seed, you can easily add cilantro to Mexican, Thai, and Indian cuisines.
Cooking with sage is one of my favorites. Sage has a mild herby sweet flavor that goes beautifully with poultry. Sage, thyme, and rosemary make a delicious flavor combination packed under the skin for roasted chicken or turkey.
Sage is a perennial herb that grows quickly and as the leaves get larger, their flavor gets stronger.
If you love the flavor of sage, you will love this Butternut Squash Noodles with Brown Sage Butter recipe.
Mint (Peppermint or Spearmint)
Mint is a wildly popular herb which is used in a myriad of cuisines. If you live in the South, I bet you add it to your iced tea. You can also use mint as an ingredient in salads, jellies, and desserts. There is a coffee chain called Philz Coffee that makes a cold iced coffee packed with fresh mint leaves. It is so refreshing!
Mint is easy to grow and it can be started as seeds or seedlings. *Note mint spreads a LOT when growing so if you plant it outside, make sure to give it plenty of room. Peppermint is known to soothe the stomach and it is delicious as hot (or iced) tea.
Thyme is often used when cooking meat dishes. Thyme has a rustic flavor that works with chicken, pork, fish, and red meats. You can also combine thyme with fruits like in this Olallieberry Thyme Sauce. It tastes amazing on these Grilled Pork Chops.
It is best to start these out as seedlings so you can have lots of this herb as quickly as possible. To cut off some thyme for a recipe, use kitchen shears to trim off what you need.
Fresh Parsley (Curly Leaf or Flat Leaf)
Parsley is one of the more widely used herbs. It is not only added to dishes for flavor, but it makes a beautiful garnish as well. Parsley is nutrient packed and is a great source of Vitamin C and folic acid.
Add parsley to one of these delicious soup recipes for a delicious meal. I hope you are seeing the benefits of growing fresh herbs indoors:-).
Oregano is known as an Italian herb. It is used a lot in Italian cooking and sauces. Oregano is both a culinary herb and medicinal herb. Oregano loves the sun so definitely make sure it has a nice sunny windowsill. Once the plant has grown about four inches tall, you can pinch the ends to keep it busy and to avoid legginess.
You will love the oregano flavor in this tasty Pasta Sauce with Meat recipe.
Cooking with rosemary is one of my favorites. Rosemary is not only fun to grow in your kitchen, but many people use it as shrubbery in their gardens. Rosemary has a strong flavor that is perfect for meats and fish. You can even use it in your baking. Give these Gluten Free Cheddar Herb Scones a try! They are delicious dipped in a beef stew!
How to Keep Herbs Fresh:
I keep my herbs fresh by keeping them in their planter as long as I can. I just snip off herbs as I need them. If you keep your herbs in the window as I do, you will need to water them often. I need to water my fresh herbs every other day because our kitchen bay window gets direct sunlight.
How to store fresh herbs:
If your herbs are not growing and they were cut from their roots, you can store them upright in a glass of water. They should stay fresh for 3-5 days.
Can you freeze cilantro and other herbs?
Herbs preserve very well when frozen. Cilantro can easily be frozen either in water or oil.
- To freeze in water add fresh herbs to an ice cube tray and fill with purified water. Freeze. When the herb cubes are frozen, move the cubes to a freezer bag.
- If you prefer to freeze your herbs in oil, the process is the same as above. Add your fresh herbs to the ice cube tray. Top each cube section with high-quality olive oil and freeze.
Fresh vs Dried Herbs:
You can definitely use dried herbs if you don't have fresh herbs on-hand. The dried herb to fresh herb ratio is about 3 fresh to 1 dried. Dried herbs have a much stronger concentrated flavor than fresh herbs so you need to triple the number of herbs a recipe calls for if you are using fresh herbs.
I love these windowsill herb planters and seed kits:
- Organic Home Garden Kit
- Ceramic Herb Planters
- Organic Heirloom Herb Seeds - 8 different types of seeds
While you are here, why not check out some of my most popular recipes?