How to Crush Basil

by Jenny Harrington
Natural oils in fresh basil contain most of the aroma and flavor.

Natural oils in fresh basil contain most of the aroma and flavor.

Basil lends an aromatic flavor to any recipe, and it complements tomato-based dishes especially well. It is also a key ingredient in pesto, giving the sauce both its color and flavor. Fresh basil leaves have a stronger aroma and flavor than dried basil. Crushing a fresh basil leaf releases its scent and flavor. To preserve the most flavor, store whole leaves in the refrigerator and crush them as you need them when cooking.

Rinse the basil leaves briefly under cool, running water. Pat them dry with a paper towel.

Stack three or four basil leaves on top of each other and roll them into a cylinder. Slice the cylinder lengthwise down the center, then cut it cross-wise into a medium mince.

Spread the minced basil out on a cutting board and cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap.

Roll over the basil with a rolling pin, exerting medium pressure so the basil is crushed but not pulverized. Use the crushed basil immediately.

Items you will need

  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rolling pin


  • Crush basil lightly if you use a mortar and pestle instead of a rolling pin. Over-crushing pulverizes the leaves and makes them into a paste instead of just releasing the aroma and flavor.

About the Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images