How to Measure a Tablespoon of Fresh Basil

by Solomon Branch

Recipes usually specify if you need to measure basil before or after it is cut into smaller pieces.

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Items you will need

  • Measuring spoons
  • Chopping knife

Using fresh herbs in dishes brings a distinct flavor that dried herbs don't have. If you are not used to using fresh herbs, you might be confused about how to measure them. In most cases, following the directions of the recipe will clarify how you need to measure fresh basil. If the directions are unclear or you are using it for your own recipe, use your best judgment and your taste preferences to determine how much basil you need.

Step 1

Read the directions of the recipe to determine the amount of basil needed and how it should be cut -- coarsely chopped, finely chopped or minced.

Step 2

Measure and cut the basil according to the recipe using only the leaves of the basil, not the stems. For example, if the recipe states it requires 1 tablespoon of fresh basil, chopped — measure the fresh basil leaves first, then chop them. If the recipe says it needs 1 tablespoon of chopped or finely chopped fresh basil, chop the fresh basil leaves first, then measure out a tablespoon of the chopped or finely chopped leaves.

Step 3

Convert the measurements for fresh basil if the recipe calls for dried basil. The ratio of fresh herbs to dried herbs is 3 to 1, which means you need 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs for every 1 teaspoon of dried herbs. Mince the fresh basil to get the pieces close to the size of dried basil.


  • Chopped means bite-sized pieces, while coarsely chopped means cut the leaves to a size of 1/3 inch. Finely chopped means to cut pieces between 1/4 inch and 1/8 inch in size. Minced means cut pieces to sizes between 1/16 inch to 1/8 inch.

    If the recipe is not clear on how to chop the fresh basil, consider how much basil you would like to use according to your own preferences, keeping in mind that the finer the cut of the fresh basil, the more flavor it will have.

    When measuring the fresh basil, place it lightly in the measuring spoon and avoid packing it down. It's fine if the top of the basil sticks out a bit above the rim of the measuring spoon.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

About the Author

Solomon Branch specializes in nutrition, health, acupuncture, herbal medicine and integrative medicine. He has a B.A. in English from George Mason University, as well as a master's degree in traditional Chinese medicine.