At Milk Street, fresh herbs are more than mere afterthought or garnish. We use them with abandon, treating them as salad greens unto themselves, blending handfuls of them into vivid pestos and tossing heaps into aromatic stir-fries.
But measuring out herbs can be challenging. That’s because recipes tend to call for prepped amounts rather than volumes of whole herbs. When a dish requires 1 cup finely chopped fresh basil, few of us intuitively know how many 2-ounce clamshell packs of whole leaves to purchase.
To make this easier, we tested a variety of herbs for volume and weight, with the goal of learning approximately how many ounces of whole herbs (with stems) should be purchased in order to get a set volume of leaves. We also wanted to know the equivalents for whole leaves and chopped.
Of course, herbs vary package to package and bunch to bunch. A 2-ounce package of thick-stemmed basil offers less edible herb than a similar package with thin-stemmed sprigs. We tried to find an average for most herbs, but in general it’s always safer to buy an ounce or two more than you think you need.
|If Recipe Calls For (finely chopped)||Purchase At Least||Lightly Packed Leaves||Roughly Chopped Yield|
|Basil||1/3 c.||2 oz. bunch||1 1/4 c.||3/4 c.|
|Chives||2 Tbsp.||1/4 oz. pkg. or small bunch||1/4 c.||-|
|Cilantro||1/2 c.||3 oz. bunch||1 1/3 c.||scant 1 c.|
|Dill||1/2 c.||2 oz. bunch||1 1/4 c.||1 c.|
|Mint||1/2 c.||2 oz. bunch||1 c.||2/3 c.|
|Oregano||2 Tbsp.||1/4 oz. pkg.||1/4 c.||3 Tbsp.|
|Parsley (Flat- Leaf)||1/2 c.||2 oz. bunch||1 c.||3/4 c.|
|Rosemary||2 Tbsp.||1/4 oz. pkg. or 2 small sprigs||scant 1/4 c.||-|
|Sage||2 Tbsp.||1/4 oz. pkg. or small bunch||1/3 c.||scant 1/3 c.|
|Tarragon||2 Tbsp.||1/4 oz. pkg.||1/4 c.||-|
|Thyme||2 Tbsp.||1/2 oz. pkg. or small bunch||1/4 c.||-|