The Reason You Shouldn't Use Fresh Herbs In Casseroles

The right herbs can make or break a casserole. Per the Spruce Eats, the smells and flavor these "green, leafy" seasonings add to a recipe are not just culinary d├ęcor. Herbs are essential to delight our senses, especially our taste buds, making our favorite dishes true gastronomic experiences. In fact, when these flavor enhancers are used properly, they can make it difficult not to go back for seconds. Whether its summertime and you find yourself cutting fresh springs of rosemary, basil, or mint from your garden to add to your salads and pesto, or you are cooking with dried herbs to make the flavor of your stews, chicken, fish, and soups pop, herbs play an important role.

But if you are among the majority of us who sometimes struggle with when to use fresh herbs over dried herbs, and vice versa, you've probably pondered this conundrum when making your favorite homemade casserole recipe. Do a quick Google, and you will find recipes that call for both. But is one better than the other? As MasterClass explains, while both produce some glorious results when flavoring our foods, there are some distinct differences between dried and fresh herbs that every cook should know. This is especially true with casseroles which is why All Recipes shares the reason you shouldn't use fresh herbs in this dish.

Fresh herbs lose their taste and color

We are programmed to believe fresh is always best, but according to All Recipes, while that might be your first instinct when it comes to your casseroles and herbs, it's not correct. The food site reveals when you are making your favorite tuna casserole, lasagna, or even baked chicken and dumplings casserole, you want to opt for dried herbs. Why? Because baking changes both the color and taste of herbs. If you want to add fresh herbs to a casserole, All Recipes suggests doing so right before serving to add a pop of color and mimic the flavor of the dried version.

Ree Drummond's Pioneer Woman website concurs with this herb instruction and explains that fresh herbs should generally be reserved for "uncooked foods," suggesting their freshness works best with foods like guacamole or an herb sauce. But a word of caution when using dried herbs instead of fresh herbs. Drummond's site notes that dried herbs have a more "concentrated" taste than fresh herbs, which contain more water which dilutes the flavor. So, if you are using dried herbs in place of fresh ones, you will want to use less.