There are a lot of recipes online labeled as “Italian Herb Seasoning”, but are they really authentic? The majority of them are made by people who have never even been to Italy and simply buy packaged dried herbs at the supermarket and them mix them together.
What I am sharing with you today is the REAL DEAL recipe for the Italian herb seasoning my family and I make here in Italy. We don’t rely on packaged dried herbs, but we pick all of them up ourselves in the countryside (or in our garden), we dehydrate them in the oven and then grind them with other seasonings to create a delicious and healthy Italian seasoning blend.
If you follow my daily Instagram Stories, you know that I am always out in the nature for long walks. And while I exercise and enjoy the beautiful scenery, it’s easy to get distracted by the many shrubs of wild herbs that grow naturally in the fields, such as marjoram, thyme and oregano. It’s rare to go back home empty handed.
Here in Italy, it’s also really common for people to grow herbs like sage, basil, rosemary and Bay leaves in their garden or on their balcony. And those who don’t usually have a neighbor that’s happy to share their surplus with them.
Using fresh herbs and dehydrating them yourself is the only real way to make an authentic Italian herb seasoning the way Italians actually do it. And if you don’t have as much access to the nature and can’t pick herbs in the wild, don’t worry.
You can easily create your authentic Italian herb seasoning too using the aromatic herbs you have in your garden, or simply by buying fresh herbs at the supermarket and them dehydrating them yourself with the simple procedure I am sharing in this post.
In my family, we’ve been making our Italian herb seasoning from scratch ever since I can remember. And because I can’t cook without it, I always sneak a jar of it in my suitcase when I go to the US so I can always give my dishes a taste of Italy.
What is Italian seasoning made of?
The most common Italian herbs you’ll find in an authentic Italian herb seasoning are:
- Bay Leaf
- Myrtle (an aromatic evergreen shrub that’s native to the Mediterranean region and particularly found on the island of Sardinia)
How do you make Italian seasoning from scratch?
To make an authentic Italian herb seasoning from scratch, wash your freshly picked (or bought) herbs and wash them under running water. Tap them dry with a clean cloth, gently remove the leaves and place them on a baking pan. To get them well dried, bake them at 130 C (260 F) for 20 to 25 minutes until completely dehydrated.
Roughly crush the dried herbs with your hands. Combine them in your grinder together with the other ingredients, and process for a few seconds until you have a nice seasoning powder.
What does Italian seasoning smell like?
Making your Italian herb seasoning from scratch using fresh herbs will make your kitchen smell like you are in a Mediterranean forest along the sea. Seriously. And this intense, fragrant smell of rosemary and other aromatic herbs will give your dishes a delicious taste of Italy.
I use mine in everything I cook. From simple cooked vegetables, to stir fries, pasta sauces, risotto, roasted potatoes and so on.
Can I substitute some of the herbs for the Italian seasoning?
Yes, you can definitely substitute some of the herbs in your Italian seasoning according to your liking and availability. The two herbs you should always put in there are rosemary and sage, as they represent the essence of Italian cuisine.
You can then sub marjoram for thyme or oregano, or – why not – use a little bit of all if you have them available.
Myrtle, of course, is optional as I know it’s not easy to find, especially outside of Italy.
Basil is always a good option if you have a lot of fresh leaves at your disposal. And bay leaves give your savory dishes a fantastic aroma as well.
In general, you should always make sure your Italian herb mixture has at least four different types of aromatic herbs, and you can always add other ingredients from there.
What other ingredients go into an Italian Herb Seasoning?
Other common ingredients to add in your Italian seasoning besides aromatic herbs are juniper berries, white pepper so feel free to some of them if you’d like,
In this recipe, I added a bit of toasted sunflower seeds because I am in love with their flavor, as well as some sesame seeds, and of course some Himalayan salt.
Dishes that can use some of your Italian Herb Seasoning...
Here’s some savory dishes that would taste even better with your freshly made Italian seasoning:
Real Deal Italian Herb Seasoning
- High Speed Blender (like Vitamix)
- 5 big twigs of Rosemary
- 5 big twigs of Sage
- 1 bunch of Marjoram or Thyme
- 2 twigs of Bay Leaves
- 2 tbsp Sunflower Seeds (avoid if on the AIP)(avoid if on the AIP)
- 2 tbsp White Sesame Seeds (avoid if on the AIP)(avoid if on the AIP)
- 1 tbsp Himalayan Sea Salt
- Wash your aromatic herbs under running water.
- Tap them dry with a clean cloth and gently remove the leaves from the sage and bay leaf twigs.
- Place the sage and bay leaves on a baking pan, together with the rosemary and marjoram sprigs.
- Bake them at 130 C (260 F) for 20 to 25 minutes until completely dehydrated.
- Remove the dried rosemary needles and the marjoram leaves from their stems. Roughly crush the dried herbs with your hands and combine them with the other ingredients.
- Transfer half of the dry herb mixture into the Vitamix blending cup and process for a just a few seconds until you have a nice seasoning powder. Repeat this procedure with the other half.
- Transfer your Italian herb seasoning into glass jars and use it to season your favorite savory dishes!
If you like this authentic recipe for my Italian herb seasoning, share it on your Facebook and Pinterest or print it out so you can always have it handy when you are ready to make it!!… And don’t forget to share a photo with me on Instagram! and subscribe to my weekly newsletter so that you never miss a post!!
Lots of love from Italy and I will catch you at the next recipe!
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Hi Ambra, amzing post! I looooooove it! Listen do you grind and eat bay leaves or you just dry them (and use for cooking without eating them)? Hope my question makes sense!
Thanks so much for the feedback Maura! Bay leaves are crushed and ground together with all the other ingredients, so you yes you eat all the herbs dried and turned into a powder. Hope this makes sense 😉
Amazing, I didn’t know that! Thanks!
How long does it keep for?
Thanks so much for this recipe and all the great info you share!
Fro, this will keep for a few months if you put in a jar glass and store in a dry, cool place. Enjoy!!
Will it intensify the natural flavors of the herbs more if you slow down the drying process by reducing the heat to 65-80F (using a dehydrator). Basically a more natural air drying process than heat.
Just curious 🙂
Hi Stewart, yes, I would assume that dehydrating at a lower temperature would make the flavor even more intense!
Amazing post. I am very new to what I call Fusion Cuisine, moving from herbs & spices from India to other cuisine. The first recipe I tried included just Thyme and the whole clan loved it. I remembered cooking in slow cooker from my Grandma some 6 decades ago reminiscence. Today, I am collecting lots of veggies in the slow cooker.
I decided on using Italian seasoning so I came online, looking for a formula. But then I further researched formula from fresh ingredients, because I have store bought ones.
It’s my sheer luck that I landed on your sentimental post, I just fell in love.
It has inspired me, motivated to start my own herb garden, growing them & creating Italian seasonings & spreading them with love.
Today, I will put all those ingredients in slow cooking in their fresh form.
And start working in backyard.
Aww, thanks so much for the lovely comment Ashawani! I am so glad my post inspired you and I hope you’ll love the herb mix!!
Hi would you put either summer or winter savory in the Italian seasoning?
Hi Sandy! That’s not an herb I usually keep in my kitchen, but if you like the taste, why not? I’ll have it to try too some day! 😉
Wanna give it 5 stars but won’t allow me to click on the stars
I am so glad to hear that you like this recipe, Andy! Thanks for letting me know.
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