When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

31 Ways You Can Use Fresh Basil

Ever found yourself staring at a bunch of fresh basil, wondering what else you can do with it besides making pesto? You’re not alone. Basil’s like that friend who’s good at everything but never brags about it. It’s time to give this humble herb the spotlight it deserves.

Culinary Creations with Basil

basil recipes

Basil-Infused Olive Oil for Dressings and Marinades

Infuse olive oil with fresh basil for a flavorful twist. Combine a handful of basil leaves with a cup of olive oil. Let it sit for a day, then strain. Drizzle over salads or use it to marinate chicken or veggies.

Roasted Garlic and Basil Hummus

Add roasted garlic and basil to your hummus for a delicious update. Blend chickpeas, a couple of roasted garlic cloves, fresh basil leaves, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil. Enjoy with pita bread or as a veggie dip.

Refreshing Basil and Watermelon Salad

Mix fresh basil with watermelon for a cool summer dish. Toss cubed watermelon with basil leaves, crumbled feta cheese, and a splash of balsamic glaze. It’s a perfect side for any barbecue.

Creamy Basil and Avocado Pasta Sauce

Upgrade pasta night with a creamy basil-avocado sauce. Blend ripe avocado, fresh basil, garlic, lemon juice, and a bit of olive oil. Toss with your favorite pasta for a quick, healthy meal.

Basil Lime Sorbet

Make a refreshing basil lime sorbet. Puree fresh basil, lime juice, sugar, and water. Freeze until firm. This sorbet’s a perfect palate cleanser or light dessert on a hot day.

Classic French Ratatouille with a Basil Twist

Add fresh basil to your classic French ratatouille. Layer eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, and tomatoes. Sprinkle basil leaves between the layers for an aromatic, flavorful dish.

Basil-Mint Layered Smoothie

Blend basil into a mint smoothie for a herbaceous twist. Layer a mint smoothie with a basil puree made from basil leaves, Greek yogurt, and honey. It’s a refreshing and healthy start to your day.

Spicy Basil and Cheddar Scones

Bake spicy basil and cheddar scones for a savory treat. Mix fresh basil, shredded cheddar cheese, and a pinch of chili flakes into your scone dough. Bake until golden and enjoy with soup or on their own.

Beverages Featuring Basil

Basil can turn an ordinary drink into a flavorful experience. Try these creative ways to enjoy basil in your beverages.

Basil and Berry Infusion for Water

Combine fresh basil leaves with mixed berries in your water for a refreshing twist. Let it steep for a couple of hours. You’ll love the subtle sweetness and vibrant color.

Classic Basil Mojito

Muddle basil leaves with lime and sugar. Add rum and soda water. This basil-spin on the mojito gives a fragrant and herbaceous touch.

Herbal Basil Tea

Steep fresh basil leaves in hot water for about 5-7 minutes. Add honey or lemon to taste. This relaxing tea is perfect for unwinding.

Basil-Infused Hot Chocolate

Add finely chopped basil to your milk or milk alternative while heating. Strain before mixing with cocoa and sweetener. Basil brings an unexpected warmth to this cozy drink.

Gin and Sparkling Basil Lemonade

Mix gin with homemade sparkling basil lemonade. Shake well, and pour over ice. Garnish with a fresh basil leaf. This bubbly cocktail is great for gatherings.

Snacks and Small Plates with Fresh Basil

Explore the endless possibilities of fresh basil with these mouthwatering snacks and small plates. Perfect for gatherings or a light bite at home, these recipes are sure to impress.

Caprese Stuffed Mushrooms

Combine juicy cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil to stuff large mushroom caps. Drizzle with balsamic glaze for an extra burst of flavor. This twist on the classic Caprese salad adds a deliciously earthy touch.

Prosciutto Wrapped Melon with Basil

Take thin slices of cantaloupe or honeydew and wrap them with prosciutto. Tuck a fresh basil leaf inside each wrap for a fragrant and savory surprise. This sweet and salty combo makes an irresistible snack.

Fried Basil Leaves as an Appetizer

Fry fresh basil leaves in hot oil until they’re crispy. Sprinkle with sea salt for a crunchy and flavorful snack. These basil chips make a unique and addictive appetizer.

Basil-Goat Cheese Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Stuff miniature sweet peppers with a mixture of goat cheese, minced garlic, and finely chopped basil. Bake until the peppers are soft and the cheese is golden. This creamy and herby snack is both delicious and visually appealing.

Main Courses Enhanced by Basil

Explore how fresh basil can take your main dishes to the next level. Here are some tasty ideas:

Thai Basil and Beef Stir-Fry

Transform your stir-fry with fresh Thai basil, giving it an aromatic flavor. Sauté beef with garlic, chili, and onions, then mix in soy sauce and fish sauce. Add a generous handful of Thai basil leaves just before serving to elevate the dish with a burst of flavor.

Mediterranean Basil and Lamb Meatballs

Boost your lamb meatballs by mixing in chopped fresh basil. Combine ground lamb with minced garlic, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Bake or pan-fry the meatballs until golden, then serve with a basil-infused tomato sauce for a Mediterranean twist.

Basil-Enhanced Vegetable Lasagna

Elevate your vegetable lasagna by layering in fresh basil leaves. Spread a basil pesto mix between layers of pasta, ricotta cheese, zucchini, and bell peppers. The basil adds a fragrant aroma and rich taste that pairs beautifully with the creamy texture of the cheese.

Pizza with Sundried Tomato and Basil

Upgrade your homemade pizza by topping it with sundried tomatoes and fresh basil. Spread tomato sauce on the pizza crust, add mozzarella cheese, and arrange the sundried tomatoes. Once baked, sprinkle fresh basil leaves on top for a refreshing, herbaceous finish.

Indonesia-Inspired Basil and Coconut Chicken

Spice up your chicken dish with an Indonesian flair. Sauté chicken pieces with ginger, garlic, and onions, then simmer in coconut milk. Add fresh basil leaves towards the end of cooking for a fragrant, comforting meal that’s sure to impress.

Basil in Sweets and Desserts

Fresh basil isn’t just for savory dishes—it can create amazing sweets and desserts too. Dive into these luscious and inventive treats.

Basil and Peach Frozen Yogurt

Blend fresh basil with ripe peaches and Greek yogurt. The herb adds a refreshing twist to the fruity flavor. Freeze the mixture, stirring every 30 minutes until you get that perfect, creamy texture.

Chocolate and Basil Brioche

Incorporate chopped basil into your chocolate brioche dough for a sophisticated touch. The subtle basil notes pair beautifully with rich chocolate, making for a fragrant and decadent bite.

Vanilla-Basil Poached Pears

Poach pears in a simple syrup infused with vanilla and fresh basil. The basil adds a herbal complexity to the sweet vanilla, transforming a classic dessert into something extraordinary.

Strawberry and Basil Shortcakes

Add some finely chopped basil into your shortcake dough. Layer the cakes with macerated strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream. The basil gives an unexpected but delightful twist to the traditional summer dessert.

Lemon Basil Bundt Cake

Mix lemon zest and finely chopped basil into your Bundt cake batter. The bright lemon flavor marries perfectly with the fresh basil, creating a moist, aromatic cake that’s sure to impress.

Innovative Uses of Basil

Basil’s not just for cooking. These creative uses let you enjoy this versatile herb in totally unique ways.

Basil Seed Jellies for Dessert

Prepare basil seeds into jellies for an exotic dessert twist. Soak basil seeds in water until they swell up, creating a gel-like texture. Mix them with fruit juices or desserts like panna cotta for added texture and a hint of herbal flavor. Basil seeds, similar to chia seeds, offer a fun and nutritious addition to your sweet treats.

Dried Basil Salt

Create dried basil salt for a flavorful seasoning. Start by drying fresh basil leaves until they’re crispy. Crush them into a fine powder and mix with sea salt. Use your basil salt on everything from scrambled eggs to roasted veggies, adding a burst of herbaceous taste to your favorite dishes.

Basil Oil for Beauty Treatments

Infuse basil into oil for beauty treatments. Fill a jar with fresh basil leaves, then top with a carrier oil like coconut or olive oil. Let the mixture sit for a couple of weeks, shaking it occasionally. Strain and use the basil-infused oil for a soothing massage, a rejuvenating hair treatment, or add it to your bath for a refreshing soak.

Homemade Basil and Lavender Candles

Make your own basil and lavender candles for a calming aroma. Melt soy wax and mix in essential oils of basil and lavender. Pour the mixture into a jar with a wick and let it cool. Light your homemade candle for a relaxing environment with the combined soothing scents of basil and lavender.