herbs on wooden cutting board with knife dish towel

7 Herbs That Are Surprisingly Easy to Grow and Cook With

Plant and cultivate these 7 herbs to add a delicious burst of flavor to your favorite dishes.


Nothing improves the taste of food quite like fresh herbs. And if you want that just-picked taste in your meals all year round, it couldn’t be simpler to start your own indoor herb garden. For one thing, herbs are easy to grow. You don’t need special lights or a lot of space – just a brightly lit area, some pots and some delicious recipe ideas.

Any pot or container will do, but it should be at least 6 inches in circumference and have drainage holes. Herbs usually grow better when planted on their own rather than together in one big container. They don’t need a lot of water to survive, but the amount does depend on the particular herb. To test if they need watering, poke your finger an inch into the soil. If it feels dry, then your herbs are thirsty.

Check out these herbs – and our recommended recipes! – to grow freshly picked seasonings all season long.

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1. Basil
With the taste of the Mediterranean in every leaf, basil likes plenty of sun and warmth. Start it off as seeds in a south-facing window. Keep the soil slightly moist. Try growing different varieties, including lemon basil for a hint of citrus.

Get cooking! Add basil to Lemon Basil Brussels Sprouts, and use it to dress up a variety of pasta dishes.

2. Rosemary
Rosemary likes to live in a south-facing window and is best planted from a cutting. It likes a slightly drier soil, so don’t overwater it – but don’t let rosemary dry out completely.

Get cooking! Rosemary is the highlight of this savory Rosemary Sage Bread, and it’s delicious in these Garlic and Rosemary Seared Rib Chops, too.

3. Bay
Bay is a perennial that will grow well in containers all year round, though it is quite slow-growing at first. Its main requirement is plenty of air circulation and space – bay doesn’t like to be crowded!

Get cooking! Dried bay leaves add a distinct flavor to a variety of dishes – just remove them from the dish before serving. Try bay leaves in our classic French Onion Soup, as a seasoning in a seafood boil or in this mouthwatering Chicken and Dumplings recipe.

4. Parsley
You can start parsley from seeds, though it will take a few weeks before you see any results. Parsley likes to sunbathe in plenty of light and warmth. Ideally, harvest the outer leaves first to encourage new growth from the center and keep the plant buoyant.

Get cooking! Parsley is one of the most versatile herbs in the kitchen. We like it in these latke recipes, mixed into Chicken and Chorizo Meatballs and as a dash of flavor and color in Broiled Shrimp Scampi.

5. Thyme
You can start growing indoor thyme from a cutting or by digging up an established outdoor plant and moving it to a pot. Thyme likes the sun but will also do well in an east- or west-facing window.

Get cooking! Lemon and thyme complement each other perfectly in these Lemon Thyme Chicken Kabobs.

6. Chives
This grass-like plant looks great in kitchens and, unlike most herbs, doesn’t need a lot of light to thrive. Chop the plant back to the soil when you use small bunches to encourage regrowth.

Get cooking! Chives pair well with garlic and add a punch of onion-y flavor to condiments like butter and veggie dip. Check out our recipes for Roasted Garlic Herbed Butter and Cucumber and Herb Yogurt Dip or Dressing.

7. Mint
Mint thrives indoors but is best grown alone as it can easily choke other plants. Mint likes to live in slightly moist soil and doesn’t need as much light as some other herbs. Just make sure it gets a bit of sunlight each day.

Get cooking! Nothing adds fresh spring flavor quite like mint. Try it in our Lamb, Mint and Rosemary Pie, Freshly Minted iced tea and Fresh Watermelon Salad.

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