ground bay leaf: uses & recipes

ground bay leaf
Bay leaf (Laurus nobilis) is a dried leaf from the bay laurel tree, native to the Mediterranean. The leaf is usually sold in its dried form as a flavoring agent. It is shiny and dark green on the upper side, has a lighter underside, and can be pretty brittle. It has a subtle, slightly floral flavor with notes of menthol and eucalyptus, ideal for beef stew.

What is ground bay leaf?

Ground bay leaf
Ground bay leaf

Ground bay leaves are essentially bay leaves ground into a powder, and they’re widely used as a culinary herb.

OriginComes from the Mediterranean region
AppearanceA greenish-brown powder.
Flavor profileSlightly astringent and pungent, with a complex aroma


From the Mediterranean region, bay leaves have been used in cooking since ancient times and are a popular ingredient in many cuisines, including French, Thai, Italian, Greek, and Turkish.


Ground bay leaf typically appears as a greenish-brown powder.

Flavor profile

Ground bay leaf has a distinctive flavor, slightly astringent and pungent, with a complex aroma that is both spicy and floral.

It adds depth and complexity to savory dishes and sweet recipes like baked goods or custards. Lastly, you can use it with other spices like oreganothyme, garlic, sage, and parsley.

Nutritional Benefits of ground bay leaf

Bay leaf has many health benefits, such as being a low-calorie addition to your meals while increasing the amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in your diet. 

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Additionally, bay leaf is rich in vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin C, all of which are crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system. Bay leaf tea can also soothe upset stomachs and relieve sinus pressure due to its aromatic properties.

Furthermore, studies have suggested that consuming bay leaf in capsule form or brewed as tea may reduce the risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes.

Can you make ground bay leaf at home?

Making ground bay leaf
Making ground bay leaves

Whole bay leaves can be easily found in grocery stores and crushed or ground at home using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.

Here are the steps to turn whole bay leaves into ground bay leaves:

  1. Dry the bay leaves: Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and let them dry in a warm, dry place for a few days until they are brittle and crumble easily.
  2. Grind the bay leaves: Once completely dry, use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to grind them into a fine powder. Make sure to grind them as finely as possible to avoid large pieces in the final product.
  3. Store the ground bay leaves: Transfer it to an airtight container and store it in a cool, dark place. Shelf life usually is several months.

Is it safe to eat ground bay leaves?

Eating bay leaves is unsafe as they are very tough and can cause digestive problems and choking.

It’s best to remove whole bay leaves from dishes before serving. But when it comes to ground bay leaves, you don’t have to worry about this.

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How is bay leaf used in cooking?

Bay leaf is an herb that flavors various dishes. It is usually added to the dish during cooking and removed before serving.

You can add bay leaves whole or crushed, depending on the recipe. They are often used in soups, stews, sauces, and marinades to add a subtle, earthy flavor. Bay leaves can also be used to flavor rice dishes and meat dishes.

What about ground bay leaf capsules?

Ground bay leaf capsules are often used as a seasoning in cooking. People typically add them to dishes early in cooking, such as when sautéing onions and garlic or simmering soups and stews.

9 ground bay leaf powder recipe ideas

Ground bay leaf powder is an excellent addition to any recipe for ground spices. It’s especially great with curries and Indian food but can also be used in soups and baked goods.

Here are some recipe ideas that include ground bay leaf powder:

  1. Spiced Lentil Soup: Add ground bay leaf powder, cumin, and coriander to your lentil soup for an extra depth of flavor.
  2. Meatloaf: Mix ground bay leaf powder with spices like onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika to add complexity to your meatloaf.
  3. Bolognese Sauce: Add ground bay leaf powder to your classic tomato-based Bolognese sauce for warmth.
  4. Rice Pilaf: Add ground bay leaf powder and other spices like cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom to create a fragrant and delicious side dish.
  5. Roasted Vegetables: Mix ground bay leaf powder with olive oil, salt, and pepper to toss with vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and onions before roasting for a subtle earthy flavor.
  6. Tomato Soup: Add a pinch of ground bay leaf powder to your creamy tomato soup to bring out the sweetness of the tomatoes.
  7. Pot Roast: Mix ground bay leaf powder with spices like thyme, rosemary, and sage to season your pot roast for a comforting and savory meal.
  8. Homemade Pickles: Add ground bay leaf powder to your pickling liquid along with other spices like mustard seeds and peppercorns to create a unique flavor profile
  9. Beef Stew: Add a few dried bay leaves to the pot while cooking the stew, and remove them before serving. The bay leaves will infuse the stew with their unique flavor, adding depth and complexity to the dish.


Alexandra is a passionate writer with a deep appreciation for food - not just as nourishment but as an expression of culture, a reflection of history, and a celebration of life. She knows that everything in life requires a little spice - and gets a kick (get it?) every time she achieves the perfect combination of heat and depth.

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