Bouquet Garni

Bouquet garni

The Spruce

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Yield: 1 bouquet garni
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
17 Calories
1g Fat
4g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 17
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 7mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 1g
Calcium 81mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Bouquet garni, French for "garnished bouquet," is a classic herb mixture used for preparing stocks, soups, casseroles, meats, and vegetables. The traditional combination is parsley, thyme, and bay leaf, but you may also find recipes that include other herbs such as rosemary, basil, chervil, peppercorns, and tarragon.

You can make bouquet garni with fresh or dried herbs. If the herbs are fresh, the combination is secured with a bit of cooking twine for retrieval, while cheesecloth is generally used to wrap dried herbs. The bundle is secured with twine to keep the herbs enclosed.

Using a bouquet garni instead of simply adding the herbs to your dish helps with flavor, texture, convenience, and presentation. Fresh herbs will get soggy and often discolor when left to cook for a long time, and dry herbs are not the most attractive when floating at the top of a finished dish. Bundling up the herbs—whether dried or fresh—also makes for easy removal.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried, ground bay leaf (or 2 large, whole dried bay leaves)
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons dried rosemary

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for bouquet garni
    The Spruce
  2. Combine the parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and rosemary (if using) in a bowl.

    Spices combined in a bowl with a spoon
    The Spruce
  3. Place the herb mixture in a double-layered square of cheesecloth.

    Herb mixture in cheesecloth
    The Spruce
  4. Gather the sides together to form a pouch, and then secure the bundle with a piece of kitchen twine. Leave one piece of the string long enough so you can easily remove the bouquet garni from the cooking pot.

    Herbs swapped in cheesecloth and tied with twine
    The Spruce

How to Store

  • If not using right away, place the herb mixture in an airtight container and store in a cool, dark place away from heat sources. Use within six months.
  • Make a fresh herb bouquet garni just before using it to preserve the herbs' flavors.

How to Use

  • You will find bouquet garni in many French recipe ingredient lists, such as when making a French chicken and sausage cassoulet and a daube de boeuf (braised beef and vegetables), and it's a common flavoring for a traditional New England clambake.
  • For everyday cooking of soups and stews, this type of bouquet is an easy way to impart flavor without the nuisance of fishing out the bits of herbs. Add bundles of herbs to slow-cooked meats, to the cavity of a whole chicken before roasting, or to chicken or beef stock. Try adding cloves and citrus zest to perfume milk for a warm beverage.

Recipe Variation

  • If you would like to use fresh herbs in your bouquet garni, an ideal combination is 4 or 5 sprigs of parsley, 1 or 2 sprigs of thyme, and 1 bay leaf. Gather the parsley and thyme sprigs, place the bay leaf on top, and use a piece of kitchen twine to bind it all together, keeping one piece of the string long enough so you can easily pull out the herb bundle.
  • Experiment with other combinations of herbs and aromatics, such as tarragon, celery, leek, burnet, chervil, and fennel fronds. Or try oregano, savory, and lavender, often used in herbes de Provence; or ginger, lemongrass, and dried orange peel for an Asian-inspired blend.

What Is the Difference Between Bouquet Garni and a Sachet?

Spice sachets are typically measured dried spices added to a large tea bag or cheesecloth bag and secured with twine or stapled shut. They are available in a variety of different flavor combinations and can be used to flavor dishes. A bouquet garni is a type of spice sachet, almost always including parsley, bay leaf, and thyme. It's sometimes made using fresh herbs, which are simply tied together with string.

Can You Freeze Bouquet Garni?

While technically freezable, a bouquet garni made using dried herbs will keep for several months stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Bouquet garni made using fresh herbs is best used fresh, since the herbs lose much of their flavor in the freezer.