Bouquet Garni

Parsley, thyme, bay leaves tied together with string on rustic wooden surface
Diana Miller / Getty Images
Ratings (14)
  • Total: 5 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1/2 Cup (up to 4 servings)
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
Servings: 1/2 Cup (up to 4 servings)
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, which is 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, peppercorn, and tarragon. You can make bouquet garni (pronounced boo-kay gahr-nee) with fresh or dried herbs; if fresh, the combination is secured with a bit of cooking twine, while cheesecloth is generally used to pack up the dried herbs.

So why use a bouquet garni instead of just simply adding the herbs to your dish? The reasons are for flavor, texture, convenience, and presentation. Fresh herbs will get soggy and often discolor when left to cook for a long time in a recipe (which is why it is best to add fresh herbs at the end), 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
  • 2 tablespoons dried bay leaf
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons dried rosemary

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Combine parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and rosemary, if using, in a bowl.

  3. Place the herb mixture in a square of cheesecloth that has been doubled.

  4. Bring all of 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.

  5. 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 6 months.

Tips and Variations

  • 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 pieces of thyme, and 1 bay leaf. Gather the parsley and thyme stems, 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 so you can easily pull out the herb bundle.

  • Feel free, however, to experiment with other combinations of herbs and aromatics, such as celery, leek, and fennel fronds, or ginger, lemongrass, and dried orange peel (commonly used in Provence).

  • The beauty of using a bouquet garni is that you are able to impart the flavor of the herbs to your dish but do not have to fish out the herbs before serving. You will find bouquet garni on many French recipe ingredient lists, such as when making a French chicken and sausage cassoulet and a daube de boeuf (braised beef and vegetables). But it is also a common flavoring when making a stock, as well as a traditional New England clambake.

Tip

  • 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 pieces of thyme, and 1 bay leaf. Gather the parsley and thyme stems, 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 so you can easily pull out the herb bundle.

Recipe Variations

  • Experiment with other combinations of herbs and aromatics, such as celery, leek, and fennel fronds, or ginger, lemongrass, and dried orange peel (commonly used in Provence).

The beauty of using a bouquet garni is that you are able to impart the flavor of the herbs to your dish but do not have to fish out the herbs before serving. You will find bouquet garni on many French recipe ingredient lists, such as when making a French chicken and sausage cassoulet and a daube de boeuf (braised beef and vegetables). But it is also a common flavoring when making a stock, as well as a traditional New England clambake.