These Are the 5 Best Herbs To Grow In Your Backyard

And exactly what to cook with them.

By Chanel Dror
salmon salad

For the rookie gardener, planting fresh herbs is a great way to begin testing out your green thumb, and unlike succulents or shrubs, succeeding with these plants is extra gratifying, as they work wonders in elevating your cooking game as well. When the weather is warm, there’s no better time to find a home for these flavorful powerhouses in your garden.

They’re hardy and quick-growing, making the gardener’s job an easy one,

and when tossed with great quality olive oil, fresh cheese, or crisp veggies, the job of the home cook is made easier by fresh herbs as well. Compared to easily perishable and expensive store-bought options, growing these babies on your own is a no-brainer! Here are five herb varieties that should be permanent fixtures in any spring garden, along with a few of our favorite ways to use them.

featured image by Hannah Haston

potted mintphoto by Kristen Kilpatrick


Freshness and cleanliness are the two words often associated with mint. There are many varieties of the herb, like peppermint and spearmint, but for the most versatile version of the plant, stick with classic mint. Turn to mint for exotic dishes like a moroccan iced tea, or use it to enhance fruit, like strawberry and citrus. Once you get a taste for it, you’ll find that it’s a fit for more dishes than not!

What to make with it!

Morning Meals :: Basil Pesto & 6 Minute Egg on Toastphoto by Julia Gartland


Pesto can be made with just about any herb, but none are as classic as a basil pesto. We love making a batch at the beginning of the week, and using it atop salads or in sandwiches all week long. Cooking basil typically causes it to lose most of it’s flavor, which is why unless its baked onto a pizza, we typically eat it fresh — when there are fresh fruits and fresh cheeses involved, basil is always a good idea!

What to make with it!

fresh rosemaryphoto by Ashleigh Amoroso


Not only is rosemary the Tuscan herb of our dreams, but due to it’s unstoppable growing capabilities, it’s a great evergreen shrub for your garden too. Since this herb is more stalky than it is leafy, we typically like to cook it before eating — a bite of raw rosemary can be a lot. Chop it up with garlic for an amazing meat rub, or use it to infuse flavor into olive oil, honey, or salt to bring a bit of Italian flavor to any dish.

What to make with it!

southwestern black bean hummus & spicy cilantro hummus with sweet potato friesphoto by Kate LeSueur


If I had to choose my favorite herb, it’d be cilantro. I know, I know, lots of people can’t stand the taste of it (anyone find that it tastes like soap to them?!) but to me, no Mexican or Middle Eastern dish is complete without a hefty helping of fresh cilantro on top. Again, this is one that’s best enjoyed fresh, and for a real pro tip, be sure to use the stems, as those tend to house more flavor than the more common used leaves.

What to make with it!

roasted cauliflower recipe with fresh dillphoto by Winnie Au


I feel that dill is totally underrated, but if you’re looking to bring some fresh spring flavor into your kitchen, this herb is it. Wondering what to pair dill with? Think potatoes and carrots, creamy sauces like tartar and cream cheese, oily fish like salmon, and hearty soups. And when you have way too much of the stuff, pickles! Duh!

What to make with it!