What can I do with a lot of sage leaves?

Sage is a versatile herb that can be used in a variety of dishes. If you have ended up with a lot of fresh sage leaves, there are many great ways you can use them up.

Quick Answers

Here are some quick answers to what you can do with a lot of sage leaves:

  • Make sage butter or sage compound butter
  • Make a sage simple syrup for cocktails and lemonade
  • Dry the leaves to make sage salt or rub
  • Infuse olive oil or vinegar with sage
  • Make a sage pesto
  • Add to stuffing and dressing mixes
  • Use in place of basil in recipes
  • Make sage scones, biscuits or bread
  • Add to omelets, frittatas, and egg dishes
  • Toss into salads
  • Coat vegetables before roasting
  • Make a sage sauce for pasta, gnocchi or ravioli
  • Use in place of parsley in tabouleh
  • Add to hummus
  • Make a compound sage honey
  • Use in cocktails like a sage gimlet

Make Sage Butter

One of the easiest ways to use up a lot of sage is to make some sage butter. This compound butter can be frozen and used later for flavoring all kinds of dishes. Make the sage butter by blanching the sage leaves for 10-30 seconds, shocking them in ice water, squeezing out excess moisture and pureeing with softened butter. Form into a log, wrap and freeze until needed. Slice off disks of the sage butter to toss with pasta, spread on bread, add to sauces or melt over vegetables and proteins.

Sage Compound Butter Recipes

Some delicious sage compound butter combinations include:

  • Sage lemon butter – add lemon zest and a pinch of salt
  • Sage honey butter – add some honey and salt
  • Sage parmesan butter – add grated parmesan
  • Sage chive butter – add some chopped chives
  • Sage goat cheese butter – add softened goat cheese

Make a Sage Simple Syrup

Making a sage simple syrup is an easy way to capture the flavor of sage leaves. Use the syrup to sweeten iced tea, lemonade, or cocktails. To make it, bring equal parts water and sugar to a boil with a handful of sage leaves. Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes then turn off the heat and let cool completely. Strain out the leaves, bottle the syrup and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Sage Syrup Cocktail Ideas

Try using sage simple syrup in these cocktail recipes:

  • Sage gimlet – sage syrup, gin or vodka, lime juice
  • Sage Collins – sage syrup, gin, lemon juice, club soda
  • Sage mojito – sage syrup, rum, lime, soda water, mint
  • Sage greyhound – sage syrup, vodka, grapefruit juice

Dry Sage Leaves

Drying sage leaves allows you to preserve them for future use. To dry, lay the leaves out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at the lowest oven temperature, usually around 200°F, for 1-2 hours until crispy. Alternatively, use a dehydrator if you have one. Once dried, you can crumble the leaves and use them just like you would dried sage. Store in an airtight container.

What to Do with Dried Sage Leaves

  • Make a sage salt seasoning – blend dried leaves with salt
  • Create a sage rub – blend with other dried herbs and spices
  • Add to bread or scone dough
  • Mix into biscuit and cornbread mixes
  • Sprinkle on pizza, savory pies, casseroles
  • Use to season roasted vegetables
  • Add to stuffing and dressing
  • Mix into ground meat for burgers or meatballs

Infuse Sage into Oil or Vinegar

Olive oil and vinegar infused with sage are incredibly versatile ingredients. They can be used for salad dressings, marinades, sauces and more. To infuse, add about 1 cup loosely packed sage leaves to a 16oz bottle of olive oil or vinegar. Let steep for 1-2 weeks, shaking occasionally, then strain out the leaves. These infusions will keep for up to 6 months in the refrigerator.

Uses for Sage Infused Oil and Vinegar

  • Whisk together with mustard for salad dressing
  • Drizzle over grilled fish, chicken, or vegetables
  • Saute vegetables in the sage oil
  • Make a sage mayonnaise or aioli
  • Marinate chicken, pork, or lamb in the oil and vinegar
  • Use to make a sage vinaigrette pasta salad
  • Pan fry gnocchi, ravioli, or potatoes in the oil

Make Sage Pesto

Pesto is a classic way to use up an abundance of fresh sage. Make it just like you would a basil pesto, substituting sage for the basil, or use a mix of sage and other herbs like parsley or arugula. Blanch the sage leaves first to help bring out their color and flavor. Use the pesto right away or freeze portions to enjoy later.

How to Use Sage Pesto

  • Toss with pasta or gnocchi
  • Spread on sandwiches and pizzas
  • Use as a dip for bread and vegetables
  • Drizzle over fish, chicken or meats
  • Stir into vegetable dishes
  • Top crostinis as an appetizer
  • Dollop on top of soups

Add Sage to Stuffing and Dressings

Fresh or dried sage is a key ingredient in many stuffing and dressing recipes. Use it along with herbs like thyme, rosemary and parsley. Saute the fresh leaves in butter or oil first to release their flavors before mixing into stuffing and dressings.

Ways to Use Sage Stuffing

  • Stuff into poultry like turkey or chicken
  • Bake into stuffing balls as a side dish
  • Add to the body of a stuffed pork loin or crown roast
  • Use as a flavorful bread crumb coating for baked fish

Substitute for Basil

Sage has a similar pungent, aromatic quality as basil and can be used as a substitute in many recipes. The flavors are not exactly the same, but fresh sage leaves can replace basil in things like pesto, herbed butters, salad dressings and pasta sauces.

Recipe Ideas for Sage Instead of Basil

  • Sage Caprese salad
  • Sage leaf dolmas stuffed with rice
  • Creamy sage Alfredo pasta
  • Sage tomato galette tarts
  • Sage leaf lasagna rolls

Bake with Sage

Fresh or dried sage can be incorporated into all kinds of baked goods both savory and sweet. Its earthy, slightly minty flavor pairs well with ingredients like cheese, onions, potatoes, nuts and lemon.

Baked Good Recipes with Sage

  • Sage scones
  • Sage biscuits
  • Sage shortbread cookies
  • Sage brown butter cornbread
  • Sage white bean blondies
  • Sage polenta cake with lemon glaze
  • Sage olive oil cake
  • Sage bread or dinner rolls
  • Sage palmiers

Add to Egg Dishes

Fresh sage is delicious when added to egg dishes like omelets, frittatas, scrambled eggs and stratas. Its flavor pairs particularly well with ingredients like cheese, mushrooms, spinach, and tomatoes. Simply tear or chop the sage leaves and throw into the egg mixture before cooking.

Egg Dish Ideas with Sage

  • Sage mushroom omelet
  • Roasted tomato and sage frittata
  • Sage cheddar breakfast casserole
  • Baked eggs with sage and goat cheese
  • Sage egg in a hole
  • Sage scrambled eggs and bacon

Toss into Salads

Fresh sage leaves pair beautifully with fall and winter salads. Their earthy flavor stands up well to hearty greens like kale and chard. Simply tear the leaves into bite sized pieces and toss them in. Some ingredients that complement sage in salads are roasted squash, sautéed mushrooms, creamy goat cheese, nuts like walnuts or pecans and tart fruits like pears or cranberries.

Salad Ideas with Sage

  • Kale salad with roasted butternut squash, sage and walnuts
  • Mixed greens with caramelized onions, sage and blue cheese
  • Spinach salad with mushrooms, sage and lemon vinaigrette
  • Arugula salad with sage, pear and candied pecans

Coat Vegetables When Roasting

One simple way to use up a lot of sage is to finely chop it and use it as a seasoning when roasting vegetables. Toss hearty vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips and squash in olive oil and the chopped sage before roasting. The sage adds great flavor to the browned, crispy edges of the vegetables.

Vegetable Roasting Ideas with Sage

  • Roasted potatoes
  • Honey sage glazed carrots
  • Roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut squash
  • Sage parsnips
  • Roasted cauliflower steaks

Make a Sage Sauce

Pureeing sage leaves into a creamy sauce is delicious paired with fall pastas and gnocchi. Saute the sage in butter or olive oil first to intensify its flavor. Adding nuts like pine nuts, walnuts or almonds helps give the sauce some body. Parmesean cheese can be stirred in as well for more richness.

Sage Sauce Pasta Pairings

  • Butternut squash ravioli
  • Pumpkin sage gnocchi
  • Mushroom stuffed pasta
  • Cheese tortellini
  • Gnocchi

Use in Tabouleh

Tabouleh is a Middle Eastern salad traditionally made with bulgur wheat, tomatoes, parsley and mint. If you have an abundance of sage, try swapping it for some or all of the parsley in a tabouleh recipe. The herbal flavor of sage pairs nicely with the bulgur and lemon juice in the salad.

Tips for Sage Tabouleh

  • Use 2 cups finely chopped sage leaves
  • Add lemon zest along with the juice for brightness
  • Add some parsley for herbal complexity
  • Stir in chopped walnuts for crunch
  • Garnish with extra sage leaves

Mix into Hummus

Another way to use up a lot of sage is to stir it into hummus. This works best with a smooth style hummus rather than a chunkier homemade version. Sauté the sage briefly to mellow its flavor and blend into the hummus along with a touch of lemon zest. Serve the sage hummus with pita chips, bread or vegetables.

Sage Hummus Combinations

  • Sage roasted garlic hummus
  • Sage red pepper hummus
  • Sage and toasted pine nut hummus
  • Sage and olive hummus

Make Sage Honey

Infusing honey with sage is an easy way to preserve the flavor and add its sweetness to teas, marinades, dressings and more. Heat the honey briefly to thin it, then pour over fresh sage leaves in a mason jar or other heatproof container. Let it steep for 1-2 weeks before straining out the sage. Use sage honey to sweeten lemonade or iced tea, as a glaze for chicken or carrots, or drizzled over biscuits, scones and cornbread.

Use in Cocktails

In addition to a sage simple syrup, fresh sage leaves can also be muddled and used in many fall-inspired cocktails. Their slight bitterness and herbaceous flavor balance sweet liquors and citrus. Try using sage in cocktails containing bourbon, gin, vodka and rum.

Cocktail Ideas with Sage

  • Sage bourbon smash with lemon
  • Sage gimlet with gin and lime
  • Sage gin and tonic
  • Sage vodka spritzer with elderflower
  • Sage mezcal margarita


As you can see, sage is an incredibly versatile herb. Whether you have fresh or dried sage leaves on hand, there are endless savory and sweet ways to use them. Make flavored oils and honeys to preserve sage’s flavor. Include it in fall-inspired recipes like pancakes, breads, pastas and roasted vegetables. With this abundance of possibilities, you’re sure to find the perfect use for all those sage leaves.

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