10 Must Have Culinary Herbs for Your Kitchen Garden

chopping basil on a cutting board in the kitchen

The Spruce / Kevin Norris

Overwhelmed by choosing what herbs will make the best culinary herb garden? Check out this list of basic herbs, all great for a wide variety of dishes and easy enough for anyone to grow in any size garden. In no particular order, we recommend growing any (or all) on this list. Although there are hundreds of herb varieties, don't let all the choices overwhelm you. Start by picking a few of your favorite recipes and then growing the herbs that you will need to make them.

  • 01 of 10


    Planting garlic cloves (Allium) in compost filled pots

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    Most of us love garlic, but not everyone knows that it can be grown in practically any type of garden. Try planting it in containers for the most portable garlic garden ever!

  • 02 of 10


    Flat leaf parsley
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    Parsley brightens up any plate, and that same delicious taste makes it an easy herb to love. Grow parsley from plants, though. They can be temperamental to start from seed.

  • 03 of 10


    Potted chive plant
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    Chives are a commonly grown herb, but often they are not eaten. Yes, they are pretty to look at, but their gentle onion flavor is perfect for dishes that need that layer of taste, without an overpowering with onion.

  • 04 of 10

    Sweet Marjoram

    Origanum marjoram foliage
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    Sweet marjoram is a lesser-known herb, that deserves some of the limelight. It is easy to grow and tastes like oregano, with much more depth. Have you ever tasted oregano and found it to be bitter? Then sweet marjoram is the answer. Never bitter and with a much bigger flavor, this herb deserves a second look for any culinary herb garden.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10


    Close-up of sage growing in garden

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    Sage is such a rewarding herb to grow. It comes in many varieties and colors, that you can easily incorporate it into your garden design. Be sure to check out the pinks, greens, and golds that sage can produce. It is truly a spectacular and tasty herb.

  • 06 of 10


    Closeup of mint leaves

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    Mint is wonderful for so many things that it just makes good sense to grow it in your garden. Mint grows in sunny or shady gardens, fills out quickly, and loves to be trimmed back numerous times. Whether for teas or just to attract beneficial insects, mint belongs in your culinary herb garden for sure.

  • 07 of 10

    Lemon Balm

    Lemon balm plant
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    This luscious lemon herb is a prolific grower, filling your pots or garden beds with beautiful green leaves. Cut it back numerous time throughout the growing season, and keep it for teas all winter. Lemon balm gives a true lemon flavor and can be used in any recipe that uses lemon juice. Try it in a pesto for your fish, and as a substitute for cilantro in ceviche. It is truly a useful and lovely herb.

  • 08 of 10


    Flowering Dill
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    Dill makes an impressive herb for the culinary garden. What's nice about dill is that you don't have to wait for it to flower to enjoy the flavor. Cutting back the leaves gives a much larger harvest in a smaller space. Dill is also great as a backdrop (although not very sturdy in windy areas) and, if you are looking for an herb that will draw in beneficial insects, dill is the one for you! Harvest it as much as possible, while still leaving it in place for the caterpillars. The best of both worlds. Grow at least a few plants of dill in your culinary herb garden.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10


    Christian Marquardt / Getty Images

    Thyme is an often-overlooked culinary herb. This is too bad since thyme brings an unmatched flavor to meat dishes. It also dries really well and keeps its flavor throughout the winter—making it useful for brightening up those heavier winter meals. Thyme grows easily and loves to be both in the garden bed and in the container. Try buying a few varieties of thyme and see which scent you like the best.

  • 10 of 10


    Close up of basil leaves
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    Basil is one of the most recognized and loved herbal flavorings for most of us. You may not realize just how simple it is to grow! Basil starts fast and grows like crazy, so it is very rewarding for the first time herb gardener. Grow copious amounts of basil, to use all winter long, in pesto. Remember to cut it back often, for bushy plants with plenty of leaves.

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