We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Bay Leaf?

By Cassie L. Damewood
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Bay leaf is the fragrant leaf of the bay laurel evergreen tree or large shrub and is used in cooking savory dishes. It is a popular additive to pâtés, soups, seafood, braised meat and poultry and stews. Since it is extremely mild when first harvested, bay leaf is traditionally only used after it has been dried for few weeks, which allows the flavor to intensify. Its aroma is more distinctive than its flavor, and it is frequently compared to the fragrance of oregano or thyme.

Other similar looking dried leaves are often marketed as bay leaves but generally lack the aroma or distinctive flavor of bay laurel. These varieties frequently include California, Indian, and Indonesian bay leaf. When buying this spice, consumers are generally urged to carefully read the label to ensure they are buying true bay leaf or bay laurel.

Bay leaf is a popular culinary seasoning in a variety of countries and cultures. Mediterranean dishes often include the spice, as do foods prepared in France, India, Pakistan and North America. It is normally used whole and removed from a dish before it is served. Whole bay leaves are generally not consumed either in the dried state or after cooking. True bay laurel is not poisonous, as is widely rumored, but has a bitter taste that most palates find intolerable. Other species of the leaf can be toxic, but are not normally available in food markets.

Ground forms of the leaf may also be used for cooking. In this form, it is normally contained in a muslin bag or tea infuser to keep it from mixing with the rest of the ingredients. Grinding it makes its flavor more intense, but the grainy texture of the ground leaves is generally considered a deterrent to the textural appeal of most dishes.

Besides cooking, bay leaf is also used in herbal remedies. It may be used as a fresh or dried leaf or its oils extracted to use in liniments. Bay laurel is also a common component of perfumes and colognes and is often used in cleaning products to mask unpleasant disinfectant odors. Scattering it in pantries is an alleged deterrent to roaches, meal moths and flies.

In ancient times, bay laurel was hailed as a symbol of honor. The bay laurel tree or its leaves were often depicted on statues and family shields. Placing a leaf of bay laurel under one’s bed pillow on Valentine’s Day was once thought to induce the sleeper to dream of their future spouse.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.