Culinary Arts

What Is a Bouquet Garni? Easy Homemade Bouquet Garni Recipe, Plus Tips for Cooking With Bouquet Garni

Written by MasterClass

Jun 21, 2019 • 3 min read

Like an herbal tea bag for sauces and stews, a bouquet garni is an easy way to add flavor during simmering.

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What Is a Bouquet Garni?

Literally “garnished bouquet,” a bouquet garni is a bundle of fresh herbs used to infuse flavor into braises and sauces, allowing you to easily remove the packet of aromatics once their flavor has dissipated.

What Is the Difference Between a Bouquet Garni and a Sachet?

A bouquet garni is always comprised of parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. When making a bouquet garni, you might use the exterior leaves of a leek to wrap the components together. A sachet can contain any herbs you like. Wrapping herbs in cheesecloth will make it easy to remove from the food when you’re done cooking with it.

What's the Difference Between a Bouquet Garni and a Mirepoix?

Like bouquet garni, mirepoix is a mixture of aromatic vegetables that are ultimately discarded. Classically, a mirepoix includes onions, carrots, and celery stalks, but some chefs prefer to use onions, leeks, and carrots, as celery has a very strong flavor and leeks give better sweetness. In addition to containing different ingredients, a mirepoix generally needs to be strained out after cooking, whereas, thanks to its cheesecloth pouch, a bouquet garni can simply be plucked out once a dish is ready.

How to Make a Bouquet Garni

Some grocery stores sell premade bouquets garnis, but it’s easy enough to make your own at home. All you need are kitchen shears, butcher’s twine, cheesecloth, and fresh herbs. Chef Thomas Keller uses leek leaves, Italian parsley sprigs (including parsley stems), thyme sprigs, and bay leaves. Sandwich the parsley, thyme, and bay leaves between the leek leaves, wrap tightly with a square of cheesecloth, and tie butcher’s twine all around the bundle to keep everything in place.

Making a Bouquet Garni With Dried Herbs

Traditionally a bouquet garni is made with fresh herbs, but you can also make one from dried herbs by combining dried parsley, dried thyme, and dried bay leaf in a double layer of cheesecloth. Pinch the ends together to form a little pouch, and tie the top tightly with kitchen twine.

6 Culinary Uses for Bouquets Garnis

Bouquets garnis are ideal for dishes that simmer for a long time, such as soups, stews, stocks, and braises. Try adding bouquet garni in the following recipes:

  1. Pot au feu: Bouquet garni is a traditional addition to the French beef stew.
  2. Poaching liquids: Bouquet garnis can also be added to the poaching liquid for fish or chicken.
  3. Braised Artichokes: Chef Thomas Keller braises the artichokes in a mixture of white wine and chicken stock flavored with a bouquet garni.
  4. Eggplant and Garlic Confit: Chef Thomas Keller adds a bouquet garni to the roasting dish for his eggplant and garlic confit before submerging the vegetables in oil.
  5. Red Wine Braised Short Ribs: Chef Thomas Keller uses a mirepoix and bouquet garni to flavor the red wine braising liquid for his short ribs.
  6. Stocks: Chef Thomas Keller flavors both his roasted veal stock and light chicken stock with bouquet garnis.

Can You Substitute Bouquet Garni?

If you don’t have the classic bouquet garni ingredients, you can make herbal bouquets out of other culinary herbs, such as fresh thyme, rosemary, basil, or any of the fines herbes (tarragon, parsley, chives, and chervil). Use whatever you have available in your herb garden, or seek out specific herbs to enhance particular dishes: lemon balm or lemongrass will add a citrusy flavor, while in the Mediterranean region of Provence, dried orange peel is often added to bouquet garni. Black peppercorns are a popular addition to many dried herb sachets.

Simple Homemade Bouquet Garni Recipe

Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min

Makes 1 bouquet garni

  • 3 leek leaves
  • 5 Italian parsley sprigs
  • 5 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves

Wrap leek leaves, Italian parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves in cheesecloth and tie into a bundle with butcher’s twine.

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