Regarding herbs, basil is one of the most versatile and popular. From Italian pesto to Thai curries, basil is used in cuisines worldwide.
With its unique flavor and aroma, it’s no wonder why the different types of basil have been a staple in many dishes for centuries.
But did you know that there are actually different types of basil? In this blog post, we’ll be discussing the different types of basil, their uses, and how they can enhance your cooking.
So read on to learn more about the different types of basil and their uses!
1. Clove Basil
To start with, on this list of the different types of basil is Clove Basil, a unique variety that has a very pungent and spicy taste.
It is a beautiful plant with bright green leaves, purple-tinged stems, and flowers. Its flavor has been compared to cloves or cinnamon, making it great for adding a unique kick to dishes.
Clove Basil pairs particularly well with Mediterranean-style dishes and can be used in pasta, salads, and sauces. It can also be used in teas and herbal infusions, as well as to make pesto.
This variety of basil is a great way to add a flavorful kick to your favorite recipes.
2. Spicy Globe Basil
Spicy Globe Basil is a classic basil variety with a strong, spicy taste and hints of cloves. The small leaves of this particular one of the different types of basil are round and deep green.
This basil grows about 4 inches tall and can be used to season various dishes.
Spicy Globe Basil is perfect for adding to Italian dishes like Caprese salad and pasta and Asian-inspired dishes like Thai curries and stir-fries.
You can also use it to make a delicious pesto sauce or to top off your favorite pizza. Spicy Globe Basil pairs well with garlic, oregano, thyme, and other herbs and spices.
3. Italian Large Leaf Basil
Coming in third on our list of the different types of basil is the Italian Large Leaf basil, a popular choice for use in Italian cooking. It has large, broad leaves that are sweet and savory with a hint of anise flavor.
This basil variety is most often used fresh in salads, pesto, soups, sauces, and pasta dishes.
Also, it is trendy in pesto recipes and adds a delicious flavor to grilled fish or chicken. Its anise-like flavor pairs nicely with garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese.
Uniquely, it is one of the different types of basil you should know.
Italian Large Leaf basil is easy to grow and prefers full sun, moist soil, and lots of compost.
This basil grows best when planted in the spring when moderate temperatures are. Planting in containers also works well for this type of basil.
When harvested, remove only the top few leaves and leave the main stems intact. This allows the plant to continue growing and producing new leaves.
Regular pruning will help to keep the plant healthy and vibrant.
4. Spicy Bush Basil
Spicy Bush Basil is an annual herb with small, oval-shaped leaves and a unique, pungent flavor. This type of basil is known as African Basil or Blue Basil due to its distinctive blue-green color.
The leaves of this variety have a sharp, spicy flavor that can be used in sauces, salads, and soups. It is also often used in traditional Italian recipes like pesto and pasta dishes.
Spicy Bush Basil pairs well with garlic, tomatoes, and other herbs like oregano, sage, and rosemary.
When harvesting, cut the stems right above a node (where leaves meet the stem) to ensure they will continue to regrow. Overall, it is one of the different types of basil!
5. African Blue Basil
African Blue Basil is a unique one of the different types of basil, known for its intense flavor and rich color.
It has large, deep purple leaves that have a distinctive speckled pattern. The flavor of this variety of basil has a strong licorice aroma with hints of citrus.
This basil is also known for its medicinal properties, treating various skin issues, reducing inflammation, and boosting the immune system.
African Blue Basil can be used in sauces, soups, salads, and herbal teas. It pairs well with other herbs, such as oregano and thyme, and is often used in Italian cooking.
6. Spicy Saber
Spicy Saber is a unique variety of basil that offers a mild spice to dishes. This type of basil has large leaves, and its aroma is almost minty. It can be used in many dishes, such as salads, pasta, sauces, and marinades.
Plus, it has a subtle spicy flavor and can add extra flavor to your dish. It pairs well with garlic and other herbs, such as oregano and thyme.
Its leaves are a deep green color, and it adds a nice visual element to any dish. This basil is easy to grow and can be planted in containers or in the garden.
If grown in containers, it should be kept in bright, indirect light and watered regularly. Spicy Saber is one of the most popular types of basil and is great for adding flavor to dishes.
Spicy Saber will definitely add an extra kick to your dish, whether you’re making a salad, pesto, or marinade.
7. Pistou Basil
One of the different types of basil, Pistou basil, is a type of basil native to the Mediterranean region. It has an aroma similar to the more common Genovese basil, but its taste is milder and sweeter.
Pistou basil has small, thin, light green leaves that make it a perfect choice for garnishing dishes or as a flavor enhancer in sauces and salads.
It can also be a flavoring for beverages like tea and cocktails. The leaves are known for their versatility; they can be dried, frozen, or even eaten fresh.
When used fresh, Pistou basil adds a delicate and subtle flavor that makes dishes truly delicious.
8. Greek Basil
Greek Basil is a type of basil that has a sweet and peppery flavor. It is one of the most popular of the different types of basil used in Mediterranean and Italian cooking.
Plus, it is often used as a topping on dishes such as pizzas, pasta, and salads.
Greek Basil also pairs well with other herbs, such as oregano and garlic, making it a versatile ingredient. It has dark green leaves with purple highlights and a stronger aroma than other basil types.
9. Green Ruffles
Green Ruffles is one of the different types of basil with large, green leaves with ruffled edges. It has a mild flavor with a hint of anise and is often used for salads, sandwiches, and garnishes.
This basil does not need to be harvested frequently as it can survive in warm climates and is drought tolerant. It is also one of the most widely grown types of basil due to its hardiness.
Additionally, this variety of basil pairs well with other herbs, such as rosemary, oregano, and thyme.
Green Ruffles basil can be used in various recipes such as pesto, marinara sauce, bruschetta, and Caprese salad. It also makes a great addition to soups, stews, and casseroles.
When using Green Ruffles in cooking, adding them near the end of the cooking process is important as it tends to lose their flavor when cooked for too long.
Fresh Green Ruffles basil is also great for adding flavor and color to salads, sandwiches, and wraps.
10. Cardinal Basil
Cardinal Basil is a variety of basil with large, vibrant leaves that can be used in any recipe. It has an intense aroma and flavor, making it great for pestos and sauces.
The leaves are sometimes described as having a sharp, peppery taste, so they should be used sparingly to enhance the flavor of any dish.
Cardinal Basil, one of the different types of basil, can also be used in salads or added to sandwiches or wraps. It pairs well with other herbs and spices and can help bring out the flavor of other ingredients.
Cardinal Basil is often combined with oregano and parsley in Italian cuisine.
11. Holy Basil
It is venerated in the Hindu religion for its healing and spiritual qualities and is known as Tulsi. This plant has attractive-looking purple and green-splashed leaves.
Additionally, drinking it regularly in tea or chai will strengthen your immune system.
According to Ayurveda, it’s one of the strongest herbs, and numerous scientific studies support this statement. This is definitely one of the different types of basil!
12. Cinnamon Basil
Cinnamon basil is on this list of the different types of basil with a distinctly sweet flavor, often used in Italian and Middle Eastern dishes.
It features small, ruffled leaves and a beautiful aroma that make it perfect for adding a special flavor to your meals.
Cinnamon basil has a milder flavor than other different basil, making it great for dishes that need subtle sweetness. It’s also incredibly fragrant and can be used to make an excellent tea.
Try adding a few cinnamon basils leaves to your next stir-fry for a hint of sweetness or using it to top off a salad or pasta dish.
13. Lime Basil
Lime basil is a variety of basil with a unique lime flavor and aroma. It is particularly popular in Thai cuisine and can be used to make a great stir-fry or salad.
The leaves are slightly smaller than other types of basil, and the stem is thin and light green.
This basil pairs well with fish and shellfish dishes, salads, and salsas. It can also be used to add a citrusy twist to your favorite Italian pasta sauces.
Try using this one of the different types of basil, the lime basil, to give your next dish a zesty and refreshing flavor!
14. Lettuce Leaf Basil
Lettuce Leaf Basil is an heirloom of basil with leaves that look like lettuce. This basil is known for its tender, sweet flavor and unique texture.
The leaves have a slightly crunchy texture and a slightly minty flavor. It’s commonly used in salads and sandwiches to add a unique flavor profile.
Lettuce Leaf Basil, one of the different types of basils, also makes a great addition to pesto, soups, and sauces. The leaves can be harvested throughout the growing season and are best when used fresh.
When drying the leaves, store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place to preserve their flavor.
15. Lemon Basil
Although less aesthetic than other basil cultivars, it nonetheless produces stunning, tall, and attractive white spikes.
Add lemon basil to give the iced tea a warm lemon flavor and make it a more energizing beverage. This is not excluded from the list of the different types of basil that you should know!
16. Christmas Basil
Christmas Basil, also known as East Indian Basil, is a popular herb that comes from the Ocimum genus of plants. Its name is derived from its festive red color, which is unique among basil varieties.
Christmas Basil has a strong aroma and a sweet taste and adds flavor to various dishes, such as pesto, soups, and salads.
This type of basil also has medicinal benefits, including the ability to help alleviate inflammation and aid digestion.
In addition, it can be used in natural skin care products for its antibacterial properties. Whether you use it as a culinary ingredient or for its therapeutic qualities, Christmas Basil is sure to add a special touch to any recipe.
We are almost done with our list of the different types of basil; read on!
17. Dark Opal Basil
Dark Opal basil is a purple-leafed variety of basil with a unique and vibrant appearance. The leaves are slightly larger than sweet basil and have a distinct, spicy flavor.
It is often used to add color and flavor to dishes such as salads and pasta and make pesto and other sauces.
The purple color of the leaves makes it a great choice for ornamental purposes. Dark Opal Basil is also an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese, making it a healthy choice for adding to meals.
This list of the different types of basil is not complete without the Dark Opal Basil!
18. Napoletano Basil
Still on the list of the different types of basil is Napoletano basil, a popular Italian variety of basil. This type of basil has a distinctive peppery flavor and small leaves that are light green.
Napoletano basil is often used as an ingredient in Italian dishes such as pesto and pasta sauces. It is also a great addition to salads and sandwiches.
When using Napoletano basil in cooking, it is best to add it at the end of the cooking process to preserve its flavor and aroma.
To store this type of basil, wrap the leaves in a damp paper towel and place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Napoletano basil pairs well with other ingredients, such as garlic, onions, tomatoes, and olive oil. It can be used fresh or dried for later use.
Fresh Napoletano basil should be added near the end of the cooking process to ensure its flavor remains intact.
Dried Napoletano basil should be added earlier in the cooking process to allow the flavor to infuse into the dish. Napoletano basil can flavor dishes in herb oils, vinegar, and dressings.
If you are looking for different types of basil, here’s a perfect choice!
19. Thai Basil
Thai basil, often used in Southeast Asian cooking, has a pungent flavor with a hint of licorice. It’s a striking plant with purple stems and flowers.
However, if it is maintained, it eventually loses its aroma, so utilize it immediately. Above all, it is one of the different types of basil that are extremely useful!
20. Genovese Basil
As we approach the end of this list of the different types of basil, we have the Genovese Basil. To get the most flavor out of Genovese basil, it’s best to add it to recipes toward the end of cooking. This way, the heat won’t destroy its delicate flavors.
Additionally, it’s best to add Genovese basil leaves whole or slightly torn instead of chopping them, which will help them retain their flavors and aromas.
Overall, this basil is an essential ingredient in many Italian recipes, and it’s sure to add a punch of flavor to any dish.
21. Sweet Basil
Sweet Basil is an herb that has a sweet, fragrant scent and flavor. It is one of the most common different types of basil used for culinary purposes.
Sweet Basil has a milder taste than other types and can be used in many dishes. It can be used to season vegetables, sauces, salads, and even pasta dishes. Sweet Basil is also used in teas and to make pesto.
Basil is one of the most popular herbs used in cooking and can be found in a variety of dishes around the world.
Whether growing your herbs or buying them at the store, it’s important to know the different types of basil and how to use them.
In this blog post, we explored the different types of basil and their uses so that you can incorporate them into your favorite recipes.