The recovery of antioxidants from basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) was modeled with the aid of response surface methodology (RSM) using microwave-assisted extraction (MAE). Face-centered central design (FCCD) was employed to optimize the MAE operational parameters including the extraction time (1 to 7 min), extraction temperature (30 to 120 degrees C), solid-to-solvent ratio (0.1 to 0.4), and solvent concentration (20 to 80% ethanol, v/v), and to obtain the best possible combinations of these parameters for a high antioxidant yield from basil. The total antioxidant capacity (TAC) was expressed in trolox (TR) equivalents per gram of dried sample (DS). Three of the operational parameters (temperature, extraction time and solvent concentration) were shown to have significant effect on the extraction efficiency of antioxidants in basil extracts (p < 0.05). The solvent concentration was shown to be the most significant factor on antioxidant yield obtained by MAE. There was a close relationship between experimental and predicted values using the proposed method. This optimized MAE method shows an application potential for the efficient extraction of antioxidants from basil in the food and pharmaceutical industries.