5 Amazing rosemary substitute spices you need to try

rosemary substitute
Rosemary gives off citrusy, woodsy, and minty flavors. The best rosemary substitutes for when you don’t have any rosemary on hand include thyme, oregano, basil, marjoram, and tarragon. Rosemary and rosemary substitutes can be used in many ways but are commonly used in soups, vegetables, meat, and seafood dishes.

What does rosemary taste like?

Rosemary has a unique flavor profile but similar flavors to thyme and sage. Rosemary is a fragrant herb that gives a Mediterranean flavor to dishes. It has a woody flavor with some lemony and minty notes.

Rosemary also contains mildly savory and pine-like flavors, adding aromatic fragrances to food. These intense flavors can be overpowering in dishes, so use them sparingly. Different varieties of rosemary have slightly different flavor profiles.

Can I use dried instead of fresh rosemary?

Dried and fresh rosemary
Dried and fresh rosemary

You can use dried rosemary in replacement of fresh rosemary. Dried rosemary is available throughout the year and may be easier to purchase in grocery stores than fresh. The rosemary flavor is more concentrated in dried rosemary, so use less of it than you would have used fresh.

Still, some recipes, like rosemary roasted potatoes, call for fresh rosemary since dried rosemary might have a hard texture after roasting. You can sprinkle 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary on the potatoes before cooking or garnish the potatoes with one more tablespoon.

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Dried rosemary is excellent as a rub on meat dishes. The dried herbs give the meat an earthy flavor that comes through even after being cooked.

How much dried rosemary equals fresh?

A general rule for substituting dried rosemary with fresh rosemary is 1/3. If a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, substitute it with 1/3 teaspoon of dried rosemary.

What to use when I’m out of rosemary: 5 best substitutes

  1. Thyme
  2. Oregano
  3. Basil
  4. Marjoram
  5. Tarragon
ThymeOne of the best substitutes for rosemary since its flavor is similar, ideal for marinades, salad dressings, pasta, roasted vegetables
OreganoHelps the dish maintain a woodsy flavor, well used instead of rosemary in baked goods, vegetable dishes, and chili
BasilSlightly sweet yet deeply savory, great in sauces, pasta, soups, and pesto
MarjoramHas delicate flavors with a hint of bitterness, works for seafood and various meats
TarragonHas hints of licorice or anise, works well as a rosemary replacement in fish and other seafood dishes

1. Thyme


Thyme is one of the best substitutes for rosemary since its flavor is similar. Both thyme and rosemary are in the mint family, but thyme has a slightly milder flavor than rosemary. Fresh thyme works as a substitute if a recipe calls for rosemary to garnish a salad. Thyme can also be used in marinades, salad dressings, pasta, roasted vegetables, and more.

In cooked dishes, use equal portions of fresh thyme to replace fresh rosemary and equal parts of dried thyme to replace dried rosemary.

2. Oregano


Oregano and rosemary are members of the mint family, so oregano makes a suitable replacement to allow your dish to maintain a woodsy flavor. It has a peppery and bitter taste. Oregano is well used instead of rosemary in baked goods, vegetable dishes, and chili.

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Use equal portions to replace the rosemary with oregano in your recipe.

3. Basil


Basil is another herb from the Lamiaceae or mint family. Basil is slightly sweet yet deeply savory. It is a sweeter alternative to rosemary. Basil can be used to replace rosemary in Italian cuisine. It’s great in sauces, pasta, soups, and pesto.

Use equal portions of fresh basil to replace fresh rosemary and equal amounts of dried basil to replace dried rosemary.

4. Marjoram


Marjoram is an herb with flavors that resemble rosemary. It has delicate flavors with a hint of bitterness. Marjoram’s light flavor is similar to oregano and works well with seafood and meat dishes.

Use equal portions of marjoram to replace rosemary.

5. Tarragon


Tarragon is a leafy green herb. It has hints of licorice or anise. Tarragon works well as a rosemary replacement in fish and other seafood dishes.

Use tarragon in smaller amounts than rosemary since it has a strong flavor profile. For every 1 tablespoon of rosemary, use 1/2 tablespoon of tarragon.

Discover more rosemary substitutes for different meats

Many rosemary substitutes work exceptionally well with certain types of meats. Here are the best matches to consider:

  • Dill, parsley, or chives for fish
  • Sage for beef
  • Bay leaf, peppermint, and thyme for lamb and goat
  • Sage and thyme for poultry
  • Caraway seeds for sausages

Dill, parsley, or chives for fish

If you are cooking fish, great substitutes for rosemary could be dill, parsley, or chives. These herbs pair well with any fish.

Parsley’s clean, peppery, and earthy taste complements most fish meals.

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Dill has a bright, grassy flavor and lacks rosemary’s woodsy taste. Still, its flavors come through well in seafood, eggs, and baked bread.

Chives work well as garnish. You can also use chives to make a sauce for your fish. Use equal amounts of these herbs in replacement of rosemary.

Sage for beef

When cooking beef, sage is a good substitute for rosemary since rosemary and sage have pine-like flavors.

Sage is known for its earthy, eucalyptus, and peppery flavor. Still, it has a strong flavor, so use half the amount of sage for each 1 part of the rosemary.

Sage holds its flavor against the intense flavors in beef and won’t get lost in the cooking process. It is common in stroganoff and beef stews. It also tastes great when used as a rub with garlic and other herbs.

Bay leaf, peppermint, and thyme for lamb and goat

Combine bay leaves, peppermint, and thyme to replace rosemary in a goat or lamb dish. Dried bay leaves have a different flavor than rosemary, but their taste is bold and works well as a substitute in soups, stews, and meat dishes.

Peppermint brings out the peppery flavor found in rosemary. Use these herbs together to create a rub for lamb and goat dishes. Mix each of the herbs in equal parts to make a seasoning. Use one part of the mixed seasoning to replace one part of the rosemary.

Sage and thyme for poultry

Sage and thyme can be used separately or combined as a rosemary alternative when cooking meat. These herbs complement just about any poultry, including turkey and chicken. Mix them to form a flavorful seasoning for your meat dish.

Caraway seeds for sausages

Using caraway seeds in a sausage dish is a good alternative when you don’t have any rosemary. Sausage dishes often contain many spices, so caraway seeds add flavor without creating a dish with too many flavor profiles.

Caraway seeds have a strong flavor with hints of pepper and anise. When using caraway seeds as a substitute for rosemary, start with half of this substitute, then taste and adjust as needed.

Whitney Faulconer

Whitney Faulconer lives in Kentucky and loves to write. She also enjoys cooking and trying new flavors and spices. She combines her passion of writing and food to create information to share with others.

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