These substitutes for tarragon will save you from mid-recipe panic when you don’t have any on hand.
Have you ever been in the middle of cooking dinner and then realized you’re missing something?
With a list like this, you’ll be able to find something that you definitely have in your pantry. No more frenzied trips to the grocery store.
Plus, these substitutes for tarragon will work if you just want to use something different or have an allergy.
Find the perfect substitute for tarragon for your recipe and taste.
I’ll even make it easy for you and give you substitution hints and tips, too!
What is Tarragon?
Tarragon is an herb with lots of flavor and aroma.
French tarragon is usually the most popular because it blends incredibly with meat and poultry dishes.
You can identify tarragon by its slender leaves and strong aroma. It also has a flavor similar to licorice or anise.
This is something that many consider when adding it to recipes.
If the licorice flavor isn’t your favorite, try some of these substitutes.
They’ll still add a lovely herb flavor to your dishes, but not all of them have the same anise aroma.
Best Tarragon Substitutes
Rosemary is a fantastic substitute for tarragon. It’s very likely that you already have it in your pantry, so this one is a no-brainer!
I will say, rosemary works best when used in its dried form.
It’s easy to convert the measurements and rosemary is more pungent when it’s dried.
However, if you have fresh rosemary, try using the stems, as they hold most of the flavor and aroma.
Rosemary is often described as piney, minty, or earthy. It has a very distinct fragrance but will substitute tarragon nicely.
Ratio: 1 Tbsp of Fresh Tarragon = 1 Tbsp of Dried Rosemary
Angelica, although it may be difficult to find, is a great substitute for tarragon. It has a very earthy and sweet flavor profile.
Angelica can be found as the root, stalk, or stem. When substituting for tarragon, be sure to use the stalk or stem.
They’re more herb-flavored, while the root is more of a spice.
Use this substitute in almost any recipe. It’s great for soups and stews or lighter dishes like salads or seafood.
Ratio: 1 Tbsp of Fresh Tarragon = 1 Tbsp of Fresh Angelica
Basil is much easier to find, and you probably already have it in your pantry.
The flavor is very close to tarragon, and it’s almost identical. However, basil doesn’t have that same anise flavor.
Fresh basil works best as a substitute.
Feel free to use dried, but the ratio will be different as dried basil is not as pungent as it is when it’s fresh.
Basil works splendidly in soups, pasta, and poultry or fish recipes.
Ratio: 1 Tbsp of Fresh Tarragon = 2 Tbsp of Fresh Basil
Dill is a very close match to tarragon but without the distinct licorice aroma. Depending on your recipe, this may not even matter.
Looking for that licorice flavor? I would use a different substitute.
Otherwise, for recipes that work well without the licorice flavor profile, dill is perfect!
I love the flavor of dill in sauces or fish dishes.
Ratio: 1 Tbsp of Fresh Tarragon = 1 Tbsp of Fresh Dill
5. Fennel Seeds or Fronds
Fennel has a very pungent bouquet of anise in the seeds or leaves (fronds) of fennel.
Fennel seeds do have a bit more of that flavor, so you can mix and match the fronds and seeds for the ideal blend.
If you use fennel seeds, the ratio is much different from using the leaves. Be very mindful of this when substituting.
The leaves work terrifically in lighter dishes and the seeds are great for strong flavors.
Dishes with pork sausage are so tasty with added fennel.
Ratio: 1 Tbsp of Fresh Tarragon = 1 Tbsp of Fresh Fennel Fronds or ⅛ Tbsp Fennel Seeds.
Thyme is a fragrant herb that has a floral earthiness. It’s a lovely substitute for tarragon since its flavor holds up well to cooking.
The flavor of thyme is also described as lemony or peppery. The flavor is not very similar to tarragon.
However, it works because it pairs well with the other herbs and spices commonly used in dishes with tarragon.
Use thyme in poultry dishes or soups.
Ratio: 1 Tbsp of Fresh Tarragon = ½ tsp of Fresh Thyme
Marjoram can be substituted for tarragon in both dried and fresh applications.
It has very warm flavors, similar to cinnamon, ginger, mint, and lavender.
The earthy aroma makes it a wonderful substitute for tarragon.
Marjoram is another herb that’s missing the licorice flavor but won’t change the flavor of your dish too much.
Substitution Ratio: 1 Tbsp of Fresh Tarragon = 1 Tbsp of Fresh Marjoram
8. Parsley and Cinnamon
Parsley and cinnamon used in combination with each other make a spectacular substitute for tarragon.
This works best when fresh herbs are used. Together, they’re bitter and sweet, just like tarragon!
If you prefer, try simmering the two herbs in some water to extract the flavors and aromas.
Use the resulting “tea” just as you would the tarragon herb.
This substitution really works well when you’re preparing a béarnaise sauce but missing the important tarragon.
Ratio: 1 Tbsp of Fresh Tarragon = 1 Tbsp of strong Parsley & Cinnamon tea.
(You may need to experiment and adjust accordingly)
Chervil is one of the less common herbs. Its shape is similar to flat-leaf parsley.
This is a great substitute for tarragon because it has a similar anise flavor.
Chervil is often described as a mix between tarragon, parsley, and chives.
It’s also pretty subtle, so always be sure to taste and adjust your seasonings.
Chervil is best used in salad dressings and sauces, and it’s a delicious herb for poultry.
Ratio: 1 Tbsp of Fresh Tarragon = 1 Tbsp of Fresh Chervil
Anise, also known as aniseed, is a beautiful substitute for tarragon.
It’s used as an herb, but it’s actually a dried fruit. It comes from the pimenta officinalis lindl plant, and it’s in the parsley family of herbs.
Anise has a very pungent licorice flavor and a very small amount yields the same aroma of tarragon.
Aniseed can be used in a variety of sweet or savory dishes.
Ratio: 1 Tbsp of Fresh Tarragon = 1 pinch of Anise
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