These substitutes for thyme are handy for home cooks and professional chefs alike.
Because we’ve all run out of things last minute, right? So instead of running to the store, just bookmark this list!
Sometimes, it’s okay to leave out an ingredient. Other times, it can really mess up the recipe.
So if you’re fresh out of thyme, don’t fret. These herby substitutes will do the trick in any thyme recipe.
And I guarantee you have some of them in your pantry already.
Whether you’re making Thanksgiving dinner or a fun new cocktail, you can find a substitute for thyme in a snap.
How to Use Thyme
Thyme is a popular herb that can be used in so many ways.
It’s commonly found in many different cuisines. This includes North, Latin, and Central American cooking, plus European, Mediterranean, and African foods.
What does thyme taste like, you ask? It’s minty with hints of citrus and a nice earthy finish.
That makes it a lovely addition to poultry and is often used for roasting whole birds.
Thyme can also be used in many seafood recipes and adds a lot of flavor to vegetables.
You can even use it fresh or dried.
Add it to baked goods for an herbaceous touch. It really goes great with lemon flavors.
Some bartenders even use it in craft cocktails. It contributes a lovely aroma and flavor to any beverage.
Best Substitutes for Thyme
Marjoram isn’t as commonly used at home as some other spices.
However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious.
It’s just as versatile and tasty as thyme and can be used in so many recipes.
The flavor and aromas of marjoram are similar to thyme and oregano.
It’ i’s a bit milder than oregano and has a hint more sweetness.
Marjoram makes a fantastic substitute for thyme. It has a woody aroma that can be disguised as thyme in the best way.
When using marjoram as a substitute for thyme, a 1:1 ratio can be used.
If you’re substituting fresh for dried, 1 teaspoon of fresh herbs equals ½ teaspoon of dried.
Fresh basil is a great substitute for fresh thyme. It’s bright and flavorful, so it will definitely add pizzazz to any dish.
Basil has more of an anise or licorice flavor than thyme does.
Remember to consider this when using it as a substitute.
I think basil is also another herb that tastes fantastic in savory cocktails and some baked goods.
It can easily be swapped in when thyme has run out.
Aside from basil having a different flavor than thyme, it also has a stronger taste.
You’ll need to adjust the ratio slightly.
When substituting fresh thyme, use half the amount of basil.
When using dried basil for dried thyme, use a 1:1 ratio.
Oregano tastes more like thyme than any other herb.
The flavor is extremely similar, and it’s easily available so it makes a perfect substitute.
Oregano is commonly used in Mediterranean cooking and is a relative of mint.
It has notes of rosemary and lemon with a savory flavor. It tastes wonderful on meat and pizza!
You want to swap fresh for fresh or dried for dried when using oregano.
When you do this, you can use a 1:1 ratio for substituting.
Oregano tastes great on lamb or in salad dressings. It’s an easy choice when looking for a thyme substitute.
4. Italian Seasoning
Italian seasoning is a combination of herbs used to flavor all sorts of dishes.
It typically includes oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, marjoram, tarragon, and a bay leaf.
Sometimes, it even includes lavender.
It’s often called for in Italian dishes. It’s a simple way to add lots of flavor without measuring each herb.
It can be used in any recipe that needs thyme.
Italian seasoning always comes dried. You can easily swap for thyme using a 1:1 ratio.
5. Herbs de Provence
Herbs de Provence is very similar to Italian seasoning, but it’s usually used in French cooking.
It’s another spice blend that’s made up of the same herbs in different amounts.
It has a slightly different flavor profile than Italian seasoning, but it has thyme in it. That makes it an ideal substitute.
Herbs de Provence can be used on all types of meat.
It’s super yummy on chicken or fish and can even add flavor to prime rib.
Use a 1:1 ratio for herbs de Provence when substituting for thyme. The flavor won’t be exact, but it sure will taste delicious!
Tarragon is a bitter herb used frequently in French cuisine.
It has a bit of a licorice flavor but can easily be used in place of thyme.
Tarragon has a more mild flavor than thyme but has a similar flavor.
Use it as a substitute in chicken and seafood dishes.
I love using tarragon in sauces and dressings. You can also sprinkle it on any kind of meat or add it to stews.
Use a 1:1 ratio when cooking with tarragon instead of thyme.
For best results, swap dried tarragon for dried thyme or fresh tarragon for fresh thyme.
Sage is a cozy herb that’s popular during the fall season.
It’s used in a lot of American Thanksgiving recipes and tastes great with poultry.
That being said, sage can be used year ‘round and makes a delicious thyme substitute.
Be mindful that sage has a very distinct flavor.
It doesn’t necessarily taste like thyme, so you will notice a difference in your recipe.
Sage can be used in all kinds of dishes, especially hearty ones like stews.
It also has a tendency to bring out other flavors that it’s used with.
Use a 1:1 ratio when substituting with sage.
8. Fresh Parsley
Replacing fresh thyme with fresh parsley is a great option.
Fresh parsley has a bright flavor that works really well in place of thyme leaves.
Parsley is a little less earthy than thyme and is super tasty with cold dishes.
Use it as a substitute for fresh thyme in dips and salads.
There is a big difference between parsley leaves and thyme leaves.
If you choose to use parsley, you may want to chop it very small.
Make the swap using a 1:1 ratio when the recipe calls for fresh thyme.
Another flavorful spice blend that can be used as a substitute for thyme is za’atar.
It’s commonly used in Mediterranean dishes and includes thyme as a main ingredient.
Along with thyme, za’atar also has sumac, marjoram, oregano, and sesame seeds. It can be used in many dishes.
Use this spice blend on rich meats or in creamy dressings. You can easily use it as a substitute for thyme.
It’s especially great if you’re open to a little more flavor than the recipe would normally have.
Since it can be a little strong, start with a lower substitution ratio.
If a recipe calls for one teaspoon thyme, start with half a teaspoon of za’atar. Taste as you go.
10. Poultry Seasoning
Poultry seasoning, as the name suggests, is often used to season chicken and turkey.
It’s especially common in the fall months for turkey dinners.
This blend of herbs includes marjoram and thyme as well as nutmeg and black pepper.
If you decide to use poultry seasoning instead of thyme, watch the salt!
Poultry seasoning has salt in it, so taste your food as you cook.
Much like za’atar, start with half the amount the recipe calls for.
You can add more as you go, but you don’t want to overpower your dish.
Rosemary is delicious and versatile.
Although one could easily identify the flavor of rosemary, it substitutes thyme really well.
It has a slight piney flavor that pairs nicely with meats and chicken.
It also tastes heavenly with olive oil so you can use it in salad dressings.
Since it has a strong aroma, rosemary is delightful in rustic loaves of bread.
You can also use rosemary with thyme and do half and half.
Or, it makes a great solution for when you just don’t have enough thyme.
Use rosemary as a substitute for thyme using a 1:1 ratio. This is one of my personal favorites.
12. Marjoram and Parsley
Sometimes one of the best substitutes for an herb is two herbs.
In this case, marjoram and parsley work together to create a wonderful thyme swap.
Marjoram can be a bit on the sweeter side, and parsley is a great balance.
With this duo, you’ll get the earthy flavors of thyme and oregano from the marjoram.
Add the bright, pepperiness of the parsley, and you’ll have a great combination.
Use a 1:1 ratio for the marjoram, and then add half the amount of parsley.
For one teaspoon of thyme, use one teaspoon of marjoram plus half a teaspoon of parsley.
Savory is one of the closest matches to thyme. Its flavor is often described as “thyme-like”.
The only problem with savory is that it’s not as readily available.
You might not have it in your kitchen or even heard of it.
Savory is more subtle than thyme but still has a peppery, earthy flavor.
It has complex flavors that complement meat and veggies perfectly.
If you have winter savory, it tends to be slightly more bitter than summer savory.
When you’re substituting for thyme, use an easy 1:1 ratio.
This is a great option for any dish that’s in need of some thyme.
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