Home » Ingredient Substitutes » Parsley Substitute (9 Ideal Swaps).

Parsley Substitute (9 Ideal Swaps).

In need of a parsley substitute? We have a list of them below. Parsley is often used as a beautiful, bright green garnish in an Italian dish together with garlic bread.

This versatile herb appears pretty often if you’re into more French and Italian cooking. But what if you don’t have it? Can any leafy green vegetable substitute for parsley? We’ll find out.

white bowl with dried green herbs and glass jar with name Parsley

What is Parsley?

Parsley is an herb that originates from Europe and Western Asia. It has been used worldwide for different purposes, from wreaths/garnishes to medicine and now as an edible herb.

Parsley’s name comes from the Greek word ‘petrose,’ which means rock, as this herb commonly grows in rocky areas in Greece. This herb has been used for over 2,000 years for its different purposes.

Most people use parsley for culinary reasons and its available vitamins and minerals. When eaten raw or even when cooked, it offers a clean, subtle flavor to any dish.

Curly Leaf Parsley Vs. Flat Leaf Parsley

There are two varieties of parsley most often used in the kitchen: curly-leaf parsley and flat-leaf parsley, also known as Italian parsley.

You’ll find a few differences between the two – the appearance of the parsley leaves and taste.

Curly leaf parsley

Curly parsley has a ruffled and condensed look, like curly leaf endive. It has a delicate flavor and is often used as a garnish.

Flat leaf parsley

On the other hand, flat leaf parsley has flat leaves and appears more spread out. It has a richer flavor which is why it is most often used in cooking.

Best Parsley Substitutes and Alternatives

1. Chervil

Chervil is an excellent substitute for parsley. It has a flavor similar to parsley though it is more subtle and has a licorice-like taste.

Chervil also looks like parsley, though it has a lighter green color and curlier leaves. It is also referred to as French parsley and is commonly used in French dishes.


  • The taste and appearance are similar to parsley, so you can easily interchange them.


  • You’ll need to use more chervil than flat leaf parsley because it has a milder taste. Start with 1 1/2 of the amount called for in your recipe. Increase if needed.
  • Since chervil is not commonly used in recipes, finding it at the stores could be tricky.

Cooking Tips:

  • Don’t cook with chervil that has flowers, which means the herb is no longer suitable.
  • Put it in last when adding to cooked dishes.

2. Tarragon

Yet another one of the best parsley substitutes is tarragon. Tarragon is known for its presence in French cuisine. It is part of the mixed herb blend “fines herbes,” including parsley, chervil, and chives.

It presents a sweet, bitter, and licorice-like taste. Use it in small amounts due to the difference in flavor between tarragon and parsley.


  • Tarragon works well in French cooking.
  • If you’re using any of the other herbs in the “fines herbes” mixture, it will compliment them well.
  • It can be used both as fresh and dried herbs in dishes.


  • It works best to replace dried parsley. This is not the ideal alternative if you have a recipe that calls for fresh herbs.
  • The taste differs from fresh parsley, so it’s not an exact match flavor-wise.

Cooking Tips:

  • If using it as a fresh herb, keep it as a garnish instead of a recipe ingredient.
  • Use a small amount when cooking with the dried version.

3. Chives

Chives are excellent substitutes for parsley. As fresh herbs, their taste is very close to onions, and they present a similar bright green color. They have a pretty mild flavor and are not tied to dishes of any particular region or country.


  • Fresh or dried chives are both great alternatives. They have a versatile flavor, so you can substitute them in nearly all recipes that request parsley.
  • They are high in nutrients and contain essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • Chives are usually quite easy to find in your local stores – in both forms.


  • Chives do not have an exact flavor match, so they will not provide the same taste as fresh parsley in recipes.
  • While they offer similar colors, the appearance is different. Chives look like a smaller version of green onions.

Cooking Tips:

  • Add in chives slowly as they will change the flavor of the dish.
  • Use chives to replace parsley as a garnish because they have the same green color.

4. Oregano

Oregano is used frequently as a dried herb and complements Greek and Italian foods the best. They can substitute dried parsley if you want to flavor dishes.

Fresh oregano can also be found in stores and adds a pop of green color to meals. Oregano is part of the mint family, so it does have a more robust spicy and a mild peppery flavor.

It tastes slightly earthy, like fresh parsley.


  • Oregano is a tasty, aromatic herb that provides excellent flavor to dishes it is incorporated.
  • It’s easy to find fresh and dried oregano in retail stores. The fresh oregano is typically in the same area where organic vegetables are kept.


  • It does not work as well with foods that don’t have a Mediterranean influence.
  • It has a strong flavor that tastes quite different from fresh parsley, so only a small amount is needed.

Cooking Tips:

  • Use a small amount of sauce to test the oregano flavor to ensure it blends well with the recipe.
  • Include oregano in salads, meat seasonings, and pasta dishes.

5. Cilantro

Fresh cilantro is also one of the best parsley substitutes. It has an appearance that closely resembles Italian parsley in its fresh state.

It is often used in Thai and Mexican food due to its intense flavor. You can use fresh or dried cilantro in your dishes.

Cilantro leaves have a citrus and pepper flavor that comes through strongly in food. It provides excellent nutrients like vitamin A and vitamin K.


  • With a similar appearance, cilantro is an excellent option as a garnish to substitute parsley.
  • It gives a great punch of flavor to any dish it is added to.


  • It has a different and stronger flavor than fresh parsley, so it might not be a perfect match.
  • It works best with dishes that have a Thai or Mexican influence.

Cooking Tips:

  • Use cilantro for dishes that include fish because it complements the flavor nicely.
  • Opt for a smaller amount of cilantro than the recipe calls for parsley. A handful is usually sufficient.

6. Arugula

Arugula is another excellent parsley substitute as it provides a similar slightly peppery flavor.

This green is not an herb like parsley; it is a salad green like lettuce. You’ll find arugula to have a more bitter taste than parsley, so you may want to use it in smaller quantities unless you enjoy the flavor.

The leaves are much larger than the leaves of parsley. To create a similar texture in dishes, you can finely chop arugula to present a closer size to chopped fresh parsley. You can use arugula in all dishes that require parsley.


  • With a similar flavor, it’s easy to replace fresh or dried parsley with arugula. This salad green offers a similar taste.
  • It’s also easy to find in grocery stores in the vegetable section.


  • The flavor is slightly different when using arugula instead of parsley. The slightly bitter taste may be unappealing if you add too much to a dish.
  • Using arugula as a sub requires more work as you’ll need to chop it into small pieces.

Cooking Tips:

  • Use a tablespoon of arugula for every tablespoon of fresh parsley.
  • You can also use arugula as a garnish for meats like steak, poultry, and fish.

7. Basil

Fresh basil is another herb that you can use in place of parsley. It offers a vibrant, sweet flavor to dishes in place of parsley.

Like parsley, basil provides a peppery taste. However, it also provides a licorice and mint flavor. Because of this flavor combination, it is among the best substitutes for parsley in Italian dishes.

Since dried herbs taste more pungent, you will want to use fresh instead of dried basil. This herb is easily accessible – many people grow it in their herb gardens or their kitchens.

Ideal basil meals include pasta dishes, salad dressings, pizza, and even a garnish for alcoholic beverages. They are versatile dried herbs if you stay within the Italian-inspired food realm.


  • Basil is easy to find in stores, or you may already have some in your home.
  • It works excellently with Italian recipes in place of dried or fresh parsley.


  • You’ll find basil does not work with all recipes because of the variety of flavor notes it offers.
  • It’s limited to Italian-inspired meals when replacing parsley.

Cooking Tips:

  • Use ½ tablespoon of basil for every tablespoon of fresh parsley called for.
  • If using dried basil, opt for 1/3 the required amount.
  • Try adding basil leaves to summery gin cocktails for a pop of flavor.

8. Carrot Greens

You’re likely familiar with using the carrot in salads, stews, soups, and more. However, you can use carrot greens in the cooking process as well.

These greens offer a pop of green color to any dish. Use them as garnish substitutes for parsley. Carrot greens are sweet and earthy with a parsley-like flavor. The taste is unsurprisingly similar to that of carrots.

You’ll also find these greens to offer a slightly bitter flavor similar to basil leaves. Because of this, you will want to use less than the recipe requires.

You can find carrot greens by heading to a nearby farmer’s market. Or, if you grow carrots in your garden, you’ll already have them available.


  • Carrot greens are easy to find and have a similar taste to parsley.
  • They brighten up any dish with a pop of green color when you use them as a garnish.


  • It’s easy to add too many carrot greens to dishes, which can make the meal unappealing.
  • You should not use carrot greens for cooking, limiting available recipes.

Cooking Tips:

  • Use ½ the required amount when using this swap.
  • Always rinse carrot greens (and vegetables) well before use to avoid dish dirt and bacteria.

9. Celery Leaves

Since you can use carrot greens as a replacement, it only makes sense to use celery leaves as parsley substitutes as well.

The inside leaves offer a subtle flavor and make an excellent garnish for meats, soups, salads, and more. In comparison, the outside leaves have a bolder flavor.

Use the outer leaves in cooked recipes like soups and sauces. These leaves provide a more robust flavor and have a tougher texture. To use these, you’ll need to blend them before including them in recipes.

Otherwise, they will be too tough to consume. Do not use the outer leaves in salads.

They have a distinctive taste and can also be bitter in large doses. Use less than what the recipe calls for when using this as a substitute for parsley.


  • Celery leaves are easy to find – you may already have some celery in your fridge from which you can pluck some leaves for soup or a garnish.
  • They add bright green color and fresh taste to dishes.


  • There is a taste difference when you use celery leaves as a swap. Expect a celery taste in your recipes; avoid this swap if you do not enjoy this flavor.
  • Too many celery leaf pieces yield a bitter taste.

Cooking Tips:

  • Using a garnish to replace fresh parsley, use a 1:1 ratio of the inner celery leaves.
  • Use ½ the required amount of outer celery leaves to replace parsley in cooked recipes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of flavor does parsley add?

Both dried and fresh parsley are often described as earthy and peppery. Expect these flavors to show up in your dishes when including this herb.

What can I use instead of parsley in parsley sauce?

Your best option for a parsley alternative in parsley sauce is chervil. It has the most similar taste and can easily be swapped for parsley.

Is parsley similar to basil?

Parsley and basil do carry some similarities. They both can be purchased dried and as fresh herbs and provide a bright green color when fresh. Basil can be used as a substitute, though it has a strong flavor; only use it in Italian dishes.

Is parsley just a garnish?

No, parsley is not just a garnish. This is a common misconception because it is often used as a garnish. It works well in salads, soups, pasta, and many other dishes.


Try using a parsley substitute if you’re digging for parsley in your spice drawer and can’t find it.

It will add a new twist to many dishes and complement homemade sauces. Most will provide a bright green color for extra flair.

Start with chervil as your first choice for a substitution, then shift down the list according to the cuisine style you are creating.

All these options and alternatives will allow you to seamlessly swap parsley out for a different herb.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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