Rosemary is known as one of the top aromatic herbs. Below, you’ll find a rosemary substitute list for all dishes that call for this tasty herb.
This herb has a distinguishable flavor, that’s for sure. It gives dishes a minty and peppery taste that is unmistakable.
But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of replacements when you’re fresh out!
Rosemary is a fragrant, woody-tasting herb that grows as a shrub.
This herb typically appears in sprigs with short, thin, flat, green leaves. You can buy it in jars as a dried spice.
The origin of rosemary is the Mediterranean, and it also grows in Europe in warmer areas.
Rosemary has many uses, the most common being as a flavoring agent for meats like lamb and poultry.
Vegetables, soups, and sauces usually include this herb as well. It is also used to make nice smashed potatoes.
You’ll also find this woodsy herb in alcoholic drinks.
That said, this is a spice rack staple.
There are many available types of rosemary, though a few stand out in the culinary world.
You’ll often find Tuscan blue rosemary in the kitchens of renowned chefs.
There is also spice island rosemary. Then, there is prostratus rosemary, one of the creeping rosemary varieties.
These rosemary plant varieties can grow from about 3 to 8 feet, depending on the type.
The most used type of rosemary is Rosmarinus officinalis. This is what we know as common rosemary.
This rosemary plant is the variety you’ve likely seen at the store, dried or fresh.
Here is a list of our favorite rosemary alternatives for you to use in your recipes.
Dried rosemary is a great substitute for fresh rosemary.
This version is easily found at the grocery store in the spice aisle.
You’ll find a slightly bolder taste in dried rosemary.
As with any dried version of an herb, you will need to use a smaller amount.
If you have sprigs of rosemary growing at home, it’s easy to dehydrate them to create dry rosemary.
This works exceptionally well in a lamb dish.
The flavor is almost identical when you substitute dried rosemary for fresh ones.
You only need a smaller amount when substituting dried rosemary for fresh ones in dishes. Adding too much is easy and will create a bitter taste in recipes. Both fresh or dried rosemary can cause a dish to taste “perfumy” if cooked too long. It’s best to add this herb later to avoid this flavor.
Cooking Tip: Use one teaspoon of dried rosemary for every tablespoon of fresh rosemary.
Basil is an herb in the same plant family as rosemary, the mint family. You can expect a similar minty taste when using basil in recipes.
You can use basil in many recipes, from fresh vegetable dishes to sauces. It also includes meat-based recipes such as roasted meats.
It also works in mushroom dishes and even herbal teas.
Basil presents a similar flavor to rosemary. It allows this herb’s use to span other cuisine styles.
This herb is one of the best replacements. It’s pretty easy to find both as a fresh ingredient, in dried form, and in many people’s herb gardens.
There will be a flavor difference as basil adds a slight sweetness to dishes.
Cooking Tips: Use a 1:1 ratio to replace fresh rosemary with basil. You can also use dried basil. However, you must adjust the ratio to .5:1 because dried basil has a more potent flavor.
Thyme is another excellent replacement. It works both dried and fresh as a rosemary alternative.
This herb is from the same mint family and provides similar flavor notes as rosemary.
When using fresh (or dried thyme), expect a similar mint and citrus taste.
Thyme works well as a complement to meat-based recipes, including sausage dishes.
It does provide a milder taste than you would receive from rosemary.
If the flavor is not strong enough, increase the quantity.
This herb is an excellent swap as it does not shrink or become less potent in taste.
You can add it in much earlier in the cooking process.
Thyme is another herb that is easily accessible, both in dried and fresh versions.
Thyme also provides a sweet and slightly spicy taste, which does not bode well with all recipes. There will be a different flavor when using this rosemary alternative.
Cooking Tip: Use a 1:1 ratio when swapping thyme for fresh rosemary. If the recipe calls for fresh rosemary, use fresh thyme. Otherwise, use dried thyme as a dried rosemary substitute. Start with half the amount, as dried herbs are more intense than fresh ones.
Oregano is another herb with a complex flavor.
It offers a pungent, earthy, sweet, and slightly spicy taste. It also provides some bitterness to dishes, like what rosemary offers.
Oregano has extra flavor notes, though. That said, there will be a flavor difference when using this replacement for rosemary.
This herb is best for Italian, Greek, or Mexican (if using Mexican oregano) dishes.
It is one of the most commonly used dried herbs in salad dressings, sauces, and soups.
A minty and woody taste arises when using oregano as a replacement.
Oregano is limited to a few cuisine styles, making it not a perfect match for all dishes. The final dish will have a different flavor when substituting rosemary with this.
Cooking Tip: Use a 1:1 ratio when swapping oregano for fresh rosemary.
Both fresh and dried marjoram work as good substitutes for rosemary.
They provide a similar pine-like flavor. There will also be a citrusy, minty, and slightly bitter taste.
Additional sweet notes and an earthy flavor can translate to dishes.
Fresh or dried marjoram has a much subtler taste than rosemary.
Use marjoram in soups, sauces, and pork sausages. This mint family herb is popular in Mediterranean recipes.
Marjoram, either as dried or fresh herbs, offers a similar flavor to rosemary. It has a milder taste than fresh oregano, widening the available recipes.
The fresh version can be challenging to find at grocery stores. Sometimes, even farmers’ markets don’t have it. Also, because of its subtler taste, you’ll need more of this herb to replace rosemary.
Cooking Tip: Start with a 1:1 replacement using fresh and dried varieties. Add more as needed.
Tarragon is known for its bold licorice taste. It also offers a citrusy, peppery, slightly bitter flavor. For this reason, it is a good rosemary substitute.
It’s important to note that tarragon has a much stronger taste than rosemary.
Some people do not enjoy the anise flavor so it can be off-putting to various family and friends.
Use tarragon in small quantities for sauce, fish, vegetables, and eggs. You can also use it in meat and mushroom dishes.
Tarragon adds a bold taste to recipes and similar flavor notes as fresh rosemary leaves.
This herb’s strong flavor is not okay for everyone’s taste buds. Its strong taste limits the recipes you can incorporate this replacement. Tarragon can work in cooked dishes, but its flavor becomes too mellow if you add it early.
Cooking Tip: Use 1/3 of the amount required in your recipe.
Dried savory is one of the lesser-known rosemary substitute ideas. Yet, this tasty herb is also part of the same family.
This herb provides a similar minty taste.
There are two varieties – winter savory and summer savory. Each type offers a different taste.
Summer savory is spicier. It’s best to use this substitution when you’re looking to replace the pepperiness of rosemary.
The winter variety is more earthy and woody and offers a milder flavor. Use this variety when seeking a piney flavor for recipes.
Winter and summer savory provide a mint flavor. They also have other flavor notes that rosemary offers. Both dried savory varieties can substitute rosemary in nearly all recipes.
This herb is less common in the US. This makes finding it challenging in some locations, even as a dried herb.
Cooking Tip: Use summer and winter savory in a 1:1 ratio as an alternative to fresh rosemary. Fresh savory can work in a pinch. Start with the same ratio and add more as needed.
The flavor of the bay leaf gives food a minty, peppery, and slightly bitter taste. This makes it one of the best rosemary substitutes.
The mild flavor this leaf imparts makes it a great addition.
The most typical procedure is to take the leaves off the dish before serving it.
Both rosemary and bay leaf have a minty and earthy flavor. They also work best when cooked for a long time. Because of this, it can substitute for rosemary in cooked dishes.
Bay leaves are bigger than rosemary. You must spend some time removing the leaves from the dish before serving.
Cooking Tip: Substitute fresh rosemary with the same amount of bay leaves.
Yet another one of the best rosemary substitutions is Italian seasoning. This popular condiment has rosemary as one of its main ingredients.
Other herbs and spices are added to Italian seasoning, so the flavor varies from brand to brand.
Italian seasoning is very easy to find in local grocery stores.
There are many other herbs and spices present in Italian seasoning. They might not go well with all dishes, especially those already heavily spiced.
Cooking Tip: Use half of the amount of fresh rosemary your recipe calls for. Add more if necessary.
Herbs de Provence is a blend of herbs commonly used in French cuisine.
While Herbs de Provence can work as a rosemary substitute, it won’t be an exact match in terms of flavor.
This herb mix pairs well with dishes like roasted chicken, grilled vegetables, lamb, and stews.
Since rosemary is one of the components in Herbs de Provence, it can work as a substitute for rosemary to some extent.
Keep in mind that the flavor profile of Herbs de Provence will be a bit more complex and may include other herb flavors as well.
Cooking Tip: If the recipe asks for 1 teaspoon of rosemary, use 1 teaspoon of Herbs de Provence.
Sage can be used as a substitute for rosemary in some dishes, but it’s important to note that sage has a distinct flavor profile that differs from rosemary.
Sage has a savory, earthy, and slightly peppery taste, whereas rosemary has a more piney and resinous flavor.
If you decide to use sage as a substitute for rosemary, it’s best suited for recipes where you’re looking for an earthy and herbaceous flavor with a hint of pepper.
Since sage has a stronger flavor than rosemary, so you may want to use it more sparingly and adjust the quantity to your taste.
Cooking Tip: Sage works well in dishes like roasted poultry, stuffing, and some pasta dishes.
Combining sage and mint can create an interesting flavor profile that is both savory and fresh.
This combination can work well in roast meats or as a seasoning for vegetables.
Keep in mind that the flavor will be different, but it can be a delightful change that adds depth and complexity to your recipes.
Cooking Tip: Adjust the quantity of herbs to your taste, as these herbs can be quite strong.
Lavender can be used as a unique and aromatic substitute for rosemary.
It works in recipes where you want to introduce a floral and slightly sweet note.
It can provide a unique and unexpected twist in dishes like roasted chicken, lamb, or desserts.
You can use fresh lavender sprigs as a garnish or flavor enhancer for dishes like lamb, chicken, or desserts.
Lavender can be used in baking recipes that call for rosemary.
Be cautious with the quantity, as lavender can have a strong and perfumy flavor.
Cooking Tip: Ensure that you use culinary-grade lavender specifically labeled for cooking.
Lemongrass has a citrusy and slightly herbal flavor.
While it’s quite different from rosemary, it can bring a fresh and zesty note to your recipes, especially in marinades and Asian-inspired dishes.
Lemongrass can be incorporated into marinades for chicken, pork, or seafood. Use it to infuse your broth with a bright, citrusy flavor.
Remember that lemongrass has a distinct citrusy flavor so that it will alter the taste of your dish.
Cooking Tip: Remove the tough outer layers of the lemongrass stalk and use the tender inner part for the best flavor extraction.
Cilantro has a fresh and citrusy flavor, which is quite different from the piney and resinous taste of rosemary.
You can still use cilantro creatively in some dishes to provide a unique and refreshing twist.
Combine chopped cilantro with ingredients like lime juice, garlic, and olive oil to create a flavorful marinade for chicken, fish, or seafood.
It can bring its own set of flavors to your dishes.
Cooking Tip: consider the cuisine and flavor profile of the recipe when using cilantro as a replacement for rosemary.
While this herb won’t provide the same earthy notes, you can use parsley as a substitute in certain dishes where you want a milder herbaceous flavor.
Chopped parsley can be added to marinades and salad dressings to impart a mild herbal flavor.
Since parsley has a mild flavor, it won’t provide the same intensity as rosemary.
Cooking Tip: Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley over your finished dish just before serving.
Chervil has a delicate and slightly anise-like flavor, which is quite different from the strong and resinous taste of rosemary.
This herb is often used as a garnish, especially in French cuisine.
Use it as a garnish, in creamy sauces or seafood dishes.
Remember that chervil has a subtle flavor so it won’t provide the same bold herbal punch as rosemary.
Cooking Tip: Sprinkle fresh chervil leaves over your finished dish just before serving to add a subtle, fresh herb aroma.
Not all swaps mentioned are readily available. That said, if you are in a hurry, opt for those that are accessible.
For instance, go for bay leaf, tarragon, or oregano. Only use savory and fresh marjoram if you enjoy hunting for spices or already have some on hand.
In any substitution, you can expect a change in flavor.
For the closest flavor profile, choose dried rosemary. For a subtle change in taste, choose bay leaf or savory.
If a significant difference in flavor is okay with you, go for tarragon. Italian seasoning and oregano are also great choices.
Yes, you can substitute basil for rosemary. This herb is part of the same plant family and offers a similar taste in dishes. You will notice a slight sweetness when using basil instead of fresh rosemary.
Because rosemary combines many flavors, it’s essential to use it in recipes. But, if you have run out of rosemary, the options above can replace rosemary. They’ll provide an equally tasty dish.
No, rosemary and thyme are not the same spice/herb. They share a connection as they are both from the Lamiaceae family, aka the mint family. While they offer a similar taste to dishes, rosemary has a bolder flavor.
Rosemary’s complex flavor distinguishes it from other herbs. It has a woody, minty, peppery taste. Rosemary tastes bold with a slight bitterness and citrusy, slightly floral flavor, too.
This quantity varies as a sprig can be 2-4″ long. Approx. ½-1 teaspoon is equal to 1 sprig of rosemary. That said, it’s best to start with ½ teaspoon due to the slight bitterness of rosemary.
Increase until you reach the flavor you desire. Your recipe also affects this quantity, as some will need a significant amount.
There are many rosemary substitutes to choose from. But, you should not use the first option available to you. Instead, selecting the swaps that complement your recipe is best. For example, tarragon works well with fish. Yet, it is not suitable for some sauces as the flavor decreases as it cooks.
The best fresh rosemary substitute is dried rosemary, followed by marjoram. Any herb in the mint family also works as a great alternative. If available, fresh or dried sage can substitute rosemary in egg and meat dishes. On the other hand, dill is great for fish recipes.
If none of the above options are readily available, caraway seeds, bay leaves, and parsley can work in a pinch.