Fun Fact: Ancient Romans and Greeks consider Savory to be an aphrodisiac. That’s why it’s called the Love Herb. (*)
Its reputation for being used in love potions was so popular that monasteries banned it to protect the monks from its rumored love spell.
Today, we enjoy savory not for its ability to make people fall in love but because of its minty, peppery, and earthy flavor that brings out the best in all types of dishes.
But there’s a catch: savory is not as widely available as we need it to be!
We’ve got the solution right here—the 9 best savory substitutes that you can use. Keep on reading to find out what these are!
Top 9 Substitutes for Savory
There’s no doubt that savory is one of the best herbs you can get your hands on. But what if you can’t find one in your pantry or local supermarket? Here are some of the best savory substitutes to the rescue!
1. Winter Savory
If you need summer savory, its counterpart—winter savory—is an excellent alternative.
Since they are both savory substitutes, their flavor profile is almost the same. The difference is winter savory tends to be more bitter, so you need to take that into account when using it as a summer savory substitute:
Pro Tip: If the winter savory substitute is cooked longer, its bitter flavor might weaken. We highly recommend using winter savory as a substitute for summer savory in cooked dishes, especially those with meat, lentils, cabbage, fish, and root vegetables.
When it comes to appearance, Thyme and Summer savory look almost the same when finely chopped.
You can hardly tell the difference.
This goes the same with their flavor profile since thyme is also known for having a pungent and minty flavor note.
Not only that, both herbs can stand up to longer cooking times. Because of this, they are used on a wide range of dishes, including roasted meats, marinades, soups, and stews
Pro Tip: You can use the same amount of thyme as the savory substitute the recipes call for.
Same with Thyme, Sage is also a Mediterranean herb. However, it doesn’t look anything like Thyme or Savory. Compared to Savory, the sage plant has larger and wider leaves.
But here’s the good news: it also delivers the same pungent pine notes that you love about thyme and savory.
The flavor profile of sage is earthy and bitter, with hints of citrus and pine. Because of its distinct flavor, it’s highly recommended to be used in dishes like lamb, meats, potatoes, beans, sauces, marinades, and poultry. It may also be an excellent addition to pastries and breads.
Heads up, the best savory substitute is fresh sage leaves. Don’t use the dried version because it has a potent flavor that might overpower all the other flavors in your dish,
Use sage as a substitute for savory following a 1:1 ratio.
Pro Tip: To make the sage leaves look like Savory, the best move you can make is to chop the leaves as finely as possible.
Marjoram may not be as good as the other savory substitutes, but it’s already a pretty decent choice, especially if you are in a pinch.
Here’s the best description of what Marjoram tastes like: it’s a combination of basil, thyme, and oregano.
This means that it tastes sweet and earthy with hints of citrus. But what makes it a great savory substitute is that it has excellent pine notes.
Same with the other substitutes, use equal amounts of Marjoram as you would use savory in various dishes.
The best dishes to use Marjoram in are soups, poultry, meat dishes, stews, sauces, and salad dressings.
Pro Tip: The biggest difference between Marjoram and savory is that the former will not be able to withstand long cooking times. To address this issue, we recommend adding Marjoram in midway or at the end of your cooking time.
This herb has a similar flavor to Marjoram. Unfortunately, it’s often mistaken for Marjoram since both have the same citrusy, minty, and slightly bitter flavor, which is also the same as that of Savory. The only distinct difference between the two is that oregano has a stronger flavor.
In addition to stews, beans, fish, and seafood, you can also use it in pizzas and pastas.
Pro Tip: Use oregano in the same amount of savory that the recipes require.
You’re most likely familiar with Basil’s taste since it’s most commonly used in pastas and pizzas. If not, here’s what it tastes like: it’s fresh and sweet with slightly minty and peppery flavors.
As mentioned, it’s commonly used in pastas and pizzas. But you can also use it as a savory substitute in sauces, soups, and salads.
When using basil, use the same amount of savory that the recipe calls for:
Pro Tip: Same with Marjoram, add fresh basil only at the end of the cooking time because it will lose its flavor when it’s exposed to high temperatures for a long time.
Rosemary has a slightly different flavor profile among all the Savory alternatives on this list because its flavor has hints of lavender and evergreen. But we included it in the list because it also delivers the signature peppery, minty, and pine flavors that Savory substitute is known for.
Rosemary works best as a seasoning for meats, potatoes, beans, lentils, stews, ad
Both dried and fresh savory leaves can be used to substitute for savory. Follow a 1:1 ratio when using this.
Pro Tip: Rosemary leaves have a rougher texture than savory ones, so we highly recommend that you chop these finely before using them in your recipes.
8. Herbes de Provence
Considered an all-purpose seasoning in French cuisine, Herbes de Provence is a mix of savory and a few common savory substitutes like thyme, basil, rosemary, oregano, and marjoram. It also includes other herbs like tarragon and bay leaf. (*)
Because of its herb content, there’s no doubt that it’s an excellent savory substitute for dishes like grilled meats, fishes, vegetables, and stews.
When using this spice mix, use the same amount of savory that the recipe requires.
9. DIY Savory Herb Mix
If you really want to achieve almost the same taste of savory, your best choice is to make an herb mix at home!
- Mix two parts of thyme with one part of sage, then add a pinch of mint.
- Mix everything well and give it a taste.
- You can adjust the ratio of the herbs accordingly.
The delicious flavors and irresistible aroma of savory makes it one of the sought-after culinary staples today. But, unfortunately, it’s not as widely available as we would like them to be.
Good news: You don’t have to miss out on its unique flavor because there are plenty of savory substitutes that you can use!
We provided some of the best ones in this list so you can check them out the next time you run out of savory in your pantry. Let us know which substitute you like best. Then, share them with us in the comments section!