What is A Good Substitute For Savory? (All You Need To Know)

image of Good Substitutes For Savory
Herbs and Heat LevelFlavorRatio When Replacing Savory Herbs
Thyme (Mild)Mildly sweet and pungent, fragrant and slightly peppery.1:1
Sage (Medium)Pungent, earthy, herbal and slightly camphor-like.1:1
Sweet, woodsy with an almost citrus-like aroma.1:3
Sharp and warm, with a hint of bitterness.1:1
Sweet and slightly anise-like aroma.1:4
Strongly aromatic herb with a strong flavor profile that is both pungent and earthy.1:1
Herbes De Provence (Mild)Aromatic blend of herbs including lavender, marjoram, rosemary thyme and savory itself.1:2
  • 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! So, what is a good substitute for savory? 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!

image of savory spice

What Spices Are Considered Savory?

Savory spices are typically herbs like thyme, rosemary, and sage. They have a strong flavor that can be used to season meats, vegetables, or potatoes.

What’s a Savory Seasoning Made of?

Savory seasonings can be made of a variety of spices and herbs, such as:

Depending on the cuisine or region you are trying to emulate in your cooking, you may want to experiment with different combinations of spices and herbs to find the perfect blend for your dish.

Things to Consider When Replacing Savory Herbs In Any Recipe

Replacing savory herbs in any recipe can be tricky, but here are a few things to consider:

  • Flavor: Different herbs have different flavor profiles, so make sure the replacement herb has a flavor profile that complements the dish.
  • Heat Level: Some herbs are spicier than others, so if you’re replacing an herb with heat, try to find one with a similar level of heat or adjust the amount accordingly.
  • Texture: Herbs can add texture and crunch to dishes, so think about what the original herb provided in terms of texture and try to find a suitable replacement that provides similar texture.
  • Amount: Herbs have varying levels of intensity, so pay attention to the amount used in the original recipe when finding a substitute herb and adjust accordingly.

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? What is a good substitute for savory?

What is A Good Substitute For Savory?

Savory SubstitutesFlavor ProfileBest Used inRecommended Ratio
ThymeMildly sweet and pungent, slightly peppery and earthyMeats, vegetables, potatoes1:1 when replacing savory
SagePungent, earthy, herbal with hints of citrus and pineLamb, meats, potatoes, beans, sauces, marinades, poultry1:1 when replacing savory
MarjoramSweet, earthy with hints of citrus and pineSoups, poultry, meat dishes, stews, sauces, salad dressingsEqual amounts as savory

1. Thyme

Are you looking for a way to make your dishes more tasty and unique? Consider using thyme as a savory herb instead of the more common herbs like oregano, basil, or rosemary.

With just a few easy tips and tricks, thyme can turn your ordinary dish into something extraordinary!

First, you’ll need to pick between fresh or dried thyme. Fresh thyme has a strong flavor while dried thyme is milder. When you use one herb instead of another in a recipe, use three times the amount of thyme than what’s called for in the recipe. So if it calls for 1 teaspoon of oregano, use 3 teaspoons of thyme instead!

As you add thyme to your dish, be sure to taste test it often so you can adjust the amount according to how much flavor you want.

If you’re using fresh leaves from the stem—remember to take them off before adding them. And when substituting dried herbs for fresh ones in a recipe, just keep in mind that ½ teaspoon of dried herbs equals 1 teaspoon of fresh herbs.

Finally, if your dish still doesn’t have enough flavor after adding any substitutes with thyme—consider adding some extra seasonings such as garlic powder or black pepper.

Then sit back and enjoy your delicious culinary creation!

Learn more: What is a Good Substitute for Thyme?

image of Sage

2. Sage

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, we are 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.

We suggest to 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.

3. Marjoram

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, we suggest to 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.  

Learn more: Marjoram Substitute

Other Savory Substitutes To Try

4. DIY Savory Herb Mix Substitute

If you really want to achieve almost the same taste of savory, your best choice is to make an herb mix at home!

Here’s how:

  • 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.

Get recipe: livelaughrowe.com

image of Winter Savory

5. 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 substitute for summer savory.

Pro Tip:

If the winter savory substitute is cooked longer, its bitter flavor might weaken. We highly recommend using winter savory as a sub for summer savory in cooked dishes, especially those with meat, lentils,  cabbage, fish, and root vegetables.

image of Thyme

6. Spicing Up Your Dishes With Oregano

Fun Fact:

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.

Do you have a favorite dish that could use some extra flavor? Why not try replacing the savory herbs with oregano! This tasty herb is sure to add an extra punch of flavor to your dishes and make them even more delicious.

When making the switch, remember that oregano has a strong flavor so you’ll want to adjust your recipe measurements accordingly. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs, you can substitute it with 1 teaspoon of dried oregano instead.

Additionally, think about how the oregano will interact with other ingredients in the recipe – it may overpower them if used in large amounts.

Lastly, if the savory herb is called for toward the end of cooking time, experiment by adding just a small amount or none at all so as not to overpower the dish with its flavor.

By following these tips and experimenting with different flavors, you’ll be able to create new and exciting dishes that are perfect for the whole family.

7. Basil

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, we suggest to 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.

8. Rosemary

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. We suggest to 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.

Learn more: What is a Good Substitute for Rosemary?

9. 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, we suggest to use the same amount of savory that the recipe requires.


Final Words

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.

Here are some of the best savory substitutes to the rescue!

Let us know which substitute of savory you like best. Then, share them with us in the comments section below! We would love to hear from you!

Happy cooking!

9 Savory Alternatives to Choose

Up Next: The Most Common Spices and Seasoning Substitutes

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