What is a Good Substitute for Thyme? (12 Great Options to Try)

What is a good substitute for thyme when you run out? There are many great options out there that can easily take the place of thyme in various menu items. Some a that offer the same bold flavors and others that provide a unique taste all its own.

Although thyme is a delicious seasoning you should always keep in stock. We have a great list of replacements for those days you find yourself without.

Take a look at these twelve thyme substitute and choose the one that fits your recipes needs.

image of Thyme

1. Oregano For the Win

One of the most common substitutes for thyme is oregano. This woodsy plant is a member of the mint family. Though its flavor is bolder and more distinct, it has the same minty taste of thyme.

Oregano is also more earthy compared to the sweet, peppery taste of thyme. Nevertheless, this ingredient works wonders in recipes calling for thyme, but you don’t have any in stock.

When using oregano as a substitute, keep your measurements exactly the same. One teaspoon of thyme equals out to one teaspoon of oregano.

2. Italian Seasoning Has Thyme in it

Italian seasoning is another suggestion used by many when thyme is not an option. This product contains a variety of herbs that makes up its great taste, including,

  • Marjoram
  • Savory
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

Aside from obviously already having thyme in it. Italian seasoning is a good way to go when you want a robust taste in your dish.

You will see Italian seasoning take the place of thyme in various recipes like meat, sauces, and soups.

3. Sage for a Woodsy Feel

You can use sage in place of thyme when cooking hardy dishes. This spice is strong and will stand out in any dish, so you shouldn’t use too much. 

It is important to note that there is a significant difference in taste between these two spices. While thyme gives meals a lemon-pepper taste, sage is a bit more woodsy. 

Using sage will help enhance the other flavors in your recipes. You should consider this substitute for stews or rubs.

4. Marjoram Has a Fabulous Aroma

Marjoram has a similar aroma and mildly sweet flavor to thyme. While this isn’t the most common spice in the cupboard, it is very versatile.

This summer, European spice is made from a plant in the mint family. You can use it to make a healthy tea due to its large amount of antioxidant properties. 

Compared to thyme, marjoram is a bit milder and has a slightly sweeter taste. Many say this herb also has a slightly bitter and shaper undertone. 

5. Tarragon for a Mild Alternative

Tarragon is a common alternative to thyme. It has a similar flavor to thyme with a hint of a licorice taste. This spice is a little milder than thyme but not enough to ruin a recipe. 

This is an amazing option when making salad dressings or sauces. You can interchange equal amounts of fresh tarragon for fresh thyme. Or you can switch out dried tarragon for dried thyme.

6. Savory for Earthy Undertones

You may not have heard of savory, in spice terms. It is not a staple in most kitchens and isn’t often found in everyday recipes.

With that said, you probably wouldn’t notice a big difference between the two in most recipes.

Savory has an earthy, peppery taste like thyme but is a bit more subtle. You can use savory when preparing meats and vegetables.

Learn more: The 9 Best Savory Substitutes That You Might NOW Have!

7. Rosemary for Delicious Salad Dressings

Rosemary has a wonderful strong aroma that makes it a great replacement to tyme in various baked goods. You can find it in loaves of bread with a rustic ambiance. Or you can pair it with olive oil for a delicious dressing to top your favorite salades.

We love the pine flavor that emanates from rosemary. It goes great in rubs for chicken and other meats. 

While Rosemary does offer a noticeably different taste then thyme, it cans till take its place in most recipes.

Learn more: What is a Good Substitute for Rosemary? (10 Alternatives)

8. Bay Leaves for Liquid Dishes

Bay leaves can be used in most liquid dishes in place of thyme. You will find this ingredient often added to soups, broths, and stews. 

This herb is also a fantastic addition to recipes that call for beans and cabbage. This is because it provides a nice blend of piny, minty freshness. Along with that it is a nice combination of woodsy, earthy aromas similar to thyme.

We use one bay leaf in place of a half of a teaspoon of thyme or one quarter of fresh thyme.

9. Parsley (Fresh is Best)

When swapping parsley for thyme, fresh is the best way to go. This swap can improve the flavor of various cold dishes like dips or salads. 

The reason we like parsley in colder recipes is because it offers a less earthy taste compared to thyme. Because it can be pretty peppery, you will want to chop it into fine pieces and use spariningly. 

While fresh is always better, you can replace dried parsley with dried thyme as well.  Either option can be interchanged with thyme in a one to one ratio.

10. Basil for a Bold Taste

Dreid basil can be used in an equal one to one ratio with thyme. It can be used in almost any dish hot or cold. When using fresh basil, it is best to only use half the amount you would with thyme. Dried basil and thyme swap in equal amounts with ease.

Basil has a peppery taste that is similar to parsley, but not as strong. It is a fantastic topping on pizza and other italian dishes. 

11. Dill for a Citrusy Touch

Dill provides a distinct and unique citrus flavor with grassy undertones. This combination of tastes gives a similar fresh vibe similar to thyme.

Dill is a popular herb found in Asian cuisine, used in numerous idshes for a bold taste. YOu can choose this option instead of thyme on foods such as salad dressings, seafood, soups, and vegetables.

Because the flavor is a little more robust, you want to use dill a bit more sparingly. For every one teaspoon of thyme you want to add ¾ teaspoon of dill.

12. Herbes de Provence for a Spicy Treat

Herbes de Provence brings together a long list of delicious herbs with various flavors and aromas. In the container you will find a well mixed blend of almost every ingredient on this list.

  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender blossom
  • Bay leaf
  • Savory
  • Marjoram
  • And Thyme.

Since there are so many varieties of herbs in this product you will get a mix of flavors. It is important to keep this in mind before adding other ingredients. 

This seasoning is perfect for meat, chicken, and fish dishes. Or you can use it to improve the flavor of your sauces and dressings. 

Grow Your Own Thyme

Why scour the internet for thyme replacement options when you can easily grow your own? The great thing about this herb is that it is easy to plant and maintain. You can grown them outdoors in a garden, or inside.

Types of Thyme

Before growing thyme, you should get to the know the different types available. You will find tons of thyme plants available to purchase. But there are four main options often used for cooking.

  • English Thyme
  • French Thyme
  • Lemon Thyme
  • Winter Thyme

Growing Thyme

Thyme is a versatile plant and can grow almost anywhere. You can plant it between stones, in the front of your vegetable garden, or in containers set on your window sill.

This plant requires full-sun or partial shade (if you live in a hot climate region.) Once established this plant is pretty drought-tolerent, but requires well-drained soil. 

Once the plant is established, you want to clip the leaves before the flowers bloom. Even though you can clip after, doing so before provides a bloder taste.

Some people worry about hurting the plant by clipping its leaves. Little do they know, this action actually improves the plants growth. Once the leaves are clipped, you can use them fresh in many meals. Or you can dry them out and store them for later use.


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