What To Substitute For Rosemary When You Have Run Out Of It!

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Learn what substitute for rosemary works well in the right ratios in beef, pork, lamb, chicken, mushroom, and other dishes to give you a similar flavor profile. 

What To Substitute For Rosemary When You Have Run Out Of It!
What To Substitute For Rosemary When You Have Run Out Of It

Your kid will be home from college and you’re excitedly preparing her favorite Mediterranean dishes when you notice athere’s no rosemary in the cupboard. 

Your spouse is away and there’s nobody to run a quick errand to the supermarket.

If you’ve ever been in this situation like me, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about and how frustrating it is.

But there’s an easy solution – substitute for rosemary.

I know that substitutes don’t do full justice, but you need to get the job done.

But what spice can you use in place of rosemary?

There are a few herbs similar to rosemary.

Let’s find out!

What Is Rosemary?

Health Benefits of Rosemary
Health Benefits of Rosemary

The arid and rocky Mediterranean region is home to the fragrant and versatile herb rosemary. 

The rosemary is a perennial plant with needle-like leaves and lives for two years. 

It is used as a culinary seasoning since ancient times in Rome and Greece, in creating personal fragrances, and possibly even for health reasons.

Along with many other herbs, including oregano, thyme, basil, and lavender, rosemary is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae.

It can be used both in its fresh and dried forms. 

The herb is a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B6 in addition to tasting good in recipes like rosemary chicken and lamb.

Rosemary has been praised for its therapeutic qualities and has long been used to ease muscle soreness, enhance memory, strengthen the immune and circulatory systems, and encourage hair development.

How Does Rosemary Taste?

substitute for rosemary
substitute for rosemary

Coming from the mint family, rosemary does have a minty taste. 

Like sage – a substitute for rosemary – rosemary has a peppery and woody taste and leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste if you eat fresh rosemary leaves.

The strong flavor of rosemary makes it a perfect spice for cooking meat dishes, stews, soups, and poultry. 

If you don’t want this herb to drown out other flavors in your food, use it in moderation and gradually up the proportion as per your liking. 

When you’re using rosemary in cooking, you should add it early on so that it has enough time to release all its oils and flavors with it. 

What Does Rosemary Smell Like?

What Does Rosemary Smell Like?
What Does Rosemary Smell Like

Rosemary smells fresh and clean flavor with hints of pine and lemon

Having it in your kitchen is like having something evergreen and refreshing. 

The smell of rosemary and garlic is to die for!

Being very aromatic, rosemary can be added to enhance the natural flavors of food like fish, poultry, beef, pork, lamb, and even salads and vegetables. 

Due to the pungent nature of rosemary, the best part is that its flavor doesn’t diminish with cooking. 

That’s why you can use it in stews and soups for a fragrant bowl of comfort food. 

Substitute For Fresh Rosemary

Did you know you can simply substitute dried rosemary with fresh and vice versa?

However, keep in mind that dried rosemary is more pungent and stronger than fresh rosemary.

That’s why you should consider the amount of dried rosemary you are using.

It’s good to use a teaspoon of dried rosemary for every tablespoon of fresh rosemary

Another tip to remember is that dried rosemary is best used in cooking as its brittle texture is not easy to chew. 

It takes a while for dried rosemary to absorb moisture from the cooking and become easily chewable. 

That’s why it’s not recommended to use it as a garnish or add it toward the end of cooking. 

As mentioned earlier, you can use fresh rosemary as a substitute for dried rosemary.

In this case, if you need to use a teaspoon of fresh rosemary, replace it with ¼ teaspoon of dried rosemary. 

Top Substitutes For Rosemary

Substitute For RosemarySuitable ForHow To Use
Dried rosemaryRoast rubs
Cooked dishes
1 teaspoon of dried rosemary for
1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary
Cooked dishes
Equal parts
SageEgg and meat dishes1 part rosemary to half part sage
TarragonFish, chicken,
salad dressing,
French cuisine
1 tablespoon of rosemary to half
tablespoon of tarragon
MarjoramMeat dishes
SavoryEuropean cuisineUse little as summer savory
can be spicy
Caraway seedSoup
Sausage dishes
Start with little
Italian seasoningCooking only,
not for salads or
roasted meat
1 tablespoon of rosemary to be substituted with half tablespoon of Italian seasoning
OreganoEqual parts
BasilEqual parts

The best substitute for rosemary depends on what you’re cooking as it can vary according to meat or poultry or fish dishes. 

For example, sage could serve as a rosemary replacement in a chicken dish but if you’re making Italian cuisine, the closest substitute for rosemary is oregano.

Rosemary also pairs well with other spices and can give your dish a very well-blended flavor.

So, you need to think a bit before reaching out for the best rosemary seasoning substitute.

If you get confused and think about what can I use instead of rosemary, don’t worry as there are quite a few options. 

  1. Thyme

A native Mediterranean herb, thyme comes from the perennial mint family.

It’s one of the key ingredients in Herbes de Provence seasoning spice.

As rosemary leaves substitute, use thyme in equal parts

The same rule applies to either fresh or dried thyme. 

Although thyme has a milder flavor than rosemary, it works well with a number of cooked dishes as well as salads. 

The herbal flavor of thyme with distinct flavors of grass, wood, and florals is not too different from rosemary and will not give your dish a new twist. 

Although fresh thyme has more flavor than dried one, if preserved carefully, dried thyme can retain a lot of flavors.

If you want to use lemon thyme as a rosemary alternative, keep in mind that the flavor and taste of the dish will change as it would emit a citrusy aroma.

Pro Tip: For lamb dishes, mix thyme, peppermint, and bay leaf in equal parts and use it as a substitute for rosemary. 

  1. Sage

With a pine-like flavor with notes of eucalyptus, lemon, and mint, and a stronger taste, sage can be used as a rosemary spice substitute. 

It’s a great option for seasoning poultry, as pork and poultry stuffing, and in sausages.

You can try it in egg and meat dishes too for a unique taste.

As it has a stronger flavor profile, use it carefully. 

Start by adding a little bit of sage – half part for every part of the rosemary. 

For example, if your recipe calls for a teaspoon of rosemary, use half a teaspoon of sage

This should be followed for both fresh and dried sage to replace fresh and dried rosemary.

Then you can gradually add more and more until you find the perfect balance.

  1. Tarragon

You can find wild tarragon across North America and Eurasia.

Among the few variants, the most popular in the culinary world is the French tarragon.

Tarragon is not only used in seafood, soups, fish, and poultry dishes but also in French cuisine that has fish, chicken, eggs, or cheese in it.

Salad dressings also use tarragon as a way to add a fresh flavor.

It has a quite strong flavor of anise and licorice so you should be careful while using it as a rosemary powder substitute. 

Depending on how strong you like the flavor of tarragon to be in your dish, start by using half a tablespoon of tarragon for every tablespoon of rosemary.

You can adjust the amount according to your preference.

  1. Marjoram

You can find this plant native to Turkey, the Arabian peninsula, the Mediterranean, Western Asia, Cyprus, and the Levant. 

This plant came to the British Isles in the Middle Ages and much later on in the US, after the Second World War.

Although you can confuse marjoram for rosemary as they appear almost the same, the taste is a bit different.

Having said that, the similar flavor profile of citrus and pine makes marjoram a good rosemary substitute. 

The well-balanced sweet and bitter taste of marjoram complements the earthy flavors of both meat and mushroom dishes. 

It’s also used to season soups, stews, sauces, herbal teas, and salad dressings.

You can use a 1:1 ratio to replace rosemary as an alternative and you can always tweak the amount to suit your palate. 

  1. Savory

There are two types of savory – winter and summer. 

Hailing from the mint family and grown in the Mediterranean region, it’s often used in European cuisine to add flavor to beans and also to season meat. 

It’s one of the main ingredients of Herbes de Provence

While summer savory has a sweet and spicy flavor and taste, winter savory is more earthy with notes of pine and sage. 

Both winter and summer savory have notes of thyme, mint, and marjoram.

You can use either fresh or dried savory as a rosemary substitute.

Use in equal parts, that is, in a 1:1 ratio. 

However, as the summer savory might be a bit spicy, start by using a lesser amount and change it as you go along. 

Summer savory can withstand long cooking times so it’s a good condiment when simmering soups, stews, and sauces. 

The only downside is that it’s a rare herb and not a kitchen staple that you can reach for any time. 

  1. Basil

Basil comes from the same mint family of plants and is believed to be native to India. 

There are a few varieties of basil including Thai, Italian, holy, lemon, and lettuce-leaf basil. 

It adds a sweet flavor with lots of warmth in your dish. 

You will find a lot of Italian dishes using copious amounts of this flavorful and aromatic herb to bring freshness to your palate. 

If you visit any streetside stall in Thailand and order spring rolls, they will always come with a bunch of fresh basil leaves to complement the savory bites. 

Use in equal parts when replacing rosemary with basil. 

Pro Tip: Add basil leaves as whole or as cut into strips toward the end of the cooking as otherwise they will wilt and diminish in flavor when cooked for a long time. 

  1. Caraway Seed

Found abundantly in North Africa, Asia, and Europe, the caraway seeds are small seeds that pack quite a bit of pungency. 

Also known by the names of Persian cumin and meridian fennel, caraway seeds belong to the carrot family and have a distinct flavor, resembling anise and adds a slight hint of licorice flavor in dishes. 

An earthy taste with a suggestion of lemon and pepper makes it a good substitute for fresh or dried rosemary.

Its widely used in British and European cuisine. 

Due to the strong flavor, it’s better to use caraway seeds as a rosemary substitute for pork chops or pork roast.

It’s advised to use caraway seeds in small amounts and gradually add more if needed. 

  1. Oregano

Oregano has its origins in the Mediterranean area but has spread wide and far. 

A close cousin of marjoram, both oregano and marjoram have a special place in cuisines from Italy, France, Spain, Mexico, Greece, and Turkey. 

Dried oregano has a stronger flavor than the fresh one. 

The warm and earthy flavor of oregano has a bit of a bitter taste.

As it pairs well with Italian spices used in cooking, it’s no surprise that it’s mostly used in southern Italy where people prefer their fare more spicy.

Fried, roasted, and grilled vegetables, meat, and fish are often treated to this delightful mix of dried herbs for a nice flavor. 

Turkish cuisine uses this herb to season lamb and mutton.

In Portugal, it’s used as a topping in a simple cucumber and tomato sandwich.

You can also find traces of it in a Greek salad and it’s also used to flavor lemon-olive sauce that’s served with casseroles and grilled fish or meat.

As a rosemary substitute, use either fresh or dried oregano in equal parts.

  1. Italian Seasoning 

Italian seasoning is a mix of various herbs including some listed above as rosemary substitutes. 

You can find hints of thyme, basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, savory, cilantro, and others. 

That’s why it can be easily used as a rosemary alternative.

The best part is that you can make Italian seasoning at home and control the proportions of the various herbs to make it suitable for your palate or for the dish you’re cooking. 

Italian seasoning is best used in dishes that doesn’t use a whole lot of other spices as you can get a subtle mix of earthy, savory, and sweet flavors of all the herbs blended well.

The Best Substitutes For Rosemary In Specific Dishes

What To Substitute For Rosemary When You Have Run Out Of It! 1
Rosemary In Specific Dishes

It pays to have rosemary substitute ideas for specific dishes to get the full flavor of the dish without compromising on the taste. 

Instead of going through a list of spices that work as rosemary alternatives, you can take a quick glance at the dish type and then decide which dried or fresh herbs to use. 


Thyme and parsley are good substitutes for rosemary as they will enhance the natural flavor of the soup.


Sage, parsley, dill, or chives work well on dark and oily and lean, white fish whether you cook or grill them. 

Start with a 1:1 ratio to replace rosemary with any of the above and adjust as per taste. 

Beef and Steak

Thyme is the best substitute for rosemary when it comes to steak as we don’t want anything else to overpower the taste and flavor of steak and want to let it stand on its own. 

When making anything with beef, you can also use sage as substitute for rosemary and thyme. 


A great rosemary substitute for chicken can be basil, Italian seasoning, or sage. 

You can also combine thyme and sage to use in chicken and other poultry meat like turkey. 

Use thyme in equal parts but if you’re using sage to substitute rosemary, use half part of sage to one part of rosemary otherwise the flavor may get too powerful. 


Potatoes with rosemary is something else altogether but if you have run out of rosemary, you can use thyme or parsley to substitute rosemary. 

Although the flavors won’t be exactly the same, but you won’t regret it!

Lamb, Mutton, Goat

You can combine peppermint, bay leaf, and thyme as rosemary substitute for mutton, goat, or lamb dish. 

Mix each of these herbs in equal parts to get the right mix for seasoning. 

Then use one part of the mixed seasoning to replace one part of rosemary.

Mushroom-based dishes

Marjoram is the best substitute for recipes made with mushrooms as it enhances the earth mushroom flavors. 

In a 1:1 ratio, you can use marjoram instead of rosemary. 

You can also try combining basil, oregano, parsley, tarragon, and chives to take a mushroom-based dish to another level. 

Pork and Sausage Dishes

Take things another notch up by adding carraway seeds as a rosemary substitute for pork and beef sausages.

Sage is another alterative to rosemary that you can use in sausage dishes. 

Use half part of either of the substitute for every part of rosemary that the recipe requires. 

As always, you can change the substitute amounts to suit your taste buds. 

And if you’re wondering how to master the art of cooking Italian sausage in the oven, you will need to have rosemary substitutions at hand if you don’t have the real thing.

Specific Dish TypeRosemary Substitute
Beef and SteakThyme
Chicken, Turkey, PoultryThyme
Italian Seasoning
Lamb, Mutton, GoatMix of peppermint,
thyme, and bay leaf
Mushroom dishesMarjoram
A mix of basil, chives,
parsley, tarragon, oregano
Pork and Sausage DishesCaraway seeds


What Can I Use If I Don’t Have Rosemary?

If you don’t have rosemary, you can use many other herbs for seasoning and as garnishes. 
It depends on what you’re cooking and the type of flavor and taste profile you prefer. 
Stronger rosemary substitutes include caraway seeds, tarragon, and oregano while milder substitutes for rosemary are thyme and marjoram. 

What Can I Substitute For Rosemary Leaves?

To replace fresh rosemary, use dried rosemary as a substitute. 
You need to use a teaspoon of dried rosemary instead of a tablespoon of fresh rosemary leaves as the dried version has a stronger flavor profile. 
If you don’t have dried rosemary at hand, use dried thyme , fresh or dried sage, and other dried herbs as listed above.

What Is The Closest Herb To Rosemary?

The closest herb to fresh rosemary includes sage, oregano, marjoram, basil, and mint. 
If you want to replace dried rosemary, the best substitutes are dill, thyme, savory, tarragon, bay leaf.

What Can I Substitute For Rosemary Essential Oil?

Best rosemary substitutes in the essential oil category include eucalyptus, hyssop, and tarragon. 

ry, tarragon, bay leaf.

What Can I Substitute For Rosemary Essential Oil?

Best rosemary substitutes in the essential oil category include eucalyptus, hyssop, and tarragon. 

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