Italian seasoning is a spice mix that originates from Italy. It’s made by combining a variety of herbs like basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and thyme and may also contain garlic powder, onion powder, sage, and coriander. This unique spice blend gives dishes an earthy, pine-like flavor with sweet and peppery undertones.
Italian seasoning is a highly versatile spice mix that is used in marinades, pasta sauces, pizzas, salads, meatballs, and even as a garnish for some dishes. However, if you don’t have it in your spice cabinet, you can use these Italian seasoning substitutes in a pinch to get the desired results!
1. Creole Seasoning
Creole seasoning is a spice and herb mix that includes basil, black pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, paprika, salt, and thyme. It is savory and spicier than Italian seasoning, but it can still work as a great alternative.
You can use Creole seasoning in spicy dishes like soups, stews, gumbo, and burgers to give them a fiery kick that will tickle your taste buds. However, take note that some Creole seasoning blends also contain salt, so you may want to moderate its amount in your recipe. Additionally, if your recipe calls for ingredients that are already present in Creole seasoning, it would be best to adjust the amount, so a single flavor does not dominate the dish.
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning = 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning.
2. Dried Oregano + Dried Basil
Sweet, anise-like basil and earthy oregano dominate the flavor of Italian seasoning blends. So, if you have these two herbs in your spice cabinet, you can use them to create a similar stand-in for Italian seasoning in a pinch.
To use, combine basil and oregano in a 2:1 ratio. You can use this blend to substitute for Italian seasoning in various dishes like pesto, tomato-based sauces, meat-based dishes, and other recipes to get the traditional Italian seasoning flavors. Stick to the measurements, as too much dried oregano can make the dish taste more Greek than Italian. You can also mix in a bit of dried thyme for a depth of flavor.
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning = 1 teaspoon of dried oregano and basil blend. (2 parts basil and 1 part oregano.)
If using dried thyme,
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning = ½ teaspoon dried oregano + ¼ teaspoon dried basil + ¼ teaspoon dried thyme.
3. Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs, such as basil, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme, are not as potent as their dried counterparts. However, they work just as well to recreate a similar flavor in your dishes as long as you use them in the right quantity.
To use as a substitute, combine herbs in a food processor to blend, and use it in dishes to replace Italian seasoning. Just bear in mind that fresh herbs tend to lose their flavor when cooked, so consider sprinkling them over long, simmering dishes like soups and stews towards the end of the cooking process. It will give the dish brighter, fresher flavors and an impressive aesthetic appeal.
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning = 1 ½ teaspoon fresh herbs. (The exact ratio will vary depending on the types of fresh herbs you use.)
4. Greek Seasoning
Greek seasoning generally contains oregano, basil, thyme, parsley, and garlic powder, although it may also contain dill, black pepper, onion powder, rosemary, and salt, depending on the brand. Since it shares a similar flavor profile with Italian seasoning, Greek seasoning works as an excellent alternative to the original ingredient.
Greek seasoning resembles Italian flavors and works as a delicious stand-in for many dishes. It is also wonderful as a dip with Greek yogurt and lemon. However, because it contains some additional spices, it could change the final flavor of your dish, so keep that in mind and adjust the other ingredients accordingly.
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning = 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning.
5. Herbes de Provence
Herbes de Provence is a mixture made of dried herbs and may also contain ingredients like tarragon, fennel seed, and dried lavender flowers, which can give it a slightly floral flavor profile. That said, because herbs de Provence and Italian seasoning share a lot of similarities in terms of ingredients, you can use one to replace the other.
When using Herbes de Provence as a substitute for Italian seasoning, be mindful of the effect its flavor profile can have on foods. Chicken, fish, eggs, and veggies will be safe choices, but for others, you might want to do a smell test to see if they’d be a good pair. The floral aspect of Herbes de Provence may not suit Italian cuisine.
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning = 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence.
6. Pizza Seasoning
Pizza seasoning has the same base as Italian seasoning — oregano and basil — along with ingredients like bell pepper, celery flakes, fennel, garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes. While it has more spice than Italian seasoning, the base flavors are quite similar.
Pizza seasoning can boost the Italian flavors in your pizzas, soups, and sauces, giving you a meal to remember. However, if your pizza blend contains salt, make sure you moderate the amount of salt used in your recipe to balance out the flavor.
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning = 1 teaspoon pizza seasoning.
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern seasoning that contains herbs like thyme and oregano, although it also has the unique addition of sesame seeds. They give the simple and unique blend a nutty, earthy flavor with strong herbaceous notes. Za’atar has a more complex flavor profile but can still work as a replacement for Italian seasoning in a pinch.
Za’atar is very versatile. You can use it as a garnish for salads, sprinkle it on garlic bread, or use it to spruce up your dressings or marinades. You can also add it to dishes that would benefit from its fresh earthy herb flavor, such as lamb. However, avoid adding it to pasta sauces, soups, and classic Italian recipes, as it can add too much of a herby, lemony flavor that won’t work in these dishes.
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning = 1 teaspoon Za’atar.
8. Homemade Italian Seasoning
When you don’t have Italian seasoning on hand, you can simply make your very own! To recreate the exact flavor, try this recipe. You’ll need:
• 2 tablespoons dried basil
• 2 tablespoons dried parsley
• 2 tablespoons dried oregano
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 tablespoon dried thyme
• 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
• 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl and store extras in an airtight container or jar in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. If you’re not a fan of spicy flavors, skip the red chili flakes.
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning = 1 teaspoon of homemade Italian seasoning.