Rosemary is a fragrant evergreen herb that’s grown worldwide for its zesty lemon-pine flavor and for use as medicinal oil. It pairs beautifully with dishes like roasted lamb, beef, and the tomato sauce used in pizzas or pasta dishes, giving them warmth and richness. It’s a member of the mint family, which includes many other herbs commonly used for seasonings, such as oregano, basil, and thyme.
Rosemary has a relatively strong flavor and aroma, so you need to use it with a light hand. Here’s a list of all the ingredients you can substitute for rosemary.
Thyme gives dishes an earthy, minty flavor while adding a hint of lemony sourness. In that regard, it’s quite similar to rosemary. It’s most commonly used as a garnish in traditional French and Italian dishes.
Thyme is arguably the best substitute for rosemary if you want to achieve a similar flavor. It’s slightly milder than rosemary, so you will have to add more. There are also a lot of varieties of thyme to choose from, so make sure you pick the one that best suits your recipe.
1 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary = 1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme or 1 Tsp. Dried Thyme
1 Tbsp. Dried Rosemary = 3 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme or 1 Tbsp. Dried Thyme
Sage has an earthy, slightly peppery taste with hints of mint, eucalyptus, and lemon. It has pronounced flavors that make it the perfect companion for bold dishes. Pork, beef, duck, and chicken are some examples of foods that pair well with sage.
Sage adds refreshing herbal notes to sauces, meat marinades, compound butter, and bread. It’s a powerful, aromatic seasoning that can be added to dishes to give them a warm earthy finish. Both sage and rosemary have the same earthy, pine-like quality, so you can substitute them evenly.
1 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary = 1 Tbsp. Fresh Sage or 1 Tsp. Dried Sage
1 Tbsp. Dried Rosemary = 3 Tbsp Fresh Sage or 1 Tbsp. Dried Sage
Basil is most commonly used as a topping, dried seasoning, or roasted garnish in Italian cuisine. It’s got a distinctively sweet and minty flavor, and like rosemary, it also adds warmth to a dish. One of the best things about basil is it can turn a 3-star dish into a 5-star dish just with its fragrance.
Basil is sweeter than rosemary, so you should expect a slightly different flavor. But what makes it a good substitute for rosemary is that it accentuates the savoriness and freshness of dishes, particularly ones with thick tomato-rich sauces or marinades.
1 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary = 1 Tbsp. Fresh Basil or 1 Tsp. Dried Basil
1 Tbsp Dried Rosemary = 3 Tbsp. Fresh Basil or 1 Tbsp. Dried Basil
Oregano is part of the same family of mint herbs as rosemary, basil, and thyme. It is typically added as a dried garnish or seasoning in foods like pizza and pasta. Oregano adds an element of earthiness that goes especially well with dishes rich in cheese. It’s also slightly bitter and doesn’t have a very noticeable scent.
However, oregano won’t give you the same lemon-pine flavor as rosemary, so you may want to add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice to make up for it. You can substitute oregano and rosemary evenly.
1 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary = 1 Tbsp. Fresh Oregano or 1 Tsp. Dried Oregano
1 Tbsp. Dried Rosemary = 3 Tbsp. Fresh oregano or 1 Tbsp. Dried Oregano
Marjoram is a bit similar in taste to oregano, except it’s slightly sharper, sweeter, and mintier. It gives dishes a very pronounced flavor with warmth and earthiness. Marjoram pairs best with North American or Mediterranean dishes. It’s also a popular flavoring added to pizza sauces and gravies, to make them more vibrant.
Marjoram doesn’t have the closest flavor to rosemary, so there will be slightly different flavors. But it still achieves the effect of making dishes taste and smell more exotic. You can substitute marjoram and rosemary evenly.
1 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary = 1 Tbsp. Fresh Marjoram or 1 Tsp. Dried Marjoram
1 Tbsp. Dried Rosemary = 3 Tbsp. Fresh Marjoram or 1 Tbsp. Dried Marjoram
Savory is another herb in the mint family, but it has a distinctly peppery taste. As the name suggests, it’s used to add savoriness to a dish. Savory is widely used in barbecues and grilled meat as an exotic alternative to salt and pepper. It’s a classic North American garnish that can complement any dish that rosemary does.
However, just note that there are two variants of Savory, the summer kind and the winter kind. The summer kind is a bit more intense whereas winter savory more closely resembles the flavor of rosemary.
1 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary = 1 Tbsp. Fresh Savory or 1 Tsp. Dried Savory
1 Tbsp Dried Rosemary = 3 Tbsp. Fresh Savory or 1 Tbsp. Dried Savory
#7. Caraway Seed
Caraway seed is an excellent substitute for rosemary. Its flavor has a nutty bittersweet sharpness, with a hint of lemon and pepper. The flavors of rosemary and caraway seed share strong similarities, making it a convenient substitute for many dishes.
The flavor of caraway seeds is milder than rosemary, however, so you will have to use more.
1 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary = 2 Tbsp. Fresh Caraway Seed or 2 Tsp. Dried Caraway Seed
1 Tbsp Dried Rosemary = 4 Tbsp. Fresh Caraway Seed or 2 Tbsp. Dried Caraway Seed
#8. Bay Leaf
Most commonly used in Mediterranean recipes, bay leaf has a sharp, bitter taste with a noticeable fragrance. The aroma is herbal and slightly floral, so it makes a good seasoning. It is also similar in taste to oregano and thyme.
One thing you need to know about bay leaves is that exposing them to the sun before cooking can remove some of the bitterness and help strengthen the aroma. This brings it closer to rosemary in flavor. Bay leaf can be used as a substitute for rosemary in various dishes like soups, stews, risottos, and poultry.
1 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary = 1 Tbsp. Fresh Bayleaf or 1 Tsp. Dried Bay Leaf
1 Tbsp Dried Rosemary = 3 Tbsp. Fresh Bayleaf or 1 Tbsp. Dried Bay Leaf