Last Updated: August 17, 2022

Looking for an Urgent Rosemary Substitute? Here Are 7+4 Best Options

rosemary substitute

Rosemary is a herb that has a unique flavor and is packed with a beautiful aroma. Its intense flavor and scent are why it is frequently used for culinary purposes. However, these reasons make it difficult to replace this distinctly flavored herb.

Though it shines in every recipe and its spicy flavor is second to none, some alternatives can come in handy when you are out of rosemary but are already in a cooking process. So, continue reading to find out the best rosemary substitutes.

Fresh vs Dried Rosemary

  • Dried rosemary has a higher level of potency compared to a fresh one. So, use it in limited quantities. Also, choose the dried version if you want to add intense flavor to your recipe.
  • Fresh rosemary is a perfect addition to a salad or fresh vegetables. Meanwhile, for dishes like meat, stews, and soups, the dried version is the ideal option.

Note: Dry herbs lose their effectiveness over time. So, it’s better to discard them after a year because they are most likely to decline in flavor.

How to Substitute Dried Rosemary for Fresh?

Though fresh and dried rosemary adds different levels of flavor to your dish, you can replace fresh rosemary in cooking with dried one. So, if a recipe calls for fresh herbs but you have the dried one in hand, go for swapping.

tips icon Tip : Don’t use dried rosemary to replace fresh ones as a garnish because it’s very hard to bite into and unsuitable.

For Cooking:

  • Use 1 tsp of dried needles to replace 1 sprig of rosemary or 1 tbsp of fresh rosemary needles. 
  • Use ¼ tsp of dried rosemary to replace 1 tsp of fresh rosemary.
  • Use 1 tsp of cracked needles or ½ tsp of powdered rosemary in a recipe that calls for 1 tbsp of chopped rosemary.

What Can  I Use in Place of Rosemary?

It isn’t easy to find the perfect substitutes for this unique flavored herb, rosemary. Some herbs, however, can closely match rosemary’s flavor profile. 

But remember that the type of perfect herb that you will choose as a substitute will largely depend on the dish you are making.

You can consider the following list to use as rosemary substitutes.

1. Caraway Seeds

The flavor of this European herb tends to enhance the flavor of other spices and ingredients when used in cooking.

  • Caraway’s tiny seeds are packed with an intense flavor and a pleasant aroma, for which it can be an ideal replacement for the rosemary herb. But it should be used in small amounts so that it doesn’t alter the taste of the final result.
  • There is no specified substitution ratio for caraway seeds. However, you will need to adjust the amount according to the recipe.
  • Using the seeds in roasted pork, salads, or polished sausage recipes will work wonderfully. But because rosemary and caraway seeds have somewhat different flavor profiles, the taste may be slightly more intense than rosemary.
  • To retain the flavor and aroma of these bittersweet and peppery seeds, add them near the end of the cooking process.

Nutrition Facts : Caraway seeds are rich in magnesium, copper, and selenium, which are important for developing red blood cells. They also help us prevent diseases such as cancer and are much needed for proper digestion.

2. Thyme

Thyme spice kept in a wooden bowl
Image credit: Brent Hofacker, Shutterstock

Thyme is a member of the mint family as rosemary, which comes in handy when you don’t have rosemary at home. Its leaves are frequently used in stews or soups.

  • Its aroma is fairly close to that of lemon, caraway seed, and eucalyptus.
  • You can use both dry or fresh versions of this herb. Its strong aroma goes well with casseroles, meat, sauteed vegetables,  eggs, and soups.
  • Thyme has a mild bitterness. But you can reduce the bitter taste by adding this herb early in the cooking process.
  • You can use thyme at any stage of cooking. However, add it initially if you want to enjoy thyme’s intense flavor and aroma. Because the longer you cook thyme, the more it will spread its aroma and flavor.
  • Use fresh thyme instead of fresh rosemary and dried thyme in place of dried rosemary. For both cases, use a 1:1 substitute ratio. 

Nutrition Facts : Thyme has antibacterial qualities that are good for the human body because they help to lower blood pressure.

3. Bay Leaf

Bay leaf, a sweet herb, is commonly found in every household kitchen. People mainly use it for its beautiful aroma. 

  • Bay leaves’ robust peppery flavor spreads a mildly bitter flavor to liquids.
  • Bay leaves can also withstand high heat, similar to rosemary. So, it’s also an ideal herb for long-cooking recipes.
  • These leaves can be used fresh or dried. 
  • Cut the leaves in half and add them to your recipe for more flavor and oil.
  • A couple of bay leaves should suffice for cooking. Because they release their aroma and flavor, leaving them to simmer for a while.

Nutrition Facts : Bay leaf is packed with copper, magnesium, manganese, and selenium. It also helps in managing respiratory diseases and diabetes.

4. Sage

Sage, a Mediterranean herb, also belongs to the mint family, and its leaves are grayish-green in color. It complements the poultry, meat, and egg recipes well. 

  • Sage’s unique flavor makes it an excellent substitute for rosemary. 
  • It has a less robust flavor compared to rosemary. So, it blends perfectly with recipes, including various spices, and does not outshine any of those ingredients.
  • Suppose your recipe calls for rosemary mainly for the aroma. In that case, sage is a wonderful substitution because it has a  similar aroma to rosemary. 
  • You can use sage in any recipe that is seasoned with rosemary.
  • Because of the fuzz on each leaf, you shouldn’t consume this herb raw.
  • Use 1tbsp fresh chopped sage to replace 1 tbsp of dried rosemary.

Nutrition Facts : Sage has many health benefits, including improving mental health, reducing cholesterol levels, and raising blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

5. Marjoram

Marjoram is a Mediterranean herb that has a citrusy and almost pine flavor. It has a similar appearance to oregano but differs in taste.

  • It has a flavor of balanced sweetness and bitterness.
  • This versatile herb blends well in almost all dishes.
  • To get the best out of this herb, add them after you take the dish out of the oven. 
  • This is an excellent herb to be used in dressings.
  • Marjoram is low in fats, cholesterol, and sodium.
  • To replace dried rosemary in recipes, you can use marjoram in a 1:1 ratio.

Nutrition Facts : Marjoram herb is high in vitamins  B, C, and  K. It is an antioxidant that can help with cardiovascular diseases. It also helps in the prevention of eczema and acne.

6. Savory

Between the two variances of savory: summer and winter variance, the summer savory is the ideal replacement for rosemary

  • It has the same flavor as rosemary and is commonly used for cooking and medicinal purposes.
  • You can use it in vegetable seasoning and in meals that are slowly cooked.
  •  It is a great substitute for beans, lentils, and sauces.
  • You can use equal parts of fresh savory or dried savory in recipes that call for rosemary.

Benefit : This herb is a powerful antiseptic in nature and helps with digestion.

7. Tarragon

Terragon plant on a black surface
Image credit: sematadesign, Shutterstock

Tarragon is a bittersweet herb that adds intense peppery flavor to recipes. It is full of aroma, so it can be a good rosemary replacement.

  • Licorice and anise undertones of tarragon boost its taste flavor, so don’t use it in massive amounts.
  • Wash tarragon leaves properly before chopping and adding them to your recipe to retain their original flavor and texture.
  • To replace 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, use 1 tbsp of dried tarragon. 

Nutrition Facts : Tarragon is an appetite stimulant full of vitamins A, B, and C. It also aids in the control of blood sugar levels.

Additionally, you can use oregano, basil, and Italian seasoning instead of rosemary.

  • Use an equal amount of fresh oregano to make a fresh rosemary replacement. 
  • Use an equal amount of dried basil to substitute the fresh rosemary.
  • Use a 2:1 ratio of Italian seasoning to rosemary.

Wrap Up

Using other herbs to replicate the full flavor of rosemary is a bit difficult. Nevertheless, the listed substitutes have one or two similarities to rosemary, making them useful when you are out of rosemary. But to avoid spoiling the flavor of your dish –

  • Add these substitutes bit by bit during your cooking process.
  • Keep the recipe in mind to pick the right herb as a substitute. Because some herbs don’t mix well.
  • Not use more than one substitute in some recipes.

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