Substitutes For Thyme in Cooking

Cooking And Homemaking - Substitutes For Thyme in Cooking

If you find yourself short on thyme while prepping a recipe that calls for it, don’t fret! Just browse your spice cabinet to find what you need.

Thankfully, plenty of herbs and seasonings can serve in place of thyme! Here are our top picks.

1. Rosemary

Rosemary is an herb used in various dishes to add flavor and depth of dish. It’s commonly used to season meats and vegetables alike. When cooking with rosemary, it’s essential to add it early on so the oils and flavors have time to release during preparation.

Thankfully, several herbs can be substituted for rosemary in recipes that call for it. These herbs have similar qualities as the original and will help recreate its flavor without altering the dish itself.

Fresh sage can also be used in place of rosemary in certain recipes. When using sage, it is recommended to use half the amount specified for flavor; otherwise, your recipe may need additional herbs in order to achieve the same level of intensity.

Oregano is an ideal substitute for rosemary in recipes. As part of the mint family, oregano shares a similar flavor profile as thyme. When substituting oregano for rosemary in recipes, use one and a half teaspoons of fresh oregano per teaspoon of fresh rosemary.

Bay leaves make an excellent substitute for rosemary in dishes that call for the herb. These fragrant leaves possess a light, deep, and earthy flavor that complements many meats and vegetables well.

Caraway seeds are an ideal substitute for rosemary in dishes that need a subtler flavor to balance other strong elements. Available both fresh and dried, caraway seeds make excellent additions to grilled chicken or beef dishes as well as roast vegetables.

2. Basil

Thyme is an adaptable herb, suitable for many dishes. Its lemony, minty, and peppery taste complements its subtle woodsy undertone – which explains why it’s so popular in culinary dishes.

The good news is that several herbs make excellent thyme substitutes for cooking and baking. You can use these alternatives in place of fresh thyme when you don’t have any on hand, or for recipes calling for dried thyme.

Rosemary is an excellent substitute for thyme in salad dressings, sauces, and rustic loaves of bread. It pairs perfectly with poultry or meats and tastes wonderful when drizzled in olive oil.

Basil is an excellent alternative to thyme that can be used in soups, pasta sauces, and other sauce-based dishes. It may also be used as a garnish on vegetables and meats.

Oregano is a mint family herb with an earthy and slightly bitter flavor profile similar to thyme. When in season, oregano can be substituted for thyme when available.

Marjoram is a mint family herb that offers a similar taste to thyme. It has savory and citrus notes, making it an ideal thyme substitute for tomato-based sauces, poultry dishes, and fish dishes.

Tarragon is an excellent thyme substitute, offering a slightly licorice-like taste. It’s commonly used in French cuisine and can be an excellent addition to chicken, beef or other protein-based recipes.

Summer savory is an excellent thyme alternative that’s great for recipes calling for a strong, peppery, and piney flavor. Its unique taste will add depth to your dish.

3. Oregano

Thyme is an indispensable herb that adds savory, robust flavor to dishes. It’s often used in soups, stews, marinades, and vegetable dishes alike; however if you find yourself without access to fresh thyme several other herbs make excellent substitutes.

One of the most widely-used and beloved alternatives for thyme is oregano, which belongs to the mint family. Oregano has a flavor profile similar to that of thyme and works well in many recipes due to its bright citrusy, piney and floral note that complements other components in the recipe.

For a less noticeable and subtler substitute for oregano, marjoram can be used. This herb has similar qualities as oregano but is milder in flavor with a slight citrusy, piney aroma that rivals oregano’s. It may even be dried for added convenience!

Another excellent choice is rosemary. Rosemary has an aromatic, tart flavor that pairs beautifully with meats and poultry and in rustic loaves of bread.

Thyme can also be used in place of thyme in tomato sauce and pasta dishes. Mixing it with softened butter creates a spreadable topping for your dishes, sure to please everyone!

Add some thyme to the top of your salads for an irresistible flavor. Additionally, sprinkle a few leaves over the tops of baked goods when making large batches is an excellent idea.

Herbes de Provence is another option; this blend typically consists of thyme, basil, marjoram, rosemary, and other herbs. Although Herbes de Provence will have a more complex flavor profile than thyme alone, it will still work in most recipes that call for it.

4. Tarragon

No matter if you’re making an Italian dish, vegetable side, or chicken breast recipe and are out of thyme, there are still plenty of ways to get creative in the kitchen.

Rosemary is an excellent substitution for thyme in recipes, and can be used at a 1:1 ratio when replacing fresh thyme. However, be aware that the taste will differ significantly so be sure to use it sparingly.

Another popular thyme substitute is za’atar. This Mediterranean spice blend features thyme as the primary ingredient and also includes sumac, marjoram, oregano and sesame seeds. Za’atar can be used in salad dressings or on rich meats to replace thyme without any adverse reactions.

Fennel can be used in place of thyme in recipes. It has a similar flavor profile as the herb, but is much less pungent. Fennel works well in soups or sauces as well as vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.

Fennel can be used in either a 1:1 ratio or seed to leaf ratio (1:1). Please experiment with different amounts as fennel is an delicate herb and may not be suitable for all recipes.

This mint family member has a similar flavor profile to thyme and can be used as an all-purpose substitution in any recipe. However, its subtler taste makes it best paired with less spices for maximum flavor impact.

It can also serve as a great thyme substitute when you don’t need much salt or pepper. You could add some olive oil to the za’atar for additional flavor, but be careful not to overuse it since the spice has quite strong aromas that may be overwhelming for some individuals.

5. Summer Savory

Thyme is a widely-used herb in cooking and baking. Its refreshing minty taste goes well with many dishes, but sometimes you may run out of this essential herb and need to find an alternative substitute.

When making a dish with multiple flavors, selecting an alternative that closely replicates the original’s taste is wise. Doing this will guarantee your dish has an optimal balance of flavors.

For instance, if you don’t have thyme for a beef recipe but still want the flavor, other fresh or dried herbs such as oregano, basil, rosemary and savory can be used instead.

Oregano is an ideal addition to recipes due to its similar earthy taste to thyme and adding citrus and mint notes. It can be found at most grocery stores.

Rosemary can be used in place of thyme in recipes, but you will need to use less than the amount specified. Dried rosemary has a more woody and bitter flavor than fresh, so use half as much.

Tarragon is an herb that can substitute for thyme due to its minty flavor and slight sweetness. It pairs well with vegetables like potatoes, beets, and root vegetable recipes.

Sage is an herb that not only adds to Thanksgiving dishes but can also be used in other recipes. It possesses the same earthy and minty flavors as thyme yet is more delicate. Sage makes for great alternatives in beef recipes; however, it may not work quite as well in soups or stews.

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