Rosemary substitutes

13 Best Substitutes For Rosemary

Resisting the flavors and aroma of rosemary in a dish is impossible. But finding a substitute for rosemary can be even more challenging. Read on to make this process easy for you.

Originally found in the Mediterranean region, rosemary is also called “old man” or “dew of the sea.” It is an aromatic evergreen shrub with leaves resembling needles.

It belongs to the mint family and shares characteristics with basil, oregano, thyme, and lavender. It works magic when used as a condiment in meat or sauces.

So if you are thinking of skipping this ingredient from your meal, stop. Skim through this list of rosemary substitutes that surely shall not leave you disappointed.


13 Best Substitute For Rosemary

1. Savory


Originating in Southeastern Europe, savory has a strikingly similar flavor to rosemary. Its pepper-like, rusty taste and fragrance make it a great substitute for rosemary.

Savory is available in two variants; summer and winter. While replacing it with rosemary, prefer using summer savory as its winter alternative has a fairly bitter taste. 

Rosemary is used as a crucial ingredient when preparing casseroles and other sorts of delicacies. Usually consumed with poultry, it is also utilized in colonnades by combining ground pork with several other spices. 

How to substitute: Use a 1:1 ratio to replace the rosemary with fresh or dried savory in any recipe.

2. Thyme


If you are seasoning your lamb or fish, and notice that you have run out of rosemary, then thyme might be your savior.

Easily accessible in grocery stores and exceedingly versatile, thyme nicely replaces rosemary in any dish. Both of these herbs have a citrusy, earthy flavor and fragrance. 

The intense aroma of thyme goes fantastically well with soups, casseroles, meat, eggs, and cooked veggies. However, due to its faintly bitter taste, you must consider using it towards the beginning of your cooking process.

How to substitute: An equal quantity of fresh thyme can be used to substitute fresh rosemary.

3. Basil


A member of the mint family, basil is another substitute for rosemary that you can use in a wink. Basil works well in dishes that call for tomato due to its mild sugary and savory taste.

It has a refreshing flavor and sweetness similar to rosemary. This herb is well suited for Italian cuisine. But remember that basil comes in several varieties, and the flavor imparted in your dish will directly depend on the type used.

Also Read:  8 Best Sumac Substitutes in Cooking

So testing out some fresh leaves before adding them to your recipe is the best way to avoid an undesirable taste in your dish. However, the safest alternative would be using dried basil because its familiar flavor profile and much similar taste to rosemary. 

How to substitute: An equal amount of dried basil can be used to replace dried rosemary and fresh basil to replace fresh rosemary. 

4. Oregano


The most liked and easily available ingredient, oregano, works well as a substitute for rosemary. It is a Mediterranean plant used in Greek and Italian cuisine as a crucial seasoning component. 

It has a taste that is fragrant and blends minty undertones with warm ones. Its flavor is a blend of opposites, carrying a sweet and slightly bitter taste. Oregano complements cooked and raw foods, including salads, dressings, and vinaigrettes.

It is commonly used to grill and marinate lamb, pork, mutton, and kebabs. However, it can also be used to flavor cheese, sauces, soups, pasta, and stews.

How to substitute: Equal proportion of dried oregano can best replace dried rosemary.

5. Tarragon


Part of the sunflower family, tarragon comes next on the list of substitutes for rosemary. This herb is a fantastic alternative for a dish that calls for a potent spice.

Like the herb rosemary, tarragon also carries a strong scent. It has been employed in French cooking, primarily in the preparation of bearnaise sauce. This herb combines well with poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, and onions, enhancing the flavor profile of your dish.

Tarragon is popularly known for losing its flavor. Hence it is not suggested to keep these herbs in the refrigerator for extended periods. Additionally, before chopping and utilizing tarragon leaves, you must wash them well to preserve their unique flavor and texture.

How to substitute: Use half the amount of tarragon as mentioned in your recipe containing rosemary.

6. Caraway Seeds

Caraway Seeds

Best known for complementing other spices when added to a recipe, caraway seeds is a great substitute for rosemary. They have an intense anise-like flavor with an appealing fragrance that goes nicely with salads, polish sausages, and roasted pork. 

In foods like sausages and shepherd’s pie that call for several potent seasonings, caraway seed works wonders as a replacement. To preserve their flavor, add these spicy and bittersweet seeds at the end of cooking.

Due to varied flavor undertones, these seeds may be a little stronger in taste than rosemary. Hence, the spice should be cautiously used so as not to change the flavor profile of your cuisine. 

Also Read:  10 Best File Powder Substitutes

How to substitute: Begin by adding half the quantity of caraway seeds as mentioned in your rosemary-containing recipe.

You can then go on to add more seasoning as per your taste and requirement. 

7. Marjoram


The versatility of marjoram combined with its citrusy pine taste makes it an ideal replacement for rosemary. It has a light, grassy flavor with a strong blend of minty and citrusy freshness.

Adding marjoram while seasoning your mushrooms and tomatoes can work wonders in your recipe. It is also utilized to enhance the earthy flavor of mushroom-based foods, soups, stews, meats, fish, salads, stuffings, and rice dishes.

Typically, marjoram should be added after the dish has been taken out of the oven to keep the spicy flavor of this herb intact.

How to substitute: An equal amount of marjoram can be used to substitute rosemary in any recipe.

8. Sage


Another member of the mint family that serves as a great alternative to rosemary in any recipe is sage. Although sage originated in the Mediterranean region, it has spread its roots all over the world.

Sage has a complex taste with bittersweet properties similar to rosemary. With a milder flavor profile and distinctive taste, it blends nicely with heavily spiced dishes without dominating any of the flavors in your recipe. 

It works as a fantastic substitute when cooked with meats, eggs, shellfish, and bread. As it complements the items it is mixed with, sage can even be added to soups, cooked vegetables, pasta, and fish. You can also use it to season pickles and make cocktails.

How to substitute: A half teaspoon of sage will satisfactorily replace one teaspoon of rosemary in any recipe.

9. Parsley


A popularly used ingredient in most households, parsley is a herb rich in nutrients. Its subtle and refreshing flavor makes it an ideal substitute for rosemary. 

It has a distinct perfume that will remind you of lettuce and anise. It has a crunchiness similar to raw lettuce and is often described as bittersweet and peppery. 

Parsley works well in casseroles, salads, meatballs, noodles, goat cheese, soups, and stews. For the taste to thoroughly infiltrate, add it at the end of cooking. 

How to substitute: An equal amount of parsley can be used to substitute rosemary.

10. Red Bay Leaves

Red Bay Leaves

Bay leaves might be a little difficult to find, but if you get your hands on them, you will surely reject all other substitutes for rosemary.

Also Read:  13 Amazing Anaheim Pepper Substitutes to Spice Up Your Cooking

Derived from a class of evergreen trees called the red clove plant, bay leaves have a strong spicy flavor making them a fantastic replacement for rosemary. 

It usually has a dark green color that compliments lamb dishes when combined with thyme and peppermint. Bay leaves, like rosemary, can endure high heat, making them an ideal herb for dishes that demand lengthy cooking time. 

How to substitute: Use a 1:1 ratio to replace bay leaves for rosemary.

11. Dill


Dill is an outstanding alternative to rosemary with its rich aromatic flavor, earthy undertones, and minty freshness. It has well-nuanced warm flavors with slight fragrance and bitterness. 

It works perfectly with fish, omelets, bread, marinades, pasta, roasted vegetables, potatoes, meats, sauces, soups, and broths. Though it can be used to flavor rosemary recipes, to preserve the taste, we advise adding it after the dish has already begun to cook. 

How to substitute: An equal quantity of dill will satisfactorily replace rosemary in your dish. 

12. Boldo Leaves

Boldo Leaves

Another crucial ingredient that you can use to replace rosemary in your recipe is boldo leaves. Commonly used in South American cooking, boldo leaves have comparable properties to rosemary.

It has earthly, peppery flavors with a minty richness that enhances the flavor profile of your dish. However, its flavors are stronger and much more condensed than rosemary.

Hence, you must be cautious with the quantity used. It can considerably affect your dish if used in excessive amounts. 

How to substitute: Use half the amount of boldo leaves as mentioned in your recipe containing rosemary.

13. Juniper Berries

Juniper Berries

Juniper berries come from an evergreen shrub called Juniperus communis found in Asia, Europe, and North America. They have a citrusy, peppery flavor similar to rosemary and work well as its substitute.

However, some doctors prohibit eating juniper berries during pregnancy. If this is the case with you or any of your family members, we highly recommend not using them as a replacement.  

How to substitute: One teaspoon of juniper berries can well substitute 2-3 sprigs of rosemary.


Finding the perfect substitute for rosemary can be a strenuous task, but with these alternatives, you will never get stuck. All ingredients in this list have properties similar to rosemary that will prevent you from sacrificing its most described flavors. 

Scroll to Top