thyme substitutes

11 Best Substitutes For Thyme

Cannot find thyme in your kitchen cabinets? These substitutes of thyme might help you out. Read on to know how and where to use them.

Thyme is an aromatic herb that does wonder when added to your recipes. It is a Mediterranean plant employed to season savory dishes with its minty and lemony flavors.

The properties of thyme provide it with a wide range of applications. Since it retains its aroma even at high temperatures, it is ideal in stews, soups, broths, and cooked foods. Even pastries, cakes, chocolate, lemonade, and different drinks taste great with it. 

However, thyme might not be that endless element in your kitchen pantry. And skipping it whenever you encounter thyme in a recipe might seem the easy way out. But, trust me, it will leave your dish with a rather bland flavor.

So if you are in the middle of preparing a dish and cannot find thyme in your kitchen, check out these well-tested substitutes for thyme. 


11 Best Substitutes For Thyme

1. Marjoram


The first ingredient that comes to mind while talking about thyme substitutes is marjoram. It tastes clean and woody with hints of sweetness and citrus. It functions well as a thyme substitute since it has a flavor profile similar to thyme.

Meat meals, veggies, and tomato-based foods like tomato sauce benefit from dried marjoram. In spice blends like chicken seasoning, dry marjoram is a common addition.

On the other hand, to keep its flavor intact fresh marjoram works best when used as a finishing herb on prepared meals.

How to substitute: You can swap the two ingredients in a 1:1 ratio when using dried marjoram for dried thyme or fresh marjoram for fresh thyme.

However, use half the quantity of dried marjoram when replacing fresh thyme and twice the amount of fresh marjoram while replacing dried thyme. 

2. Basil

basil-Substitutes For Thyme

Another aromatic member of the mint family, basil, is an efficient substitute for thyme. It has a robust licorice flavor with notes of being sweet and savory. 

Fresh basil gives salad dressing a bright flavor and may be blended into soups, whereas dried basil pairs well with sauces and toppings on a pizza.

Basil also works well in savory recipes and cocktails as a thyme alternative. Its complex flavors can be overwhelming, so it is best to start out mild and gradually work your way up.

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How to substitute: Use half the amount of fresh basil to replace fresh thyme. However, an equal amount of dried basil will best substitute dried thyme.

3. Oregano

Easily accessible and loved by all, oregano does magic when added to recipes. With its earthy, minty, and savory flavors, oregano comes closest to replacing thyme. 

The flavors of oregano and thyme go very well together and are frequently found combined in many cuisines. The bright, herbaceous flavors of thyme can be easily substituted by oregano in pasta and oil-based meals.

It also produces a well-balanced flavor when added with other spices, so an overbearing flavor would not be an issue.

How to substitute: For every tablespoon of fresh thyme use half the teaspoon of dry oregano. But add two teaspoons of fresh oregano when replacing it with dry thyme.

4. Parsley


If you are looking for a thyme substitute to be included in a dip or salad, then parsley would work best for you. Although parsley is less earthy and has a brighter flavor than thyme, it can nicely replace thyme in your dishes. 

Parsley is a fantastic all-purpose spice since it has a crisp, peppery taste and a well-balanced earthy flavor. Any cuisine, from salads to stews, spaghetti sauce, or grills, benefits from the fresh flavor of chopped parsley.

When added with marjoram, which has a woodsy, slightly sweet, and citrus flavor, parsley comes even closer to the nuanced flavor profile of thyme.

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

But when pairing it with marjoram, use half a teaspoon of parsley with one teaspoon of marjoram to wholly bring out the flavors of thyme.

5. Rosemary


Even though rosemary has a flavor of its own, it makes a fantastic thyme alternative. With notes of pepper, lavender, citrus, evergreen, mint, and sage, rosemary has a distinctive woody flavor.

It tastes great on potatoes and poultry, in particular. But it also works well in salads and savory bread. Instead of providing you with the exact thyme taste, rosemary will tweak the flavors of your dish for the better. 

It can resist high heat and improves in flavor when cooked in liquid for an extended period of time. For this reason, consider using it at the beginning of stews. Rosemary has a much more intense flavor than thyme and must be cautiously used. 

Also Read:  13 Best Substitutes For Rosemary

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

6. Sage


Only used at the time of Thanksgiving, sage is the most ignored herb during the rest of the year. Its once-a-year traditional usage makes us ignorant of the wonders it can work in our daily recipes.

Sage, with its comparable earthy flavors, is an important herb that can be easily used to replace thyme. Sage enhances the flavors of the dishes it is combined with, serving as a fantastic substitution for a meal with numerous different flavors.

How to substitute: Half the quantity of sage will work best to replace the amount of thyme mentioned in your recipe. 

7. Poultry Seasoning

If you are specifically looking for a thyme substitute to enhance the flavors of your poultry dish, then poultry seasoning would be your ideal ingredient. 

Thyme is the primary herb in the commercial spice mixture known as poultry seasoning. Sage, marjoram, rosemary, nutmeg, and black pepper are additional components.

These essential herbs enhance the flavors of chicken, turkey, lamb, hog, veal, and all other types of meat. You might also want to eliminate any additional salt the recipe calls for due to the salt already present in the blend.

How to substitute: Preferably, begin with adding half the quantity of poultry seasoning as mentioned in your thyme-containing recipe.

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

8. Tarragon


Tarragon, a common ingredient in French cooking, can be substituted for thyme in any dish. While it has many of the same benefits as thyme, its flavor is a little softer overall. 

However, some people find the aroma of tarragon to be overpowering, so starting with a tiny amount is essential. Tarragon is a great ingredient to use when cooking fish or poultry since it enhances the flavor of the meat. 

It is ideal for marinades and salad dressings as it also pairs well with acidic flavors like vinegar. Additionally, it has several health advantages, such as lowering blood sugar and boosting appetite.

How to substitute: An equal amount of fresh tarragon can be used to substitute fresh thyme in any recipe.

Also Read:  12 Best Substitutes for Black Pepper

9. Za’atar


Za’atar, a fragrant herb with Middle Eastern roots, serves as a good replacement for thyme. It is a mixture of herbs from the oregano and marjoram families that gives your dishes a sour, nutty, and herbal flavor. 

When using Za’atar seasoning in place of thyme, the toasted sesame seeds and dried sumac affect the overall flavors of a recipe. Hence, only add a little at a time to achieve the ideal resonance of the flavors. 

Za’atar goes nicely with bread, dairy products like yogurt and cheese, vegetables, meat, eggs, and other foods. There is a lot of salt in the herb and spice mixture. So keep in mind to cut less on the salt in your recipe.

How to substitute: Thyme can be substituted with half the amount of za’atar.

10. Dill

Next on the list of thyme substitutes is dill, a member of the parsley family, frequently used as a garnish in many Asian recipes. It tastes delightfully fresh, lemony, and slightly grassy, much like thyme.

Dill functions as an ideal substitute for Middle Eastern recipes, such as soup, shrimp, pig, potatoes, salad dressing, and so on. It is a herb also recognized to have health advantages, including enhanced digestion and boosted appetite. 

How to substitute: One tablespoon of thyme can be substituted with three-fourth tablespoons of dill.

11. Savory


Though mentioned last in this list of thyme substitutes, savory is no less than all the herbs stated above. Anciently used as a natural aphrodisiac, it has a subtle earthy and peppery flavor that goes well with other components in a dish. 

The summer savory has a strong, peppery flavor and a spicy-sweet scent. It complements chicken, pig, lamb, fish, eggs, vegetables, and beans excellently. 

Compared to the prominent flavors of summer savory, winter savory has a more subdued earthy flavor. However, you can employ both and anticipate a fantastic result, specifically when working with meats.

How to substitute: An equal quantity of savory will satisfactorily replace thyme in your dish. 


Here you have it, your 11 best thyme substitutes. So the next time you consider skipping thyme from your dish, pause and return to this list. Assuredly you will be able to find something handy in your kitchen pantry.

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