Best Oregano Substitute: See 12 Best Oregano Alternatives

Are you looking for the best substitute for oregano? Do you have a recipe calling for this pungent herb and you don’t have any on hand? Don’t worry, I’ve got you.

If you’re like me, you have a huge collection of spices in your pantry, but the problem is that when you need a certain spice to complete a recipe, it’s never there. Or the jar is just about empty.

Oregano is a popular herb that flavors Italian foods like pizza and pasta sauce. It is also a common ingredient in Greek food, Mexican dishes, and even in some types of curry powder.

If you are out of oregano, many alternatives work well in its place. The best substitute for oregano depends on the dish you are preparing, so keep reading to find out.

What Is Oregano?

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is a common Mediterranean herb that has long been used in cooking and medicine. Like other herbs, it can help boost the flavor of food while providing some additional health benefits.

Oregano is a fragrant herb that has a warm and slightly bitter taste, which can vary in intensity. Its flavor is similar to that of marjoram but more pungent.

Oregano is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like thymol and carvacrol. The herb is widely available in both fresh and dry forms that can be bought whole or finely ground.

What Is Its Purpose In A Meal?

Oregano’s purpose in a meal is to enhance the flavor of the meal. Cooking with fresh or dried oregano gives your meal an earthy and herbal taste that blends well with the taste of other ingredients in the meal.

You can use oregano as a spice in a variety of cuisines, including Italian and Greek. But keep in mind that it has a strong flavor, so only use a small amount when preparing your meal.

Best Oregano Substitute

1. Marjoram

If you’re looking for the best oregano substitute, look no further than marjoram. Marjoram and oregano are both parts of the mint family, so they have a very similar flavor profile and can replace one another.

Marjoram has a milder flavor than oregano, which makes it a good choice for casseroles or soups. It also goes well with tomato-based pasta sauces and chicken dishes, such as baked chicken breasts.

When substituting marjoram for oregano, you may want to add more of the spice to your recipe to achieve the taste you desire. Because marjoram has a milder flavor than oregano does, you may need more of it when using it as a replacement for oregano.

2. Basil

Basil is another common herb that you can use as a substitute for oregano. It has a slightly spicy flavor and aroma, which works well with tomato sauces, pizza, and tomato soup recipes.

Using basil as a substitute for oregano will result in a milder flavor than the original recipe intended. To balance the taste, use about twice as much basil for the amount of oregano required in the recipe.

Basil is also available as an oil, which you can use to create a custom blend by mixing it with other herbs such as rosemary, marjoram, and thyme.

3. Italian Seasoning Mix

The great thing about Italian seasoning mix is that it contains all the flavors associated with Italian cuisine. Besides oregano, this mixture will typically include basil and rosemary.

It also contains other herbs that work well with oregano, including parsley and garlic powder. This blend is best used when making pizza or pasta sauce.

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4. Thyme

This is another herb in your pantry that you can use as a substitute for oregano. It has a slightly bitter taste with citrus undertones that complement savory dishes like soups and stews.

Thyme can be substituted at a 1:1 ratio for oregano in dishes. It won’t be identical to oregano, but it will add a nice herbal flavor to your dish if you’re out of oregano.

5. Rosemary

Rosemary has an intense pine-like flavor, so you’ll want to use it sparingly as a substitute for oregano. Use half the amount of rosemary that the recipe calls for oregano and add it towards the end of cooking time to prevent it from becoming too bitter.

6. Parsley

Parsley is a mild herb that makes a good substitute for oregano. The taste is not the same, but it is still quite good. If you want to achieve the same flavor, you will need to use more parsley than you would oregano.

You can use 3 tablespoons of minced fresh parsley instead of 1 tablespoon of dried oregano. Or 1 tablespoon of dried parsley instead of 1 teaspoon dried oregano.

7. Sage

Sage is a great substitute for oregano. They both have similar flavors with earthy and slightly bitter notes. Sage is milder than oregano though, so you may need to add more sage for the same flavor impact as when using oregano.

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8. Fennel Leaves

This is a very popular herb for cooking, and it’s not hard to see why. Fennel leaves are easy to work with, and the flavor is a mix of mint and licorice.

You can sprinkle fresh fennel leaves on salads or add them to soups, stews, or stuffing recipes. You can also use the dried leaves in Mediterranean-style dishes such as stuffed artichokes, stews, and pilafs.

9. Dill

Dill has a delicate flavor and aroma, which makes it a good substitute for oregano. It also adds a green note to salads, soups, sauces, and vegetable dishes.

However, you should only use it towards the end of your cooking as heat can cause its flavor to dissipate quickly.

10. Summer Savory

Summer savory is the more popular of the two savory herbs. Its flavor is more pungent than that of its winter counterpart, but it is similar to thyme and oregano.

Summer savory is especially good in soups and stews, as it has a very strong flavor. It also pairs well with omelets, fish dishes, and poultry stuffing.

11. Bay leaf

Bay leaf has an earthy, herbal, and slightly floral flavor. The taste is stronger when the leaf is dry than when fresh. When cooking with dried bay leaves, make sure to remove them before eating as they can be sharp and unpleasant to bite into.

12. Tarragon

Tarragon has a more intense flavor than oregano, but if you ever find yourself without oregano while cooking, you can use tarragon instead. It pairs well with white meats and all sorts of salads, soups, sauces, and dips.

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Why Does Oregano Need Substitutes?

There are many reasons why oregano needs substitutes. First off, there are some instances when you will run out of it and you need to find an alternative herb that will give the same taste or flavor as oregano.

Also, some people consider it too strong for their taste buds, while others simply don’t like the flavor. And finally, some people are allergic to oregano and need to use something else instead.


What are the similarities between marjoram and oregano?

Marjoram and oregano are both members of the mint family, which is native to the Mediterranean region. They also have similar flavors, even though marjoram tends to be sweeter and more subtle than oregano.

What is a good substitute for fresh thyme leaves in a recipe?

Dried thyme. If you have dried thyme, you can use it as a substitute for fresh thyme leaves. However, remember that dried herbs are more potent than fresh, so use a lesser quantity.

Can you use basil instead of oregano?

Yes, you can. The earthiness of basil makes it a great substitute for oregano. It also has a floral flavor with hints of pepper, cloves, and mint. You can just as easily use basil instead of oregano to season your favorite meat dishes and soups.


If you’re looking for an oregano substitute, marjoram is the best choice. Marjoram has a milder flavor than oregano, but it makes a great substitute. You can use it in almost any recipe that calls for oregano and the flavor will be similarly earthy, slightly sweet, and herbal.

Another option is to use basil, thyme, or rosemary. These herbs have an excellent flavor, which works well with a variety of foods, including tomato sauces and pizza. 

And if you want more options, try sage, Italian seasoning, parsley, dill, fennel, summer savory, bay leaf, or tarragon. Whichever it is, you can use these herbs instead of oregano in your kitchen.

Thanks for reading.

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