Thyme Substitute: 15 Best Thyme Alternatives

When you no longer have thyme available, what do you do? The best thing you can do is look for a good thyme substitute around you. Thyme is known to be a very popular seasoning used for a variety of dishes. However, you may get tired of it and you can even exhaust it without knowing. 

Taking a trip down to a grocery store is not worth the stress when there are alternatives around that you can use. I have compiled a list of superb alternatives for you to use for whatever reason you need thyme substitute. 

What Is Thyme?

Thyme is a warm spice popularly used as the key ingredient in French and Mediterranean cuisines. There are several varieties of thyme seasoning and they all come from the family of woody mints such as mint and oregano. 

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What Is the Purpose of Thyme in a Meal?

The primary purpose of thyme in a meal is to add its warm flavor to savory dishes. Thyme has several nutritional contents that are beneficial to health. Using thyme to spice up your recipe will give you the comforting flavor profile that your meal needs.

Thyme Substitutes

1. Italian Seasoning

You can use Italian seasoning as a substitute for thyme in your favorite dish. Italian seasoning is a combination of basil, marjoram, rosemary, and other delightful spices. It is a great blend of ultra-fragrant spices and can be used in equal parts in place of thyme in your recipe.

2. Tarragon

Tarragon is a popular spice in a French cuisine that you can use as an alternative to thyme in your dishes. It has a similar flavor to thyme but is milder. You can use this ingredient to season your chicken or fish dishes to get a delightful taste. 

Use the same amount of tarragon in place of thyme in any recipe. Use fresh tarragon in place of fresh thyme, and dried tarragon in place of dried thyme. 

3. Fresh Parsley

Here’s another alternative for thyme you can use in your recipe, especially if you want something less earthy with a brighter taste. 

This is a good substitute for recipes that don’t require cooking or heat such as salad, dip, or similar recipes. Replace fresh thyme with equal amounts of fresh parsley and you are good to go. 

4. Rosemary

Rosemary is an extremely versatile herb that has a distinct flavor profile. Here’s a delicious alternative you can try if you need a substitute for thyme. Use it especially for potatoes and chicken recipes to get a delightful taste of pleasure. 

You can also add it to your bread and salad recipe to get a delightful flavor and taste. Use equal parts of rosemary in place of thyme in your recipe. You can even mix it with thyme if you have a little of it left. 

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5. Sage

Sage is another herb that’s popularly used in seasoning foods on special occasions like thanksgiving. However, you can use it all year round as a substitute for thyme. It has a similar earthy taste to sage and has a flavor profile.

If you are okay with a little change in the taste of your recipe, then you are good to go. It can also help to enhance the other flavors used with it, making it a good choice for you if you plan to use several other seasonings. 

6. Bay Leaves

Bay leaves can do the work of thyme in your dishes. It will give your dish a dash of minty freshness along with earthy flavors. You can substitute ½ teaspoon of fresh thyme with one bay leaf.

7. Za’atar

Za’atar contains ingredients like oregano, marjoram, lemon sumac, sesame seeds, salt, and sometimes dried thyme. If you have this available in your pantry, you can use it for your recipe as a substitute for thyme.

8. Herbes De Provence

Herbes de Provence is a blend of dried herbs popular in the Provence region of France. It often contains basil parsley, marjoram, thyme, and other seasonings. You can use it as a substitute for your recipe in place of thyme.

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9. Fresh Herbs

There are several fresh herbs that you can use in your recipe as a substitute for thyme in a sweet or savory recipe. Depending on the flavor of the herb, you should only use as much as you need. 

10. Oregano

Oregano belongs to the same family of minty, earthy seasonings as thyme. You can use it instead of thyme in your recipe and you will get a similar taste and flavor with it. It has a complex flavor profile that can give your dish a lovely undertone. 

Use equal parts of oregano in your recipe in place of thyme. Stick to fresh oregano instead of the dried one as it can throw off the entire flavor or your recipe.

11. Marjoram

In place of thyme, you can add either fresh or dried marjoram to your recipe. It has a woody, minty and earthy flavor profile like thyme, but is sweeter and has a more delicate flavor. 

It is a good substitute you can use in your recipe if you have it available. Use the same amount of fresh or dried marjoram to replace fresh or dried thyme in your recipe.

12. Basil

Basil belongs to the same family as thyme and can make an excellent addition to your recipe. You can use it as a substitute for thyme if you have it available for use. 

If you use fresh basil, use it in equal amounts to substitute for thyme. Dried basil is not as bright as fresh ones. Use two times the amount In place of thyme in your recipe.

13. Savory

Like oregano and basil, savory is another herb that belongs in the mint family. Savory has a peppery, robust, and savory flavor and is a good substitute for thyme in several recipes. Use equal amounts of savory in place of thyme in your dishes.

14. Dried Herb & Spice Blends

You can use dried herbs or spice blends in your recipe as substitutes for thyme. Use equal amounts of either ingredient to substitute for thyme in your recipe. However, avoid using them in sweet recipes because of their aromatic content. 

SEE: Find Out How Much Dry Thyme Is in a Sprig

15. Poultry Seasoning

Poultry seasoning contains several spices including nutmeg, black pepper, rosemary, sage, marjoram, and sometimes thyme. This natural blend of several herbs is a good substitute for thyme in your recipe.

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Why Do You Need Thyme Substitutes?

You need thyme substitute available for times when you run out of it and need some in your recipe. Likewise, if you don’t like the taste of thyme in your dishes, you can opt for thyme substitutes. Rosemary is a good substitute that you can use for all savory recipes and dishes. 

If you are bored of the taste of thyme in your dish, you can try using some of the recommended substitutes in your recipe. Too much of one flavor in a dish can get you tired of it. Substitute thyme with rosemary, savory, oregano, and other available alternatives.  


Which thyme substitute is good for chicken recipes?

Poultry seasoning. Poultry seasoning is the best substitute you can use as a thyme substitute for your chicken recipes. It will help create the same light flavor and aroma you will get from using thyme.

Which thyme substitute is good for beef recipes?

Marjoram. Marjoram has a sweeter flavor and taste, making it the best one to use in your beef recipe. Seasoning your beef with some marjoram will help your beef attain a level of depth and flavor. If you don’t have thyme available, you can use marjoram to season your beef.

Can you substitute sage for thyme in chicken recipes? 

Yes, you can. Using sage as a substitute for thyme in chicken recipes will give your dish a more piney flavor. You can also use it together with thyme, as it won’t affect or replace the taste of thyme in your dish. 

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Turns out that you don’t need to rush down to the grocery store when you are out of thyme. Whether you are tired of thyme or simply don’t like the flavor, there are several thyme substitutes that you can use in place of thyme in your recipe. 

Recommended thyme substitutes include Sage, Rosemary, Fresh Parsley, Tarragon, Italian Seasoning, Marjoram, Basil, Savory, Dried Herb & Spice Blends, Poultry Seasoning, Oregano, Fresh Herbs, Herbes De Provence, Za’atar, and Bay Leaves. Choose any substitute that suits the taste of your recipe. 

Thanks for reading.

Learn more about several food and seasoning alternatives on Cheffist.