15 Best Substitutes for Rosemary to Save Your Meal

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When looking for substitutes for rosemary, you want to find a replacement that still gives your dish the same flavor and texture.

So if you’re making a recipe that has rosemary in the ingredients but doesn’t have any in your cupboard, it’s essential to be careful with what you swap it out with.

You want to use an ingredient that similarly complements the other flavors. 

Rosemary has a distinct, pungent flavor that’s made it a staple in many European dishes, including classic Mediterranean and Italian cuisine.

Rosemary getting clipped
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Since rosemary is native to the Mediterranean, it’s no surprise that this cuisine has mastered the art of using rosemary effectively in cooking.

This aromatic herb is woody and pine-like, and you may also pick up a hint of lemon, mint, or sage.

Rosemary is part of the mint family, like basil, lavender, oregano, and thyme.

Though only some of these work as a suitable replacement for rosemary in cooking!

The herb is also known by its Latin name, ‘Salvia Rosmarinus.’

It’s distinctive for its evergreen leaves that look similar to pine needles.

If you realize you need more rosemary, here are some ideas for what to use instead of rosemary that won’t compromise the overall flavors of your meal. 

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15 Best Substitutes for Rosemary to Save Your Meal

1. Do you need to substitute the rosemary?

Much of the time, your meal will be just fine without using every ingredient in the recipe.

So if you check over the ingredients in the recipe and think it will already be flavorsome enough, don’t worry about swapping the rosemary.

This is also a good option if you’re not a confident cook and are afraid too much experimentation might ruin an otherwise simple dish. 

2. Sage

Sage in the garden
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If you want to mimic the spruce-like flavor of rosemary in your meal, sage is a good option.

Sage is perfect for cooking different kinds of meat, such as beef, chicken, or pork.

Although it does taste good with vegetarian dishes, too, or sprinkled 

Please note that when swapping rosemary for sage, ensure you use half the amount of sage! 

3. Thyme

Thyme with a marble background
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Thyme is the one of the safest substitutes for rosemary.

The two herbs have similar flavors, although thyme tastes milder.

While the mild flavor of thyme isn’t ideal if you’re looking to make a bold impact with your cooking, there is an upside too.

It’s hard to go wrong or end up with thyme overpowering your dish when you want it to blend in.

It’s versatile and works well in most recipes – you can’t go wrong if you decide to swap rosemary for thyme.

Thyme works particularly well in dishes that include poultry or lamb.

In addition, rosemary and thyme are often used together as they have complementary flavors.

Fresh thyme also works well as a substitute for fresh rosemary as a garnish.

For example, when sprinkled on top of a soup or salad.

4. Basil

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Basil is a popular herb to use in cooking due to its sweet, savory flavor.

Basil is added to hot dishes, or fresh sprigs are cut and used as a garnish.

Use basil instead of rosemary in Italian dishes or to add some flair to a soup or stew.

5. Parsley

Parsley on a wooden background
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Parsley tastes delicious as a seasoning for many types of meat but also goes great with pasta dishes or vegetables.

While being a popular garnish, it’s also a popular herb to use in many dips and sauces.

Add parsley towards the end of cooking your meal, or it tends to lose its delicate flavor. 

6. Oregano

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Oregano and rosemary are both parts of the mint family, which means they can be great replacements for one another.

In addition, oregano has a pine-like, woodsy flavor that’s especially perfect in Italian dishes.

If you enjoy cooking pasta or pizza, you’re likely already familiar with oregano.

Use the same amount of oregano as you would have done rosemary.

7. Marjoram

Unfortunately, only some of us have marjoram stocked in our cupboard; otherwise, it makes a rather good substitute for rosemary.

If you have some on hand, it’s a great alternative to rosemary. 

Marjoram has a delicate yet slightly bitter flavor, making it a good option for meat dishes.

Yet, it works surprisingly well if a mushroom is also the primary ingredient in your meal. 

8. Bay Leaf

Bay leaves in a dish
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The bay leaf is another Mediterranean herb, this time coming from the laurel tree.

Its flavor profile is milder than rosemary.

Although, it can be bitter when misused – this is why many people prefer to use dried bay leaves rather than fresh ones.

It has an additional minty aroma that complements the pine-link flavor we associate with rosemary.

Bay leaf works well with lamb, stews, and roasted vegetables.

You can also combine bay leaf and thyme as substitutes for rosemary.

9. Caraway Seeds

Caraway seed is not a Mediterranean herb, unlike rosemary, but it’s still considered one of the best substitutes for rosemary. 

Use it in dishes that contain several strong seasonings to help balance its flavors.

Caraway seeds can be delicious in everything from soups and stews to a homemade shepherd’s pie. 

10. Mint

Mint leaves substitute for rosemary
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Mint has been a popular scent and flavor for centuries.

It is popular in recipes for its fresh and cool flavor, which tastes mild and sweet than the intense tang we associate with peppermint. 

Mint works best as one of the be substitutes for rosemary when paired with meats, salads, stews, dressings, and dips.

Mint dips and garnishes are also an excellent addition to spicy dishes.

In addition, they are a common accompaniment to some Asian dishes due to the cooling sensation of mint. 

11. Tarragon

Tarragon in a dish
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Tarragon is intense and can be bittersweet.

Its pungent aroma is similar to anise and fennel.

Yet, it makes a surprisingly good rosemary replacement in European or Middle Eastern cuisine. Tarragon is actually a staple in many French dishes.

Try using tarragon with chicken, salads, or alongside garlic and lemon juice when making dips and dressings.

12. Savory

Savory is an excellent substitute for rosemary as the two have similar flavors.

Like marjoram, we often don’t have savory stocked in our kitchen cupboards, so there is no need to worry if you don’t have any available.

If you do, substitute fresh or dried savory with rosemary at a 1:1 ratio based on the recipe instructions.

13. Dill

dill leaves substituted for rosemary
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The dill plant has delicate, feather-like green leaves that are distinctive for their bright and sweet aroma.

In cooking, dill provides a grassy, fresh flavor that lies somewhere between parsley and anise or licorice. 

The subtle sweetness of dill means it is a fantastic herb to pair with fish, so use it to substitute rosemary at a 1:1 ratio if you’re preparing a fish recipe.

However, it also goes well in vegetarian dishes, even if used to season potatoes and vegetables.

Dill can be a delightful addition to dishes with garlic or chili, as it creates balance with other intense flavors.

14. Italian Seasoning

Italian seasoning is an excellent replacement for rosemary in a recipe.

It’s a popular herb blend to have on hand in our kitchens, and there’s a good reason. 

You should use half the amount of Italian seasoning compared to rosemary.

Just check the ingredients of your herb blend, along with your recipe, to make sure you don’t use too much of another herb that you don’t want to overpower your recipe.

As the name suggests, Italian seasoning is the perfect addition to any Italian dishes you create.

However, its pleasant flavors can be added to many recipes, especially if you don’t want to add too many other flavors.

For example, sprinkle it on top of potatoes before you roast them, or add it to a simple soup or stew.

15. Switch dry rosemary for fresh rosemary (or vice versa)

Dried rosemary substituted for fresh rosemary
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You can switch fresh rosemary to dried rosemary or vice versa if you have this available. 

When grown fresh, you’ll notice rosemary is incredibly fragrant. In contrast, dried rosemary has been concentrated and thus will have a more robust flavor once added to your recipe.

Therefore, you should assume that one teaspoon of dried rosemary can be substituted for one tablespoon of fresh rosemary! 

Hey! Want more expert food substitution guides? Check these out!

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