Best Substitute for Thyme – Food with Feeling
Have a recipe that calls for thyme but you’re all out? Check out these easy substitutes for both dried and fresh thyme!
Thyme is an ingredient used in many different cuisines. If you’re preparing a recipe that calls for thyme but don’t have it on hand, there are plenty of substitutions that you can make. Below are nine substitutions for dried thyme and four replacements for fresh thyme.
What is Thyme?
Thyme is an evergreen aromatic herb in the mint family. It is in the same family as rosemary and oregano. This plant is indigenous to the Mediterranean region. Thyme has a distinctly sweet, yet bitter taste.
Both the leaves and stems can be used in food if a recipe indicates thyme “springs” or “bunches.” Measured amount of this herb refer to the leaves only, however. Unlike other herbs, thyme keeps its flavor well when dried.
Thyme has been used for thousands of years. In Egypt, it was used in embalming. Ancient Greeks used thyme in their baths and as incense. Today it is used for folk remedies, aroma, and cuisine.
9 Substitutes for Dried Thyme
If your recipe calls for dried thyme, you can use any of the following nine options as a substitute.
- Fresh Thyme
Fresh thyme can be used instead of dried thyme for most recipes. Use one tablespoon of fresh thyme for every teaspoon of dried thyme.
- Dried Oregano
Oregano has a similar flavor to thyme. Its earthy, savory and slightly bitter taste makes it a great substitute for thyme. Dried oregano provides a 1:1 substitute for dried thyme.
- Dried Marjoram
Marjoram has a similar earthy flavor to thyme, although it has sweeter and more delicate notes. Dried marjoram is a good 1:1 substitute for dried thyme in recipes.
- Dried Basil
Basil makes a good substitute for thyme because they’re both in the mint family. This herb has a sweeter and brighter flavor than thyme. However, dried basil still offers a viable 1:1 substitute for dried thyme in recipes.
- Dried Savory
Dried savory has a similar flavor to thyme, although it is more peppery and has a more robust flavor. Because this herb has a stronger flavor than thyme, you should use half as much dried savory when substituting for thyme. If your recipe calls for one teaspoon of dried thyme, use ½ teaspoon of dried savory.
- Dried Rosemary
Rosemary is another plant in the mint family. It has a stronger woody and bitter taste than thyme. Don’t use rosemary instead of thyme in tomato dishes, since rosemary does not compliment the tomato flavor. You should use half as much dried rosemary when substituting for thyme. If your recipe calls for one teaspoon of dried thyme, use ½ (or less) teaspoon of dried rosemary.
- Dried Tarragon
Tarragon is known for its sweet but bitter taste. When other options are not available, it is a good substitution for thyme. It’s especially good in root vegetable recipes like potato and beets. Dried tarragon can be used as a 1:1 substitution for dried thyme.
- Italian Seasoning
Italian seasoning can be a good replacement for thyme because it often has thyme as an ingredient. This seasoning also includes basil, marjoram, oregano, and rosemary. If thyme is the primary flavoring in your dish, you can use Italian seasoning as a 1:1 substitution for thyme.
- Herbs de Province
In some cases, herbs de province can be a good substitution to thyme because thyme is high this seasoning’s ingredient list. However, it combines other flavors and sometimes contains lavender. While these seasonings are good with some dishes, herbs de province should not be used for Italian or Mediterranean recipes. When used in stews and other dishes, herbs de province can be used as a 1:1 substitution for thyme.
4 Substitutes for Fresh Thyme
Fresh thyme may not always be available, especially if you’re using ingredients on hand to create a dish. The following four ingredients can be used instead of fresh thyme in recipes.
- Dried Thyme
You can replace fresh thyme with dried thyme. Use one teaspoon of dried thyme for every tablespoon of fresh thyme in the recipe.
- Fresh Oregano
Oregano is a good substitute for thyme because it has a similar earthy, savory, and slightly bitter taste. Fresh oregano can be used as a 1:1 substitution for fresh thyme.
- Fresh Basil
Basil is in the same family as thyme, making it a good substitute for the ingredient. Fresh basil has a sweeter and brighter flavor than thyme. Because fresh basil has a strong flavor, you should use half as much when replacing thyme. If your recipe calls for one tablespoon of fresh thyme, use ½ tablespoon of fresh basil as a substitution.
- Fresh Rosemary
Rosemary is another plant in the mint family and has a similar earthy and bitter taste. Since fresh rosemary has a strong flavor, you should use half as much when replacing thyme in a recipe. If your recipe calls for one tablespoon of fresh thyme, use ½ tablespoon of fresh rosemary instead.