Rosemary Substitute: Top 9 Replacements You Can Consider

Also known as Dew of the Sea, rosemary has the reputation of being an essential herb in the kitchen as it can be used in a variety of cooking applications. It is pungent and aromatic. It has a strong flavor, which is why it is often used lightly.

If you do not have rosemary in the kitchen, there is no need to worry. You can still achieve the same distinct flavor through using a rosemary substitute. If you are unaware of the perfect replacement to use, keep on reading and we’ll share with you some of the best options.​

Best Rosemary Replacements

From its scent to its flavor, you have lots of reasons to love this Mediterranean herb. Unfortunately, this is not always available. If in case you cannot get hold of rosemary, below are some of the substitutes that you might want to consider:

1. Thyme

Thyme is a herb that has been popular not only for its culinary applications but also for its medicinal value. A member of the mint family, it is also used in the treatment of cough, relief from indigestion, and treatment of canker sores, among others.

Whether fresh or dried, thyme can add a unique flavor in a wide array of dishes. When used as a rosemary substitute, however, it will be best if you use it fresh. This is an excellent ingredient for soups, casseroles, and sautéed vegetables.

There are many ways to cook with thyme. For instance, you can prepare a butter rub. All you have to do is to combine it with melted butter and rub it on meat before grilling or roasting. It can also be used for your scrambled egg or for your bread. You can also use it with potatoes. Here is a quick video that will show you how to do this.

2. Basil

This is another herb that is commonly found in the kitchen because of the numerous recipes that require its unique flavor. Its leaves look like peppermint. In terms of its aroma, on the other hand, it is highly-fragrant, which makes it easily recognizable when added in different dishes.

Using basil as a replacement for rosemary is best if you are preparing tomato-based dishes. When substituting, you should use exactly the same amount to achieve the same great taste. For instance, if you are supposed to use two tablespoons of chopped rosemary, replace it with the same amount of basil.

3. Sage

This is one of the most historical culinary and medicinal herbs as it is believed to have been around for a long time already. A perennial woody herb, this can offer a wealth of health benefits, such as improving mental health, prevention of inflammation, and prevention of cognitive disorders, among others.

When using sage as a replacement for rosemary, you might want to use more quantity compared to what the original recipe states. This is because sage has a naturally milder taste. With this, you might need to add more in your dish to achieve a distinct flavor and aroma.

There are many ways to use sage in cooking, which is especially popular in Mediterranean dishes since it is native to the region. You can use it with veal, sausages, pork, and stuffing, among others.​

4. Oregano

This healing and culinary herb can also be used in more ways than one. Also known as mild marjoram, this is commonly found in pizza and pasta sauces, among others. It has a pungent and pepper-like flavor, making it the perfect choice for dishes where you want to make a sharp taste.

When substituting oregano for rosemary, it is important to use the same amount to achieve the same flavor. For instance, if the recipe asks for one tablespoon of dried rosemary, replace it with one tablespoon of dried oregano.

Using oregano when cooking, specifically, as a rosemary substitute, will be best for Greek and Italian dishes. Chopping fresh oregano and sprinkling it on the top of your pasta is one way to maximize its flavor. You can also add it to your salad dressing or simply sprinkle it on the top of your bread.

5. Savory

Winter and summer savory are known not only for cooking but also for their health benefits. This delicate herb is known for having an abundance of essential oils. It also has vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc, among others.

If you are using savory as rosemary substitute, it is best to use it dried. This will help to maximize the extraction of flavor. If you want a milder flavor, summer savory is best. On the other hand, if you want the taste to be more pungent, the winter variety is best to be used.

6. Caraway

Meridian fennel, also popularly known as caraway, is used medicinally for the treatment of bronchitis, yeast infection, irritable bowel syndrome, and improvement of digestion. When it comes to cooking, the roots and young leaves can be used, depending on the specific culinary application.

The good thing about caraway is that it is versatile, which makes it a great replacement for rosemary in a variety of recipes. You have to be careful when pairing it with other spices to avoid alterations in taste. Its flavor will be evident when it is paired with garlic.

7. Parsley

Abundant with antioxidants, parsley is popular for its culinary applications and medicinal benefits. In fact, it is considered as the most popular herb in the world. This herb, however, is highly fragile, so make sure to wash it with thorough care before using for cooking.

Its taste is slightly different from rosemary. You should add only a small amount in your dish as it can be overpowering. It can be used as a spiced rub, which is best to be combined with butter, garlic, and lemon zest. Smother it on the top of your meat before grilling or roasting.

8. Dill

This can effectively add a tangy taste to any dish but can be overwhelming in terms of flavor, which is why it should be used sparingly. Both seeds and leaves can be used for culinary applications, but seeds generally have a stronger flavor.

As a replacement for rosemary, you will have an abundance of choices on how to use it in your culinary experiments. One of the most popular is to use it with fresh seafood, as well as pasta sauces. It is best to add it only when cooking is almost done. Otherwise, dill will lose its flavor. It is also better to use fresh leaves than dried dill.

9. Marjoram

This is an aromatic herb that is just one of the more than 50 species of oregano. Compared to traditional oregano leaves, it has a sweeter and milder taste. It also has a flavor profile that is similar to thyme, savory, and basil.

Like the herbs mentioned above, this also makes an excellent choice for a rosemary substitute. It is best used when cooking with tuna, rabbit, pork, mushrooms, carrots, and spinach, among others. It is important to remember, however, that it comes with a delicate flavor that can be easily lost when it is exposed to too much heat.


If you do not have rosemary, you can use any of the replacements that have been mentioned above. With the rosemary substitute, you will achieve the same distinct flavor and aroma of the herb, which can be used for a variety of cooking applications.

Have you tried replacing rosemary with any other herb or ingredient in the kitchen? How did it taste like? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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