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The Best Thyme Substitutes and How to Use Them

The Holidays kicked in, and my kitchen is overused. The kitchen can’t speak, but it surely knows how to give you a sign when something is wrong. One of the most obvious signs is a lack of ingredients for everyday cooking.

Sure, you can run out of meat, milk, or some dark chocolate for your mother-in-law birthday cake, but when you open a spice jar and find out that you have only crumbs left, you know that the problem is real, especially if it`s thyme that you lack. It`s 10:00 pm, all your local markets are closed, and you have to improvise. I would like to welcome you to a life-saving article that will help you find the best thyme replacement there is.

In case you didn’t know, thyme is related to mint, and there are over 300 variations of the plant. In the European cuisine, it is one of the most important spices for various types of fish, meat, and vegetables. In Balkan countries, the literal translation of one of the sorts of thyme is “Mother’s soul,” so you can imagine how important it is in their culture.

Thyme comes in three variations: dried, grounded or chopped. It can also be used in cosmetics, but now, we are focusing on how to get well-fed, not on the appearance. Since our Thyme jar is empty, let`s focus on the substitute that can help us find the way out of this misfortunate situation.

Thyme Substitutes and How to Use ThemItalian seasoningMarjoramTarragonBasilOreganoCapture the essence

Italian seasoning

Wooden spoon with Italian seasoning

If you are a fan of Italian dishes, this is the number one solution for you to consider. It`s not only the best substitute for this type of cuisine, but it is the best substitute for every kind of dish because it contains Thyme itself.

Besides that, it also contains basil, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, savory and cilantro, which are decent Thyme replacements. But, we`ll come to that later. The important thing to know is that Italian seasoning spice is to be used with pork and lamb because it blends its taste almost perfectly.



As another sort of mint, marjoram is the second best subsidiary in the case of need. Although it can’t withstand long exposure to high temperatures, it can help you with some fast-cooking meals or as a final touch in some more demanding meals.

You should consider adding a ½ teaspoon of parsley per every teaspoon of marjoram because it is a decent imitation of thyme’s taste. If you are a perfectionist and you care about the meal’s appearance a lot, be warned that it can give a greenish tint to the final look so take advantage of that if you can.


Bunch Of Fresh Tarragon

This close relative of thyme is well known amongst the French people. It is used to flavor various types of food, such as eggs, chicken, fish and cheese based meals. The good thing about tarragon is that it can be used in the frozen, fresh and dried state, but if you pick dried over the others, make sure to use just a pinch of it because it has a stronger aroma than the other ones.

If you are big on the healthy properties of food, there are many ways that your body can benefit from it. This vitamin-rich antioxidant has a mild effect on improving your appetite, digestive functions, eye function and can be used as a sedative to relieve your body and mind of stress.


Basil Leaf

This India native resident is also called “the Royal Herb” or “King of Herbs.” It can be used with pasta, vegetables and various sorts of sauces. However, it is very sensitive to high temperature and loses its taste if it’s cooked for too long so you should add it when the meal is almost or even entirely finished.

Hedonists will especially like it as it can be used in strawberry-and-basil margaritas: “Honey, we have some basil left, I don’t want to throw it away, so I have to put it to good use.” It is a good excuse for your wife/husband to relax a little bit after a tasty dinner. You’ll thank me later.


Portion of fresh Oregano

Irreplaceable spice for pizza lovers has somewhat similar taste to thyme. Although it’s not the best replacement, it can be sufficient when preparing grilled, roasted and fried vegetables as well as some sorts of fish meals.

Oregano has so many healthy properties that can benefit your organism. It has been used for centuries as an important part of natural medicine. If you have muscle cramps, acne problems or even bronchitis, consider using it as much as possible.

Capture the essence

Cooking can be perceived as art and art requires a lot of experimenting and creative thinking. I gave you a few pieces of advice on how to adequately replace thyme with some other spices, but it is up to you to find the best blend and make the best of it. Don’t expect too much, but also don’t be afraid to create something unique.

The spices that I wrote about can be used individually, but the good thing is that they also can be mixed amongst each other to achieve as similar thyme taste as possible. For example, one teaspoon of marjoram and ½ teaspoon of parsley are equivalent to 1 teaspoon of thyme. Try it – I bet you won’t feel the difference.

Professional Cooking Tip:

Try to grow your own spice plants. You`ll be sure that they are organic, they`ll always be fresh, and they don’t need a lot of your attention. Just a couple of hours of sun rays, a little bit of fertile soil in a flowerpot and a few drops of water from time to time.

And the most important thing, you`ll never get in this position of browsing the internet, trying to find the best replacement for a missing ingredient.

Nevertheless, I hope you’ll find the best thyme substitute for your meal and if that was the case, send us a picture of your favorite meal with some of these ingredients.

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