8 Easy Rosemary Substitutes to Get You Out of Trouble

Need a quick last-minute rosemary substitute? These best eight ingredient alternatives will get you out of trouble.

rosemary substitutes

I seem to have picked up a knack of having every spice and herb under the sun except the exact one I need when cooking any given recipe. If a particular dish calls for tarragon, then without doubt I’ll be stocked up to my eyeballs with basil, fennel seeds, dill… basically, everything. Everything except the one I need.

One particular common missing ingredient is rosemary. Today we’re going to take a look at 8 easy rosemary substitutes that you can use to get around yet another herb disaster in the kitchen.

What is rosemary?

Rosemary is a herb that packs a one-of-a-kind wood aroma, and can be found in a variety of colors ranging from pink to purple, or even blue. It’s a really unique herb, which I guess is why so many people – myself included – don’t often have it in stock!

The recipes it can be applied to however vary wildly. It can be thrown in with bean dishes, lentil stews, squash soups, bacon rolls, vegan soup, apple crumbles, pumpkin muffins, cheesecakes, Italian tomato sauces, roasted fruits and… OK, there are a lot.

Dry vs. fresh rosemary

Much like with other herbs, the dry form of rosemary is far more potent than the fresh variety. When cooking, dried rosemary works best at infusing its flavor in your recipe. Dried rosemary tends to need a lot more time to infuse and simmer its aroma into your meal.

Just be sure that if a recipe calls for fresh form of rosemary that you then substitute in a fresh form of your replacement, and sub in dry for dry. Easy.

Best rosemary substitutes

Inevitably there will be times when you don’t have any rosemary at hand. Never fear – today we have dried and fresh rosemary substitutes to see you through. Pay special attention to the types of meals that each herb should go in, as they’re not all straight like-for-like alternatives. Check out the alternatives below and have fun cooking.


Green thyme in a bowl on boards

A mint plant very similar in appearance to rosemary. Thyme can be used fresh or dry, depending on the meal you want. Best used with meat, fish, or sautéed veggies.

Did you know?: Thyme soothes the digestive tract, prevents water retention and flatulence.


Available year-round, savory is more bitter than rosemary with a stronger and more potent smell. However when used in moderation the result is still brilliant. Goes well with meals with more fat and protein in them, like pork roast or poultry meals.

Did you know?: Savory offers many vital minerals AND it is calorie-free as well.


sage cooking ingredient

Another ‘mint family’ herb from the Mediterranean family. Compared to rosemary, it gives almost the same potent and pleasant aroma and it goes best with fish or seafood (plus it can be mixed with butter or cheese for adding on top or serving on the side). Rosemary is one of recommended sage substitute ingredients, so it makes sense that sage is can fill in here.

Did you know?: Sage herb boosts memory as well and reduces inflammations.

Caraway Seed

Essentially the same as cumin seed. The flavor is milder than rosemary, but the aroma in the meal lasts much longer afterwards.

Did you know?: Caraway can be used to relieve digestive issues.


bunch of raw green herb marjoram

A cold region, perennial herb. Quite like thyme, this is perfect for winter soup recipes, stews and even sauces. Some confuse it or replace it with oregano due to the similar smell and taste in the meal.

Did you know?: Marjoram reduces nausea and improves digestion.

Bay Leaf

Known as Laurel tree of the Mediterranean regions. There is a catch – this herb needs sun exposure prior cooking to enhance its aroma enough to make it as potent as rosemary.

Did you know?: With bay leaf expect the same – improved digestion after every meal.


Often associated with pizza or other Italian meals, but oregano can easily be used in any recipe calling for rosemary.

Did you know?: Oregano is a great cure for skin issues and stomach cramps.


Some like it, some don’t. But parsley is incredibly healthy, and you notice its aroma in a second once added to your meal, whether it’s in its dry form or fresh.

Did you know?: Parsley reduces inflammation and helps with your body’s water retention.