Need a last-minute thyme substitute? These best ten ingredient alternatives will get you out of trouble.
Thyme is a popular Mediterranean herb with leaves used to make a medicinal oil and flavor food. It has a floral, aromatic flavor that helps brighten dishes. Thyme is most commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine, where it helps flavor roast meat, potatoes, and vegetables.
You can buy thyme on its own, in dried and fresh form. It is a crucial ingredient in many Mediterranean spice blends, from za’atar to herbs de Provence. If you skip it in a dish, you will miss out on some bright flavors that can help take your meat or vegetables to the next level. Its absence would be particularly noticeable if you were attempting to make a traditional dish.
You can get thyme at most grocery stores, but if you don’t happen to have any on hand, here are a few ingredients that you can use as a substitute.
The best thyme substitutes are herbs that are also popular in Mediterranean cooking and have similar flavor profiles. One of the best thyme substitutes is oregano. Like thyme, oregano is a dried herb with similar bitter, earthy, and herbal notes as thyme. Use oregano to punch up your marinade or season soups just as you would with thyme.
Herbs de Provence
Herbs de Provence is said to have come from the Provence region of France. This is a concoction of all the dry herbs that you may need in a recipe. It works great as a replacement for dry thyme, as you can use the herbs in various recipes.
The mixture usually includes thyme, basil, tarragon, bay leaf, savory, marjoram, and oregano. This popular blend can also be homemade using dried herbs.
It’s a great substitute because it contains thyme in it and has similar flavors. To use Herbs de Provence in place of thyme, you can use equal parts.
You can use fresh herbs to substitute dried herbs. The point is to know what flavors you are looking for in your dish to ensure the herbs you use have the same flavor. Thyme is known for its floral and woody flavor. Thyme is also quite fragrant.
Make sure the fresh herbs will give you the same effect. It’s important to remember that dried herbs are stronger and more concentrated than fresh. As such, when you do the substitution, you will need to use them sparingly.
To substitute fresh for dried herbs, you can use 1 teaspoon of dried thyme for 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs.
Basil is a herb that is part of the mint family, just like thyme. As such, you can expect similar minty notes. Both herbs are common staples in Mediterranean cuisine. Basil is a cross between savory and sweet. You can also describe it as having a licorice-like taste, something that you also get with thyme. As such, it pairs well with a lot of dishes that thyme is used in.
When swapping thyme with basil, if both herbs are fresh, use a ratio of 1 to 1. However, if you are using dried basil for dried thyme, you can use a 2 to 1 ratio. When basil is dried, it tends to lose a bit of its punch.
This is another blend of herbs and spices used in dishes that require a certain dynamic taste. Sage and thyme are the main ingredients in this blend. The blend of herbs often includes thyme as well as sage, rosemary, and marjoram. While these are the usual suspects, you can still add other ingredients and spices to the mix to get the taste you want in your poultry dish.
The presence of thyme in this blend makes it easy to swap out with thyme in recipes. Use 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning to replace 1 teaspoon of thyme.
Za’atar is a blend of spices with several fragrant notes. This is one of the things that makes it a good substitute for thyme.
It is a blend of oregano, thyme, marjoram (woodsy and sumac), and toasted sesame seeds. This gives the blend of spices a deep and rich flavor.
It may also have other ingredients such as orange zest, adding some zing to the mix.
To substitute thyme with Za’atar, you may use ½ of a teaspoon of Za‘atar for every 1 teaspoon of dried thyme. It works well in poultry dishes.
This seasoning is made by using Italian dry herbs and spices. You can buy it in stores, or you can choose to make your own. It has similar notes as Herbs de Provence but differs in that it has ingredients like lavender. It makes an excellent thyme substitute, as it contains thyme and herbs that complement dishes that you will be using it in.
Thyme and Italian seasoning can replace each other using a ratio of 1 to 1. This means that if you have a recipe calling for 1 teaspoon of thyme, you can use 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning.
Marjoram & Parsley
Marjoram makes our list because it is part of the mint family and has similar notes. Just like thyme, it has sweet notes to it. Parsley helps balance things out because marjoram can get too sweet for some dishes. This blend of spices is versatile enough to blend with different recipes.
To substitute marjoram and parsley for thyme, you can use 1 teaspoon of marjoram, along with ½ of a teaspoon of parsley. This will replace 1 teaspoon of thyme.
Summer savory is a herb that is used in various dishes. It is part of the mint family, which makes it an excellent substitute for thyme. You can find winter and summer savory.
Winter savory has more pine and sage flavors, whereas summer savory has sweeter and spicier flavors, making it closer to thyme. Savory also has numerous health benefits, which makes it an excellent substitute to consider.
Use 1 teaspoon of summer savory for every 1 teaspoon of thyme. The minty taste helps it pair well with dishes that also pair well with thyme.
This is one of the most common herbs you will find in a kitchen because it is versatile and pairs well with different dishes. It is a good substitute for thyme as it has similar mint-like notes and flavor. It also has a rich lemon-like flavor. Now, these flavors can come off a bit strong. As such, you will need to use it sparingly.
To use oregano as a substitute, you will need ¾ of a teaspoon with 1 teaspoon of thyme.
This is a leafy herb that is often used in Italian cuisine. It has a sweet, licorice-like flavor and is also very fragrant and aromatic. It also adds freshness to a dish, similar to thyme.
Tarragon has a sweet taste, which makes it a good substitute for thyme. However, it is also a bit bitter, so you will need to be careful not to let it overpower your dish. The intense flavor can either be the savior or downfall of your recipe.
You can use 1 teaspoon of tarragon in place of 1 teaspoon of thyme. Equal amounts will work well with a variety of recipes.