Chervil is an annual plant that belongs to the Apiaceae family.
It has lacy, light green leaves with a mild taste similar to parsley and tarragon.
Chervil is in season in spring and summer.
Chervil can be used for cooking purposes in sauces, soups, omelets, fish, salads, and vinegar.
It is excellent chopped and added to a salad or mixed into scrambled eggs and fish dishes.
Compared to parsley, tarragon and chervil are much milder in flavor.
However, unlike tarragon, mainly used for flavoring purposes, chervil has a subtle anise-like aroma (which makes it excellent to accompany fish).
It can be cooked or served raw.
That being said, chervil is a herb with a short shelf life, and it can be hard to find fresh in grocery stores.
Growing your plants or buying them from trusted sources (such as online) is recommended.
Due to the increasing demand for the herb, you can always substitute it with other available herbs.
For this article, we have selected five substitutes for fresh or dried chervil:
What is Chervil?
It’s an herb traditionally used in French cooking.
Chervil is a delicate plant with fern-like leaves and white flowers.
It has an aromatic flavor similar to parsley but sweeter.
Chervil is most commonly used in salad dressings and cheese dishes like béchamel sauce (or “white sauce”).
If you’re interested in cooking with chervil, try sprinkling it on baked salmon and potatoes.
The leaves of the chervil plant are more delicate than parsley, so they should be used fresh.
Chervil is a delicate herb, so it will wilt quickly after being picked.
Chervil can be difficult to find in grocery stores, depending on the season.
It tends to be more readily available from April through August, but not outside those months.
If you’re having trouble finding it at the store, try growing chervil in your garden.
It’s a very simple herb to grow and maintain, so you’ll never have to worry about not being able to find it again.
Chervil can be used in place of parsley for just about any recipe.
They both have a similar flavor and appearance and can be used interchangeably.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Chervil
In emergency cases, it’s good to know that several herbs have a similar flavor and appearance as chervil.
1 – Parsley
Most people are familiar with parsley.
This is because it’s typically used as a garnish on the side of dishes, especially if there are noticeable chefs in the restaurant.
This herb has a strong smell and should have a bright green color.
Parsley seems to be one of the more common herbs that you can find in grocery stores or farmer’s markets.
Using this herb is beneficial because it can be used in almost any dish.
For example, you can put parsley on potatoes or fish dishes.
Parsley should be added right before serving your meal to avoid losing its freshness and flavor.
2 – Dill
Dill is an herb that people associate with summertime to complete their pickling.
It’s also popular in Scandinavian cuisines.
When you’re shopping for dill, it should be very bright and crisp.
If the leaves are wilted or dry-looking, they aren’t fresh enough to be used in cooking.
This herb is versatile and can be used in many dishes.
You can use dill to flavor potatoes or even tartar sauce.
Dill helps to remove the fishy taste found in seafood, especially salmon.
This herb should always be added right before you serve your meal to avoid wilt and lose its freshness and flavor.
3 – Tarragon
This herb is used quite often in many French dishes.
It’s an essential ingredient in beurre blanc sauce, typically served with fish or seafood entrées.
Although it has a licorice-like taste, tarragon also has notes of mint and anise.
This herb is a bit sweeter than parsley or chervil and should always be used fresh.
Tarragon is a delicate herb, so it will wilt quickly after being picked.
Most people use tarragon to supplement their cooking, not as an alternative for chervil.
Tarragon can be added to salads, soups, and casseroles.
It should always be added right before you serve your meal because the taste will dissipate after chopping up.
4 – Fennel Leaves
Fennel is highly associated with Italian cuisine.
You can use this herb to flavor salads or pasta dishes that require a crunch.
If you’re using fennel leaves, then the color of the leaves should be bright green and crisp looking.
The stems on these herbs tend to be woody, so they aren’t always ideal for cooking.
Fennel is beneficial when making fish dishes because it can remove some of the fishy taste associated with seafood.
It’s always best to add fennel right before serving your meal to avoid losing its freshness and flavor.
This herb should be used in moderation, as too much has been known to cause an upset stomach.
5 – Chives
Although chives are typically found in domestic gardens, this herb is widely available at most grocery stores.
Chives have a mild oniony flavor and long green leaves that are flat up top.
If you’re using chive as an alternative for chervil, the leaves should be bright green, vivid looking, and very crisp.
The stems of chive plants are tough and woody, so they aren’t ideal for cooking.
Chive leaves can be used in almost any dish, such as soups, salads, and omelets.
Chive leaves are brittle, so that they will break off easily, so it’s best to add them right before serving your meal.
Add them in small increments, too, because the leaves have a sharp oniony flavor that can overwhelm certain foods.
Chervil is an essential herb in many French dishes.
It has a mild flavor and can be used in almost any dish or sauce.
However, chervil is very delicate and wilts quickly after it’s chopped.
Therefore, a few different substitutes can be used to replace chervil.
Depending on the recipe, parsley, dill, tarragon, fennel leaves, or chives can be used as alternatives to chervil.
Each of these herbs has a unique flavor and should only be added right before serving your meal, so it doesn’t lose its freshness and flavor.