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Culinary Enhance: 5 BEST Substitutes for Mexican Oregano

Are you looking to add Mexican Oregano to your kitchen spice cabinet but can’t find any? Don’t fret.

Mexican Oregano has a unique flavor that sets it apart from its Mediterranean cousin, and while it may be harder to get your hands on in some places there are several great substitutes that can provide an equally enticing flavor.

Learning how to replace Mexican oregano with more common spices is an invaluable skill for any aspiring home chef.

Let’s explore these options and find out how they can help us create the same kind of complexity we’d expect with Mexican Oregano.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Mexican Oregano

Here’s a detailed comparison of the 5 best substitutes for Mexican oregano, along with their key characteristics and proper ratios:

SubstituteKey CharacteristicsProper Ratio
MarjoramMild and sweet flavor, similar to Mexican oreganoUse the same amount as Mexican oregano
Greek OreganoEarthy and slightly bitter flavor, closer to Mexican oregano than other types of oreganoUse the same amount as Mexican oregano
Lemon VerbenaCitrusy and floral flavor, provides a unique twist to dishesUse half the amount of Mexican oregano
EpazoteStrong, pungent flavor with hints of citrus and mintUse half the amount of Mexican oregano
CilantroFresh and herbaceous flavor, adds brightness to dishesUse half the amount of Mexican oregano

Now let’s explore each substitute in more detail:

1 – Marjoram

marjoram 1

Marjoram is one of the best substitutes for Mexican oregano, due to its similar flavor profile and accepted use in Mexican cuisine.

Like oregano, marjoram has an herbal, woodsy flavor with a slightly sweet finish.

Marjoram is often employed in Latin American cuisine, particularly in dishes like tamales or in homemade sauces.

To substitute marjoram for Mexican oregano, use the same amount listed on the recipe since they offer roughly equivalent levels of flavor intensity.

As you adjust to this new spice blend, it’s wise to tinker around with the ratio, only adding more as needed.

2 – Greek Oregano

greek oregano

Greek oregano (Origanum vulgare) is another great option for substituting Mexican oregano.

While it is mostly used in Mediterranean cuisines, it can easily replicate the flavor and aroma of Mexican oregano.

However, even though both plants belong to the oregano family and are related, Greek oregano is milder than its Mexican counterpart and has a much sweeter aroma, as well as a hint of bitterness that comes from its marjoram lineage.

Some chefs prefer to supplement Greek oregano with other herbs like cloves for a better flavor profile.

It also works great in vegetable dishes like stews, potages or tomato sauces.

To use it as a substitute for Mexican oregano, add ½ teaspoon of dried Greek Oregano per tablespoon of Mexican Oregano called for in the recipe.

3 – Lemon Verbena

lemon verbena

Lemon verbena is a highly aromatic herb with a signature lemony scent and flavor.

It has grass-green narrow leaves that can be used as a Mexican oregano substitute as a flavoring agent.

Lemon verbena is much milder than Mexican oregano, which means you will need to use more in order to achieve the same level of flavor.

However, its flavor pairs perfectly with seafood, grilled veggies, and delicate sauces.

If you do choose to use lemon verbena as a substitute for Mexican oregano, opt for fresh rather than dried.

The fresh herb will offer more flavor than the dried variety.

Be sure to add it towards the end of cooking so that the bright citrusy aroma won’t be lost in the heat of cooking.

4 – Epazote


Epazote, or Mexican tea, is an herb with a flavor very similar to oregano.

It has a strong odor and gives dishes a distinct earthy aroma.

For many years, epazote has been used as a medicinal herb to support digestion and soothe stomach aches.

You can use it as a substitute for Mexican oregano in all types of dishes.

To replace one teaspoon of Mexican oregano, use two teaspoons of epazote leaves instead.

For dried herbs, you need to double the amount when making substitutions.

Be mindful that it does have an assertive flavor so too much epazote can overpower a dish.

5 – Cilantro

cilantro 2

Cilantro is an herb widely used in Latin American cooking, especially in Mexican food.

Although it doesn’t quite have the same aroma as Mexican oregano (it smells more like parsley), it can be used successfully as a substitute.

Just keep in mind that cilantro has a stronger flavor than oregano, so use it sparingly.

In addition to its intense flavor, cilantro has a number of nutritional benefits.

It’s high in vitamin C and antioxidants, which can help fight inflammation and protect against disease.

Cilantro also contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that can reduce the risk of infection and improve digestion.

When using this herb as a replacement for Mexican oregano, make sure to mince it finely or grind it into a paste to bring out its flavor.

substitutes for mexican oregano

The 5 Best Substitutes for Mexican Oregano

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • 1 – Marjoram
  • 2 – Greek Oregano
  • 3 – Lemon Verbena
  • 4 – Epazote
  • 5 – Cilantro


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.
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