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.
What is Mexican Oregano?
Mexican oregano has long been a popular herb in the Southwestern and Latin American cuisines.
If you are new to about this intriguing taste, it is completely understandable.
This warm, slightly bitter herb can be used dried or fresh and offers a unique flavor that pairs especially well with zesty dishes.
Mexican oregano has an earthy aroma and distinct peppery taste as well as citrusy notes that stand out among herbs.
As it simmers in sauces or sizzles on the griddle, its full-bodied flavor is released and brings an unmistakable addition to many dishes.
To incorporate Mexican oregano into your recipes, try crushing it between your palms to break up the leaves before adding it to your dish.
You’ll find it adds complexity to soups, stews, tomato sauces, grilled meats, breads, crackers and more.
Why not explore this incredible resource of flavor in your kitchen today?
The 5 Best Substitutes for Mexican Oregano
When it comes time to substitute Mexican oregano in any recipe, there are a few options that can provide similar flavor notes.
Consider using one of the following in place of Mexican oregano:
1 – Marjoram
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 (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 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 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.
Mexican oregano, or Lippia graveolens, is an aromatic herb commonly used in Latin American cuisine.
It is different from the familiar Mediterranean oregano in its flavor and its aroma; it has a slight citrus-like scent with a hint of licorice.
While Mexican oregano is preferred in Latin American recipes, it can be difficult to find outside of the region.
Fortunately, there are some substitutes available that will work well in recipes that call for Mexican oregano.
In conclusion, if you’re unable to find Mexican oregano near you, there are several alternatives that can be used as effective substitutes.
With a bit of experimentation and exploration into flavors, you should be able to find the perfect substitute for your next Latin American dish.