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Enhance Your Recipes: 5 BEST Substitutes for Rosemary

Rosemary is an aromatic herb that has been used for centuries to enhance the flavor of dishes ranging from pasta and proteins to vegetables.

But ever wondered how to use Rosemary? Whether it’s fresh or dried, rosemary adds a distinct flavor profile to your food and can make all the difference in taste.

If you find yourself lacking this distinct ingredient, there are five substitutes that will give your dish the same complexity and flavor as a sprinkle of rosemary.

From marjoram to oregano, learn about these five substitutes for adding rosemary’s unique zing.

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Rosemary in Recipes

However, there may come a time when rosemary just isn’t available or you want to mix up your flavors.

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

SubstituteKey CharacteristicsProper Ratio
ThymeMilder flavor compared to rosemary. It has a slightly earthy and herbal taste that complements many dishes.Use an equal amount as rosemary
SageStrong flavor similar to rosemary. It has a slightly peppery and earthy taste that adds depth to recipes.Use an equal amount as rosemary
MarjoramHas a delicate and sweeter flavor than rosemary. It adds a subtle herbal note to dishes.Use an equal amount as rosemary
SavorySimilar to thyme, it has a milder flavor than rosemary. It has a slightly peppery and herbaceous taste.Use an equal amount as rosemary
OreganoA versatile herb with a robust and slightly bitter flavor. It can add complexity to dishes as a substitute for rosemary.Use an equal amount as rosemary

Now let’s explore each substitute in more detail:

1 – Thyme


Thyme is a flavorful herb that can be used as an excellent substitute for rosemary in most recipes.

It has a slightly different flavor, but it is very similar and can add a nice kick to your dish.

Thyme has an earthy, sweet flavor and smell that will add depth to any savory dish.

Its leaves are small, thin, and dark green in color with purple undertones.

The texture of fresh thyme is soft and fragrant when crushed between your fingers or toothpick.

Dry thyme can also be used; however, it doesn’t deliver the same flavors as fresh herbs do.

Like rosemary, you should use thyme sparingly in your dishes; otherwise the taste can become overpowering quickly.

2 – Sage


Sage, also known as salvia officinalis, is an evergreen shrub with woody stems and silvery-green leaves.

It has a slightly bitter flavor which works well as a rosemary substitute in recipes that include other flavors to balance the intensity.

Its aroma is strong and herbaceous with a slightly floral finish.

When substituting sage for rosemary, use half the amount called for in your recipe because it has a more intense flavor.

Sage pairs well with many dishes including roasted vegetables, pork, poultry, fish, stews and tomato sauces.

Try adding it to salad dressings or rubbing its leaves onto meat for added flavor before cooking it.

3 – Marjoram


Marjoram is a close relative of oregano and both herbs are in the mint family.

Marjoram’s flavor is a bit milder than oregano and can be substituted in a variety of dishes.

The lovely scent of marjoram makes it ideal for soups, stews, vegetables, poultry and fish dishes.

Just keep in mind that it doesn’t hold up as well when exposed to high temperatures for extended cooking periods.

A bit of this flavorful herb adds sweetness to many dishes like pilafs, pasta sauces and egg dishes.

Marjoram also pairs nicely with garlic, onion and other herbs like thyme or tarragon.

Use it frequently as a topping for pizzas or flatbreads along with other toppings such as olives or mushrooms.

To substitute marjoram for rosemary try using it in recipes that call for smaller amounts of these herbs — 1/3 teaspoon rosemary = 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon marjoram — but no more than that because marjoram has a milder taste than rosemary and you don’t want your dish to be overpowered by its delicate flavor.

4 – Savory


Savory is a flowering plant that is related to the mint family.

It is native to the Mediterranean, and it has many uses in a variety of dishes.

The leaves of savory can be used fresh or dried, and they have a slightly peppery taste.

When choosing savory as a substitution for rosemary, it’s best to use more of it than you would with rosemary because the flavor is much milder.

Savory can be used to replace rosemary in meat glazes and sauces.

It can also be used in marinades and vinaigrettes for salads or vegetables, as well as rubs for meat dishes.

It pairs well with garlic and thyme so adding these ingredients when using savory as an alternative to rosemary will enhance the flavors in your dish.

5 – Oregano


Oregano is a popular and versatile herb with a strong flavor profile, making it one of the best rosemary substitutes in many recipes.

It is most notably used in Italian, Spanish and Greek cuisines and can be used to add an earthy, herby flavor to dishes.

The scent of oregano is actually quite similar to that of rosemary, which makes it an excellent substitution.

Oregano will add a bit more sweetness to the dish than rosemary would, so be sure to adjust your seasonings accordingly.

To substitute oregano for rosemary in a recipe, use about twice as much as you would for rosemary (for example: if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, use 2 tablespoons of fresh oregano).

Additionally, dried oregano should also be cut back accordingly; use half of what the recipe calls for in terms of dried rosemary if substituting with dried oregano.

substitutes for rosemary

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Rosemary in Recipes

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • 1 – Thyme
  • 2 – Sage
  • 3 – Marjoram
  • 4 – Savory
  • 5 – Oregano


  • 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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