Top 7 Rosemary Substitutes for Your Cooking Recipe

Rosemary Substitute

Think about all the times you want to whip up a quick roasted chicken with potatoes only to find that you are missing one of your secret ingredients: rosemary. This can be quite disappointing, especially if you are really craving this special dish of yours. While your first thought might be to completely scrap the plan, you should consider looking at alternatives.

Finding replacements can be fulfilling. After all, who doesn’t like being able to prepare their favorite dish at a moment’s notice? To make sure that you are ready to make your specialty in the future, you need to know what other herbs can make up for lacking rosemary.

What Makes Rosemary Special

When substituting any ingredient, you need to understand all of the essential characteristics that make it an important part of the recipe. This way, you know exactly what to look for in the herbs and aromatics you are considering as alternatives. To gain this knowledge, you should review the flavor and aroma profile of the ingredient.

Rosemary Substitute

For rosemary, it is important to note that it has one of the strongest flavors and aromas among all the herbs. It has a complex profile that makes it unique compared to other aromatics. For starters, it has a lemony and piney taste. However, its woody-peppery hints are considered a delight by many. When you taste this herb, one of the first things that come to mind is that it has a tea-like quality.

When combined with heat, this herb will release an aroma similar to its flavor, with piney and peppery notes. However, you will notice that it bears a similar smell to menthol. This is because rosemary belongs to the mint family.

You also need to remember that it is a native Mediterranean herb, and it is commonly used in Spain, Portugal, France and the United States. So, look back on the dishes that have this ingredient to pinpoint exactly what kind of smell and taste you should recreate when using a rosemary substitute.

The Best Rosemary Substitute

Now that you know the special qualities of this ingredient, you might be curious as to what herbs and spices can help reproduce its flavor and aroma. Without further ado, here are some of the best rosemary substitutes.

Herbs Substitute to Rosemary

  • Thyme

One of the best replacements for the original ingredient is thyme. Thyme and rosemary are both members of the mint family, giving them similar profiles. They are both fragrant and flavorful, with minty, citrusy and earthy qualities.

This is a great substitute for the herb, especially when you are making dishes like lamb and fish. Just remember that because thyme has strong attributes like rosemary, it is important to be careful when adding the herb.

  • Savory

Savory is another member of the mint family. Just like the example above, savory has a pepper-like flavor and aroma, making it a great replacement. Just remember that there are two types of savory: winter and summer. Winter savory has a piney taste, while summer savory has a mildly sweet and spicy quality.

Caraway Seeds as Substitute to Rosemary

  • Caraway Seeds

Because rosemary has a strong profile, you can consider using other ingredients with strong qualities as well. Caraway seeds are known for having a concentrated smell and taste. This is perhaps because seeds are known to have enhanced qualities. This aromatic bears a resemblance to anise seeds, which means that it has a complex quality that is perfect for dishes that commonly have the original herb.

  • Marjoram

As mentioned, the original herb has lemony and piney attributes. This is what makes marjoram a great substitute. It is a flexible ingredient that can work with dishes with mushrooms, sausage and poultry stuffing. Vegetable-based dishes can also benefit from marjoram.

  • Sage

Just like the original herb, sage has a complex taste. This herb offers two seemingly opposing flavors: bitter and sweet. Its bittersweet characteristic makes it a great alternative for the original ingredient. Just be careful when using sage as a substitute as too much can overpower the dish.

  • Basil

When cooking dishes that have tomato as a main ingredient, you can consider using basil as a replacement. It has that slightly sweet taste and fresh aroma that is characteristic of the original herb. However, keep in mind that there are different varieties of basil, so make sure to give fresh leaves a try before using them. To be safe, consider using dried basil as it has the typical quality that most people know.

  • Tarragon

Just like others in this list, tarragon’s lemony and bittersweet quality makes it a great rosemary substitute. Tarragon is another strong herb, so make sure to add it gradually until you get the right flavor and aroma.



Using a rosemary substitute is a smart step toward making your favorite dish without sacrificing flavor and aroma. So, if you find yourself lacking this ingredient, these replacements definitely have your back.

Posted in

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Join our mailing list and receive our free newsletter with recipes to your inbox!

Let's be Social