Rosemary Substitute

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Looking for a great substitute for rosemary? How about 8 ideal rosemary substitute options? Keep reading to find out how you can use items you likely have in your kitchen to replace rosemary in just about any dish.

Rosemary Substitute

Rosemary is a perennial evergreen type of herb with fine green needle-like leaves with small white, lilac or pink flowers. This herb has a warm, bitter lemon-pine flavor and is used widely in soups, sauces, roasts, braises, stuffing, stews, teas, vegetables, dips, and spice and herb blends.

If you’re making any of these recipes and you have no rosemary, you’re likely looking for effective substitutes and you can find them here.

It is worth noting that most of the ingredients listed here are not an exact match for the flavor of rosemary, but they do a great job when you have no rosemary on hand.

Dried rosemary vs fresh rosemary leaves

The main difference between dried rosemary and fresh rosemary is that dried rosemary herb has a more concentrated flavor than fresh rosemary leaves. Dried rosemary can also withstand longer cooking periods, while the fresh leaves are best added towards the end of the cooking process.

How to substitute dried rosemary for fresh rosemary leaves?

Dried rosemary and fresh rosemary leaves can be used interchangeably in quite a few recipes. To substitute dried herbs for fresh herbs, you’ll need to follow a 1:3 ratio.

Therefore, if the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, then use 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary as a replacement.

Besides being able to use dried rosemary to replace fresh and vise versa, the other best substitutes for rosemary are thyme, savory, sage, marjoram, oregano, bay leaves and basil.

Each will be discussed in more details below sharing recipes they are best suited for and substitute ratios.

Best substitutes for rosemary


Thyme as a substitute for rosemary

Like rosemary, thyme is a member of the mint family. This herb has an earthy, slightly sweet, lemony, slightly minty taste with warm peppery undertones and is best used in savory dishes like stews, sauces, potatoes, seafood, meats, vegetables, eggs, fresh bread and more.

Use 1 teaspoon of dried or fresh thyme to replace 1 teaspoon of dried or fresh rosemary, or a 1:1 ratio.



Savory is another herb that can be used as a replacement for rosemary. This herb works well with other herbs like basil, rosemary, bay leaf, marjoram and thyme and so if you’re out of rosemary, you can use savory in its place. Savory has a pronounced peppery flavor that works well with dips, meats, dressings, sauces and more.

If you’re using savory as a replacement for rosemary, swap on a 1:1 ratio. 



Sage is another herb that can be used as an alternative for rosemary. Sage pairs well with other flavors like bay leaf, garlic, marjoram, oregano, rosemary and thyme.

Sage has a flavor that can be referred to as woody, piney and warm with hints of pepper and works well in meats like lamb, pork and chicken. It also works well with stuffing, soups, stews, chowder, teas and more.

Use 1 tablespoon of dried or fresh sage to replace 1/2 tablespoon of dried or fresh rosemary.



Marjoram, like rosemary is also a member of the mint family and can work as a substitute in certain dishes. Marjoram has a piney, minty, delicately sweet and citrusy flavor that works well in soups, pasta, sauces, stuffing, meats, cheese sauces and more.

Use 1 tablespoon of fresh or dried marjoram to replace 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary.



You can also use oregano as a substitute for rosemary. Oregano, has a pungent, peppery, sweet, slightly minty flavor that can be used in place of rosemary in a dish. Oregano does well with pasta sauces, chicken salads and more.



Basil can also suffice as a substitute for rosemary. This herb has a sweet, peppery and spicy flavor with hints of mint, anise and clove. Use basil in salads, curries, soups, seafood, pasta, chicken, fish, pork, stews and chilies.

Bay leaves

Bay leaf

Bay leaves are very aromatic with a bittersweet, pungent, spicy flavor with a slightly minty aroma that can work well in soups, stews, braises and other dishes that take a while to cook. It can also add a nice aroma to recipes like rice and risotto.

Use bay leaves as a last resort if you have none of the other rosemary replacements listed here. Also, read more about bay leaf substitute options here.

Favorite rosemary recipes

These are some of my favorite rosemary recipes. You should check them out if you’re looking for ideas on what to make with rosemary:

Final thoughts

While all of these herbs can be used in place of rosemary, it should be noted that none of these can fully replace the flavor and aroma of rosemary.

Nonetheless, in a pinch, these can be good stand ins in so many dishes.

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