Spice Hacks: Best Thyme Substitute?


Great Aromatic Alternatives to Thyme

A whiff of thyme is always a pleasant one, and that’s why it makes it to the list of one of the best aromatic herbs around. A relative of mint, this Europe-grown plant comes in many varieties. Its sweet, earthy note gives numerous dishes an extra level of flavor and freshness – just look at how it’s extensively used in a variety of dishes that are Mediterranean in nature!

Thyme is among the most popular herb and spices for lamb, game, and pork and is known for its ability to withstand extended cooking times. It is usually added to a number of pasta sauces and an essential component to classics like osso bucco. If you find yourself out of thyme, no sweat! There are a number of great options that will work well even in a pinch.

Best Thyme Substitutes

Best Bet: Italian Seasoning. The best substitute to thyme is Italian seasoning, bar none. The reason for this is because this particular blend already contains thyme. The other herbs that go into the mix are especially chosen to complement each other, so you won’t expect contrasting tastes that will make your dish taste off when you substitute Italian seasoning for thyme.

Second Choice: Parsley and marjoram. If Italian seasoning is also lacking in your pantry, you can then turn to parsley and marjoram. Individually, they won’t mimic thyme’s distinct flavor. Together though, you will find yourself with a result that stimulates the same taste. As marjoram is also a relative of mint like thyme is, it makes sense that it will carry some common notes. The limitation to this though is a shorter cooking time, lest you want the flavor to disappear. The sweet, oregano-like flavor of marjoram combines with the light clean taste of parsley will give you that slight, thyme-y taste. The measurement to follow for this is a teaspoon of marjoram combined with half a teaspoon of parsley, which is a combination that equals to one teaspoon of thyme.

Another spice that can also work in a pinch is dried tarragon, which has similar flavor notes to thyme. This substitute is best used for dishes that center around fish and chicken. As for the measurement, you can sub exactly the same unit (one teaspoon of tarragon for one teaspoon of thyme, for example).

Oregano and basil. If all the other options are not available, you can still get creative by concocting another combination, but this time with only Greek oregano and basil. This combination works because both ingredients are present in the mix that makes up Italian seasoning.

In a pinch: rosemary. When working with pork or lamb dishes and you find yourself out of thyme, you can also consider using rosemary. It is an aromatic spice that has a very distinct flavor, so you need to remember to go easy with it. Adding too much rosemary to your dish as a thyme substitute can overpower your other seasonings, so apply with caution. If you are using rosemary, take note to use only ¾ of a teaspoon of it for 1 teaspoon of thyme in the recipe you are following.

With so many alternatives to thyme, you can rest easy knowing that the taste can easily be replicated by so many other great options!

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