Best Substitute for Thyme

Best Aromatic Alternatives And Substitutes For Thyme

Looking for the perfect substitute for thyme? Here is a list of thyme alternatives that can be used to amp up the flavor of food.

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Thyme (थाइम) is a very well known and popular herb used vastly around the globe for cooking and medical purposes. From garnishing to flavoring and marination, thyme is used in a lot of recipes. Thyme is available in dried and fresh form for cooking. Thyme oil and essence can also be found in the market which is used for medicinal and aroma-therapy purposes.

Did you know that thyme was used in the mummification process. Not only that thyme oil has been used as an antiseptic and disinfectant for a long time. In fact, the Greeks used it for its medicinal properties to treat wounds and relieve pain. Researches say it cures extreme coughing.

Even though it’s a must-have herb in your pantry, sometimes it may run low. Here are the best substitutes for thyme –

Table of Contents

Best Substitute for Thyme

Thyme adds lots of flavor and aroma to a dish and lifts the taste to tremendous levels. Even though there is no exact substitute for this wonderful herb, here are some of the best options that can be used as a substitute for thyme.

If you are preparing a tomato-based recipe, then Basil and Oregano are the best substitutes for thyme. For chicken and fish like non- vegetarian food, Tarragon is good. With pork or lamb, you can use rosemary rather than thyme. You can use a combination of herbs to produce a taste and aroma like thyme.

1. Oregano

Oregano is a type of staple herb used widely in Mediterranean cooking. Like thyme, it is also a part of the mint family. Which means both have similarities in terms of flavor. Both the herbs are considered as the best substitute for each other. If you run out of thyme, then you can use oregano in pasta sauce, meats and salad as well. It is also used in pizza sauce. Oregano is used in Mexican foods as a substitute for thyme. You can use fresh and dried oregano for fresh and dried thyme respectively.

Also Read: Benefits Of Oregano Oil | Side-Effects | How To Use

8 great substitutes for parsley
Oregano is a type of staple herb used in Mediterranean cooking.

2. Marjoram

In Italian and Middle Eastern cuisine, marjoram can be used as a substitute for thyme. Its mild flavor makes it a very easy herb to cook with. If there is nothing to replicate the flavor of thyme, you can use marjoram without second thoughts. It is gaining a reputation for its aroma and delicate flavor. For non- vegetarian foods like fish, chicken, and some other lighter foods, it can be substituted for thyme. It is imperative to add this to a fresh dish during the last 5 to 10 minutes of the cooking process. You can use dried marjoram for an excellent flavor too.

Also Read: 6 Tasteful And Beneficial Substitutes For Marjoram

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3. Italian Seasoning

Many of the best known Italian seasoning herbs grow naturally and abundantly throughout the Italian countryside. They are an integral part of Italian cuisine. Herbs, such as basil, parsley, and sage, play an essential role in creating the unique taste of Italian food. It is almost impossible for an Italian to think of cooking with the addition of their herbs and spices. But these herbs as a combination can be used as an excellent substitute for thyme.

4. Rosemary

It is also known as Gulmehandi in Hindi. It is a shrub with a woody aroma. Oil is extracted from its leaves and used to make medicines. Interestingly, this oil doesn’t contain any fat. When you are out of thyme, rosemary is used for digestive problems, including heartburn, intestinal gas, and loss of appetite. Rosemary has a lemon and pine like flavor. While cooking food, it is suggested to use this in a limited amount as it can be overpowering when used with wrong flavors.

8 great substitutes for parsley
Rosemary is also known as Gulmehandi in Hindi.

5. Savory Herb

This spice has been used for a long time as a substitute for thyme. Because of its taste and aroma, savory is used to make various sauces. This spice can be used to prepare a hot sauce with fish and meat. It can be added to the stuffing for sauces, meat rolls and pies.

6. Sage Leaves

Sage leaves are an excellent substitute for thyme. They are rich, have a fragrant aroma, and a warm and spicy flavor. If there is no thyme, you can use sage leaves in Italian cuisine. It gives an earthy, almost peppery taste to the food. It is also used in stuffings for chicken, fish, turkey dishes. Sage leaves, and thyme is originated from the mint family of herbs. So, both are an excellent match for each other in any recipe. Fresh sage gives a better and robust flavor than the dried version.

7. Poultry Seasoning

Poultry seasoning is a spicy herb and used for turkey and chicken dishes. For the stuffings of some non- vegetarian foods, it is the best substitute for thyme. Usually, it is used with sage leaves, savory, marjoram, and onion powder for a delicious taste. While cooking add poultry seasoning in the same amount as thyme and it will give you a delightful taste. It is an entirely vegetarian and gluten-free spice.

8. Tarragon

It is a grass-like perennial herb. When you are out of thyme, you can use tarragon as a substitute. The different kinds of tarragon cultivated include French tarragonRussian tarragon, and wild tarragon. Out of these, only the French tarragon is utilized for culinary purposes. This herb can be added to food like chicken, fish, and meat. Tarragon is a herb that can be used with some other herbs like sage leaves, savory, etc. to complement the taste and smell of the meat.

Also Read: Tarragon Substitute – 10 Dried And Fresh Tarragon Substitutes

substitute for tarragon
It is a grass-like perennial herb

9. Basil

Basil leaves can be used as a substitute for thyme. It is a kind of culinary herb which is used to add some flavor to food. Like thyme, it can also be used to cure some diseases due to its medicinal properties. These leaves can be added to Italian sauces, or as a garnishing. Basil leaves are considered as the best alternative of thyme.

Apart from these, cinnamon, nutmeg, mint, cumin, paprika, and bay leaf can be used as a substitute for thyme as well. All these are used to amp up the aroma and flavor to different kinds of foods. Sometimes, these herbs can be used in a combination to replicate flavors.


Thyme is a beneficial herb as it can be used as a medicine and as a fragrant addition to any dish. It is used widely to give add flavor to food and to cure respiratory problems too. Thyme tea is often used to help relieve cold, bronchitis, and cough. Thyme has some antiseptic properties to fight diseases.


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