Replacements for rosemary can be easy in cooking and some alternatives can offer a little bit of extra oomph as well.
There are some really easy replacements and alternatives for rosemary in your cooking. Some aren’t perfect alternatives, some are just sort of better than nothing flavors. It is better to add something than have a bland meal!
Replacements For Fresh Rosemary
Rosemary can be harvested all year round, however it can be harmful to a younger plant to take too much. So sometimes fresh herbs need to have replacements and alternatives.
Replacements for rosemary include; thyme as a nice option as well as savory or oregano. Bay leaves offer a slightly different option, lemon balm and basil are soft leafed alternatives that work to give a depth of flavor, or go for ready made herb mixes like Italian seasoning or Herbes De Provence.
So here is how to make those substitutions, remember that rosemary is quite a strong and pungent flavor.
1. Dried Rosemary
The perfect option for replacing rosemary would have to be using dried in place of fresh. Use in a 3:1 ratio with 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary = 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary. The drying process intensifies the flavor of rosemary and really will give you a punch.
Dried rosemary should keep it’s intensity of flavor for around a year. Store in an airtight container in a dark cupboard.
Whether you use fresh or dried thyme it is a great alternative for rosemary. Use in a like for like quantity. If a recipe requires 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary you can use 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme. The flavor is not quite the same, but it holds the earthy notes as well as a level of pungency akin to rosemary.
Oregano is a good alternative for rosemary, but not quite an exact replacement. Oregano has the pungency and depth of flavor that rosemary has and is a like for like substitution. You can use dried oregano to replace fresh or dried rosemary. Use 1 teaspoon dried oregano to replace 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary.
Savory works well when combined with a few other dried herbs to replace rosemary. Just compare to the other ingredients in your recipe and make sure not to clash any flavors before you get creative!
Have a look here for herbs that do not go together in cooking!
5. Bay Leaves
Bay leaves are often cooked in similar dishes to rosemary and make a good replacement when used with other herbs like thyme and oregano. Bay doesn’t quite have the depth of flavor that rosemary has, but it is a lovely addition to most of the dishes that rosemary works well in.
6. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is an unusual replacement for rosemary, but hear me out. It has a zing of citrus but also a mint like pungency. This makes a good garnish when a recipe has called for rosemary and you use thyme and oregano in the recipe.
Basil has peppery notes and is ideal to replace that element of rosemary. It wont substitute the earthiness but when used as a garnish and with thyme or oregano in the main recipe it is a good option.
8. Italian Seasoning
Italian seasoning is essentially a mixture of rosemary, thyme, oregano and basil. There are variations but the main ingredients remain true. Therefore it makes a good replacement for rosemary. Make sure to check the recipe for the other herbs and adjust accordingly.
9. Herbes De Provence
Herbes de Provence is a mix of rosemary, oregano, thyme, marjoram and savory so makes a good alternative to rosemary. Make sure to take into account the other ingredients and reduce their quantity to suit.
What Next & Further Reading
I hope you have some ideas for ways to replace rosemary in your cooking. It’s never ideal to replace one flavor with another, but the ideas here are so much better than nothing! Get creative and let us know of any other alternatives that you have found as well.
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