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16 Best Substitutes For Rosemary To Imitate Its Unique Flavor

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Oh no! You’ve just started preparing a lamb skillet or some Mediterranean fish and realized you’re out of rosemary. What should you do now?

Don’t worry. Your recipe isn’t ruined. There are still numerous herb options you can use to spice up your meal. Sure, rosemary is the original spice, but there is also a substitute for rosemary that will go with every dish.

Today you’ll learn more about the best rosemary substitutes, what this herb brings to the table, and specific rosemary substitutes. 

Ready, steady, go!

16 Substitutes For Rosemary 

What can you use in place of rosemary? Here are our favorite rosemary replacements:

1. Tarragon

Tarragon is a perennial herb that is closely related to the mint family. The distinctive flavor of tarragon is often used in French cuisine.

Tarragon is a lesser-known herb with a flavor similar to rosemary. It is often used as a substitute for rosemary in recipes and can be substituted for other herbs in cooking.

It has also been used to mask the flavor of liver and onions, as well as in salad dressings.

2. Marjoram

Marjoram also has a similar flavor to that of rosemary. It has a slightly citrusy taste and smells like oregano. Marjoram can be used in place of rosemary in most dishes, but it is not as strong as the latter, so you will need to add more of it to get the same flavor.

It’s perfect for stews and has a minty flavor. You can use it in Greek cooking, and it is a great substitute for rosemary in its dried form.


3. Basil

Basil does not have the same flavor as rosemary, but it has a similar scent and can be used in many of the same ways. Of course, basil cannot be used in the form of a sprig, but this herb will be a great substitute if you use it in meat dishes.

Basil is a cheaper and more abundant substitute for rosemary. It has a similar taste to rosemary, but it doesn’t have the same medicinal properties.

4. Oregano

One tablespoon of fresh rosemary is used to garnish numerous stews, but when it comes to dried oregano, it can even taste better. The herb oregano has a similar taste to that of rosemary, but it has more of an earthy flavor, which makes it the perfect substitute for this aromatic herb.

Oregano is a great herb to have in the kitchen. It is slightly bitter, but its flavor is still pleasant, and it works well in dishes that use tomatoes or other sweet ingredients.

5. Bay leaf

While nothing can be compared to the aromatic properties of rosemary, bay leaves can somewhat mask the fact that you’re out of the complex flavor setter. This is because bay leaves are strong seasonings that mimic the taste of rosemary when cooked.

Bay leaves have a similar flavor to rosemary, but they are more subtle and not as pungent. They have a slightly sweet undertone, which is why they are often used in sweet dishes.

bay leaves

6. Parsley

Parsley is a herb that is often used as a substitute for rosemary in cooking. It can have a similar taste and smell to the more expensive herb.

Parsley can be used in many recipes that call for rosemary, but it needs to be added at the end of cooking, or it will lose its flavor.

7. Caraway seeds

I just love this oriental spice, and it goes perfectly with Cajun seasoning and its substitutes. They have a similar flavor and can be used in the same way to add hints of flavor to your dishes.

The caraway plant is an herbaceous biennial plant with a long taproot, enabling it to grow in dry and poor soil conditions.

8. Anise

Here comes another aromatic must-have, anise. Sure, nothing can top a teaspoon of fresh rosemary in your veggies, but these fresh herbs are the perfect substitute for rosemary.

The anise plant is in the same family as parsley, carrots, and dill. It has a licorice flavor and aroma that’s used as both a spice and medicine. Anise is one of the best substitutes for rosemary in cooking, though the flavor is different.

9. Thyme

Thyme has a slightly different flavor to rosemary, but it still provides a wonderful flavor to your dish. It can be used in many of the same ways as rosemary, so you can experiment with it! You can use both dried thyme and fresh thyme in accordance with your recipe.


10. Savory

Savory is an herb that has a taste that is similar to rosemary, but it has a stronger and more pungent flavor.

There is winter savory and summer savory, which have different tastes. The summer kind is more aromatic, while the winter kind has a muskier taste. You can use this herb in Italian seasoning, salsas, and chili garlic sauces.

11. Lavender

Lavender has a sweet, floral fragrance, and its flavor is more like that of thyme than rosemary.

Lavender has been used to flavor everything from honey to ice cream and to perfume soap. It is also used as an ingredient in herbal tea blends and as an herbal remedy for sore throats, coughs, stomachaches, and headaches.

12. Licorice

Don’t be surprised! Yes, I mean the sweetener. Licorice root is a member of the legume family. It has been used in medicine since ancient times and is popular in many cuisines around the world, including North Africa, South America, China, Japan, and Europe.

Medicine aside, licorice is an amazing sub for rosemary in cooking. It can be used to add flavor to dishes like soups, sauces, and meats.

13. Peppermint

This member of the mint family or Lamiaceae has a very different taste and smell than rosemary, but it can be used to replace it in recipes that call for it. It can be used in many dishes, such as lamb and fish.

It can also be used in desserts like ice cream. It has a sweet taste that complements the richness of desserts well.


14. Celery

Both celery root and stem are great rosemary subs. They have a similar flavor and can be used in dishes where rosemary is needed.

Celery is also cheaper and easier to find than fresh rosemary. Celery is usually available year-round.

15. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus has a similar taste, but it is not as strong and pungent as rosemary. The leaves of the eucalyptus tree can be used in cooking to add flavor to food.

It can be used to spice up your dishes. It has a slightly different flavor than rosemary, but the two are quite similar in terms of use and the range of recipes to which they can be applied.

16. Cumin

Cumin is very popular in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mexican cuisine. Cumin is an excellent substitute for rosemary in cooking because it has a similar flavor profile but with much less bitterness and more sweetness than rosemary. 

In addition to its culinary uses, cumin is also used as a medicinal herb in traditional medicine.

6 Substitutes For Rosemary To Use In Specific Dishes

When you think about it, you realize that not all dried herbs match the strong flavor of rosemary. For instance, basil will not go with steak, while dried sage can’t go in casseroles. 

Here are a few of the best rosemary substitutes that you can use in specific recipes that match its flavor profile.

1. Substitute for rosemary oil

Rosemary oil is often used as a substitute for fresh rosemary in cooking. What herb is similar to rosemary oil? When substituting rosemary oil, you can use basil, thyme, and oregano.

There are many reasons why people use rosemary oil in cooking. For example, it has a long shelf life and can be used in any dish.

2. Rosemary substitute for lamb

Lamb dishes often require longer marinades and cooking. This is why rosemary is a great option when preparing these recipes.

Rosemary can be substituted in lamb cooking by using other spices like thyme and sage or by adding some lemon zest to the dish. It is a very popular spice in Mediterranean cuisine.

3. Rosemary substitute for steak

Everyone just loves the pine-like flavor rosemary gives our steaks. But what if we run out of it? If you’re missing this herb, don’t worry! There are some great rosemary substitutes for steak, like oregano, thyme, and curry powder.

4. Rosemary substitute for chicken

There are many substitutes for rosemary, but thyme is one of the most popular choices. Thyme has a similar flavor to rosemary, and it is also found in many dishes. Other good options include basil, marjoram, and sage.

They are perfect for making a sausage dish or marinade. When it comes to chicken, make sure your meat doesn’t sit out any longer than two hours in the marinade.

5. Substitute for dried rosemary

Is there a substitute for dried rosemary? Here are a few ideas: 

• Dried thyme

• Sage

• Marjoram

• Savory

6. Substitute for fresh rosemary

What can I substitute for rosemary in its fresh form? A substitute for rosemary leaves includes:

• Tarragon

• Parsley

• Cumin

• Anise

Aromatically Spice It Up

Rosemary has a tangy, slightly sweet flavor that makes it perfect for cooking and has great health benefits. “Studies have shown that the carnosic and rosmarinic acids in rosemary have powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.” (1)

Remember, it’s not the end of the world, but still, rosemary is so healthy and delicious that you should stock up on it as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can choose some worthy substitutes for rosemary on the list above.

1 NOURISH by WebMD (2022), Health Benefits of Rosemary, accessed 7 March 2023,

16 Best Substitutes For Rosemary To Imitate Its Unique Flavor