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7 oregano substitutes to use in your recipes

7 oregano substitutes to use in your recipes

Oregano is inarguably one of the most loved herbs in the US. It’s also a common ingredient in many Greek and Italian recipes. 

Personally, I make use of it in many recipes and dishes, such as pizza sauces, soups, salads, meat rubs, sautéed veggies, and more.

I love using oregano so much that I often end up buying it in bulk. 

Despite that, I’ve had my fair share of odd days when I find out that I have inexplicably run out of this flavorful herb. 

That’s when I rely on my trusty list of oregano substitutes that I can easily use to my dishes.

So, if you’ve been looking for some great alternatives for oregano, you can begin unlocking all of them now!

Let’s begin, shall we?

Substitute HerbRatio to Replace OreganoIdeal Usage
Marjoram1.25 times the amount of oreganoUse toward the end of cooking; mild flavor
BasilMore than oregano, as neededTomato-based pasta sauces, beef dishes
Parsley1:1Tomato-based dishes, dynamic taste and aroma
TarragonAs needed, no specific ratioTomato-based dishes, salad dressings
DillLess than oregano, due to stronger tasteBitter, grassy notes in recipes
Sage1:1Poultry, soups, vegetable dishes
Thyme1:1Potatoes, beans, tomatoes, salad dressings
A close-up photo of a pile of dried oregano leaves in a metal bowl.

7 Oregano Substitutes To Use In Cooking

Here are some herbs that you can use in your recipe when you run out of oregano:

1. Marjoram

Marjoram belongs to the same family as oregano. It’s often confused to be the same plant, and oregano is likewise known as “wild marjoram”.

It has a similar flavor and aroma as oregano, only milder. It also offers a slightly floral note when compared to oregano. 

The amount of marjoram you add to your recipe needs to be a quarter more than the recipe calls for. This will make up for its milder flavor. 

Also, make sure to use it toward the end of the cooking so that its mild flavor holds in your dish.

  • Ratio: Increase the amount of marjoram by one quarter more than the oregano called for in the recipe.
  • Usage: Use toward the end of cooking to preserve its mild flavor.

2. Basil

Basil is inarguably one of the best oregano substitutes. 

Just like oregano, it belongs to the mint family and has a camphoraceous aroma. Its flavor is slightly milder than the flavor of oregano.

This is why you’ll need to use more basil than the recipe requires to achieve a stronger smell and taste. 

Just remember that there are many basil varieties and some of them have a slightly sweet flavor.

So, if you want your recipe to have sweet notes, then basil is a great substitute.

It’s most often used in tomato-based pasta sauces and beef dishes as a replacement for oregano.

  • Ratio: Use more basil than oregano as per the recipe to achieve a stronger smell and taste.
  • Usage: Ideal in tomato-based pasta sauces and beef dishes.

3. Parsley

Parsley is a good replacement for oregano when making tomato-based dishes. It has a dynamic taste and a relatively strong aroma.

It can also enhance the flavor of any dish due to its savory flavor. 

You can use the same amount of parsley as the amount of oregano called for in your recipe.

  • Ratio: Use the same amount of parsley as oregano in your recipe.
  • Usage: Good for tomato-based dishes, offering a dynamic taste and strong aroma.

4. Tarragon

Tarragon has a bittersweet flavor, which can imitate the slight bitterness of oregano. You can easily use it as a substitute for oregano in tomato-based dishes. 

You can also use it as a salad dressing.

If you use the right amount, tarragon will add the right kick of flavor to your dish.

  • Ratio: No specific ratio provided; use as needed.
  • Usage: Suitable for tomato-based dishes and as a salad dressing.

5. Dill

This anise-like herb has bitterness to it, which makes it an easy oregano replacement. It also has grassy notes and a strong aroma. 

Even though oregano has a strong taste, the taste of dill is far stronger.

So, make sure that you don’t use the same amount of dill as the amount of oregano required in your recipe.

Otherwise, your dish will have an overpowering bitter taste.

  • Ratio: Use less dill than oregano as it has a stronger taste.
  • Usage: Suitable for recipes where a bitter, grassy note is desired.

6. Sage

This bittersweet herb has attributes of citrus and eucalyptus. Similar to oregano, it has a strong, fresh flavor. It works well in recipes for fatty foods. 

You can use sage in poultry recipes as it’s popularly used in turkey recipes for Thanksgiving.

It should also work exceptionally well as a replacement for oregano in soups and vegetable dishes. 

When using it in place of oregano, make sure to use fresh sage as the dried form won’t give you the full burst of flavor.

You can use the same amount of sage as the recipe calls for.

  • Ratio: Use the same amount of sage as oregano in the recipe.
  • Usage: Works well in poultry recipes and in soups and vegetable dishes.

7. Thyme

Another member of the mint family, thyme is a popular substitution for oregano.

It’s quite popularly used as a substitute for oregano in dishes that feature potatoes, beans, and tomatoes.

It can also be used in salad dressings that call for oregano. 

The taste of thyme is quite close to the flavor of oregano, so you can use the exact amount of thyme as stated in the recipe. 

Just make sure that you choose the right variety of thyme when using it as a replacement for oregano.

English and French varieties are good substitutes for oregano.

  • Ratio: Use the exact amount of thyme as oregano.
  • Usage: Ideal for dishes with potatoes, beans, and tomatoes, and in salad dressings.

What does oregano taste like?

Oregano is often celebrated for its intense flavor and aroma. It has a minty odor and a pungent, bitter, and slightly earthy taste. 

Oregano also has a slightly peppery flavor and has a zesty bite to it.

Many cooks don’t use too much oregano in their recipes, as its strong flavor can overpower the dish.

The bottom line

Though the subs I’ve just uncovered have their unique, dynamic flavors,  they should ultimately add more or less the same flavor to your dish as oregano, which in itself is quite the goal of our discussion!

Oregano substitutes

Oregano substitutes

CookingChew names seven of the tried and tested substitutes for oregano - from thyme to tarragon.


  • Thyme


  1. Pick thyme as your oregano substitute
  2. You can use the exact amount of thyme as stated in the recipe. 
  3. Make sure that you choose the right variety of thyme when using it as a replacement for oregano. English and French varieties are good substitutes for oregano.

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A white ceramic bowl filled with dried oregano leaves.

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