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What Is a Good Substitute for Thyme?

What Is a Good Substitute for Thyme?

Need substitutes for thyme right now? Find quick herb alternatives that match its flavor and save your dish without a store run. Let’s explore your options.

We go into details about how to use each thyme substitute below and when you should use each one, but here’s a quick snapshot of our best substitutes for thyme.

Substitutes For ThymeRatio
Dried Tarragon1:1
Herbes de Provence1:1
Italian Seasoning1:1
Marjoram + Parsley2/3 t marjoram + 1/3 t parsley for 1 t
Oregano2/3 t oregano for 1 t
Rosemary2/3 t rosemary for 1 t
Summer Savory1:1

How do I convert fresh thyme to dried thyme?

To convert fresh thyme to dried thyme, use a 1:3 ratio, meaning 1 teaspoon of dried thyme can substitute for 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme.

How many thyme leaves equal one whole sprig?

A sprig of thyme typically yields about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of leaves when stripped off the stem.

How do I convert measurements if I only have ground thyme?

If a recipe calls for dried thyme leaves and you only have ground thyme, use about half of the specified amount in the recipe and adjust to taste, as ground thyme is more concentrated and potent in flavor.

Substitutes For Thyme

1. Basil

Fresh basil offers a sweet, peppery flavor. While distinct from thyme, it can be a pleasant alternative in dishes that call for thyme, particularly in pasta sauces, pesto, curries, and stir-fries. When replacing thyme with basil, keep in mind that basil will impart a sweeter and more herbaceous flavor to the dish, so adjust as necessary.

Substitute basil for thyme in a 1:1 ratio.

2. Dried Tarragon

Tarragon has a distinct, slightly anise-like flavor. While not a direct match, it can provide an interesting alternative flavor in dishes that would benefit from its aromatic quality, especially chicken dishes, fish recipes, or certain sauces like béarnaise. Since it will introduce a different flavor element to your dish, it’s best to adjust the amount of dried tarragon gradually until you achieve the desired flavor balance.

Start with a 1:1 ratio when using it as a substitute.

3. Herbes de Provence

Herbes de Provence, a French blend containing thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, and sometimes lavender, can substitute for thyme, but consider its additional flavors, particularly lavender. It’s suitable for dishes requiring Mediterranean herb profiles like roasted meats, stews, grilled vegetables, and sauces.

Substitute Herbes de Provence for a 1:1 ratio.

4. Italian Seasoning

Italian seasoning can replace thyme, especially in Italian dishes such as spaghetti sauce, lasagna, minestrone soup, and chicken cacciatore, but keep in mind the additional flavors that come from the other herbs. Depending on the dish, these might enhance or slightly alter the intended flavor. Italian seasoning is a blend of thyme, marjoram, oregano, basil, rosemary, and sage.

Substitute it for thyme in a 1:1 ratio.

5. Marjoram + Parsley

Marjoram shares a mildly sweet note with thyme, and when combined with the neutral freshness of parsley, it can mimic the aromatic quality of thyme quite well. This blend works well on poultry dishes, soups, stews, and Mediterranean recipes. Keep in mind that while this combo approaches thyme’s aromatic profile, there will be subtle differences in flavor.

Mix 2/3 teaspoon of marjoram and 1/3 teaspoon of parsley for every teaspoon of thyme.

6. Oregano

A more robust herb, oregano can stand in for thyme. It’s particularly well-suited for Mediterranean and Italian recipes, finding its place in dishes such as spaghetti sauce, pizza, lasagna, and Greek salads. The herb is more pungent, so you might want to use it in slightly lesser quantities to avoid overpowering your dish. Adjusting to taste is key, as oregano has a more dominant flavor compared to the subtler, earthy notes of thyme.

Use 2/3 teaspoon of oregano for every teaspoon of thyme.

7. Rosemary

Rosemary has a stronger pine-like flavor and stands out as a potential substitute for thyme. Its robust nature makes it ideal for hearty dishes like roasts, grilled meats, and Mediterranean stews. When using rosemary in place of thyme, it’s best applied in dishes that can handle its strong profile. Starting with a lesser amount and adjusting to taste is recommended, as rosemary can easily dominate a dish. 

Substitute 2/3 teaspoon of rosemary for every teaspoon of thyme.

8. Summer Savory

Summer savory has a peppery flavor that’s somewhat similar to thyme. Although milder than thyme, the herb can be a direct substitute for thyme in dishes like poultry stuffings, bean soups, grilled meats, and vegetable stews. While thyme and summer savory share some similarities, the latter will introduce its distinct flavor to the dish.

Substitute it in a 1:1 ratio.

The bottom line

When looking for thyme substitutes, you have plenty of aromatic herbs and spices to choose from. Whether you prefer the mild earthiness of oregano, the citrusy freshness of marjoram, or the warmth of rosemary, these options can add exciting flavors to your dishes. Remember, if your thyme is unavailable, simply swap it with an equal amount of summer savory or basil.

More About Thyme

Substitutes For Thyme: 8 Best Substitutes

Substitutes For Thyme: 8 Best Substitutes

Out of thyme? Here are some of the best substitutes for thyme, including basil, dried tarragon, summer savory, and more!


  • Basil: Use an equal amount as thyme (1:1)
  • Dried Tarragon: Use an equal amount as thyme (1:1)
  • Herbes de Provence: Use an equal amount as thyme (1:1)
  • Italian Seasoning: Use an equal amount as thyme (1:1)
  • Marjoram + Parsley: 2/3 t marjoram + 1/3 t parsley for 1 t thyme
  • Oregano: 2/3 t oregano for 1 t thyme
  • Rosemary: 2/3 t rosemary for 1 t thyme
  • Summer Savory: Use an equal amount as thyme (1:1)


  1. Replace thyme with one of our 15 suggested substitutes.
  2. Use one of the above ratios when substituting for thyme in a recipe.

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