Were you in the middle of a great recipe when you suddenly realized you’ve run out of thyme? If you don’t have the time to go out and get more thyme, consider using a substitute instead. A variety of herbs with a similar taste can be used to replace thyme in moments of emergency. Here’s a list of what you can use as a substitute for thyme.
For every one teaspoon of thyme that you need, substitute one teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Italian seasoning is a blend of thyme, basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, and marjoram. Because it has thyme in the mix, it’ll give you the perfect flavor for your recipe. What’s better, it comes with a burst or additional flavors, too, so your recipe has a unique taste.
Marjoram and Parsley
For every teaspoon of thyme, substitute one teaspoon of marjoram and a half teaspoon of parsley. Marjoram is a herb as well and provides the minty, earthy flavor, but it is a little sweet, which can be neutralized by the parsley to make an excellent thyme substitute.
This is another herb that can be used as a direct substitute for thyme. Use one teaspoon or summer savory for one teaspoon of thyme. It also has the minty, spicy flavor that thyme is known for. Summer savory works better than winter savory, because that brings in a hint of sage and pine instead of thyme.
The most likely herb to be in your kitchen is oregano. Its flavor is similar to thyme but much stronger. This is why you should use three-fourth of a teaspoon of oregano for every teaspoon of thyme. It provides a minty, lemon flavor, but because it is more intense, using the wrong amount may tamper with the overall taste of your dish, so keep this in mind before adding oregano.
If you’re making a fish or chicken-based dish, tarragon is also a suitable alternative to thyme. You can use one teaspoon of tarragon for every teaspoon of thyme, and the taste will be similar to thyme.
This should only be used if you have no other options but need to have a thyme-like flavor in your dish. For dishes based around lamb or pork, you can use three-fourth of a teaspoon of rosemary for every teaspoon of thyme. Be very careful with how much you’re adding because rosemary has a very aromatic, and different flavor that can make all the other flavors in your dish pale in comparison.
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Skip the Thyme
It’s also possible for you not to use any substitute for thyme at all. In most cases, you only need a pinch of it and will be adding several other herbs and spices to your recipe anyway. You’ll likely be able to make a perfect tasting recipe with only the herbs you have on hand because a combination of them will provide an adequate amount of flavor even without the thyme.
What Does Thyme Taste Like?
Thyme has a gentle flavor that goes perfectly with numerous recipes. It has a hint of lemon and mint, with a slight peppery underlying taste. Because it is a herb, there’s a warm, earthy, wood-like flavor that accompanies the minty taste.
How to Use Thyme
You can either use thyme by placing the entire herb into a recipe, or by removing the leaves and adding them to a dish. You can either add the leaves whole or cut them up. One thing to remember while cooking with thyme is that the more time it spends cooking, the more flavor it will add to your recipe.
You can have dried thyme stored in your freezer, or fresh thyme that you just picked out. They can also be substituted for each other if you don’t have the kind of thyme that the recipe calls for. When baking with thyme, use the leaves without the stems, or consider dried thyme that has already had the stems removed.
Thyme is a unique, essential herb that makes any recipe stand out. However, because it has a similar earthy, minty taste as many other herbs, you shouldn’t have a problem finding a suitable substitute for it if you ever run out.