Herbs are a big thing in Italy. They use different types of herbs for a variety of dishes. If you can’t have authentic Italian dishes, the least you can do is add flavors that will remind you of Italy. Italian seasoning is normally added to pasta dishes, marinara sauce, pizza, meat, and more.
What if you run out of Italian seasoning? You need not worry. You can still get the distinct flavor and aroma by using the best alternatives for the seasoning.
Among the best Italian seasoning substitutes include the following:
- Greek seasoning
- Dried oregano, thyme, and basil
- Dried basil
- Dried oregano
- Creole seasoning
- Herbes de Provence
- Fresh herbs
- Pizza seasoning
Keep reading to find out how you can retain the unique taste of Italian seasoning even when using substitutes on your dishes.
19 Best Substitute for Italian Seasoning
Aside from the distinct flavor, Italian seasoning gives out a unique aroma to dishes. Despite the name, Italian seasoning is not Italian. It’s a spice blend made by kitchen enthusiasts to make it easier to recreate Mediterranean flair in various recipes.
The ingredients used in the seasoning depend on the brand. However, there are herbs that are always included in the mix, such as marjoram, oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary. Certain brands are now adding bay leaves, sage, garlic powder, and salt to each pack.
There are many alternatives when it comes to replacing Italian seasoning for your recipes. You can buy commercially or if you are adventurous, a lot of them just involved some creativity and mixing of various herbs to get the right blend.
Read till the end if you are keen to find what are the available options for you.
Greek seasoning is a combination of thyme, marjoram, parsley, onion, garlic, and oregano. You can add other spices to make the blend tastier.
You can use cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon peel, pepper, salt, or basil. The blend gives out a savory flavor with peppery and minty hints. This is why it makes a good substitute for Italian seasoning, depending on the dish.
It works best as a substitute for Italian seasoning when you want warming spices added to meaty dishes. You can go for the 1:1 ratio when doing the substitution.
Dried Oregano, Thyme, and Basil
When dried and mixed, these herbs constitute a fusion of the strongest flavor profile of the Italian blend. It has peppery and sweet flavors with a strong minty taste and floral traces. You can also add a little dried thyme to perk up the flavor.
Here’s how you can substitute a tablespoon of Italian seasoning with this mix:
- Half a teaspoon of dried basil and half a teaspoon of dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon of thyme, 1/4 teaspoon of dried basil, and 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
The combination of dried oregano and basil is enough to mimic the original taste of the Italian spice blend. You will add a citrus essence and earthy flavor to your dish by throwing thyme into the mix. You can use this blend for roasted Tuscan potatoes, chicken, fish, and anything with intense flavors of garlic and lemon.
You can use it as a stand-alone herb to substitute an Italian seasoning. This fragrant herb offers a savory and sweet taste with pepper, anise, and mint overtones. Use half a teaspoon of dried basil for every teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper, if preferred.
It has a slight bitterness and offers a strong earthy flavor. The herb has an equal proportion of spiciness and sweetness. You can use half a teaspoon of dried oregano for any dish with tomato that requires one tablespoon of Italian seasoning.
This is a good substitute for Italian seasoning because they use many similar herbs, such as thyme and oregano. You can buy or make Creole seasoning by blending paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, white pepper, black pepper, basil, thyme, and oregano.
Add cayenne pepper to make it spicy, or leave it out if you want a less spicy outcome.
When using Creole seasoning as a substitute, adding half the Italian seasoning needed in the recipe is safe. This way, you can gradually add more depending on your preference.
Herbes de Provence
This fancy-sounding spice blend is a classic French mixture. It makes a good substitute for Italian seasoning since it uses the main herbs found in the latter. However, herbes de Provence is not loaded with oregano and basil, but obtains its flavor from rosemary and thyme.
Other herbs are added to make it more distinct and tasty, such as summer savory, sage, marjoram, lavender, and fennel seed. You can use the spice blend for tastier meats, grilled veggies, and marinades.
As long as you have basil and oregano, you can use them instead of the dried herbs included in Italian seasoning. You only have to add more herbs to the blend since dried herbs have a stronger concentrated flavor than their fresh counterpart.
In cooking, only add the fresh herbs when you’re almost done. Unlike dried herbs that emit more flavors the longer you cook them, fresh herbs tend to lose their distinct taste the longer you cook them.[Source]
The suggested ratio in substituting dried with fresh herbs is 3:1. If you need a teaspoon of Italian seasoning in a dish, add 1 1/2 teaspoons each of fresh oregano and basil as a substitute.
It’s a Middle Eastern herb that gives a similar flavor to Greek seasoning when used as a substitute for an Italian spice blend. Za’atar is an Arabic word for oregano, which is its main flavor.
It also has marjoram and thyme, plus sesame seeds and sumac for added oomph.
Sumac, aside from having high levels of antioxidants and nutrients, gives dishes a tangy flavor. When substituting Italian blend with Za’atar, you can use a 1:1 ratio, but it is best to add it gradually since it contains salt.
This seasoning contains most of the ingredients found in an Italian spice blend.
Most pizza spice blends include thyme, smoked paprika, nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper, onion powder, sea salt, garlic powder, and the main herbs found in Italian seasoning.
You can use a 1:1 ratio when substituting Italian seasoning with a pizza spice blend. Taste the dish as you add the seasoning to ensure that you get the taste that suits your preference.
Herbes de la garrigue
This spice blend uses herbs native to the southwestern region of France. It contains similar herbs as herbes de Provence, such as thyme, sage, rosemary, marjoram, lavender, fennel, and basil.
The difference lies in the two more herbs used in making herbes de la garrigue – mint and bay leaf powder. It works well in making beans, sausages, and stew. You can use the 1:1 ratio when making the substitution.
Italian dressing mix
It contains the two main herbs in a classic Italian blend – oregano and basil. Plus, it adds more into the bunch to make dishes tastier. They include thyme, parsley, pepper, onion powder, salt, and sugar.
You can use it in seasoning Italian-American favorite dishes, including sausage soup and lasagna. You can also use it as a meat seasoning or add taste to any baked pasta.
Since it already has salt, omit salt when using the mixture in your recipe.
Homemade Italian seasoning w/ sage
Why find a substitute when you can make your own Italian seasoning? You can recreate the original blend or add more spices to create your own version.
The easiest way to make three tablespoons of homemade Italian seasoning is by blending the following until combined:
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 2 teaspoons dried (not ground) thyme
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
If you don’t have all these ingredients on hand, you can still make the seasoning with only basil and oregano since they are the dominant flavors of classic Italian blends.
Once combined, place the seasoning in an airtight container to expand its shelf life. You can use a 1:1 ratio when substituting Italian seasoning with this DIY version.
Homemade Italian seasoning w/ fennel seed
The seeds of the fennel herb give out a sweet and aniseed taste. Blend the following until combined â€“ a tablespoon of fennel seed and two tablespoons each of thyme, basil, and oregano.
Place in an airtight container to extend its shelf life.
Homemade Italian seasoning w/ black pepper
Black pepper has a combination of floral, spicy, and intense flavors. To make this homemade seasoning, blend a tablespoon each of black pepper, red pepper flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, basil, and oregano.
Homemade Italian seasoning w/ parsley
Parsley will add an herbal flavor to your dishes.
You can make this version of Italian seasoning by blending a tablespoon of parsley and two tablespoons each of oregano, basil, and thyme.
DIY McCormick Italian seasoning
To make your version of McCormick’s Italian seasoning, thoroughly mix a tablespoon each of thyme, savory, sage, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, and dried basil.
You can use the spice blend immediately once done. Keep the rest stored in an airtight jar or glass bottle.
Simple Italian seasoning
This blend requires fewer herbs. The result still gives a unique Italian flavor, but it is not as savory as those with more spices.
Mix one tablespoon of the following dried herbs to make this version â€“ thyme, sage, oregano, and basil.
Elaborate Italian seasoning
This complex recipe gives a zesty and strong flavor. Mix a tablespoon of each of the following herbs until well-blended â€“ dried thyme, dried rosemary, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, onion powder, dried marjoram, garlic powder, dried basil, and black pepper.
It offers a similar profile to an Italian spice blend, but it uses fewer ingredients. You can use it in various dishes, including bread, salads, fish, veggies, poultry, and pasta.
To make one, crush and grind an equal amount of the following dried herbs â€“ marjoram, rosemary, oregano, and basil. Season with garlic powder and fennel seeds.
You can use a 1:1 ratio when using this Tuscan spice blend to substitute for Italian seasoning. It adds peppery, fresh, sweet, and rich aroma and taste to food.