A powerful and intense aromatic herb belonging to the mint family, oregano helps enrich the flavor of meats, especially when combined with tomatoes. Oregano makes every dish stand out – especially pizza. Imagine what your pizza would be like without oregano!
It’s quite understandable if you panic when you find out that you are out of oregano while preparing your favorite pizza dish. Don’t fret, because there are lots of alternatives you can use in lieu of oregano.
Here are some of them
- Fresh Thyme
- Dry or Fresh Basil
- Basil & Parsley
- Italian Seasoning
Read on if you are still unable to find the above alternatives in your kitchen.
But first, you need to understand oregano’s flavor profile to determine the best alternatives to replace the ingredient in your pizza recipes.
15 Best Substitute For Oregano
Oregano gives off a powerful, pungent scent. Its leaves are flavorful and leave a sharp, strong, and savory aroma. The herb makes you feel an earthy and woody, but intense floral and minty tone at the same time.
To sum it all up, oregano shares some similarities to mint camphor. It also has the tanginess of citrus, and it comes with a mild peppery and bitter undertone. We find that tarragon and marjoram are some of the best substitutes for Oregano in terms of taste and flavor.
There are also other oregano substitutes that you can consider below.
Perhaps one of the closest (in terms of flavor profile) substitutes for oregano is tarragon. It comes with the same bitterness and earthiness as oregano, but it has a more vibrant flavor. It is also quite aromatic.
It is the ideal alternative to oregano for veggies, tomato-based dishes, meats, salad dressings, and of course, pizza! Use a 1:1 substitution ratio when using tarragon in place of oregano.
Marjoram is like oregano in many ways. That is why a lot of people confuse one for the other. They have almost the same aroma and taste. This makes marjoram a great oregano substitute in pizza recipes. Despite having many similarities, there are some distinct differences between the two.
For one, marjoram is a bit sweeter and milder. Marjoram also brings a floral and more poignant smell compared to oregano that has a minty, sharp aroma. Marjoram’s earthy aroma is also deeper than that of oregano.
When substituting marjoram for oregano, make sure to add a little more marjoram than the required amount of oregano in the recipe. A ratio of around 3:2 would be ideal. This is to achieve the same flavor level that oregano provides.
It is also best to add marjoram towards the end of the cooking process so as not to lose its aroma as the herb is known to lose some of its flavor after a long cooking time.
Thyme is similar to oregano in many ways including appearance and flavor profile. Although oregano is more intense and flavorful, both have earthy, minty, and lemony properties. Thyme’s flavor, on the other hand, is more on the sweet, rather than the bitter side. And unlike oregano, thyme leaves come with a bit of tartness.
Thyme is often used for meats (white meat in particular), dressings, stews, fish, beans veggies, and tomato-based food. Similar to oregano, thyme doesn’t lose its flavor while cooking.
This is what makes it ideal for pizza as well as pasta sauces that require a longer cooking time. When substituting for oregano (1:1), make sure to add thyme at the beginning of the cooking process.
Dry or Fresh Basil
Basil is a popular Italian herb, and although it is very different from oregano in many ways, it can be a good alternative. It is delicate, subtle, sweet, mild, and floral, but it isn’t as earthy, pungent, and bitter as oregano.
However, you can use basil to substitute for oregano in your pizza recipes. Just make sure to add a little more basil than the amount of oregano required in the recipe. This way, you can achieve almost the same taste.
Note that basil’s aroma is more intense, so a bit of trial and error may be necessary to determine the right amount to add.
Parsley is known for its powerful aroma and taste. It’s a bit on the salty side, herby, floral, and very fragrant. While oregano boasts of a sharp kick, parsley is milder. Nevertheless, you can use parsley to replace oregano in pizza.
To substitute for oregano, use a ratio of 1:1. Don’t forget to add parsley somewhere near the end of your cooking.
Basil & Parsley
While the two are great to use on their own, combining them together can be even better. When you use the combo (equal amounts of basil and parsley) as replacement for oregano, the results are usually more than satisfactory.
Make sure to add the combo at the end of the cooking process since both herbs lose their aroma quickly. For the proper amount to use, if the recipe calls for one tablespoon of oregano, use a teaspoon of the basil and parsley mix.
Another amazing Mediterranean herb, rosemary can be a good alternative to oregano. It is quite popular and very versatile, although its flavor may border on the pungent and intense side. It can work well in any pizza dish, whether you use dry or fresh rosemary.
Like oregano, rosemary is piny, earthy, and minty. But unlike oregano that has a sweeter, floral, and milder flavor, rosemary is more pungent and intense that resembles eucalyptus. This is why you need to add rosemary at the beginning of your cooking time.
To use as an oregano substitute, add 1 pinch of rosemary for every teaspoon of oregano required in the recipe.
Sage is quite flavorful. It has a citrusy tone with eucalyptus-like minty-piny freshness. While it has a more lemony taste compared to oregano, the grassy feel and more bitter taste than oregano may not be suitable for all recipes.
You can still consider sage when looking for an oregano alternative for pizza if you are trying to explore a new taste for your recipe.
To use as a replacement ingredient, add one teaspoon of sage for every two teaspoons of oregano required.
While Italian seasoning has oregano as one of its ingredients, its flavor is not the same as oregano. This is because the seasoning lists other ingredients like thyme, rosemary, and basil, among others. This explains the difference in flavor profiles.
When substituting Italian seasoning for oregano for your pizza recipe, make sure to taste as you add in small amounts. Make adjustments until you achieve the desired flavor.
Ajwain Leaves or Carom
A popular Indian ingredient with the same aroma as oregano, ajwain leaves or carom offers a good alternative to oregano when necessary. It is very fragrant and intense. It also has a bitter tone just like oregano.
When replacing oregano with carom use the 1:2 carom to oregano substitution ratio. This is because ajwain leaves can be overpowering, and you don’t want your dish to lose the flavor you are trying to achieve.
Most homes have a supply of dill weed in their seasoning shelf. Thus, you may have an easily accessible alternative to oregano when the need arises. While dill may have a different flavor profile from oregano, it makes a good substitute, nevertheless.
Dill weed has a taste similar to anise, and it has a complex, intense aroma. However, it has the same minty freshness, bitterness, and earthy vibe that oregano is known for.
In terms of appearance, oregano’s small leaves are nowhere near the leaves of dill, which are more similar to fennel or rosemary. In terms of fragrance, oregano exudes a sharp smell compared to the more pungent scent of dill.
When substituting for oregano, use a lesser amount of dill to avoid overwhelming your dish. Likewise, wait until the end of your cooking time before adding dill. This way, you can retain its full flavor.
While it may seem an odd replacement, you can count on fennel leaves to be a decent oregano substitute for your pizza dish.
Fennel shares some similarities with oregano, although in terms of flavor, fennel tastes more like anise, just like dill. Because it exudes a licorice aroma, it is recommended to lessen the amount of fennel when substituting for oregano.
While fennel may work great in pizza, it shouldn’t replace oregano on a 1:1 ratio.
For every 2 teaspoons of oregano in the recipe, use just 1 ½ teaspoons of fennel. Also, you can use fennel bulbs as replacement if fennel leaves aren’t available.
Another decent alternative to oregano that you can use for your pizza recipe is summer savory. While it may be a little less bitter than oregano, summer savory comes with the same earthiness and freshness that oregano is known for.
When used as an oregano replacement, use the 1:1 replacement ratio, meaning 1 teaspoon of oregano in the recipe can be replaced with 1 teaspoon of summer savory.
If you’re looking for a good oregano replacement, look no farther than bay leaves. While it has the same bitterness as oregano, it comes with a piny flavor and a lot of earthiness.
It may come a bit short of oregano’s citrusy fresh flavor. To achieve the best results when using bay leaves to replace oregano, see to it that you add the leaves during the early part of cooking.
Allow the bay leaves to stay as long as possible during cooking time; the longer it stays, the better the results. Just make sure to remove the leaves right before you serve the dish. This is because bay leaves are not edible.
As an oregano replacement ingredient, it is best to use 1 bay leaf for every teaspoon of oregano listed in the recipe.
When you run out oregano for the dish you are preparing, you are still good to go if you have some fenugreek in your pantry.
Although fenugreek is a bit sweeter and milder than oregano when it comes to flavor, it is still a good alternative – much better than none at all.
Fenugreek gives off a buttery, nutty vibe. When using it to replace oregano, add just a little bit of fenugreek at first, then taste. Add more to adjust the flavor to your desired level.