Fresh thyme lends a distinct flavor to everything from Grandma’s roasted chicken to a flavorful herbed soup. And when it comes to finding a suitable substitute for this versatile herb, the decision to use something else entirely depends on the reason for the substitution.
While this ingredient is widespread and easily accessible in supermarkets, there are times when you may run out in your kitchen. Here are some alternatives you can consider
- Italian Seasoning
If you are still unable to find any of the above alternatives, we have the full comprehensive list of thyme substitutes below.
But first, we will share a little bit more information about this common soup ingredient and the different flavors they have.
What Is Thyme?
Thyme has tiny, round leaves that are typically clustered around wooded stems. The leaves are approximately one-eighth of an inch in diameter.
Thyme brings culinary significance to various parts of the world. Numerous dishes call for the minty flavor imparted by thyme.
DID YOU KNOW: Thyme was historically used as a natural remedy to poisons, as well as a preventative measure against lice, plague, and leprosy. The herb was also a critical component of the mummification process in ancient Egypt.
Thyme has a plethora of culinary and therapeutic applications. Since ancient times, this fragrant herb has been used for perfume and healing. It has also been incorporated into hot teas for an energizing effect and various dishes in cooking.
A subtle mint flavor characterizes thyme’s taste. This herb is a member of the mint family, which stimulates the mouth’s menthol receptors.
In the Middle East, thyme is used in various dishes, particularly sauces and rice, to impart a gentle mint flavor.
Because thyme’s flavor does not lessen with heat, it is suitable for various recipes, including stews and soups.
Thyme is a member of the mint family and thus has a slightly minty flavor.
It has a bright, earthy flavor that works best with savory foods. It has a faint citrus flavor, more of a note than a savory flavor. Additionally, some individuals describe the herb as woody.
It is incredibly versatile and pairs well with various foods, including fish, meat, and vegetables. Additionally, it resists wilting in the heat, unlike numerous other herbs. As a result, it’s an excellent complement to soups, broths, stews, and other hot dishes.
Although it is commonly used in various cuisines, it is perhaps most well-known in the Mediterranean, where it originated.
13 Best Substitutes for Thyme
Before deciding on the ideal replacement for thyme, it will be beneficial to determine which flavor ingredient you are trying to imitate. This will, of course, vary depending on the specific dish you are preparing.
If you are looking for the woodiness of this herb, make sure you use the appropriate substitute. If the citrus or mint notes in thyme appeal to you, the herb you select maybe a little different from the one described above.
Here are some best thyme substitutes for soup.
The delicate piney mint-lemony flavor of sage mingles with the earthy flavor, making it an excellent substitution for thyme.
Sage is a highly regarded herb due to its potent herbal perfume and earthy flavor. It is frequently used in savory dishes and is a critical component of Christmas stuffing. The herb is accessible year-round in both fresh and dried forms.
Sage is typically used in soup, creamy pasta dishes, tomato-based foods, and marinades and sauces. Substitute by replacing half of the thyme called for in a recipe.
Oregano is one of the herbs with so many potential applications that it’s tough to know where to begin. Oregano is a herb comparable to thyme but has a more robust flavor.
Both are interchangeable in recipes. Dry oregano is used sparingly, as it tends to overwhelm other flavors.
Because it can be pretty strong according to how it was created, therefore, when using dried oregano, start with 1/4 of the quantity and taste before adding more.
If using oregano, keep the quantity small to avoid an overpowering flavor and aftertaste. You can substitute a little less than 1⁄2 a teaspoon of this herb for each teaspoon of thyme.
Marjoram is another plant that can be used in place of thyme. Marjoram, like oregano, is frequently used in Italian cooking. It tastes pretty similar to oregano but is slightly sweeter and has a lighter flavor.
To ensure that your dish works well with both herbs, substitute Majoram for Thyme one-to-one.
Along with being tasty, marjoram is an excellent culinary herb. It imparts a distinct flavor to meals and gives them an added kick.
If you’re incorporating marjoram into a spicy dish, remember that it’s a little spicier than thyme, which means it will amp up the dish’s spiciness.
Rosemary is a fragrant herb commonly used to flavor soups, salads, casseroles, and stews. They give recipes a delightful zing and taste delicious.
Rosemary is frequently matched with poultry, lamb, pig, steaks, and fish, particularly oily fish. Cereals, onions, mushrooms, potatoes, peas, and spinach pair well.
Dried rosemary is an acceptable substitute for thyme, but you must replace it regularly because it quickly loses its potency and flavor.
Another incredible addition to your pantry is tarragon. This herb is an ideal option for thyme, which can be used interchangeably. It is frequently used to spice fish and fowl and enhance the flavor of soups and sauces.
Apart from its distinct flavor, tarragon is utilized for its health advantages, including less fluid retention, better digestion, increased appetite, and sleep promotion.
It is a native of Asia and has a flat, slender, and shiny appearance. Tarragon also has a more pungent, anise-like scent.
Parsley works well as a substitute for thyme in cuisine with a cream base. This herb’s leaves can be incorporated into soups, stews, and salads. It has a faint bitter taste, but it combines wonderfully with the other flavors.
Like lemon zest, parsley has a fresh, herbaceous, and somewhat bitter flavor that contrasts with the other ingredients.
Primarily used as a garnish, this herb lends a beautiful splash of green color and a vegetal flavor to the soup, making it the perfect finishing touch.
Being a member of the parsley family, dill has a distinct flavor similar to thyme. Ensure that you use 3/4 teaspoon of dill to a teaspoon of thyme.
Thyme can be used in place of dill in Middle Eastern recipes such as soups, shrimp salads, potatoes, and pork.
Basil is linked to thyme but has a slightly distinct flavor. It can still be an excellent alternative when used at half the amount of the thyme recipe.
Basil has a delicate, sweet aroma and a peppery flavor. It’s a simple plant to grow at home and is frequently included in kitchen gardens.
Basil can be used in place of thyme in the majority of recipes. Use half as much dried basil as thyme. The trick is to add a small amount at a time and taste to determine the substitution ratio that works best for your dish and taste preferences.
Italian seasoning is a well-known alternative for thyme. This condiment is widely used in Mediterranean cooking and imparts an exquisite flavor to various meals.
Specific components and dosages vary by brand. It’s ideal for pasta meals, marinades, soups, and stews.
You may substitute one teaspoon of Italian seasoning for each teaspoon of thyme.
Herbes De Provence
Herbes De Provence, like Italian seasoning, is made up of dried herbs such as lavender flowers and bay leaves. It originates in southeast France’s Provence area, previously used to describe commercial blends.
Herbes De Provence is now available from various manufacturers, including Morton & Bassett, The Spice Hunter, and McCormick Gourmet.
This product is frequently used in grilled meats such as fish and cattle since it retains its flavor even when exposed to extreme heat.
This herb of the mint family has a flavor profile quite similar to that of thyme. Additionally, it is referred to as winter savory and summer savory.
Summer savory features peppery overtones, which pair exceptionally well with meat and seafood. Winter savory is more subdued and earthy in flavor, which works well in any dish, including soups and stews.
It is particularly well-suited for Mediterranean meals. Use savory in a 1:1 ratio, replacing one teaspoon thyme for one teaspoon savory.
Thyme is a common ingredient in poultry seasonings available from various merchants.
As a result, you can substitute poultry seasoning for thyme in your dish if you are in a bind and require a replacement immediately.
Poultry seasoning is frequently highly flavorful, especially when salt is added, so add tiny amounts at a time.
Za’atar, which originates in the Levant, is typically made with dried thyme, marjoram, oregano, occasionally lemony sumac, and toasted sesame seeds and salt.
If you substitute za’atar for thyme, you may wish to lessen the quantity of salt in the recipe. Start with a small amount, perhaps half of the thyme you’d typically add, and add more depending on your taste.
Thyme Substitute Related FAQs
Why is thyme good for cooking?
Thyme is best in soups, sauces, seafood dishes, braises, marinades, and recipes for meat or poultry. Likewise, thyme is excellent with various side dishes, including rice, potatoes, vegetables, and bread.
Thyme is also nutrient-rich. It is an excellent source of iron, manganese and vitamin K, as well as being a very good source of calcium and fiber.[Source]
Notable for its use in savory dishes, this popular herb imparts flavor without taking center stage. Thyme maintains its flavor even when cooked for an extended period, so bear that in mind when preparing your dishes.
What does thyme taste like?
Thyme is an aromatic herb with floral undertones, similar to rosemary combined with lavender. When cooking with thyme, the flavor is slightly mint-like.
Additionally, some report a very slight peppery taste.
How significant is thyme in a recipe?
Thyme is a necessary component of various recipes, particularly soups featuring lamb, chicken, fish, and vegetables.
It is used to impart a particular flavor and perfume to cuisine.
Is parsley a good choice for thyme replacement?
You can substitute a variety of herbs for thyme, but keep in mind that no substitute will ever be an exact fit because each herb has its flavor and aroma.
However, parsley can occasionally be used in place of thyme. If you do so, you should complement it with marjoram. Marjoram is also a herb and a member of the mint family.
It is gentle and sweet, and is an indispensable herb in Mediterranean cooking.
You can substitute one teaspoon marjoram and 1/2 teaspoon parsley for one teaspoon thyme. Together, these two herbs make an excellent substitute for thyme.