Top 4 Substitutes For Basil

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

 Likes  Comments
Listen to this article
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Basil is an aromatic herb whose wide and tender green leaves are used in cuisines across the world that include Italian, Chinese, and Thai dishes. This delicate herb has a limited growing season. So, if you can’t find fresh basil at your supermarket, there are plenty of great substitutions. Also, knowing the right basil substitutes can help you save a dish if you happen to run short of this versatile herb.

Basil Substitutes

There are plenty of good basil substitutes since its flavor is similar to many other common herbs. The best substitutes of basil include the use of fresh oregano, parsley, cilantro, thyme, spinach, kale, arugula, and dried tarragon.

basil substitutes

Fresh Oregano or Thyme

Fresh oregano or thyme can be substituted in equal amounts as fresh basil. They will give you the spicy aroma you’re looking for in Italian cooking. You can try a little chopped fresh rosemary too, and this hardy herb will hold up longer if you’re simmering or baking with it.

Parsley or Cilantro

Another great substitute for basil is parsley. The delicate flavors of this prolific herb will shine best in cold or raw dishes like green salad or pasta salad. You should also consider parsley’s cousin, cilantro (a divisive herb loved by some and hated by others), in Latin or Asian-inspired dishes. Cilantro is a strong and tangy herb that will shine with other strong flavors.

Spinach, Kale or Arugula

If you’re making pesto, there are lots of fun ways to experiment. Puree your nuts, cheese, and olive oil with spinach or kale for a rich green pesto, or use arugula which has a nice peppery bite. You can also substitute a mix of fresh thyme, oregano, and parsley when making pesto. It will taste very different than basil, but will be just as delicious!

A bowl of spinach leaves on a grey background

Dried Tarragon and Oregano

In its dried form, basil loses many of the subtleties that make it a unique fresh herb. Luckily, this means you can substitute any number of other dried herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, oregano, or even an Italian seasoning blend. Always use half the amount of dried herbs as fresh herbs that are called for in a recipe or else the dried herbs will overpower other flavors in your cooking. Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

Rate this article
Average rating 3.5 out of 5.0 based on 7 user(s).

Latest Health News:

a woman in a white tshirt holding both her hands at her heart

Bulimia Nervosa Associated With Cardiovascular Risk

While bulimia nervosa might be a life-threatening condition by itself, it could be a signal of further health complications in life as well. Women with bulimia…

A middle-aged couple walking in the park

Sex-Specific Memory Tests Can Improve aMCI Diagnosis

Should the sex of a person be considered when testing for dementia? A recent study published in the journal Neurology suggests that ignoring the sex of the…


Maternal Gastric Bypass Can Help Reduce Birth Defects

The weight of a woman during pregnancy is closely linked to the health of the fetus. but having a gastric bypass surgery could prove helpful for the child,…