5 Incredible Oregano Substitutes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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There are quite a few oregano substitutes that you can find in most spice racks, in case you run short of your favorite herb.

What is Oregano?

Oregano is an aromatic flowering plant from the mint family, whose fresh and dried leaves are commonly used as a spice in culinary applications, particularly the Mediterranean and Eurasian countries. This herb can have many different flavors, depending on the variety, ranging from spicy and aromatic to subtle and sweet.

Oregano is very similar to marjoram, and the two are often used interchangeably by chefs. In fact, oregano is often referred to as “wild marjoram”. Fortunately, whether you have simply run out of oregano or have to cook around an herbal allergy, there are plenty of viable substitutes for oregano.

Oregano Substitutes

The best oregano substitutes include thyme, rosemary, marjoram, basil, and sage, among others.


This popular and strongly-flavored herb is closely related to oregano and is also a member of the mint family. Although the leaves look different, the effect that thyme can have on your meals is quite similar to oregano, and this spice can be used as a replacement in an equal quantity ratio – 1:1.


Another popular substitute, basil works well as a replacement for strongly flavored savory dishes, particularly Italian stews, and sauces. In that culinary context, the difference is very difficult to detect.


Whether you are making chicken, vegetables or soup, sage will always be an excellent replacement for oregano. You will want to use fresh sage, when possible, as the dried form doesn’t as closely resemble the taste of oregano.


The best replacement for oregano is marjoram, as the two are very closely related and have very similar flavors. Marjoram doesn’t retain its flavor when cooked for long periods, therefore, add it at the end of your recipe for best results.


Although rosemary is slightly sweeter and more potent than oregano, if you are in a pinch in the kitchen, a few stalks of rosemary can give your meal a tangy, flavorful bite.

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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.

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