There will be times in the kitchen when you need substitutes for thyme, so it’s wise to know what your best options are.
What is Thyme?
Thyme is an evergreen herb with a strong aroma and a number of uses throughout culinary, medicinal, and cultural history. Both the fresh and dried forms are widely used, but since the fresh form has a relatively short shelf life, it is often necessary to find an alternative to thyme in a recipe. In terms of flavor, thyme is a unique combination of lemon, mint, and earthy notes, making it a very popular ingredient in poultry dishes, mashed potatoes, sauces, custards, soups, and stews.
Substitutes for Thyme
The best substitutes for thyme include the following:
Oregano and Parsley
When you combine these two herbs, the flavor profiles blend to create an excellent thyme substitute that is both earthy and slightly tangy. You can also simply add parsley as a final garnish to mimic the flavor and aroma of thyme.
Marjoram is a member of the mint family, just like thyme, and can deliver a similar flavor profile to your meal. However, marjoram is not as hardy as thyme, meaning that cooking it for extended periods will cause the flavor to diminish. Marjoram can replace thyme as a final sprinkle of flavor.
If you don’t have fresh thyme, the best option is obviously dried thyme. You won’t need quite as much dried thyme, as the flavor is notoriously potent, but it will be difficult to tell the fresh vs. dried versions apart in the final dish.
For poultry dishes, tarragon can often work as a quick substitute for thyme, as their flavors are quite similar.
With a 1:1 ratio of replacement, basil may be one of the most popular and simplest alternatives to using thyme in your cooking.