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5 Best Substitutes for Parsley You’ve Yet to Try

Whether it’s hosting an impromptu dinner party or mastering our latest culinary experiment, we’re always on the lookout for ways to finesse our dishes. And today, we’re focusing on a staple herb that often gets overlooked – parsley.

While parsley may not be the most exciting herb in your kitchen, it’s an essential ingredient in many recipes. But what if you run out of parsley or simply don’t like its taste?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with these 5 amazing substitutes for parsley that will add a delicious twist to your dishes.

From vibrant flavors to unexpected textures, these substitutes will elevate your cooking game and leave your taste buds wanting more.

Understanding the Flavor of Parsley Before Substituting

Before we dive into the world of parsley substitutes, let’s take a moment to appreciate what parsley brings to the table. This humble herb may not be the star of the show, but it plays its supporting role like a pro.

Parsley has a fresh, slightly peppery taste with a touch of earthiness, making it a versatile backdrop for both bright and rich dishes. Whether it’s chopped up in a tabbouleh, sprinkled as a garnish, or blended into a sauce, parsley adds a hint of freshness without overpowering the other flavors.

Knowing parsley’s unique contribution can help you choose the best substitute for your dish. You’re not just looking for a flavor match but for something that complements the other ingredients, maintaining the dish’s overall harmony.

Keep this in mind as we explore some exciting alternatives that can stand in for parsley and maybe even steal the spotlight.

5 Best Substitutes for Parsley You’ve Yet to Try

1. Cilantro

In the absence of parsley, cilantro rises to the occasion with vibrant notes that lend a new depth to your dishes. Unlike other substitutes, Cilantro’s rebellious zest offers a distinctively pungent, citrusy flavor that dances through salsas, curries, and guacamoles.

Its fresh and bold taste makes it an ideal replacement for parsley in recipes that need a flavor boost, such as chimichurri or pesto.

When using cilantro as a substitute, keep in mind that it has a stronger taste than parsley, so you’ll want to use less of it in your dish.

It’s also worth noting that some people have a strong aversion to the soapy taste cilantro can sometimes have. If you’re one of them, feel free to skip this substitute and try one of the others on our list.

2. Chervil

If you crave parsley’s delicate flavor but can’t get your hands on it, chervil is the perfect substitute. This herb has a similar taste to parsley but with a slightly sweeter and milder undertone.

It also has a hint of aniseed, adding a subtle licorice-like aroma to your dishes.

Chervil’s light and refined flavor makes it a stellar addition to egg dishes, soups, and salads, where it can add depth without overshadowing the main ingredients. It’s particularly beloved in French cuisine, often used as part of the classic “fines herbes” blend, which is testament to its culinary versatility.

When using chervil as a parsley substitute, it’s best to add it towards the end of the cooking process. This herb is quite delicate and its flavor can be diminished when subjected to high heat for prolonged periods.

Whether you’re whipping up a creamy sauce or a simple garden salad, a sprinkle of chervil can bring a fresh, herby element that closely mirrors parsley’s own charm, with an elegant twist.

3. Basil

Basil’s bright and slightly sweet flavor may not seem like an obvious substitute for parsley, but it can be a game-changer in certain dishes.

Its aromatic and peppery taste adds depth to soups, stews, and tomato-based sauces. Plus, the vibrant green color of basil can give your dish that same pop of color that parsley does.

When using basil as a substitute, keep in mind that it has a stronger taste than parsley, so you may need to use less of it. It’s also important to note that basil can turn bitter if cooked for too long, so add it towards the end of your dish’s cooking time.

4. Celery Leaves

Celery leaves, often overlooked in favor of more popular substitutes, can actually serve as a surprisingly effective replacement for parsley in many dishes.

Despite being less recognized, they share a similar crunchy texture and a mild, slightly peppery taste that brings a refreshing element to a variety of dishes, including salads, sandwiches, and dips.

This substitute is also a great way to use up the leaves from celery stalks that you may otherwise discard.

When using celery leaves as a substitute, remember that they have a stronger flavor than parsley, so start small and add more according to your taste. You can also chop them up and mix them with other herbs for a more balanced flavor.

5. Arugula

While mostly found in salads, arugula is a versatile herb that can be used as a substitute for parsley in many dishes.

It has a peppery and slightly bitter taste that adds complexity to soups, pasta dishes, and even omelets. Plus, its vibrant green color makes it just as visually appealing as parsley.

Arugula isn’t just a one-trick pony; its bold flavor profile makes it an incredibly versatile herb. Beyond its peppery punch, arugula can introduce a unique, nutty undertone to dishes, enhancing the overall gastronomic experience.

Whether you’re looking to add a bit of zing to your cooking or simply need a parsley alternative, arugula offers a tantalizing mix of flavors and textures that can elevate any dish.

When using arugula as a substitute, remember that it has a strong taste, so use it sparingly or mix it with other herbs to balance out the flavor. You can also try cooking it for a few minutes before adding it to your dish to mellow out its sharpness.


Switching up your herbs can turn a familiar dish into an exciting new culinary discovery. Whether parsley is just out of reach or you’re keen to experiment with new flavors, our list of substitutes offers a garden of possibilities. Here’s a quick recap of the top picks to keep your dishes fresh and flavorful:

  • Cilantro: A bold choice for those looking to add a citrusy kick to their dishes.
  • Chervil: Ideal for a subtle, sweet flavor that mirrors parsley, with an elegant twist.
  • Basil: Great for adding depth and a peppery taste, especially in tomato-based dishes.
  • Celery Leaves: These bring a refreshing crunch and a slightly peppery taste, perfect for salads, sandwiches, and dips.
  • Arugula: Offers a peppery and slightly bitter taste that can elevate soups, pasta, and more.

Each of these substitutes not only offers a unique flavor profile but also ensures that your dishes remain vibrant and full of life, even in the absence of parsley.