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Exploring 5 Best Substitutes for Rosemary in Cooking

In the world of herbs and spices, rosemary stands out as an indispensable ingredient known for imparting a unique flavor profile to various dishes.

With its fragrant pine-like aroma and earthy, woody undertones, this herb has long been cherished by culinary experts and home cooks alike for its ability to elevate the taste of diverse recipes.

Whether used fresh or dried, rosemary’s versatility allows it to enhance everything from roasted meats and vegetables to soups and sauces.

However, despite its immense popularity, rosemary may not always be readily available in your kitchen pantry. But don’t worry, because we’ve got you covered with a list of 5 best substitutes for rosemary in cooking.

Key Takeaways:

  • White wine adds depth of flavor and aroma to dishes, especially in sauces, risottos, and desserts.
  • 5 white wine substitutes include apple cider vinegar, chicken or vegetable broth, white grape juice, white wine vinegar, and apple juice.
  • Each substitute has unique flavors and characteristics that can enhance your dishes. Use them wisely in a 1:1 ratio or with additional adjustments as needed.

5 Good Substitutes for Rosemary

After thorough research and experimentation, we’ve picked out the top 5 herbs and spices that can be used as a substitute for rosemary in your dishes. These alternatives may not give you the exact same flavor profile, but they will definitely add a new dimension to your cooking.

1 – Thyme

Thyme, a staple in any herb enthusiast’s collection, boasts a robust flavor not too dissimilar to rosemary. Its woody stems and small leaves may be delicate-looking, but they ensure a mighty taste, particularly in Mediterranean and French cuisines.

Characteristics: Thyme’s tiny green leaves have a slightly resinous aroma that infuses into dishes, and the texture is slightly crisp upon biting.

Flavor Profile: It’s a bit earthy, slightly minty, and very herby, with a hint of lemon.

Tips and Ratios: Substitute thyme for rosemary at a 1:1 ratio, but if you’re dealing with a recipe that requires dried rosemary, use ¾ teaspoon of thyme for every teaspoon of rosemary. Use it in roasts, stews, soups, and with protein dishes like chicken and fish for some herby warmth.

2 – Oregano

Oregano, the famous pizza herb, is your go-to substitute when you want a touch of the Mediterranean in your meals. It’s one of the stronger-flavored options but complements dishes that traditionally call for rosemary with surprising aplomb.

Characteristics: The Italian herb has a slightly furry texture on its leaves and offers a pungent aroma.

Flavor Profile: It brings a strong, slightly bitter, and spicy taste with a mild sweetness.

Tips and Ratios: Use an equal amount of oregano to replace rosemary. Touch down with it in tomato-based dishes, olive-oil-heavy marinades, and along with grilled or roasted veggies for that distinct Mediterranean twist.

3 – Sage

Sage is a savory powerhouse that shares rosemary’s presence in simple beef and pork meals, though its flavor is much more pronounced so tread carefully when applying this substitute.

Characteristics: The velvety, green-gray foliage lends a soft, slightly coarse texture to your fingertips.

Flavor Profile: Sage offers an earthy base with a hefty dose of pine on the palate, making it ideal for stuffing and creamy dishes.

Tips and Ratios: The rule of thumb here is to use half as much sage as you would have used rosemary. Its intense flavor may overpower your dish, so use it with delicacy in risottos, root vegetable roasts, and sausage-based recipes.

4 – Marjoram

Marjoram, a milder member of the mint family, comes in as a gentle but effective replacement for rosemary. It’s the underdog but shines in conjunction with its cooking comrades.

Characteristics: Marjoram’s leaves are delicate and smaller, with a softer texture than its relatives.

Flavor Profile: Its flavor is slightly sweeter and more delicate than oregano.

Tips and Ratios: Double the amount of dried marjoram when swapping for dried rosemary. Marjoram complements beef, lamb, and poultry with a fresh, floral note and is excellent in sausages and stews.

5 – Savory

Savory, often forgotten in a myriad of herb racks, deserves more recognition as a substitute for rosemary. It’s there when you need it, quietly enhancing your dishes with savory delight.

Characteristics: Savory’s fine leaves offer a slightly peppery taste and are softer than most of our rosemary alternatives.

Flavor Profile: It’s got a subtle yet peppery kick with a hint of thyme-like flavor.

Tips and Ratios: Use twice the amount of savory as you would use rosemary. It’s perfect in bean dishes, with lentils, or in a rub for grilled meats, offering a complex profile without taking the front seat.