Thyme is one of the most commonly used herbs on the spice rack. The leaves of thyme are part of the mint family and have a delicate, piny, minty flavor. They pair well with almost any dish, but especially with Mediterranean dishes such as Italian sauces, hearty soups, and stews. While this flavorful herb is on most kitchen shelves, if your jar of thyme happens to be empty, you may have a few substitutions on hand that could do the trick.
Substitutes For Thyme
1. Italian Seasoning
Substitute one teaspoon of Italian seasoning for one teaspoon of thyme.
Italian seasoning is a popular spice blend that originated in the Mediterranean. The blend is made up of basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, and marjoram. Since it contains thyme and many substitutions for thyme, it is the best replacement you could have on hand. The complexity of this blend gives a delicious flavor to a variety of dishes.
2. Herbes De Provence
Substitute one teaspoon of herbes de Provence for one teaspoon of thyme.
Herbes de Provence originated in the Provence region of southeast France. Like Italian seasoning, herbes de Provence is a blend of several different spices, including rosemary, basil, thyme, marjoram, savory, bay leaf, and lavender flowers. Since this spice blend includes thyme and thyme alternatives, it makes an excellent substitute for thyme.
Herbes de Provence pairs best with sauces, hearty meats, and vegetable-based soups. This spice blend gives food an earthy flavor.
3. Marjoram And Parsley
Substitute one teaspoon of marjoram and one-half of a teaspoon of parsley for one teaspoon of thyme.
Marjoram is also an herb member of the mint family. It has a delicate, sweet flavor and is an essential herb in Mediterranean cuisine. It is versatile and is often used as an alternative to other herbs in both meat- and vegetable-based dishes.
You can combine marjoram and parsley to make a substitute for thyme. The parsley offers balance, and its flavor will offset the sweetness of the marjoram.
4. Summer Savory
Substitute one teaspoon of summer savory for one teaspoon of thyme.
Summer savory is a spicy, minty herb with hints of both thyme and marjoram, making it a much more desirable substitute for thyme than winter savory, which tastes more of sage and pine. Summer savory and thyme are similar in appearance and are both essential ingredients in Mediterranean cuisine.
Summer savory pairs well with hearty roasts, fish, and stews. Although this is a great substitute, it’s not as likely to be in your kitchen cabinet.
Substitute three-fourths of a teaspoon of oregano for one teaspoon of thyme.
Oregano is a common kitchen herb. It’s intensely aromatic, boldly flavored, and often used in Italian cooking. It has some minty notes and some earthy and lemony tones; however, due to its strong flavor, it may overpower the taste of your dish if you use too much. If you must choose oregano as your alternative, remember that thyme is more delicate in essence.
Substitute one teaspoon of tarragon for one teaspoon of thyme.
When you’re in a tight spot and don’t have thyme on hand, you could substitute tarragon. Tarragon tastes somewhat sweet and slightly bitter. If you’re preparing a fish or chicken dish, tarragon would be a good choice, since it would complement the flavors of the meat.
If you’re out of thyme, there’s no need to worry. Other herbs, when used in smaller amounts, can be substituted without significantly altering the flavor profile of your dish.
Because thyme’s flavor pairs well with the flavors of so many other herbs, thyme is in plenty of spice blends on the market. In fact, both Italian seasoning and herbes de Provence contain thyme and can be used as substitutes. Marjoram and summer savory have flavor profiles similar to that of thyme and pair well with both vegetables and protein, making them excellent substitutes for thyme. Tarragon makes a great substitute for thyme in fish or chicken dishes.
Another option available to you is to go off script and try another herb in your dish. There are hundreds of herbs and spices out there, and each provides its own unique flavor to discover.
When a recipe calls for a minute amount of thyme, it’s acceptable to omit the herb if no substitution is available.