Basic can be quite important in a variety of dishes. It has a rich flavor and many love it in both their salads and cooked meals.
However, what if you don’t like basil or you don’t have it in your kitchen when you need it for a certain recipe? If that is the case, there is no need to panic.
You will find plenty of alternatives to this flavoring herb. We put together not less than 15 basil substitutes to try out and see which one suits you best.
Oregano might be your best bet if you are looking for a basil substitute. Besides this one, you can also use tarragon, mint, and many others. Keep on reading to see what options you have if you need to replace basil with something just as delicious.
Best Basil Substitutes
You can use the following substitutes as you see fit by taking into account your personal preferences as well as the type of dish you are making.
Oregano is considered to be the best substitute for basil thanks to its similar taste. You can also find it easily in stores and even grow it at home according to your possibilities.
You can use both fresh and dry oregano and it is going to give your food a unique Italian flavor. Oregano has a stronger flavor than basil. Therefore, a pinch of this herb is all you need to flavor your food. Of course, if you like the taste of oregano, you can always use more of it.
This substitute will work great for cooked or cold dishes equally. Use it on pizza, pasta as well as stews, soups, and different sauces.
After oregano, your next best alternative to basil is Tarragon. This replacement will not taste the same as basil but it will also taste pretty good, so you can use it to flavor almost any type of dish.
You can use both dried and fresh Tarragon to replace the basil in your meals. Use Tarragon in cooked dishes. You can also add it to sauces and different dressings.
Mint is a great yet surprising substitute for basil that will work great as a basil alternative in salads thanks to its fresh flavor. You can use it to put together different dressings and you can use as much mint as you like.
Keep in mind that mint comes with a stronger flavor compared to basil so you might want to use less of it to season your favorite dishes. Also, the flavor of mint is very distinct and it is not as bland or earthly as basil.
Parsley is a very common substitute for basil and it is also very easy to find. You can find it both fresh and dry and it will taste great in almost all types of dishes.
Parsley is easy to grow at home and you will love the way it mixes with other ingredients in your recipes. If you like the flavor, use parsley in the same quantity as basil or even more.
Dill has an earthly flavor and even if it is less similar to basil, it will still season your food deliciously. Use it just as you would use basil, dried or fresh. Keep in mind, however, that fresh dill tends to have a stronger flavor than the dried alternative.
Dill goes perfectly in cooked dishes such as soups and stews but you can use it to season stir-fries and salads as well as different meat dishes. You will find it easily in stores, both dried and fresh and you can even grow it at home with no hassle.
Thyme is a great substitute for basil in meat dishes. You can use it to flavor beef, pork, or even chicken, turkey, and fish. It has a mild earthly flavor with a tint of spice.
Dried thyme tends to be easier to find than a fresh one, however, you can use either one instead of basil. Expect a stronger flavor but still similar to basil and pleasant in most dishes.
You will find that thyme will not go as great in salads or cold dishes but ultimately, it is up to you how you mix it in your recipes.
7. Herb mixes
You will find different herb mixes on the market that is intended for just as many dishes. Some of these mixes are specific to different cuisines such as French cuisine, Asian cuisine, or Indian cuisine.
You can use herb mixes that include basil or those that contain other substitutes. As long as you check the ingredients and make sure there are no chemicals in these mixes, you might be able to use them perfectly in dishes like stews, stir-fries, soups or salads, and pasta.
8. Basil essential oil
If you don’t have fresh or dried basil, you will be glad to discover that there are essential oils of this plant that you can use. These oils are very concentrated and you will only have to use a few drops to flavor your food.
They taste just like basil but they will not bring your food the texture and color that fresh or dried basil would. Even so, a few drops of basil oil can offer you the taste you want in your salad dressing, sauces, or soups.
9. Olive oil-basil scented
Olive oil comes in different flavors and one of them is basil. If you use basil-flavored olive oil, remember that you will have to adapt it to your recipes as it will not go great in all of them.
If you are making a salad, however, this could be a great alternative. You will probably not like the additional oil on your pizza and even on your pasta. You can also use this product in stews and different baked dishes.
Another good substitute for basil is rosemary. The fresh one will have a richer flavor than dried rosemary so try to use this version if you can choose.
Rosemary will taste best in dishes that contain tomatoes or tomato sauces and you can use it in the amount you like considering its savory flavor.
Cilantro is a good replacement for basil mostly in Thai cuisine. If you like the flavor it has, you can use this alternative in almost any type of dish that calls for basil.
Just like the other herbs, there is fresh or dried cilantro. The fresh one is slightly stronger in terms of flavor than the dried one. You can sprinkle it as a final touch on many dishes from pizza to pasta or stews. You can also use it in most of your salads.
12. Celery leaf
If you are looking for a basil substitute, celery leaf might be just what you need to give a great taste to your food. This replacement will also taste great with tomatoes and any dishes containing tomato sauce.
You can simply chop the leaves in the sizes that you want and mix them with the rest of your ingredients. Celery leaves have a mild flavor and you can use them in the same quantity as basil.
Sage will not disappoint you as a basil substitute either. It might be a bit more difficult to find than other alternatives. But if you do find it, it can be one of the best choices.
Sage has a stronger taste than basil so you will want to use less of it in your meals. It tastes best when you use it along with garlic, lemon, or tomatoes. It is a great choice for both cold and cooked dishes.
14. Spinach flakes
Spinach Flakes are a great replacement for parsley in pesto and other sauces. You can use them successfully in pasta recipes and stews as well. It has a potent taste that will be noticed right away in your food and it is fairly easy to find.
Most spinach comes fresh, thus you will have to chop it to the size you want. The freshness given by the spinach will be a nice touch to all your dishes.
15. Italian seasoning
Many times you will find a variety of Italian seasoning mixes that contain basil. And even if the ones you find don’t come with this herb, chances are that they will have at least a few of the best substitutes for it.
You can use them in the quantities you want according to your preferences. They can work great in stews, soups, salads, and any other dish you want to prepare.
What Can You Substitute for Basil in Pesto?
If you are going to make pesto, you can use parsley instead of basil. It mixes well with all the pesto ingredients and has a strong flavor when chopped.
However, you will need to use fresh parsley as dried parsley will not taste nearly as good. Spinach can also be a great alternative to basil in pesto recipes. Spinach will add a fresh taste to your pesto and you can use regular spinach or baby spinach just as well.
Basil can be an essential ingredient in your food, but you don’t have to panic if you are running out of this seasoning.
Use one of the replacements in this guide and your food will taste just as great! You might even want to combine more ingredients for a better flavor and get creative in the kitchen.