Parsley is a herb with a light, fresh, slightly peppery flavor and is used in many dishes as a spice and garnish. You can choose between the 3 major types of parsley-flat leaf and curly leaf parsley and root parsley.
They are all used in cooking. However, curly leaf parsley is used more as a garnish. As one of the most common herbs in Middle Eastern, American, Mediterranean, Brazilian, and European cuisine parsley is a common ingredient in various soups, sauces, stews, casseroles, salads, beans, rice, veggies, stocks, and various meat, fish, and seafood dishes.
However, if you run out of parsley or forget to buy it, but you want to add a herb with a similar flavor to parsley there are some pretty good substitutes you can use instead.
The best substitutes for parsley include dried parsley, chervil, cilantro, celery leaves, basil, carrot greens, arugula, curly endive, or some of the next ingredients.
Best Parsley Substitutes
Parsley is a herb that is easy to grow. You can even grow it in your garden and always have it on hand when you need to add a fresh touch to your dishes.
And if you have more than you need, you can always dry it or freeze it, so you can have parsley to lighten up your food. But parsley is not just a herb used to improve the flavor of the food. It is nutritious and has health benefits because it has vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
However, if you are out of parsley, here is a list of the best substitutes you can use instead of parsley. Which one you will use depends on your taste and the type of dish you are making.
1. Dried parsley Substitute for fresh
Dried parsley is not a very good substitute for fresh parsley. However, if you have it in your kitchen you can add it to your dish. Just don’t expect the same fresh flavor you are getting from the fresh parsley.
Dried parsley has a milder flavor so you will have to add more to reach the flavor similar to fresh parsley. It is better to use some other fresh herb like celery leaves, cilantro, or chervil instead.
In case you decided to add dried parsley to your dish, use one teaspoon of dried parsley to substitute one tablespoon of fresh parsley.
Chervil is a herb with a delicate flavor, which reminds of the flavor of mixed parsley and tarragon. This member of the parsley family has curly leaves, similar to the carrot greens.
It is a common ingredient in soups, salads, sauces, omelets, and other dishes. Chervil is also used as an ingredient in spice mixture fines herbes, together with tarragon, parsley, and chives.
Chervil has a milder flavor than parsley so you can substitute one teaspoon of parsley with two teaspoons of chervil.
Cilantro is one of the members of the parsley family. This herb has a strong parsley flavor with hints of lemon. It is a common ingredient in salsa, salads, chutney, and other recipes, and as a garnish in soups, dishes with meat, and fish.
You can use cilantro as a substitute for parsley but in smaller amounts due to the stronger flavor. Otherwise, it will overpower the other flavors in your dish.
4. Celery leaves
Celery leaves have a fresh and mildly spicy flavor. You can use them in salads, soups, stocks, stews, and sauces to improve their flavor and give them a fresh and crispy touch. Celery leaves look similar to flat-leaf parsley and can be also used as a garnish.
If you use celery leaves as a substitute for parsley don’t overcook them. Otherwise, they will lose their flavor. It is best to add them at the end of the cooking time or use them raw in salads.
Basil is one of the most used herbs in Italian cuisine. However, it is also used in other cuisines in the world. It is green, has a sweet smell, and distinctive peppery flavor with a hint of mint.
Basil pairs well with tomato dishes but it will work well in soups, sauces, salads, stuffings, meat seasonings, and other dishes as well. You can sprinkle it on top of your dishes or add it while you are cooking for a lighter flavor.
Basil has a unique flavor not very similar to parsley but if you have basil you can use it in your dish to give it some flavor.
6. Carrot greens
You can also use carrot greens as a substitute for parsley. They have a slightly bitter flavor similar to parsley with a hint of celery.
You can use them in the same way as parsley and add them to your soups, sauces, stocks, stews, salads, pasta, rice, and other dishes. Carrot greens are one of the best substitutes for parsley you can use in all of your dishes.
Arugula is a herb that is usually used as a vegetable. It has a spicy, peppery, and slightly bitter flavor. You can add fresh arugula in salads, pasta, and soups.
It also pairs well with strong flavors like cheese, garlic, lemon, pears, almonds, mushrooms, etc. If the flavor of the fresh arugula is strong for you, you can cook it to mellow its peppery flavor.
8. Curly endive-frisee
Curly endive is a salad green with a similar look to the curly parsley. This type of endive has a milder flavor than the other types of endive like Belgian endive and radicchio.
It has a slightly bitter peppery flavor and works well in many salads. If you want to use curly endive as a substitute for parsley add it in a smaller amount because of its bitter flavor.
Oregano is one of the most used herbs in cuisines all around the world. It can be found as a fresh herb and in dried form.
Oregano has a strong, slightly bitter, and earthy flavor. It is commonly used in various sauces for pasta, pizza, marinades for meat, stuffings, salads, seafood, soups, casseroles, stews, and more.
If you are using fresh oregano in your dish, don’t add too much. It has a stronger flavor so it can make the food bitter and overpower the other flavors in the dish.
You can use fresh or dried oregano to substitute parsley in your meals. Just use smaller amounts because oregano has a stronger flavor than parsley.
Tarragon is a highly aromatic herb with skinny and glossy leaves. There are multiple types of tarragon with different flavors. However, French tarragon is one of the most used in cooking.
It has a sweet-bitter flavor with hints of mint, pepper, vanilla, and eucalyptus all mixed in one. It works in many sauces, soups, salad dressings, chicken, egg, and fish dishes. You can use tarragon in cooking and as a garnish, but in smaller amounts because of its stronger flavor.
Chives are herbs used to give mild onion flavor and bright green color to dressings, soups, sauces, salads, dips, potato, and egg dishes.
You can use chives to your meals fresh as a garnish. Or you can add them at the end of the cooking time to retain their taste. They pair well with many ingredients and you can use them instead of parsley both in cooked dishes and raw in salads.
Thyme is a herb from the mint family used in many cuisines worldwide. There are different types of thyme but lemon, caraway, wild and common thyme are one of the most used types of thyme in cooking.
Different types of thyme have different flavors. But generally, they have a sweet and slightly peppery, earthy-minty flavor with floral hints.
Thyme can be found fresh and dried. And it is often used to boost the flavor of sauces, soups, pasta, vegetables, seafood, meats, fish, marinades, and stocks.
Although thyme has a different flavor than parsley you can use it to improve the flavor of your dishes.
Coriander is produced from the seeds of the coriander plant. The seeds have a sweet, earthy, lemon, and floral flavor which pairs well with cumin.
So, the mix of coriander seeds and cumin is used in soups, stews, salad dressings, veggies and to rub chicken or lamb before grilling. Coriander is a good parsley substitute if you don’t mind its stronger flavor in your dish.
Marjoram is a herb with citrus and pine flavor, but milder and sweeter than oregano. It can be found as both fresh and dried herb. And it is a common ingredient in many sauces, dressings, marinades, soups, stews, and salads.
You can use fresh marjoram at the end of the cooking if you want light and fresh flavor in your dish. But you can also use dried marjoram in smaller amounts to get a similar flavor.
Use fresh marjoram to substitute fresh parsley and to add a little color and flavor to your dishes. Or you can substitute dry parsley with dry marjoram in the cooked dishes.
Lovage has a similar look and flavor to celery with hints of parsley and anise. The seeds, stalks, and leaves of lovage are used in cooking.
You can add the leaves and stalks to different soups, broths, and salads. The seeds, on the other hand, work well in marinades, potato salad, soups, bread, pastries, and dips.
Lovage has parsley hints in its flavor and can be used as its substitute in fresh or dried form.
Parsley Substitute for Garlic Bread
Garlic bread is made with just a few ingredients including garlic, parsley, butter, parmesan cheese, and salt.
However, if you don’t have fresh or dried parsley, you can use chervil, coriander, rosemary, oregano, or basil. They will be a good match with the butter and garlic flavors in the bread.
Parsley Substitute Falafel
Falafel is a Middle Eastern dish. It is made with chickpeas, onion, coriander leaves, garlic, cumin seeds, salt, pepper, sesame seeds, baking powder, parsley, cilantro, dill, and cayenne pepper.
Fresh herbs and good quality ingredients are the keys to good falafel. So, fresh parsley, dill, and cilantro are important herbs for the flavor of the falafel. However, if you don’t have fresh parsley on hand you can add dry parsley as its substitute but in smaller amounts.
Can I substitute thyme for parsley?
Thyme and parsley have different flavors. Thyme has more floral flavor than parsley. However, if you want to experiment with flavors you can give thyme a try in your dishes.
Does parsley add flavor?
Parsley is added to lighten up the dishes and give them a fresh and herbal final touch and bright green color.
Are parsley and cilantro the same?
They are not the same. Cilantro has a citrusy, spicy, and stronger flavor than parsley. Parsley, on the other hand, has a milder and more fresh flavor. So, they look similar but taste different.
How do I substitute fresh parsley for dry?
Dried parsley doesn’t provide much flavor to dishes as fresh does. Some leafy herbs such as chives, parsley, and tarragon have a better flavor when they are used fresh.
However, if you don’t have fresh parsley you can use one teaspoon of dry parsley as a substitute for one tablespoon of fresh parsley.
Parsley is one of the most used herbs, and you can buy it in every local grocery store.
However, if you want to switch things up, you can try other herbs to deliver a different or similar parsley flavor to your favorite dish. You can use one of these herbs as a substitute for parsley in your cooked dishes or as a garnish.
Dried parsley is one of the substitutes you can use. However, keep in mind that dried parsley doesn’t have the same strong flavor as the fresh one. Therefore, it is best to use one of the fresh herbs to add a fresh and new flavor to your food.
Choose between chervil, cilantro, carrot greens, basil, oregano, or one of the herbs listed in this article. And let us know which herb you used. Is it a good substitute for parsley? Drop a comment below!