12 Best Substitutes for Oregano


The most popular Mediterranean herb used in Italian pizza sauce is oregano. When you add it to a pizza or pasta sauce your brain instantly recognizes the flavor of this great herb.

It is the star in the Mediterranean, Italian, and Mexican cuisines, and is used dried or fresh (Mexican cuisine always uses the dried version).

The best way to have fresh oregano is to grow it in your garden. However, if for some reason you are unable to do so, you can always buy it in-store.

Oregano is a must-have in every home cook’s cabinet, but if you don’t have time to buy it, you can use basil, thyme, parsley, rosemary, or some other substitute.

Here’s a list of the best oregano substitutes for this unique herb.

Substitutes for Oregano

How these substitutes work depends on the type of the recipe and how the herb is used. The most ideal choice for fresh oregano is to use dried if you have it close by.

1. Basil (fresh or dried)


Basil is the best oregano substitute. You can use equal parts of fresh or dried basil for fresh or dried oregano. But have in mind that this only works in Mediterranean cuisine.

Basil has a particularly Italian vibe, similar to oregano. In case you’re filling in for fresh oregano, you should attempt the subsequent choice underneath.

2. Thyme (fresh only)


Fresh thyme is the best fresh oregano substitute. They both look very similar and have similar flavors in their fresh states.

Tyme is a great substitute if you are using it for a garnish. Usually, we’d try not to substitute dried thyme for dried oregano since it has a stronger flavor.

3. Italian seasoning (dried, for Italian-style recipes)

This is a great trick! Oregano is one of the herbs used in Italian seasoning, so when there’s no other option you could use it as a substitute for oregano. You can use this trick just in Italian-style dishes.

4. Marjoram (dried, for Mexican style recipes)


Next on the list is marjoram. It has a similar flavor as oregano. Dried marjoram is ideal for dried oregano in Mexican-style dishes. This spice is somewhat more one of a kind, so you probably won’t have it close by.

5. Parsley


If you often use oregano for making tomato-based dishes you can substitute it with parsley. It offers a unique flavor due to its moderately solid smell and taste.

It can improve any dish in light of its flavorful trademark. Since it very well may be a strong ingredient, you can use a similar measure of parsley as oregano called for in the recipe.

6. Tarragon

Dried Tarragon Leaves

Oregano isn’t just known as an extraordinary addition to tomato-based dishes yet in addition to a plate of mixed greens dressings. It gives a dynamic kick to the mix, particularly if you use the right amount.

Tarragon can function admirably for these two kinds of recipes moreover. With its bittersweet flavor, it can repeat the slight bitterness of the original component.

7. Dill


This spice has a very grassy flavor, with anise-like attributes. It likewise has a bitterness to it, which makes it an incredible substitution for oregano. While oregano is known for its solid taste and fragrance, dill can be substantially more impactful than that. Along these lines, make a point to use less dill to avoid getting that overwhelming taste.

8. Sage


Sage is a bittersweet herb with eucalyptus and citrus traits. Same as oregano it has a strong taste especially when fresh. For the best results make sure you use the right amount by following what the recipe says for oregano.

9. Rosemary


In case you don’t have dried oregano or you prefer using fresh ingredients rosemary will work just fine as a substitute. Use a similar measure of your substitute herb as the measure of oregano your recipe requires.

10. Bay leaf

Bay leaf

Bay leaf is a fragrant leaf usually utilized in cooking. You can utilize this herb in whole, ground, or dried form. You can add this leaf to slow-cooked recipes such as stews, sauces, and soups.

However, don’t forget to remove it before serving the dish. It’s technically edible but not the tastiest herb out there. Substitute ¼ tablespoons crushed bay leaf for each ¼ tablespoon dried oregano.

11. Fenugreek


Fenugreek is a part of the Fabaceae family. It’s an annual plant with leaves consisting of 3 small obovate to oblong leaflets. It’s cultivated all around the world as a semiarid crop.

The leaves and seeds of this plant are common ingredients in different recipes from the Indian subcontinent where it’s called methi.

You can use Fenugreek to replace oregano in any recipe. It has a mild smell and a sweet nutty flavor. But it still makes a great substitute for oregano.

When eaten raw, it can be super butter. However, when cooked and mixed with other spices and ingredients, it transforms and transforms your whole dish in a good way.

12. Ajwain leaves (carom)


Last but not least, Carom also known as ajwain leaves is another excellent substitute for oregano in any recipe. It can be found in almost any household in India.

The reason why we recommend this as a substitute for oregano is that it’s a part of the same family as oregano. It has the same aroma and looks as oregano. You can either replace oregano with Carom or mix it with Marjoram and get even a better taste.

Related Questions

Are oregano and Italian seasoning the same thing?

Oregano is one of the herbs used in Italian seasoning, so you could use it as a substitute for oregano. However, you can use this trick only in Italian-style dishes.

Italian Seasoning is a mix of herbs and spices used to flavor many Italian dishes. It’s made of oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary (in some recipes you should use marjoram but because I rarely have it on hand I make Italian Seasoning without it).

Is oregano similar to basil?

Oregano is another spice that is utilized habitually in Mediterranean cooking. Even though it has a more grounded flower, peppery taste, this mainstream spice shares a comparative flavor profile to basil. Utilize this substitute in pasta sauces, meals, or even as a fixing.

What is the difference between oregano and thyme?

Thyme and oregano likewise have comparative flavors with notes of lemon, mint, and earthy hints and in certain recipes might be substituted for each other. In any case, oregano has a substantially more confident flavor than thyme which implies it might overwhelm different flavors if too much is used.

Can you use parsley instead of oregano?

Although they’re somewhat different, yes, you can use parsley instead of oregano. However, you should utilize more parsley than oregano, as it has a milder flavor.

Is Indian borage the same as oregano?

No, Indian borage is commonly known as Plectranthus amboinicus. It’s a herb that’s a part of Lamiaceae, the mint family. People call it Cuban oregano. However, it’s not the same as oregano. Still, you can utilize it as a substitute for oregano in your recipes.

Can ground oregano be substituted for dried oregano?

Of course, you can. Utilize ¼ tablespoon ground oregano for 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves and you will save your recipe.

What can I use if I don’t have oregano?

Oregano has a strong smell and taste. However, it’s not irreplaceable. There’s a wide array of common herbs that you can utilize as a replacement for oregano. Your best choice is to swap fresh for dried, and vice versa. This will deliver the closest backup taste and smell. However, if you don’t have any oregano on hand, thyme, basil, marjoram, and sage are also great choices.

Unique but NOT Irreplaceable

Before we talk about substitutions for oregano, you may be considering what makes oregano a favored ingredient for certain recipes.

Oregano has a strong flavor and smell. Those are its main trains. With regards to its smell, you will find that it imparts similitudes to camphor, giving it a minty scent.

Its flavor is regularly portrayed as sharp on account of its strength. It additionally has an earthy and bitter taste. This is why cooks avoid oregano, as even a touch beyond what is required can overwhelm the unique kind of the recipe. Fortunately, your stock can go far because you just need a limited quantity each time you cook.

It offers a universe of advantages as it is incredible for tending to colds, muscle pain, hypersensitivities, and headaches, just to give some examples of conditions. There is no compelling reason to worry over your cooking if you don’t have oregano in your kitchen.

Simply ensure that you have one of these spices lying around and you are all set.

Those are the best substitutes for oregano and I hope you will use some of them to make your dishes more flavorful. What’s your opinion on today’s article? Share your thoughts, suggestions, and questions in the comments below.

1 comment
  1. I am making a recipe for fried chicken that calls for 1 tablespoon of ground oregano. How much dried oregano should I uss? Thanx for your help

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