Rosemary Vs Thyme: Which Is Better?


Rosemary and thyme are famous herbs grown by many gardeners and found anywhere.

Thyme, a low-growing plant from the mint family, is a highly aromatic herb, that is used by many people nowadays. Rosemary can be used for both medicinal and culinary uses.

Rosemary and thyme both come from the mint family. However, they are pretty different from each other. Rosemary has a bitter taste and has long leaves, while thyme has shorter leaves and has more calories than dried rosemary.

Now we’ll look at rosemary and thyme’s differences in detail. 

What Is Rosemary?

It’s a small evergreen from the mint family that can be used for culinary and medicinal use. It is also known as Rosmarinus officinalis, grown in the Mediterranean region.


Rosemary has more than 7,000 species. This herb/plant grows in the bushes and is stiff and needlelike. Rosemary is commonly used to season meats, especially lamb, pork, and chicken. 

What Is Thyme?

Thyme, a herb with small, round-shaped leaves, is also a part of the mint family. It is also called Thymus Vulgaris and is being cultivated worldwide.

Thyme is present in both dried and fresh forms. Fresh thyme has a herbal flavor that is quite strong. The longer it is cooked, the more delicious the recipe is.

Rosemary Vs Thyme: What’s The Difference?

The primary difference is that rosemary has a more pungent smell than thyme. They belong to the mint family and have medicinal and culinary uses. However, they also have many differences such as the following.


The rosemary and thyme herbs come from the Mediterranean region only. However, the areas from which they originate in the Mediterranean are somewhat different.

Rosemary plants come from the dry, rocky regions of the Mediterranean, whereas Thyme comes from the main Mediterranean region and is cultivated in Eurasia. 


Rosemary and thyme come from the mint family. However, they differ a lot in their flavors. They have their own unique and unusual flavors.

Rosemary has a pungent smell as well as the essence of pine and lemon too. It’s bitter and can make a dish somewhat bitter if you use it in an excessive amount.

Thyme has a gentle flavor and essence of floral notes. It is a lovely mix of sweet and pepper taste as well as a subtle flavor that boosts the taste of almost every dish.

Leave shape

Thyme has small and round leaves. They have a green color and are soft and gentle. And they grow up to a size of 3 ft and 12 inches.

As for rosemary, the leaves can grow up to 6 ft tall and 4ft wide. They are way taller than thyme leaves. Rosemary leaves are stiff and give a needlelike feel.


Rosemary can be substituted by thyme, especially when you use it with other spices. But, if one wishes to substitute thyme with rosemary, they should use it less than required in the recipe because rosemary has a stronger flavor than thyme. 

Rosemary Vs Thyme: Comparison Table

Category Rosemary Thyme
Origin Comes from the dry and rocky region of the Mediterranean Indigenous to the Mediterranean region
Leave shape Stiff and needlelike Small and round-shaped
Flavor Strong smell and bitter in taste It has a smell like floral notes and carries a herbal essence
Size Up to 2m tall Up to 30 cm (looks like a small bush) 
Stem It is woody at the base, can get thick  Thick and woody, but lesser than Rosemary

Can I Substitute Rosemary For Thyme?

You need to be extra-cautious when you think of substituting rosemary for thyme.

You should use a slightly less quantity of the herb than the recipe asks for because rosemary has a more pungent smell and a bitter taste.

However, thyme has a minty smell. It also has the essence of lemon, which differentiates it from rosemary leaves. In short, Rosemary has a stronger flavor than thyme. So we suggest that you use less rosemary when you substitute it for thyme.

Rosemary Vs Thyme – Steak

You can use both rosemary and thyme in your steak. They can both enhance the taste of your steak and make it delicious.

However, you get to decide the quantity according to your eating habits. You can calculate the quantity for both of them and pour in as much as you wish to.

It is a popular opinion that when rosemary and thyme are used together, it enhances the dish’s flavor, making it even more delicious.

To sum it up, it is up to you whether you wish to add both of them or one out of the two. Also, you get to decide the quantity of both the herbs! 

Rosemary Vs Thyme Vs Oregano

Like rosemary and thyme, oregano is a part of the great mint family.

It is grown in Mexico, Greece, Italy, Turkey, and the Dominican Republic. People have used it to add flavor to their dishes for many years now. It has also been used to treat health conditions for centuries now.

Oregano comes in different types and people in their diets also use it as a supplement. So, which one is the best among the three herbs? Let’s compare them in detail.

Oregano has a pungent taste and a pleasing aroma, whereas thyme can boost a dish by making it more aromatic and somewhat lighter. It is also believed that thyme is better than rosemary, as it enhances the dish’s taste.

All three, rosemary, thyme, and oregano, have a very strong flavor and carry the potential to make any dish delicious.

Oregano is used in different sauces mostly, particularly in Italian ones. It is not as floral and oily as rosemary. The oils of rosemary are very concentrated, so it is a very aromatic herb.

Based on this information, we believe that a combo of rosemary and thyme enhances the taste of the dish. Meanwhile, oregano is a different kind. And you can add it if required.

Rosemary Or Thyme For Chicken

Oven Roasted Lemon-Rosemary Chicken

The herb recommended by the majority for dishes made of chicken is rosemary because of its intense flavor. It has a bitter taste as well, making the chicken tastier and enhancing its quality and taste.

However, thyme is a great addition to a chicken dish as well. It has a flavor like lemon and mint, and people often add it to chicken.

Both of them are equally recommended to be taken in with the chicken. In fact, adding the two herbs to the dish will enhance its taste and ensure your good health.

You can use either of the two or add both of them in a certain definite quantity.

Related Questions

Are rosemary leaves the same as thyme?

Rosemary and thyme come from the mint family. However, they are different from each other. Rosemary has longer and bitter leaves. And they are known as the evergreen of the mint family.

However, thyme leaves are small and round. Their taste is slightly minty with an essence of lemon in it. Thyme is a low-growing plant of the mint family. Although both of these herbs come from the same family, they are still different in various aspects.

Do thyme and rosemary go together? 

Both thyme and rosemary herbs have their significance and importance in a recipe. Both these herbs share a culinary culture and come from the same family, that of mint.

As far as their usage is concerned, they are widely used together in many recipes, especially in meats or stews. When used together, rosemary and rhyme make the dish even tastier. Hence, they can be used together for any dish. 

What kind of flavor does rosemary add?

Rosemary, a herb from the mint family, is believed to have a very pungent smell. It is rich in aroma and is revered as one of the best herbs. Its leaves are stiff and feel like needles.

These needle-like leaves have a lemon-pine flavor that goes well with garlic, olive oil, and roasted lamb. When added to tomato sauce, focaccia, pork, and pizza, rosemary enhances their taste.

However, rosemary has a pungent flavor, so you should check the quantity of the herb you put in the recipe.

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