Top 8 Substitutes for Savory


Savory is a highly aromatic herb, member of the mint family, native to the Mediterranean region. There are about 30 types of savory. However, the most used is summer savory and winter savory.

They are both used to improve the flavor of the food with their peppery flavor similar to oregano, thyme, marjoram, and mint.

Savory is not used only to give flavor to different foods, it also has some health benefits. It helps with digestion and relieves the symptoms of colds, coughs, and joint pain. It is also a natural aphrodisiac. Thus, you can use this spice to add antioxidants and improve the flavor of your food.

The best substitutes for Savory are Winter savory, thyme, sage, marjoram, oregano, basil, rosemary, and herbes de Provence.

Also check: 15 Best Basil Substitutes

Substitutes for Savory

Winter savory is slightly bitter and aromatic with bright green and tough leaves that are used in dishes that are cooked longer, like stews, soups, stuffing, beans, lentils, and as a topping mixed with bread crumbs.

With its lighter aroma and sweeter flavor summer savory pairs well with meats, fish, beans, peas, lentils, and dishes with vegetables.

Summer savory, on the other hand, has tender leaves that are used as a garnish in salads, egg dishes, and in the making of sausages. It is also one of the ingredients in the dried spice mixture herbes de Provence which is used for grilled meats, sauces, and stews.

The best substitutes for savory are the herbs that belong to the same mint family. Some of them have a similar flavor to savory and you will not notice a big difference in the flavor of your dish.

Also check: 12 Best Substitutes for Oregano

1. Winter savory

If your recipe calls for summer savory you can use winter savory as its substitute. Winter savory has a more bitter flavor than summer savory.

However, if it is cooked longer the flavor will be weaker, and your dish will be slightly bitter with sage and pine flavor. Winter savory pair well with beans, lentils, fish, cabbage, root vegetables, and meat.

2. Thyme


Thyme is an herb with a grassy and woody flavor similar to rosemary and lavender. It is a common ingredient in savory dishes like roasted meat, vegetables, fish, stews, soups, marinades, and some baked goods.

You can substitute the same amount of thyme instead of savory in your recipes because it has a similar flavor to savory.

3. Sage


Sage has a strong and earthy-bitter flavor and hints of pine and citrus sage that are used in various dishes to boost their flavor. It is a common ingredient in dishes with poultry, beans, lamb meat, potatoes, and in sauces, marinades, pastries, and bread.

You can use fresh sage as a substitute for savory. The dried one has a stronger flavor and will overpower the other flavors in your dish. Use it 1:1 ratio as a substitute for savory.

4. Marjoram


Marjoram is a herb from the mint family with a pine and citrus flavor that’s very similar to oregano. It is also one of the ingredients in some spice mixtures like herbes de Provence, Italian seasoning, poultry seasoning, and za’atar.

Marjoram is great for different stews, meat dishes, poultry, soups, sauces, vegetables, and salad dressings. You can use it as a substitute for savory in a 1:1 ratio.

5. Oregano


Oregano is with earthy, slightly bitter mint flavor. It has a similar but little stronger flavor than marjoram and is usually confused with it.

Oregano is a common ingredient in stews, sauces, seafood, beans, fish, chicken, pasta, and pizza. Thanks to the similar flavor, oregano makes a great substitute for savory in various savory dishes. Use 2 teaspoons of savory with 2 teaspoons oregano in your recipe.

6. Basil


Basil has a fresh and sweet aroma and a slightly peppery-mint flavor. You can use fresh and dry basil in your soups, sauces, salads, or as a pizza topping.

Fresh basil should be added at the end of the cooking because if it is cooked longer it will lose its flavor. Use basil in a 1:1 ratio as a substitute for savory.

7. Rosemary

Oven Roasted Lemon-Rosemary Chicken

Rosemary has unique pine, citrus, and peppery flavor, which reminds of the flavor of sage, lavender, mint, citrus, and evergreen. The leaves of the rosemary are used dried and fresh but because of their tough texture, they should be chopped before use.

You can use rosemary for seasoning meat, beans, potatoes, lentils, soups, stews. However, it is also commonly used in bread and biscuit dough. Savory has a similar flavor to rosemary, so you can substitute them in a 1:1 ratio.

8. Herbes de Provence

Herbes de Provence

This spice mixture of oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, and some other herbs is a common ingredient in vegetable stews, grilled meats, and fish.

It has many flavors mixed in one aromatic mixture that will enhance the flavor of different meals. Savory is one of the ingredients. Therefore, you can use it as a substitute in your cooking. Use herbs de Provence in 1:1 ratio as a substitute for savory.  

Related Questions

What spice is called savory?

Savory is a herb that belongs to the mint family, with a peppery flavor and hints of thyme, mint, and marjoram.

What is a savory seasoning made of?

Savory seasoning includes ginger, oregano, cloves, onion powder, nutmeg, chili powder, sage, cinnamon thyme, salt, and black pepper. They are all mixed in one lovely seasoning you can use to give a flavor to your food.

Last Words

These herbs are some of the best substitutes you can use in your recipe to give it a similar flavor. You can use them in smaller amounts. However, if you like the flavor that they provide to your dish, you can add some more.

If you want to have more flavors in your dish you can use a mixture of two herbs like sage and thyme. Or basil and oregano. Try these substitutes and let us know did they work in your dish.

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