Substitute for bay leaf in tasty dishes

Bay leaf are used since ancient times to add flavor to the food. it is quite popular in Asian and European countries. to get best flavor from it you need to cook the food with bay leaves and then you will get good minty aroma of bay leaves from your food and people usually remove it before serving as family members and guest don’t like to eat it directly due to its strong flavor which can be somewhat little bitter if eaten directly.

As the bay leaves are popularly used in soups, cooked rice, chickpeas curry, stew, non veg recipes and other vegetable dishes due to the strong aroma and flavor it adds to the dish while cooking, but if you cant find bay leaves in your are or don’t want to add them due to some reason then the substitutes for bay leaves works great to give your dishes good flavor and aroma in absence of bay leaves.

Substitute for bay leaf

Bay leaf substitutes and alternatives


rosemary has good taste and aroma and is good alternative to bay leaves. you can mince the leaves and add in your dish. it works great in all kinds of dishes like chicken, soups, salads, seafood, grilled potato salad, meat patties etc. some people also add it in butter drizzled mushroom platters, peas soup, fritters, fried spinach leaves and many more different dishes.

rosemary image

rosemary instantly enhances taste of any recipe your put into and provides a distinct aroma like bay leaves. they are great for better mental health and enhancement of immune system to keep the body metabolism working perfectly with any infections and diseases.


oregano has small leaves and can be used in dried form or fresh leaves to add in your dishes which would enhance the taste and aroma of the food. it can be added in normal dishes and paleo diets also. oregano gives pink blossoms when sprouting which can be eaten too. to know about oregano alternatives you need to definitely check out popular oregano substitutes for tasty dishes. having a strong fragrance along with likeable taste profile makes it a suitable alternative for bay leaves.


Basil is green in color and popular herb used in mainly Italian cuisines like pizza, pasta etc. due to its good taste and minty aroma it has also become popular in Asian countries also like vitamins, Thailand etc. people also use it in preparation of pesto sauce and pasta sauce to give it good flavor.

its leaves are green and delicate with veins running in center. their are many varieties of basils and almost are are good for cooking. its little bit minty and peppery flavor and people like to add it in food dishes in place of bay leaves for better taste. some people also grow it in their kitchen gardens with other vegetables like kale, zucchini and spinach.

the combination of basil and bay leaves works wonder in heavy dishes to give a good flavor which you like due to some harshness and strong pinch you may get on your taste buds while eating. but if using separately in general try suing basil leaves in summer and light dishes and bay leaves in heavy dishes made in winter due to its strong properties.

rest you can replace them with each other when you don’t have one to add in dish and check if you like the flavors for the dish, if not use some other alternative. when using basil as bay leaf alternative use in dried form only as it will give more resembling flavor to  bay leaf in dishes like pasta sauce, tomato based dishes, Italian cuisines, Mediterranean dishes etc.

Boldo leaves

It is mainly grown in chili region in Andes mountain area. besides that some other places which grows these trees are Mexico, morocco an Argentina for its fragrant and flavorful leaves which not only adds good taste to food but also helps our body wellbeing.

it is very helpful in liver diseases and act as an antibiotic also for some issues in your body. you can also except relief in respiratory issues like cough, chest infection reduction when consuming boldo leaves or its concoction in hot water.

Boldo leaves image

Juniper berries

Juniper berries grows mainly in north America and north Europe region. it has good is of pal dark blue and dark purple color berries. they are good in taste can can be used as bay leaves replacement. they are small in size and little bit stronger than bay leaves.

so you can use 1 spoon of berries for 2-3 whole bay leaves replacement. if you are looking for grounded bay leaves replacement then you replace 1 spoon bay leaves with 1 spoon berries without any issues.

Redbay Leaves

redbay leaves are wide with pointed head and green color. they are used as replacement for bay leaves due to their aroma and flavor which makes the food tasty. they look similar to bay leaves and used as seasoning many food items, it is quite popular bay replacement in south America region.


Thyme is used a seasoning in all kinds of dishes ranging from salads to air fried dishes to add a flavor to them. both dried and fresh thyme leaves can be used for garnishing the dishes with extra flavor in absence of bay leaves. dried thyme has stronger taste and fragrances then fresh leaves so use half than fresh leaves in any recipe, rest you can adjust the quantity as per your taste preferences.thyme fresh leaves dry leaves

As far as benefits for body is concerned then it helps with eyes sight improvement, keeps your bones strong and reduces pain in muscles.

people have tendency to use it in soups, various kinds of home made sauces and rubs for grilled items like potatoes, chicken, corn cobs etc. to make them taste better. you can also sprinkle it in some different kinds of bread making at home like pita bread etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is bay leaf and cinnamon leaf the same?

no bay leaf is different from cinnamon leaf and both of them have very unique and different flavor. bay leaf is often misunderstood as cinnamon leaf because in local Indian language and region cinnamon leaves are called Indian bay leaf that’s why this issue. the bay leaf comes from European bay trees where as cinnamon leaves come from different variety of cinnamon tree.

What are bay leaves uses?

  • bay leaves have lot of uses, they are used in making food flavorful with good aroma.
  • Bay leaf plant extract can be used to kill dangerous cancer cells in our body to treat breast cancer as per a study by researchers.
  • bay leaves also provides healing to wounded area in our body thus reducing inflammation and pain in the local body area as per the research conducted.
  • bay leaf’s also help to reduce urease levels in body which are responsible for kidney stones and other digestive issues when its out of order

what does a bay leaf do?

it gives new dimension to your food in terms of flavor. you can taste the flavor in your soups, curries and stews when bay leaf’s are added. you will get some menthol and pine tree like aroma from bay leaves in food. fresh leaves are mild in flavor but dried leaves are full of flavor and aroma and generally added to food items.

where can i buy bay leaf?

You can buy it from normal grocery store nearby your house for a not so expensive price in small quantities or you can visit super market store and look for it in dry spices and herbs section to buy and make your recipes tasty.

does fresh bay leaves taste better than dried bay leaves?

if you use too much fresh leaves then that can over power and hamper the original taste of the recipe, so it is advised to use in less quantity. if you use dried leaves then you will get good flavor in whole dish and it is mixed in recipe while making the tasty dish to impart good flavor and later removed before serving as eating directly a bay leaf can be sour and bitter which wont be leave a good flavor on your taste buds in mouth.

if you intent do use dried bay leaf powder to make recipes with bay leaf flavor in it then replace about 1/8 to 1/3 spoons of powder for every one leaf you intend to add in your dish, rest you can adjust as per your flavor liking and quantity size.

Are bay leaves and eucalyptus leaves same?

They are different leaves but possesses similar aromatic properties like bay leaves making them a somewhat likeable alternative to bay leaves when used in moderation to make your dishes desirable for people going to eat them.

can i use curry leaves instead of bay leaves?

They have some what similar taste notes which can make them to use in absence of bay leaves and vice versa. they are quite often used in Asian countries like Sri Lanka, India, Cambodia and many more to make their curry dishes, chili recipes, stews and soups more tasty. you wont get exact flavor from curry leaves like bay leaves but they can work if you like the taste. try for yourself to see if you like them in your dishes when you don’t have bay leaves in your kitchen.

In USA it is restricted item and used only when bought from reputed sources or grown inside country as they can bring pest from outside countries which can harm other trees and farms and citrus trees which is bad for country and its people.


Hope you liked our collection of bay leaves alternatives to use when you don’t have bay leaves in your kitchen pantry. these bay substitutes would work great to add additional flavor and taste to your meals regardless of what your are cooking.

let me know which bay leaf substitute you like the most in your recipes in comments below and share this post with your friends to help them make delicious and mouth watering dishes with good herbs and spice including these alternatives for bay leaves.

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