Substitute for oregano to add in dishes

oregano is popular herb used across the world to make tasty dishes and recipes due to its strong pleasant aroma and good flavor. when you don’t have oregano in your kitchen or in grocery store near your house then you can make use of Substitute for oregano to get going with your recipe making without worrying a slot as they would give similar flavor to oregano which would help make tasty and flavorful dishes anytime in your kitchen to serve to your guests and enjoy with family.

oregano is mainly used in Italian and Mediterranean dishes like spaghetti pasta, grilled chicken, Greek salad etc. and it has anti bacterial properties too which helps to fight bacteria like staph and other infections also. it contains lot of anti oxidants which helps for better working of our immune system and prevent cell damage. you can also find some essential nutrient like vitamin K ,E ,calcium, iron and magnesium in oregano.

oregano has strong smell which resembles to mint and has strong flavor too which is little bit bitter, bold, spicy and earthy that’s why adding too much can overpower the dish so add gradually in dishes to enhance its flavor and not over power the other flavors.

it is required in small quantities in each dish so the bottle can last for long time but when its over and you forgot to buy new one then the different Substitutes for oregano shared below works great in different recipes, the only task is to find which one works better than other in the dish you are making which you will learn overtime after trying all of them to become a perfect chef. so take a look below on oregano substitutes and get going with your delightful dishes and recipes with perfect taste.

substitutes for oregano

Oregano substitutes and alternatives


fresh thyme can be used as oregano alternative to due to its resemblance in taste and looks. it works great if you are using it as garnish. dried thyme has stronger flavor then oregano so i would avoid using it but can be used when you require strong flavor and something to replace dried oregano

thyme fresh leaves dry leaves


basil can be used in place of oregano in all kinds of dishes. both fresh and dried basil can be used in the to replace oregano. it works great for Mediterranean and Italian dishes very well. fresh basil works great in dishes like pizza, different pasta styles ,pasta sauce, yogurt bowls etc. basil leaves and basil seeds also has many health benefits as it helps in strengthening the immune system and controlling sinus and cold and cough related issues.


it comes with good taste and flavor which makes it one of the choice for oregano replacement in many dishes including tomato dishes in which it gives enhanced flavor. you can add same amount parsley as oregano to replace it in dishes. it has mild flavor  when compared to oregano so if you would add little extra than also it wont matter much and your dish would be good to eat.

parsley image

its one of the Mediterranean herb which if you start liking you would like to add it in all kinds of savory dishes as its good in flavor and aroma and has versatile usage in dishes from grilled recipes to curry recipes like soups, tomato sauces etc. it works great overall.

i like both dried and fresh parley leaves in dishes. if you are using dried parsley then i would advice that you use half quantity to that of fresh chopped parsley leaves as dried ones are more potent in flavor and will do the work in less amount only. To substitute 2 spoons of oregano in your recipe you will require 2 spoons of fresh parsley or 1 spoon of dried parsley or you can adjust the quantity as per your liking.


tarragon has it trademark little bitter and sweet flavor which makes it a good replacement for oregano in many dishes. it has high aroma and flavor resembling little bit licorice. you can use it in salad, sandwiches, pasta, soups, chicken fry etc. i have found that people specially like using tarragon in all sorts of egg dishes when oregano is not an option from devils eggs, boiled eggs, scrambled eggs etc. chop the small tarragon leaves and sprinkle over the dish with butter while cooking and you will get great tasting egg dish always.

it also goes well with all kinds of sea food items like tuna, scallops, clams, fish rice, salmon platter, fish fritters etc. to give a unique flavor and aroma to your non veg sea food recipe. some people also add it to marinades for grilled items like chickens, fish, mushrooms, tofu, cottage cheese, veggies etc. to get great aroma and taste from the roasted food.

you can also use it while making ponzu sauce, fish sauce and other such dips to get them even better for eating them with different recipes across the world when oregano is nowhere to be found in your kitchen and vicinity of the house.

fresh tarragon


it has somewhat similar flavor to oregano. sometimes it is difficult to find but if you get in supermarket then buy it and use it as replacement for oregano. dried marjoram works great for died oregano in dishes such as tacos, tex mex style dishes etc.

marjoram leaves


sage leaves has strong taste which is little bit sweet and citrus in flavor besides that you can also feel little bit tinge of pepper flavor from it. due to its strong taste i would recommend use in in small quantities when replacing oregano with this. it works great as an oregano replacement non veg dishes like meat recipes, sea food and vegetables also. all kinds of heavy dishes goes well with sage leaves as you get bold tasting recipe with undertone of citrus flavor to compliment other spices and make it a perfect mix for the dish.

sage leaves

Sage comes packed with lots of antioxidants which are good for our overall body functioning besides that it also helps to reduce blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels in your body. it compliments well with variety of savory dishes included veggies and non veg items. you can use it as fresh leaves or add them in your recipe in dried form. some people also like to add sage leaves while preparing their tea to get its benefits.

People of Italy like to add sage in creamy pasta recipes along with different sauces like home made tomato sauce to get good flavor in them while French chefs like to use it as dried herb along with other similar herbs like rosemary, thyme etc. in making the filling to hot dogs, sausages, sandwiches and burger patties to get punchy flavor in the final dish. people in usa and canada tend to use it mostly in holiday season on thanksgiving in turkey dishes and other chicken dishes on festivals and party time.


it has grass like structure with bitterness in its taste. it comes from celery family. it can be used as oregano replacement in all kinds of recipes. it is mainly used in European and asian countries. since it has strong taste than oregano i would recommend that you use it in small quantities so you get good flavor which does not over power the dish.

it goes well with all kinds of salads especially dense items like potato’s, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, different squash etc. some people also like to add it in sea food recipes and while preparing pickles and sauerkraut. too add some spice in your recipe you can also use dill weed seeds if dill is not present in market as it can also work in absence of dill and oregano to make dishes flavorful.

although you can use it in both dried and fresh form but i personally like to use in fresh form as it gives more flavor and tip of advice is to add in later stages of cooking or just few minutes before service because its of the herb which looses its flavor the more its cooked on heat.


It is semi arid crop and grown all year round and has lot of health benefits including hair fall reduction. it has mild  bitter flavor and sweet smell. you can use in place of oregano when you don’t have oregano with you. it belongs to Fabaceae family. don’t eat it raw as it can be very bitter upon chewing it. i would recommend that you cook it with some other herbs and spices to get its full flavor and benefits in the dish to enhance its overall taste.


Bay leaf

bay leaves comes with strong fragrance and flavor. it is added to give a unique taste to your recipe. mostly people add whole leaves in dried form in your food recipes. it works wonderfully in slow cooked dishes like stews, soups etc as it can impact maximum flavor to the dish to make it tasty.

if you are adding full leaves then you are advised to take it out before serving as it has very bitter and different flavor when eaten whole so remove it. but if you are adding it crushed then you can replace with it with equal amount of oregano like add 1/2 spoon bay leaves for 1/2 spoon oregano.

Substitute for bay leaf


rosemary also works as an alternative to oregano due to its good aroma and flavorful taste. you can use in same quantity as you would use oregano in your dish to get flavor from rosemary. chop the fresh rosemary leaves and add to your dish to enjoy it with good flavor and taste. dried rosemary can be used also, it maybe strong for your dish so adjust the quantity as per your taste preferences.

to know about many other rosemary alternatives to use them when rosemary is in short supply in your kitchen checkout our post on rosemary substitutes for recipes to enhance their flavor.

rosemary image

Carom leaves

it comes from same family plant as oregano and cane be used as oregano replacement. it has similar flavor and aroma matching to oregano. you can add it to all the dishes in small quantities to get a different taste in the dish. mixing it marjoram and then adding to dish will give flavor matching to oregano to greater extent. it is very popular in indian households as they use it in dishes like curries, gravy mixes, lentil soups etc. to get better taste and better digestion of the food.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between oregano and thyme?

They have somewhat similar flavor resembling to lemon, mint, and other similar flavors. the oregano has stronger flavor than thyme. They can be used in place of each other. use in moderation and the dish would be good else the flavors would overpower other different flavors in the recipes.

What is the difference between oregano and italian seasoning?

oregano is one of the many herbs like rosemary, basil, thyme etc. used in making of Italian seasoning. it can be used in place of Italian seasoning in Italian dishes.

can i substitute ground oregano for dried oregano?

yes you can use ground oregano which is in powder form whenever you want. the ratio for substitution of ground to dried oregano would be 1:4, i.e 1 spoon ground oregano can be used in place of 3-4 spoons of dried oregano leaves to get good flavor. ground one is used in making curries and gravy mostly but dried one is used in pizza, calzones, breads, sandwiches, burgers and other similar recipes.

if you want to replace fresh oregano for dried oregano then i would recommend that you use 4 spoon of fresh green vibrant leaves  of oregano for every 1 spoon of dried of oregano leaves.


Hope you like our collections of oregano alternatives suggested to make your dishes flavorful even in its absence. let me know in comments below which substitute you intend to use in which recipe to make it tasteful when your pantry is running out of oregano.

we have written article on fennel seed alternatives also for you to look out if you want to know more about fennel seeds and its substitutes.

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