Best Thyme Substitutes – Fresh & Dried Thyme Alternatives

Last Updated on October 20, 2021 by April

Best Thyme Substitutes - Fresh & Dried Thyme Alternatives

Thyme is an herb with a flavor that resembles both lemon and mint. It’s used in many types of dishes, including soups, stews, sauces, and even desserts. Some people refer to it as “the spice of life” because thyme can be found in so many different recipes!

Common Dishes That Use Thyme

● Roasted meats, such as chicken and lamb

● Soups, especially tomato-based or beef broth soups

● Vegetable dishes that feature tomatoes or mushrooms

Common Ways to Add Thyme to a Dish:

● Sprinkling dried thyme on top of a finished dish

● Adding fresh sprigs of thyme during cooking

● Steeping fresh or dried thyme in cream, butter, oil, or broth for 10 minutes before using it in a recipe

Types of Thyme

There are many variations of thyme. These include lemon thyme, caraway seed thyme (or German thyme), English lavender thyme, and winter thyme. Each one has a slightly different flavor and is used for a different purpose.

Lemon thyme tastes almost exactly like plain thyme, but it has a much stronger lemon scent. It’s great in dressings or light sauces because it goes well with fish, pork, vegetables, and chicken.

Caraway seed thyme does have the taste of caraway seeds, which are similar to anise or fennel. This type of thyme is good in soups – especially those that include sausage – as well as bread and casseroles. If you’re looking for a substitute for caraway seed thyme, regular dried thyme will work just fine!

English lavender thyme tastes more similar to lavender than thyme. It’s a key ingredient in certain types of meat dishes, such as lamb and duck. This is the best substitute for English lavender thyme – dried lemon thyme, although it will still add a similar flavor.

Winter thyme tastes more like marjoram than thyme, making it great when cooking with chicken and vegetable soup. Unfortunately, silver leaf thyme can be very hard to find! If you’re looking for a substitution that still gives the same effect, try using rosemary instead.

The best substitutes for fresh thyme are parsley and basil. For dried thyme leaves, use oregano – since they have an almost identical flavor profile.

So what are the other best substitutes for thyme? Here are some great substitutions you could try.

Best Substitutes for Fresh Thyme

If you are short on fresh thyme, these herbs are great substitutes.

1) Oregano

Best Thyme Substitutes - Fresh & Dried Thyme Alternatives

Similar in taste to thyme but more earthy; perfect for Italian recipes like pizza or pasta.

2) Basil

Best Thyme Substitutes - Fresh & Dried Thyme Alternatives

A little bit sweeter than thyme; highlight this by adding basil leaves to tomato-based sauces or vegetables like zucchini noodles.

Keep note that if you want a substitute that tastes as close to thyme as possible, basil shouldn’t be the first thing you reach for.

3) Rosemary

Best Thyme Substitutes - Fresh & Dried Thyme Alternatives

A bit more piney; goes well with fatty cuts of meat or vegetables like red-skinned potatoes.

4) Marjoram

Best Thyme Substitutes - Fresh & Dried Thyme Alternatives

A little bit sweeter than thyme, marjoram is the perfect substitute for traditional “white sauces”.

5) Dried Thyme

Best Thyme Substitutes - Fresh & Dried Thyme Alternatives

When substituting dried thyme for fresh thyme, you will want to use 1/3 the amount you’d normally use of fresh thyme.

As you can see, there are many options for replacing thyme in your cooking! Keep these substitutes in mind the next time you find yourself out of thyme and remember that it’s really easy to grow your own stash at home.

Dried Thyme Substitutes

If you typically use dried thyme, these substitutions may be more your style.

Poultry seasoning

Poultry seasonings are blends of herbs and spices made for use around poultry. They are important to have on hand, as they always allow for quick addition of flavor to any dish without having to really “cook” anything! It’s an easy way to make dishes taste great without the need for long, complicated cooking processes.

Italian seasoning

Italian seasoning is a blend of herbs and spices that typically includes garlic, onion, black pepper, oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme, sage, rosemary, and bay leaf. It’s often confused with ” Italian spice mix “, which is also made up of these same ingredients but usually contains more salt.

Some chefs have attributed the origins of Italian seasoning to ancient Rome. There are several recipes for Italian seasoning available online you can try out for yourself!


Za’atar is a spice mix that is common in Middle Eastern cuisine. Some versions contain thyme, oregano, or marjoram too.

Herbes de Provence

Herbes de Provence is a blend of dried herbs popular in French cuisine. The mix usually includes basil, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, oregano, and bay leaf. Some blends of Herbes de Provence include lavender buds or flowers. It is used both for seasoning meats and vegetables as well as in the production of sauces.

Growing Your Own Thyme

If you use a lot of thyme in your cooking, consider growing your own thyme! Most people have an easy time growing thyme indoors in their herb garden. So this is an easy way to make sure you never run out of this useful cooking herb.

Did you enjoy these substitutes for thyme? Check out these marsala wine substitutes and tomato puree substitutes.

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