Are you a fan of Mediterranean food? If yes, I am sure you must know about one of the most commonly used herbs in the cuisine, which is marjoram. Marjoram adds zesty flavor to almost all food. So today, we will be discussing the best marjoram substitutes.
Now there definitely may have been times when you have wanted to use marjoram in a recipe, but you are all out. In that case, there is no need to run to the store to buy some. You can easily use substitutes for marjoram. This article will help you find the best substitutes.
At this point, you must be wondering, what are the best substitutes for marjoram? The best marjoram substitutes are oregano, thyme, basil, tarragon, savory, sage, and dried lemongrass.
However, I feel that before we start discussing the best substitutes for marjoram, let me help you understand the herb itself. Since it isn’t too common everywhere in the world, you will get a better idea about the same. So, without further ado, let us discover marjoram.
Quick Peek: Marjoram
This section has all the information you need on marjoram. You will get to understand the herb, its flavor and texture profile, uses, and health benefits. So, read on to know all about it!
What Is Marjoram?
Marjoram, also known as sweet marjoram, is an aromatic herb from the same family as mint. It is indigenous to Cyprus, the Mediterranean, Turkey, Western Asia, and the Arabian Peninsula. It was known to the ancient Romans and Greeks as a symbol of happiness.
Marjoram is cultivated for culinary purposes, used to make essential oils, and for medicinal purposes. It is often found in various herb mixes such as Herbes de Provence and za’atar. Marjoram mostly became a popular herb in the United States, especially after World War Two.
Describing Marjoram: Flavor And Texture
Marjoram is available in fresh as well as dry forms. It generally has a finer texture than oregano. The leaves of marjoram are more round and elliptical than that of oregano. Dried marjoram tends to have a more concentrated flavor than the fresh variant.
Marjoram has a flavor milder than oregano and tastes quite similar to thyme. However, it is sweeter with a stronger scent. It is warm, has a sharp taste, and is slightly bitter. It has a woodsy and citrusy aroma.
Uses Of Marjoram
Marjoram is usually added to various savory foods to add to their flavor. It is used in both fresh and dried forms. It is very widely used in Mediterranean cuisine. However, it is now a popular herb in various parts of the world.
Dried marjoram is a very popular addition to various salads, meat dishes, and German sausages. However, it makes a great addition to almost all savory recipes. It can also be used in pasta and pizzas as a great alternative to oregano.
Marjoram On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Marjoram, being a herb, is usually used in a very small quantity in various recipes. However, it does have a lot of health benefits. Marjoram has a very small amount of calories with minute amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, and dietary fibers.
It contains no fat, cholesterol, or saturated fats. Moreover, marjoram is commonly used to treat various ailments such as cough, common cold, and various digestive issues. It is beneficial to women for their hormonal health too.
The compounds derived from marjoram have antimicrobial, antifungal, and antioxidant properties. Certain studies have shown that marjoram is also said to help with diabetes, symptoms of menopause, and muscle and nerve pain.
Why Use A Substitute For Marjoram?
I am sure that at some point, this question must have popped into your head. Why would you want to use a substitute for marjoram when you can just use marjoram? Well, I can give you a few good reasons as to why you can consider using a substitute.
To start off, marjoram may not be as easy to find as various other herbs. It is a popular herb for sure. However, it is not as popular as many of the substitute options given in this article.
Moreover, if you are not too fond of or are bored of the flavor of marjoram, a substitute comes in handy! Lastly, if these reasons aren’t convincing enough and you seem to be all out of marjoram, why run to the store to get some?
Using a substitute instead will definitely save you a lot of time and energy, for sure! I think these are good enough reasons to consider using a substitute for marjoram!
By now, I am sure you have got enough information on marjoram. Now, let me directly take you to the main attraction of this article, the best marjoram substitutes.
10 Best Marjoram Substitutes
The best substitutes for marjoram are all given in this section. Moreover, you will also get to understand how to use each substitute. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Oregano and marjoram are from the same family. Considering that, they both have a very similar flavor and texture. Hence, oregano makes a great substitute for marjoram.
Oregano is also sometimes referred to as wild marjoram. It can be used in both fresh and dried forms. However, oregano does have a slightly sharper taste than marjoram. This can easily be overlooked in any recipe, and you would hardly be able to tell the difference.
While using oregano as a substitute for marjoram, it is best to use fresh for fresh and dry for dry. Although, considering the fact that it has a sharper flavor, it is best to use half the quantity of oregano as compared to marjoram.
Thyme is again from the same family of herbs as marjoram. It has a pleasant smell with a mildly sweet taste and can easily be used as a substitute for marjoram.
In fact, the flavors of thyme and marjoram are very comparable. You can use thyme as a marjoram substitute in almost any recipe possible. It goes extremely well with meat and vegetables and can also be used in dry rubs.
As the flavor of thyme is not too overpowering, you can use it as a substitute in a standard 1:1 ratio. However, try using the fresh herb for fresh and dry for dry. You might have to change the quantities a little bit in case you are using dry for fresh or fresh for dry.
Basil, just like marjoram, also belongs to the mint family. It does have a sharper flavor than marjoram. However, it can easily be used as a marjoram substitute in various recipes.
While using basil, it is important to remember to use fresh basil. Dried basil does not have a flavor like that of fresh basil. Fresh basil can be used as a substitute for dried marjoram as well.
Basil tends to have a more peppery flavor than marjoram. So, it is best to reduce the quantity of basil by half while using it as a substitute for marjoram. In case the flavor does not match your palate, you can always add more later!
Savory is another herb from the mint family that originated in the Mediterranean. It has a peppery taste which makes a great addition to various recipes while being used as a substitute for marjoram.
Savory also works extremely well with meat and fish. When using savory as a marjoram substitute, try using summer savory. Winter savory tends to have a bitter taste that might not necessarily work as a substitute for marjoram.
Summer savory has a slight hint of marjoram flavor. Hence, you can use it as a substitute for a standard 1:1 ratio. This can also be applied in case you are using the dry herb for a fresh one and vice versa.
Tarragon has a licorice-like pungent and bittersweet flavor. It might not match the flavor of marjoram exactly. However, it can still be used as a substitute for the same.
Tarragon also goes well with fish and chicken. While using tarragon as a substitute, you might wonder which type to use. You should use the French type as that will give the best flavor. Tarragon also has a lot of health benefits, similar to marjoram.
You can use tarragon as a substitute for marjoram in a standard 1:1 ratio. Tarragon might not give the exact same flavor profile as marjoram. However, it will definitely amplify the flavor of your food.
Sage has a minty flavor and a pungent aroma. It has an earthy taste and can be used as a substitute for marjoram in various recipes.
Sage works extremely well, especially with poultry. So in case you are out of marjoram and want to season poultry, sage makes a great substitute. Moreover, sage also has a lot of health benefits, similar to marjoram.
While using it as a substitute for marjoram, not many changes need to be made to the amount of sage you put in a recipe. You can follow a 1:1 ratio while using the fresh herb for a fresh and dry herb for dry.
7. Dried Lemongrass
Dried lemongrass has a citrus flavor that is similar to marjoram. It might not act as the best substitute for all recipes. However, it can be used as a substitute in many dishes.
Dried lemongrass can enhance the citrus and herbal flavors in a dish. However, in case you are considering using a substitute for marjoram, dried lemongrass should definitely be your last option.
This is because it does not add as much flavor to recipes as the other substitutes do. Regardless of that, you can use dried lemongrass as a substitute in a 1:1 ratio.
8. Lemon Thyme
Lemon thyme, also known as citrus thyme, has a citrus and herbal taste, which can be similar to that of marjoram. Hence, it can be used as a substitute for the same.
Lemon thyme has a more citrusy and less bitter flavor as compared to regular thyme. Moreover, it again belongs to the same family as marjoram. If you want some citrus notes in your recipe, lemon thyme is definitely a good choice to consider.
While using lemon thyme as a substitute for marjoram, you can follow a standard 1:1 ratio. It may impact a stronger citrus taste. However, it will definitely add great flavor to your food.
9. Herbes De Provence
Marjoram is one of the main ingredients in this French herb mixture. Considering that, you can positively use herbes de Provence as a substitute for marjoram.
Marjoram contains other herbs such as basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and sage. It particularly works well with chicken and fish recipes and in dry rubs. Due to the presence of various other herbs, it does have a stronger flavor as compared to marjoram.
Considering the extra herbs in herbs de Provence, use half the quantity compared to the amount of marjoram you would use. This way, you can avoid the flavor of various herbs from overpowering your dish.
Za’atar is another popular herb mix from the Middle East. Similar to herbes de Provence, za’atar also has marjoram as one of the main ingredients. This makes it a good substitute for marjoram.
Za’atar includes various other ingredients such as dry thyme, savory, oregano, sesame seeds, sumac, and salt. Since it contains salt, make sure you reduce the amount of salt you put in your recipe.
Adding too much extra salt or za’atar will end up making your food extremely salty. The best way to use za’atar as a substitute for marjoram is by using half the quantity. You can always add more later in case it does not match your flavor palate.
I am sure that by now, you must have gone through the entire list of the best substitutes for marjoram. However, are you by any chance still confused about which one would work best?
In that case, there is no need to worry! I have broken it down further into three categories to make it easier for you. Have a look!
Most Suitable: The most suitable substitute for marjoram is thyme.
Easily Available: Oregano is the most easily available substitute for marjoram.
Best Flavor Profile: Lemon thyme will give the best flavor profile when used as a marjoram substitute.
Now that we have come to an end, I hope this article has helped you find the best substitute for marjoram. Since herbs are generally used in very small quantities, they are very easy to substitute in a recipe. If you use a similar tasting herb, you can hardly tell the difference!
Saying that, all the options given above are definitely worth considering when looking for a marjoram substitute. You can try different herb combinations to experiment with your recipes, and I am sure you will end up cooking something wonderful!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are oregano and marjoram the same?
Though they belong to the same family, they are both different types of herbs.
What does marjoram taste like?
Marjoram has an earthy flavor with various notes of citrus.
What food goes well with marjoram?
Marjoram goes well with all types of meats, vegetables, pulses and seafood.
Are thyme and marjoram the same?
No, they are two different types of herbs belonging to the same family.