13 Best Poultry Seasoning Substitutes

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Want to cook the perfect turkey for the perfect dinner for your family? But suddenly, you realize you are out of poultry seasoning. The angst and the panic can be nullified if you know or have a substitute for it, right?

Poultry Seasoning

Pondering what can be poultry seasoning substitutes? Some of the best poultry seasoning substitutes are herbs de Provence, oregano, Italian seasoning, Zaatar, turkey rub, and rosemary.

Poultry seasoning is a classic American seasoning mix used to perk up the flavor of poultry foods. Poultry seasoning is said to be one of the oldest seasonings still in use. It is a blend of herbs and spices, which majorly comprise sage, thyme, marjoram, and rosemary. 

Before we look at the substitutes for poultry seasoning, let us explore poultry seasoning.  

Quick Peek: Poultry Seasoning

The following sections talk about what poultry seasoning is, its flavor, texture, uses, and health benefits.

What Is Poultry Seasoning?

Poultry seasoning is a magical blend of seasoning agents which is used in poultry dishes to enhance the flavor. The ingredients used in the poultry seasoning can vary, but the most commonly used are sage, thyme, and rosemary. The flavor of sage dominates the overall flavor profile of poultry seasoning, rendering it a bitter, citrusy flavor.

Other ingredients used in the making of poultry seasoning are oregano, nutmeg, onion, black pepper, garlic, parsley, celery salt, allspice, coriander, ginger, marjoram, and red bell peppers. 

Contrary to popular belief, poultry seasoning has nothing to do with poultry. In fact, it is a vegetarian ingredient used to flavor non-vegetarian dishes. Although it is the same as a chicken seasoning, it is different from chicken flavoring.

Describing Poultry Seasoning: Flavor and Texture

The ingredients used to prepare poultry seasoning vary among different brands. But to describe it generally, poultry seasoning is strongly aromatic with a tangy flavor. 

Poultry seasoning is made using ingredients that are dried and ground. This contributes to its fine and smooth structure, making it perfect for blending well with other ingredients in the recipe.

Uses of Poultry Seasoning

Poultry seasoning is used in poultry dishes as a flavor-enhancing agent. Apart from that, they can be used in roasted or fried meat recipes, stir-fries, casseroles, bread, sauces, and soups.

Poultry seasoning can also be used for a dry rub on pork, chicken, turkey, veal, lamb, and other white meat birds. It is also used as a flavor enhancer on burgers, marinades, and pot pies.

Health Benefits of Poultry Seasoning

Poultry seasoning is a potpourri of various spices and herbs. Each of them has distinctive health benefits, and that’s frankly not what you want in this article. So let us skip that but let me tell you the important stuff.

Sage is rich in Vitamin K and Vitamin B6. Black pepper is another good source of Vitamin A and Vitamin K. Most of the ingredients are potential givers of calcium, iron, manganese, and nutrient-rich fiber. Consumption of poultry seasoning can mitigate the risks of osteoporosis, inflammation, and constipation. 

Why Should We Substitute Poultry Seasoning?

Poultry seasoning is so far our favorite seasoning agent. If so, why should we bother about its substitutes? You might have used it more often in your cooking and realized on a bright morning that you are out of it. You might also be allergic to some of the spices or herbs that constitute poultry seasoning.

Even though the amount of spices used in poultry seasoning is less, it is capable of causing allergic reactions. Allergies to spices often include oral allergy syndrome, where you develop reactions in the oral cavity. So, shall we get into the good part where I tell you about the best substitutes for poultry seasoning?

Other Food Substitutes You Can Try

13 Best Poultry Seasoning Substitutes 

The thirteen best poultry seasoning substitutes are as follows:

1. Herbs De Provence

Herbs de Provence is a French seasoning mix made using dried herbs such as savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. In other variations, it can also include tarragon, fennel seeds, bay leaves, or chervil.

Herbs de Provence is a major ingredient in French and Mediterranean cuisines. The major flavors of thyme and rosemary mostly dominate the overall flavor of herbs de Provence. 

Herbs de Provence lacks sage, which is the main ingredient in poultry seasoning. Therefore, herbs de Provence can be used to substitute for poultry seasoning with a slight addition of sage. 

Additionally, herbs de Provence comprises lavender which renders a unique flavor to your dishes. Although it has a different flavor, adding sage to herbs de Provence will get the job done for you.

Here’s the recipe for herbs de Provence chicken that you can make at home with this spice mix. It is flavorful and herby, do give it a try!

2. Oregano

Oregano is a seasoning herb of the oregano plant, which belongs to the mint family. It is also known as Spanish thyme or wild marjoram. The fresh and dried leaves of the oregano plant feature very prominently in Mediterranean cuisine.

Apart from being a flavor-enhancing agent, oregano is also used for its medicinal properties too. Oregano has been used for over many years to treat skin sores, asthma, indigestion, and colds.

Oregano has an intense earthy flavor with subtle hints of bitterness. Its flavor can be deemed to be very similar to that of camphor. Oregano leaves are arrow-shaped but with a delicate texture.

Oregano seasoning comprises ingredients such as rosemary, basil, salt, marjoram, and garlic which are present in poultry seasoning as well. This makes oregano a very close alternative for poultry seasoning. 

You can put your oregano to other good uses as well. Here is a recipe for Greek chicken marinade that you can make using oregano.

3. Italian Seasoning

Let us get this right for you – Italian seasoning is not from Italy but an American brainchild!

Italian seasoning is a seasoning agent made of dried herbs such as basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, sage, and coriander. As with the case of poultry seasoning, the seasoning blend varies from brand to brand.

Italian seasoning is an aromatic merger of herbs and spices which has a savory, earthy, and mildly sweet flavor. It has an almost powdered structure (the herbs being ground) with a distorted texture. (It is a blend, what can you expect?!)

Italian seasoning is used to enhance flavor in Italian dishes, pizzas, lasagnas, sandwiches, pasta, sauces, dips, and marinades. The presence of herbs makes it indeed healthy – it is helpful in boosting the digestive system as well as immunity.

As a substitute for poultry seasoning, Italian seasoning is a very good choice if sage is added to it. Apart from that, they share similar ingredients and flavors. It can be substituted on an equal ratio.

4. Zaatar

Zaatar can have two connotations – a culinary herb and a fragrant mix of dried herbs and spices such as oregano, marjoram, thyme, cumin, coriander, sesame seeds, and sumac. It is a prominent ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine.

In fact, Zaatar is a family of herbs that comprises oregano, thyme, basil, and savory as well. It has an earthy, citrusy taste with a mild nutty flavor. It is mostly the ground and dried version of herbs and spices.

Zaatar is utilized as a table spice as well as a cooking spice. It can be used to season cooked or roasted vegetables, meat, seafood dishes, flatbreads, as well as salads. It is beneficial in treating chronic diseases and inflammation.

Zaatar is a versatile ingredient that can be used as an alternative for poultry seasoning as it contains marjoram, thyme, and sumac, with no compromise in the flavor.

Don’t worry! Here’s the full and easy recipe for Zaatar so that you make this spice mix easily at home.

5. Turkey Rub

Turkey rub is a spice mix constituted of pepper, paprika, thyme, sage, rosemary, and garlic. What makes turkey rub different from poultry seasoning is the addition of ginger, coriander, and roasted red pepper. 

Turkey rub has a sweet, salty, aromatic flavor with a delicate texture. As the name suggests, it is used to season turkey, making it an ultimate sweet, savory dish.

Turkey rub can be one of the best alternatives for poultry seasoning that can be considered if the meat is dark and gammy as that of duck, turkey, and goose. 

Here’s the recipe for some tender and spicy grilled turkey breast complete with the recipe for the turkey spice rub. Do give it a try!

6. Rosemary

Coming from the land of the Mediterranean, salvia Rosmarinus or rosemary is an evergreen, aromatic herb. It is uniquely capable of retaining its aroma even when dried and stored, unlike other herbs.

Rosemary has a woody, citrusy, minty flavor with subtle hints of lavender and sage. Its leaves, stalks, and flowers find applications in the cooking and medicinal world. Even though its flavor is strong, it will not dominate other ingredients in your recipe.

Rosemary is rich in manganese and phytochemicals. Manganese is imperative for metabolism. It can reduce the risk of cancer and boosts our immune system, memory, and concentration.

Rosemary is a major ingredient in poultry seasoning, which makes it a good substitute for the same. A slight addition of salt and pepper to rosemary works well as a replacement for poultry seasoning. 

You can use rosemary to make other delicious items. Here’s the recipe for some delicious baked rosemary rabbit for you.

7. Thyme

Thyme is an aromatic herb from the mint family with over 400 subspecies. It is a relative of the oregano plant. Did you know that the ancient Egyptians used thyme for the embalming process? The Greeks, meanwhile, used thyme as incense. Don’t ask me how but thyme has also been deemed to induce bravery and courage!

Thyme has an intense minty flavor with subtle hints of sweetness. Fresh thyme has a dry, fibrous, juicy, delicious texture. It is used in savory dishes to perk up the flavor and also in soups, stocks, marinades, teas, and cocktails for the same.

Thyme is beneficial in fighting against acne, cold, hair loss, blood pressure, bacterial infections, yeast infections, and cancer. It also boosts immunity and prevents the risk of many types of cancer.

Thyme can be a good alternative for poultry seasoning, considering its sharp, minty flavor. It may not be able to simulate the exact flavor of poultry seasoning, despite being one of the ingredients in poultry seasoning. 

But thyme can easily get along with other ingredients like rosemary, garlic, and nutmeg, helping us get a close flavor to that of poultry seasoning. Out of thyme? Here is a list of thyme substitutes for you.

8. Marjoram

Marjoram is a sweet-scented perennial herb that is native to the Mediterranean, Asian, and African regions. It is usually synonymous with oregano, but it is mostly distinguished as sweet marjoram, knotted marjoram, or pot marjoram.

Marjoram has a warm but intense earthy flavor akin to thyme. The leaves are round in structure with a fuzzy texture. Dried marjoram is often used in salad dressings, meat or vegetable dishes, sauces, and pizzas.

Marjoram is commonly used as an aid to treat the common cold, running nose, and other infections. It is rich in antioxidants helpful for fighting against chronic inflammation.

Both dry and fresh marjoram can be treated as substitutes for poultry seasoning since marjoram is a constituent in poultry seasoning. It is not a dominant ingredient and easily blends with other ingredients in the recipe.

9. Sage

Sage is an evergreen herb from the Mediterranean belonging to the mint family. It is an ancient herb used in the preparation of food and belongs to the family of oregano, lavender, rosemary, thyme, and basil.

Sage has an earthy, peppery flavor with subtle hints of citrusy taste. The grayish-colored leaves of sage have a soft, velvety, fuzzy texture. It is used in cooking for an intensified flavor in sauces, pasta, marinades, and bread. 

Sage is helpful in combating digestive distress, appetite loss, diarrhea, and heartburn. It has anti-healing properties making it helpful for use after surgery.

No doubt sage is one of the principal ingredients in poultry seasoning. Therefore, it can be a worthy alternative for poultry seasoning as it can easily emulate the unique flavor of poultry seasoning.

Wondering what recipes you can add the herby freshness of sage? Here’s the recipe for sausage and stuffing balls.

10. Garlic

We are going to talk about Russian penicillin here. Confused? Garlic was called so and given to soldiers during WW2!

Garlic is both a flavor enhancer as well as a medicinal agent. It is one of the major ingredients, nearly impossible to replace, in cooking that has a distinctive flavor that deliciously spikes up the flavor profile of your dishes. 

Garlic is a highly nutritious vegetable with few calories. It has the potential to boost brain health as well as cardiac health. It stabilizes blood sugar and boosts immunity. 

Typically, garlic is not added as an ingredient in poultry seasoning. It has a strong flavor which, when used in large amounts, can easily overpower the other ingredients in your dish, ruining it.

While choosing to replace garlic as an alternative for poultry seasoning, mix it with thyme or rosemary for a great flavor. You can simply mix garlic with salt and pepper for a flavor close to poultry seasoning.

Let me to tell you another interesting thing you can make with garlic. Here’s the recipe for crispy garlic chips for you.

11. Salt and Pepper

If you are out of all herbs and spices, simply add a pinch of salt and pepper (a pinch or more according to your preferences) for a flavor that can be comparable with poultry seasoning.

Sea salt or kosher salt along with black pepper work as a considerable alternative for poultry seasoning due to their flavor as well as easy availability. You may not have an intense flavor as that of poultry seasoning. 

But if you can get your hands on thyme or rosemary, salt and pepper are a very good combination worth trying.

12. Citrus Blend

Citrus blend is simply an effortless, aromatic blend of citrus fruits like orange or lemon with herbs and spices like rosemary, thyme, salt, and black pepper. 

The ingredients are easily available, and the blend is easy to prepare as well. Citrus blend can work as a substitute for poultry seasoning, considering the sharp, citrusy flavor very similar to poultry seasoning.

13. Homemade Poultry Seasoning

Why bother with substitutes when you have the right ingredients to prepare your own homemade poultry seasoning? Let me help you with that.

Homemade poultry seasoning can be made using sage, rosemary, nutmeg, thyme, marjoram, salt, and black pepper. It is a healthy as well as an easily made ingredient that can very well work as a substitute for poultry seasoning.

A Short Recap

That was all about the best substitutes for poultry seasoning. The following points will help you choose a substitute based on flavor, texture, cost, and availability:-

Flavor – Herbs de Provence, oregano, and Italian seasoning are some of the substitutes which closely match the flavor of poultry seasoning.

Texture – Since most of the substitutes are used in their ground versions, almost any of them except for citrus blend can be used to substitute for poultry seasoning.

Availability – Ground forms of the herbs and spices can be easily used since they are always available in your pantry.

Cost – Most of the substitutes won’t burn a hole in your wallet, and they can be easily affordable.

How To Use Poultry Seasoning Substitutes In A Recipe

Poultry Seasoning

Poultry Seasoning Substitutes

Poultry seasoning is a classic American seasoning mix used to perk up the flavor of poultry foods. Poultry seasoning is said to be one of the oldest seasonings still in use. It is a blend of herbs and spices, which majorly comprise sage, thyme, marjoram, and rosemary. So, if you don't have this ingredient on hand, don't worry; You can always go for one of its substitute!
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  • Herbs De Provence
  • Oregano
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Zaatar
  • Turkey Rub
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Marjoram
  • Sage
  • Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Citrus Blend
  • Homemade Poultry Seasoning


  • Go through the substitutes and see which one seems fit for the recipe.
  • Collect your ingredients and use your preferred substitute.
  • Use the substitute in the required amount and proceed to make the dish according to the recipe.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Final Musings

I hope the article gave you a fair knowledge of poultry seasoning, its uses, and most importantly, its best substitutes. Most of the substitutes are herbs or spices used in the making of poultry seasoning. That makes it easy to use them as substitutes for poultry seasoning.

In case you are done with substitutes (that definitely should exclude my future articles), try making poultry seasoning at home, as mentioned in the article. Try these substitutes, and let me know what worked out for the best!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What is the substitute for poultry seasoning in stuffing?

In stuffing, poultry seasoning can be substituted with a combination of sage and dried thyme or marjoram. 

Is chicken seasoning the same as poultry seasoning?

Chicken seasoning or Chicken rub is the same as poultry seasoning. However, chicken flavoring is different from poultry seasoning. 

Can I use Old Bay instead of poultry seasoning?

Old Bay Seasoning can be used instead of poultry seasoning since it is also a blend of around 18 herbs and spices. It has a sweet, peppery flavor and works great in seafood and poultry dishes.

Can you substitute Italian seasoning for poultry seasoning?

Italian seasoning can be used as a substitute for poultry seasoning since both of them share similar ingredients – such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, and marjoram.

What is Southern poultry seasoning?

Poultry seasoning southern blend is a variety blend comprising paprika, garlic, onion, salt and tricalcium phosphate. 

Can poultry seasoning be used to replace sage?

Poultry seasoning can surely be used to replace sage. For substituting a teaspoon of dried sage, use a teaspoon of poultry seasoning.

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