Sage reminds us of the woody, minty aroma. It brings so much flavor and aroma to the dishes (and also helps ward away spirits. Just kidding). But were you cooking and just realized you’re out of sage? Well, in that case, go for some fantastic sage substitutes.
Sage is a little pricey and might be hard to find in a local market. Thus, if your dish demands the use of sage and you are out of it, using a good sage substitute is your only option. Sage has a unique taste and aroma and is hard to replicate.
But some ingredients could bring a flavor profile like that of sage. Marjoram, rosemary, thyme, poultry seasoning, oregano, and basil are some of the best sage substitutes you can try!
Sage running out or losing its flavor or aroma should be expected. Thus making yourself aware of some of the best sage substitutes can help you come out of such difficult situations. Given below are some of the best sage substitutes.
10 Best Sage Substitutes
Are you confused regarding what to use as sage substitutes? Well, fret not! I have already considered it and assembled some of the best sage substitutes for you.
If there is one herb that closely resembles sage’s aroma, that would be marjoram. Marjoram belongs to the mint family and has a very woodsy, minty, floral taste to it which is similar to sage. Hence we could say that marjoram can be used as a sage substitute.
However, when compared between the two, marjoram has a mild flavor profile than that of sage. Hence while using it as a sage substitute, make sure to add it at the end of cooking to retain its flavor and aroma.
Prolonged cooking will make marjoram lose its flavor. Both fresh and dried marjoram can be used as sage substitutes. While using marjoram as a sage substitute, follow the 1:1 ratio.
This extremely aromatic Mediterranean herb is an ideal sage substitute. Rosemary has an intense woody pine-like taste to it. Hence when used in moderation, its flavor is similar to sage’s.
That being said, we shouldn’t forget that rosemary has a very strong taste and often overpower the dish. However, using it in moderation can help you to make this herb an ideal sage substitute.
Rosemary is harvested all around the year and is easy to get. Thus, this is one of the easily available sage substitutes. While using rosemary as a sage substitute, use ⅓ rosemary as that of the needed sage.
Starting with less will help you manage the dish’s overall flavor. If you think you need more depth to your dish, you can always add more. Also, while using rosemary as a sage substitute, try to get fresh rosemary rather than the dried version.
Thyme is another member of the mint family and is known for its aromatic minty flavor. It imparts a similar peppery flavor to sage; hence, if you are out of sage, users can easily use thyme as its substitute.
Thyme works well in most dishes that call for sage. However, thyme is best suited for meat and poultry dishes. Thyme just enhances the overall flavor of savory dishes. While using thyme as a sage substitute, follow the 1:1 ratio.
4. Poultry Seasoning
If you are someone who is into cooking poultry dishes often, chances are high that you would have a packet of poultry seasoning lying around in the cupboard. This seasoning brings a sage flavor to your dish and hence can be used as a sage substitute.
Poultry seasoning blends different spices like marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and sage. This herb mix also contains pepper and nutmeg. Thus poultry seasoning can be used as a sage substitute for savory dishes.
Oregano has a minty taste to it. It lends a peppery flavor to the dishes and has a flavor profile similar to sage. Hence, oregano can be used as a sage substitute when needed.
Both fresh and dry oregano can be used as a sage substitute. But fresh oregano has a close resemblance to sage substitute. Oregano has a much more potent flavor than sage. However, it works well in savory dishes.
Oregano works well as fresh and cooked in form. It is extremely potent to heat and tastes well in most dishes. While using oregano as a sage substitute, follow 1:1 ratio.
Just as its name suggests, the savory is an apt sage substitute for savory dishes. This herb belongs to the mint family and has a minty, peppery flavor, which is very similar to the sage. Hence if you are cooking a savory dish, savory is what you need as a sage substitute.
Savory can be classified into savory summer and winter savory. Summer savory has a more subdued flavor than winter savory. Winter savory has a very strong taste; when added more than required, it overpowers the dish’s taste.
Hence, if you use winter savory as a sage substitute, use half the amount as required. While using summer sage as a sage substitute, follow 1:1 ratio.
This herb belongs to the mint family. It has an intense peppery taste and aroma to it, which is similar to that of sage. Hence if you are looking for an apt sage substitute, then tarragon can be used.
Tarragon has flavors similar to star anise and licorice, adding earthy flavor to the dish. It is the perfect addition to dishes like stews and soups. Tarragon adds a very mild earthy flavor to the recipe.
While using tarragon as a sage substitute, try to use fresh cut as the plant tend to lose its flavor once dried. Also, before adding it to any dish, make sure to rub them between your hands to enhance its flavor.
8. Bay leaf
This spice, also known as laurel, is a perfect way to bring a similar sage-like flavor to your dishes. Bay leaves add a slightly peppery and bitter taste to the recipe and can be used as a sage substitute.
Bay leaves are mostly available in dried forms and can be added entirely to dishes. However, most people tend to remove it from dishes once cooked. Bay leaves only work as a sage substitute in those dishes which need thorough cooking.
This is another commonly available sage substitute. Basil has a very unique flavor profile to it. It is slightly sweet and peppery and is extremely aromatic in nature. Thus when out of sage, you can always rely on basil.
Depending upon the variety we use, the flavor intensity varies in basil. Thus if you are choosing basil as a sage substitute, taste test it and then add it to your dish according to your need.
10. Italian Seasoning
This is another herb blend. It uses marjoram, oregano, sage, and rosemary as its primary ingredients. Thus if you are looking for a sage substitute in a pinch, Italian seasoning can be of great help.
Short Recap Of Sage Substitutes
Now that we have seen almost 10 substitutes for sage, you must choose one according to your convenience. If not, here is a little token of help from my side!
Easily Available Sage Substitutes:
Most Suitable Powdered Sugar Substitutes
Substitute Options To Consider Last:
- Italian Seasoning
How To Use Sage Substitutes In A Recipe
10 Best Sage Substitutes You Should Try!
- Italian Seasoning
- Bay leaf
- 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.
Now that we have reached the end of the article, I hope your search for the best sage substitutes ends here! Sage is an amazing ingredient that is good for both sweet and savory dishes. But this is a little pricey and is not available throughout the year.
If you have any of these, then it is a sage substitute. Most of the substitutes in this article are easy to get and work well, similar to that sage. Next time, if you are out of sage, try any of these!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What can I substitute for sage in a recipe?
Marjoram, rosemary, thyme, poultry seasoning, oregano, and basil are some of the best sage substitutes you can try!
What is the closest herb to Sage?
Marjoram is the closest herb to sage.
What can I substitute for sage in soup?
Thyme or Italian seasoning can be used as sage substitute in soup.