Are you fond of seasoning your food with various fresh and dried herbs? Then I am sure you must be a fan of thyme. Thyme is an essential herb in many kitchens. In today’s article, I will help you explore the best thyme substitutes.
Thyme might be number one on your list of best herbs. However, what if you suddenly run out of it? In that case, you should definitely consider using a substitute. Using the best thyme substitutes will provide you with a similar flavor and save your time and energy!
Now you must be wondering, what are the best substitutes for thyme? The best thyme substitutes are oregano, marjoram, sage, basil, tarragon, and Italian seasoning.
Although, before we get to exploring the substitutes, let me help you with some information on thyme. This will help you understand its flavor profile better, for sure!
Quick Peek: Thyme
This section has all the information you need on thyme! You will understand the herb, learn about its flavor and texture, get to know its uses and even nutritional information! So, let’s explore thyme!
What Is Thyme?
Thyme is a herb from the same family as mint and basil. It is an evergreen herb that is usually quite easy to cultivate. It is mainly from the Mediterranean region, where it also might have been first cultivated. It is cultivated in hot and sunny locations with dry soil.
Thyme is now used as a herb for seasoning food. However, in ancient times, it was used for many things other than cooking! Moreover, the spread of thyme in Europe is said to be by the Romans as they used it widely to purify rooms and to flavor cheese and liqueurs.
Describing Thyme: Flavor And Texture
Thyme generally has a drier texture than various other herbs and is somewhat fibrous. The herbs are small in size, and so are the plants of thyme.
When I talk about flavor, thyme has a slightly minty flavor. However, thyme’s flavor is bitter and earthy compared to common mint. It has hints of wood and floral notes.
Uses Of Thyme
Thyme is primarily used as a herb to season various savory recipes. It comes in both fresh and dried varieties. Moreover, the uses of thyme are not limited to a single cuisine.
It is used widely in various parts of the world, such as the Mediterranean region, Europe, Latin America, and Africa. It is used widely in soups, stews, and savory sauces. Moreover, it can also add great flavors to savory baking and liqueurs.
Other than culinary uses, in olden times, thyme was lit and used to spread the aroma. Moreover, it was also used in gifts as it was said to help bring courage.
Thyme On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Thyme, being a herb used for seasoning, is generally used in very small quantities in various recipes. However, it has a lot of health benefits and was used for various medicinal purposes in ancient times.
Thyme is said to have health benefits such as potential pain-relieving properties, antimicrobial properties, and can help with skin conditions like eczema and acne. Moreover, it is a natural insect repellent and a cough suppressant.
However, it should be eaten in moderate quantities as consuming too much thyme might lead to a drop in blood pressure. This can happen, especially with thyme essential oils, as they have thyme in a very concentrated form.
Why Use A Substitute For Thyme?
I am sure that this question must have popped in your head at least once by now. Why would you want to use a substitute when you can just use thyme? Well, I can give you a few reasons as to why you can consider using a substitute.
Firstly, if you are bored of the flavor of thyme but want something similar tasting in your food, a substitute comes in very handy. Moreover, if thyme is difficult to find around the area you live, a substitute would work great in such a situation too.
Lastly, if you end up realizing at the last moment that your recipe calls for thyme, and you don’t seem to have any, why run to the store? Most of the substitutes are probably already present in your pantry! This is also a good enough reason to consider using a substitute.
I think I have given you enough information about thyme. Now, let me directly take you to the main attraction of this article, the best thyme substitutes. Read the next section to know all about them!
10 Best Thyme Substitutes
This section has the best substitutes for thyme. Moreover, you will also get to understand how to use each substitute. Read this section to know all about it.
Oregano is aromatic with various earthy notes. It has a flavor very close to that of thyme. Hence, it makes a good substitute for thyme.
Oregano can be used as a thyme substitute in both fresh and dried forms. You can easily substitute fresh herb for a fresh and dry herb for dry. Moreover, oregano is a herb that is present in almost every kitchen.
While using it as a thyme substitute, oregano can be used in a standard 1:1 ratio. However, if your recipe calls for fresh oregano and all you have is dry oregano, try using half the amount as a substitute.
Marjoram is a herb that comes from the mint family, just like thyme. It has a woody and minty taste with a slight hint of sweetness. Hence, it can be used as a substitute for thyme.
Marjoram has a flavor also similar to oregano. However, its flavor is milder as compared to oregano. It can make a great substitute in recipes where you don’t want an overpowering flavor of herbs.
While using it as a substitute, if you are using fresh for fresh and dried for dried, you can follow a 1:1 ratio. In case you are using dry for fresh, use half the quantity and if you are using fresh for dry, use double the quantity of marjoram.
Basil again belongs to the same family as thyme. It does have a distinct licorice-type flavor. However, it can still work as a thyme substitute in certain circumstances.
While using basil as a substitute, it is important to remember that it has a distinct taste. Hence, try to use an amount depending on how prominent you want the herb’s flavor to be.
Moreover, try using fresh basil as much as possible. Dried basil does not have the taste or aroma that fresh basil carries. Even as a substitute for dried thyme, try using half the amount of fresh basil.
Tarragon has a distinct licorice-like pungent and bittersweet flavor. It can make a good substitute for thyme in various recipes.
Tarragon typically pairs extremely well with fish and chicken. Hence, in recipes for either of these meats that demand thyme, you can easily use tarragon as a substitute. Moreover, similar to thyme, tarragon also has various health benefits.
While using it as a substitute, especially if you use fresh for fresh and dry for dry, you can follow a 1:1 ratio. Tarragon will definitely create a good impact on the dish’s overall flavor.
Savory is also a herb from the mint family. It has a peppery and robust taste which can make a good addition to recipes while used as a substitute for thyme.
Savory is another herb that works extremely well with meat and fish. Even though it belongs to the same family as thyme, it does have a slightly milder taste than thyme. However, you can very well use it as a substitute where you don’t want the flavor to be overpowering.
Follow the same 1:1 ratio for substitution while using savory, especially if it is fresh for fresh and dry for dry. However, if you find the flavor to be a little mild, you can always add extra.
Sage has an intense aroma and a slightly miny and musky taste. It has a similar earthy taste like thyme and can positively be used as a substitute for the same.
Sage is known to bring out flavors of other ingredients in a recipe. Hence, it works really well in recipes where there are a lot of other seasonings present. However, the flavor of sage will still stand out a bit.
This is one thing to be careful about if you don’t want the flavor of sage to be too strong. Try using half the quantity of sage than that of thyme. This way, you can add more later if you find the flavor mild.
7. Italian Seasoning
Italian seasoning has thyme as one of the base flavors. It does have flavors of other herbs that might stand out. But, regardless of that, it still can be used as a substitute for thyme in various recipes.
Italian seasoning comprises basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, and marjoram. In case you are okay with the flavor of thyme paired with various other herbs, Italian seasoning is the right pick for you.
Moreover, Italian seasoning works well in almost all recipes. It works especially well in dry rubs for meat. You can use Italian seasoning in a 1:1 ratio as a thyme substitute.
8. Poultry Seasoning
Poultry seasoning also has thyme as one of the base ingredients. It works well as a substitute for thyme, especially in recipes where chicken is the main ingredient.
Poultry seasoning also contains various other sharp-tasting spices such as nutmeg and black pepper. Poultry seasoning also contains salt. So, be careful about the amount of salt in your recipe.
Since it has a much more intense flavor than thyme by itself, use half the quantity of poultry seasoning as that of thyme. In case it tastes mild, you can add more. Poultry seasoning would work especially well as a dry rub.
9. Herbes De Provence
Herbs de Provence is quite similar to Italian seasoning in terms of the herbs used in it. Only the proportions are different. Hence, it can be used as a substitute for thyme.
Herbs de Provence also generally tends to work well with chicken and fish recipes. It also works extremely well in dry rubs for various meats. This French blend of spices does have a stronger flavor than thyme alone.
Hence, while using herbes de Provence, use only half the quantity as the amount of thyme given. This way, the flavor of herbs and spices will not be too overpowering.
Za’atar, similar to the various spice blends given above, has thyme as one of the key ingredients. Hence, it can be used as a substitute for thyme.
Za’atar generally is the herb of choice in the Middle east. It contains various other herbs that add to the flavor. It also contains salt. Hence, while using it as a substitute for thyme, make sure you balance the amount of salt you are adding to the recipe.
Use half the quantity of za’atar as the amount of thyme you would use in a recipe. Add more za’atar and salt as per your preferred flavor profile.
Those were some great substitutes for thyme. However, are you still confused about which one to use to get the best flavor! In that case, there is no need to worry. I have broken it down further for you into three categories.
Most Suitable: The most suitable substitute for thyme is marjoram.
Easily Available: Oregano is the most easily available substitute for thyme.
Best Flavor Profile: Italian seasoning will give the best flavor profile when used in place of thyme.
I hope this article helped you find the best substitutes for thyme. Thyme is generally an easy herb to find and is used in various recipes. However, the same old flavor of thyme may seem boring to many. Hence, it is definitely worth considering a substitute.
All the substitutes given above are very worthy alternatives for thyme. So, the next time you are all out of thyme or want to experiment with flavors, do try using one of the substitute options. I am sure they will work extremely well in all your recipes!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does thyme cause low blood pressure?
Consuming thyme in extremely high quantities might increase the chances of blood pressure to drop.
Is thyme good for the kidneys?
The flowering parts of thyme are used for various medicinal purposes. This includes kidney and bladder disorders.
What is another name for thyme?
Another name for thyme is ‘thymus vulgaris’.
Can I drink thyme tea regularly?
Yes, you can have thyme tea regularly.
Is thyme good for the lungs?
Certain studies have proved thyme to be good for overall respiratory health
Is thyme the same as rosemary?
No, they are both different types of herbs.