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Best Substitutes For Thyme (Fresh or Dry)

Best Substitutes For Thyme (Fresh or Dry)

Are you out of thyme? Have no fear, we will give you the best thyme substitutes for both fresh and dry thyme.

No matter if your recipe calls for dry thyme or fresh thyme, there are a handful of great alternatives you can use that will work perfectly in any recipe.

Due to the large amount of uses for thyme I try to keep it on hand at all times. But there have been a number of times I went to the spice rack only to find I am all out. That has led me to experiment with different herbs to find the best thyme replacements and you can use these herbs in your recipe that calls for thyme too.

We make a lot of dishes that call for thyme in our home (we really love Italian, French, and Mediterranean recipes).

Tip: Growing thyme is actually really easy and a great way to ensure you have plenty of thyme at all times!

So what are the best substitutes for thyme? (Fresh or Dried)

The top thyme substitutes are marjoram, Italian seasoning, oregano, and sage.

The great thing about these thyme replacements are at least one of them is likely already in your pantry or spice rack. They offer a great flavor and work well in any recipe that calls for thyme.

Thyme Alternatives

Thyme is a member of the mint family and offers a sweet and peppery flavor. Some also will find hints of lemon in thyme. These flavor profiles are what we look at when finding alternatives to using thyme in a recipe. So here is more info on each of the top thyme replacements.


Marjoram is a great thyme substitute and is actually in the same family as thyme. It has a milder flavor than thyme (and is quite savory) and works well with Italian recipes. Marjoram is much milder than oregano, so if you are using it to replace fresh thyme then reduce the amount by about half or you can always add more after it’s cooked. It works well in place of fresh or dry thyme.

Italian Seasoning

Italian seasoning is another excellent thyme replacement. It has a more delicate flavor than marjoram. It can be used in a variety of recipes as it has very little heat. Italian seasoning also tends to be more popular so it’s likely found in most pantries. Italian seasoning actually has thyme in it already! That makes it one of my go to’s when making an Italian recipe, but I have found it works in many dishes that call for thyme.


Oregano is also a very good thyme replacement. It is a strong flavored herb with a subtle, sweet flavor. Oregano can be grilled like thyme and used in marinades for meats or pasta sauces. Oregano can be used in a 1:1 ratio for either dry or fresh thyme.


Sage is a good thyme substitute when none of the others are available. It doesn’t have as similar a flavor to thyme as the other options, but works well in most recipes when it’s all you have. Use about 1:2 sage to thyme ratio and you can add more according to taste.

Can You Substitute Dry Thyme For Fresh Thyme?

Yes you can! Not everyone grows their own thyme (you should though!) so it’s very common to replace fresh with dried thyme. You simply use a 1:1 ratio and your recipe will turn out great.

Is Thyme and Oregano the Same?

Oregano has a more bold flavor than thyme but they both are used in similar recipes. While they are not the same, they can be used interchangeably in different recipes and offer great tasting results.

Keep in mind that thyme offers a sweet, almost peppery flavor that is not found in oregano. These flavor differences should be kept in mind whenever you replace one with the other.

How Important is Thyme in a Recipe?

Thyme plays a very important role in bringing together flavors in multiple types of recipes. It is used in French, Mediteranian, Italian, Middle Eastern and more styles of cooking.

You will find it works well in sauces, marinades, stocks and so much more. It works well in baked and cooked dishes so understanding how to replace thyme when you don’t have any on hand is vitally important in creating the flavor you need in your recipe.

Can Lemon Thyme Be Used in Place of Thyme?

Yes. Lemon thyme can be used in most any recipe that calls for regular thyme. Their flavors are quite similar with lemon thyme having stronger lemon notes.

Is Parsley Similar to Thyme?

While not exactly the same, parsley is often used in place of thyme in many Italian dishes. It offers a mild flavor that works well in many dishes so it can be used as a thyme substitute.

What Does Thyme Taste Like?

Thyme has multiple woodsy and floral notes along with citrus. You will find hints of lemon, lavender, and pepper in thyme’s flavor.

Bottom Line

If fresh thyme is not available, you can always use an alternative like oregano, Italian seasoning, sage, or marjoram. These herbs all offer a similar flavor and work well in many dishes that call for thyme.