Best Bay Leaf Substitute?

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Peri Peri Chili Powder ChefSmartyPants
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Bay leaf, also known as laurel leaf, is mostly used in soups and broths because it can enhance the aroma and the flavor. Now, if you are in the middle of cooking something and you realize that you have run out of bay leaves already for dinner. There’s no need to worry. If you have these following herbs sitting in your kitchen cabinet, it can act as an alternative for bay leaf.

Best Bay Leaf Substitutes

Best bets: Thyme or Oregano (Buy on Amazon)
Basil (Buy on Amazon)
Juniper berries (Buy on Amazon)



Maybe you are a little hesitant because thyme looks entirely different compared to a bay leaf and it does not belong to the same family plant, rest assured that it can act as a great alternative if you run out of the bay leaf. For instance, both can provide minty flavor when dried up. You can use at least ¼ teaspoon of thyme in sprinkling your beef or any meat you wanted to marinate.


This perennial herb can also enhance the flavor of your food just like a bay leaf. And it’s a great alternative especially if you are using the bay leaf for its health benefits. Oregano is also rich in components that strengthen the immune system and helps in detoxifying the body.


So you wanted to cook an Italian cuisine for your mother-in-law, but you realized that you don’t have bay leaves anymore! Don’t worry, these situations call for Basil. Considering the fact that Basil produces a slightly sweeter flavor, you should only use this alternative if you are cooking tomato or any beef recipes. Basil is commonly used in Italian recipes because of its unique flavor compared to other spice herbs. This herb can complete your tomato-based sauce and other dishes when used properly. And the amount of bay leaves that you are planning to use is the same with the amount of basil that you’re going to put as well.

Juniper Berries

Say, you have bay leaves in your kitchen, but you wanted to take your dish to a whole new level. What’s the herb that can help you achieve your goal? Juniper berries! This is most commonly used in recipes with duck as the main ingredient. It also complements well when combined with rosemary. Just make sure that none of your guests are pregnant women or young children because they are not allowed to eat dishes with juniper berries.

Buy Better Bay Leaves

Always remember that there is no rule in cooking that prohibits you from changing your herbs. You don’t have to follow everything that is written in the recipe book religiously. Sometimes, changing herbs and replacing them with alternatives that you have in your kitchen can help you to create a new recipe. Who knows? It can even enhance the flavor of your dish compared to using the expected herbs. Just like art, cooking requires you not to be afraid of experimenting. Be resourceful and enjoy cooking!



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