One of the spices and herbs most people are able to identify quickly is rosemary – and with good reason! It has a very strong and distinct scent, so it is easy for many to recognize it as well as recall dishes that won’t be complete without it (like a roasted rack of lamb, for example). If you find yourself out of this wonderful and complex-smelling spice, don’t worry! There are other good alternatives that you can turn to so your dish can still be saved.
Obviously, if your recipe calls for fresh rosemary and you do have dried rosemary on hand, this is your best bet for a successful substitution.
However, if your recipe requires fresh or dried rosemary and you don’t have either, there should be several good options that might already be in your spice rack. Thyme, tarragon, and savory are workable alternatives to dried rosemary. You can even consider mixing these three (or any combination from these three) to give your dish an even more robust flavor and depth. As a rosemary substitute, just swap in these herbs for the same amount that’s required in your recipe.
Best Rosemary Substitutes
Alternatives to rosemary will also depend on the kind of dish you are cooking:
Caraway: Sausage dishes and other dishes with strong seasonings.
Caraway seed is a strong spice that delivers just the right amount of flavor to your dishes in the same way that rosemary does. It’s a great substitute, especially since it is not going to clash with other seasonings that go into your recipe.
Sage: Meat and egg dishes.
While rubbed sage has a taste that is obviously different from rosemary, it will nonetheless complement many dishes that place rosemary’s aromatic scent front and center.
Marjoram: Mushroom-based dishes.
Dried marjoram is a delightful seasoning that works fantastically well with mushrooms, so go ahead and add liberally! If using in place of rosemary, you will want to add just a bit more to really meet your flavor requirements.
Bay leaf, thyme, and peppermint: Lamb dishes.
When combined, this trio will deliver a taste that rivals that of rosemary’s. Your lamb dishes will turn out to be just as aromatic, straight out of the oven.
Other Great Rosemary Substitutes
Dried savory, tarragon and thyme are all suitable alternatives to rosemary. If you have all of these on hand and your dish does not contain several other seasonings already, you can even mix these herbs for a more complex and robust flavor. No math is required when substituting with these herbs; just add the herb of your choice in the same amount of rosemary your dish needs.
When it comes to working with substitutes, it is important to also take into consideration the other flavors that go into your dish and pair that carefully with your chosen rosemary alternative. It is always best to work with small amounts, constantly tasting your dish and adding just a bit more until you get your desired taste.