Best Marjoram Substitutes – 7 Piney And Earthy Swaps

Marjoram is a perennial herb in the mint family. This medicinal and gourmet plant, also known as sweet marjoram, has been widely grown in the Mediterranean, Western Asia, and North Africa for thousands of years.

This herb has been traditionally utilized in Moroccan medicine to lower high blood pressure. A study conducted in Brazil found that the essential oil of Marjoram may effectively inhibit bacterial activity that could lead to foodborne illness.

It’s a commonly used ingredient in several cuisines across the world but is more prevalent in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. It is a flavorful addition to vegetables, stuffings, sausages, forcemeats, legumes, pulses, and poultry.

In fresh or dried form, Marjoram is highly versatile and goes well with most other herbs. This herb has a mixture of sweet pine and citrus flavors.

7 Best Substitutes For Marjoram 

In cooking, Marjoram is used in three forms: dried or ground, fresh leaves, or oil. Using fresh leaves of this herb adds the best flavor and aroma to your dishes.

The finest option for substitution is fresh marjoram leaves for dried, and vice versa. Use 1 teaspoon of dried Marjoram in a recipe for each tablespoon of fresh Marjoram. Note that dried herbs have a more concentrated flavor than fresh herbs.

If this ingredient is entirely out of stock, then Italian seasoning and oregano are the best substitutes that work well when you’re out of Marjoram.

While choosing a replacement for Marjoram, consider the ingredient’s availability and the overall flavor of the recipe.

Here are a few good alternatives that you can comfortably swap for Marjoram.

1. Italian seasoning

Italian seasoning blends common Italian herbs, including Marjoram, basil, thyme, oregano, and rosemary.

If you notice, it contains Marjoram as an ingredient and other constituent herbs similar to it. In reality, it is the best spice blend that you can use as a marjoram substitute.

The critical ingredient in spaghetti sauce is none other than Italian seasoning. You’ll also find it in Italian dishes such as lasagna or eggplant Parmesan. Or add to bread stuffing, stews, soups, and savory fish.

Since it is a blend of spices, you need to use about 1/3 of the Marjoram that your recipe calls for.

2. Oregano

Oregano and Marjoram can serve as great substitutes for each other. They both belong to the mint family and have a similar flavor profile.

The difference lies in the fact that Marjoram is sweeter and less earthy. However, both flavors are very similar, as long as you are willing to ignore the difference in pungency.

Fresh or dried oregano has a more robust flavor than Marjoram. If you notice, Marjoram is a milder version of oregano.

While using oregano as a marjoram substitute, use it in just half the quantity of Marjoram your recipe requires. In the case of dried oregano, use only one-third of the amount.

3. Thyme

Thyme has a subtle, dry aroma and a slightly minty flavor. Great for adding layers of flavor to your dish without being overwhelming.

Like Marjoram, it also belongs to the mint family and is extensively used in Mediterranean cooking, suitable for meat and vegetable recipes.

You can find several varieties of thyme, but French and English are similar to Marjoram in flavor and texture.

Both fresh and dry thyme are worthy of use instead of Marjoram. Use them interchangeably in the same quantity as your recipe calls for.

4. Sage

Sage is another excellent replacement for Marjoram.

Sage goes well with beef, duck, pork, and chicken recipes, particularly fatty meats.

The peppery flavor of sage with a hint of mint and lemon is an excellent addition to your recipes. Overall, it matches the pine and citrus notes that Marjoram induces.

When using sage as an alternative to Marjoram, use it in a 1:1 ratio.

5. Basil

Basil is an herb in the mint species commonly used in Italian cooking. It has a fresh aroma, a subtle peppery flavor, and a hint of mint. Other types of basil taste citrusy and pungent.

A dried or ground form of sweet basil is a better replacement for Marjoram. While substituting, you need to use only a smaller quantity of basil instead of Marjoram.

Fresh or dried basil is an acceptable ingredient in pasta, sauces, soups, pizza, fish dishes, and frozen desserts.

6. Summer savory

Summer savory has flavors of Marjoram and mint that add flavor to various dishes, both warm and cold. A pinch of this herb elevates the taste and aroma of roasted dishes.

The dried or ground form of this herb is best for replacing Marjoram. This herb’s intense flavors dominate; therefore, use it in less quantity than the Marjoram required by your recipe.

7. Za’atar

Za’atar is an herb and a spice mixture commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking.

Za’atar spice mixture is an excellent alternative to Marjoram, as they have similar herbal flavors. This spice mixture includes za’atar herb, toasted sesame seeds, dried sumac, thyme, savory, and salt.

Use a teaspoon of Za’atar for every 1 tablespoon of dry or ground Marjoram.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can I use Herbes de Provence in place of Marjoram?

Herbes de Provence is a good substitute for Marjoram in most recipes. The blend should typically include Marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, and sometimes lavender. So it will give your dish a similar taste to Marjoram but with a little extra complexity from the other herbs in the blend. However, the flavor may vary depending on the specific brand or blend.

Can I substitute marjoram for rosemary?

Marjoram and rosemary are different herbs with distinct flavors. Thus, substituting one for the other can alter the taste of your dish.

However, in some recipes, marjoram can be used as a substitute for rosemary in some recipes, particularly those that call for dried rosemary. In general, you can use about half as much marjoram as you would rosemary when making the substitution.

What can I substitute for marjoram essential oil?

There are a few other pant oils that you could use as substitutes for marjoram oil depending on the recipe and uses.  Oregano and thyme oils are the best replacements for marjoram oil as they are all closely related plants. Also, basil oil can be used in some recipes.

Final Thought 

Italian seasoning and oregano are the best substitutes when you have neither fresh nor dried Marjoram.

In order of relevance, other herbal ingredients worth using as substitutes for Marjoram are thyme, basil, sage, summer savory, and Za’atar.

While choosing a substitute, be sure of its flavor profile. Choose the replacement ingredient that complements your recipe’s other ingredients.

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