Oregano Substitute – 5 Options That Give Similar Flavor

Oregano is an important ingredient in many western recipes. If you have run out of it, then you have a couple of herbal replacements for oregano.

Oregano herb is an important ingredient in making pasta or pizza sauce. It is also liberally used in many Greek and Italian recipes.

The antioxidants thymol, limonene, ocimene, carvacrol, terpinene, and caryophyllene give the herb its flavor and aroma.

Most people dearly relish its peppery and zesty flavor. It is a versatile addition to a wide variety of savory dishes.

To some extent, it is hard to replace the unique taste of oregano.

If you are keen on finding an oregano substitute, then we have found a few suitable replacements for it.  Some of these substitutes you might already have on your kitchen shelf.

What Are Good Oregano Substitutes?

Have you run short of fresh oregano leaves? Then use the dried oregano leaves instead; it has the same flavor as the fresh leaves.

In fact, dried leaves give a stronger punch of flavor and aroma than fresh leaves.

Use the dried leaves in smaller quantities than the fresh ones. Every 1 tablespoon of fresh leaves requires only a teaspoon of dried leaves as a replacement.

In addition, instead of the oregano leaves, you can also flavor your cooking with oregano oil by adding a drop to sauces and dips.

If you don’t have any dried or fresh oregano in stock, the best replacements are herbs that share a similar flavor.

Here are 5 good replacements for oregano that we have hand picked for you.

1. Marjoram

Marjoram belongs to the same mint family as oregano. These two have many common similarities. In some places, oregano is even known as ‘wild marjoram’.

According to a journal report, sweet marjoram has been used medicinally to help treat a variety of ailments, infections, including digestive issues, and painful menstruation

The flavor of oregano is sharp and assertive while marjoram has a milder and floral taste. Many chefs use these two herbs interchangeably.

Some recipes call for using both marjoram and oregano simultaneously. This gives the dishes oregano’s pungency and marjoram’s complexity.

All these just tell us, marjoram is your best substitute for oregano for both are quite identical in flavor and aroma.

Tips on Using:

  • Do not cook marjoram for a long time
  • Add it towards the end of cooking
  • Use three parts of marjoram for every two parts of oregano

2. Thyme

Just like oregano, thyme also belongs to the mint family of herbs.

Thyme leaves are a good oregano substitute that has a similar flavor.

It is an excellent ingredient in dishes that have potatoes, beans, or tomato-based recipes.

Besides giving flavor to foods, studies suggest that thyme contains anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antiseptic properties.

Most of the European chefs very well make use of thyme leaves in salad dressing instead of oregano leaves.

Thyme leaves are much smaller in size than oregano leaves. The taste of both these herbs is quite identical.

It should be noted, there are many different varieties of thyme leaves. It is the English and French varieties of thyme that work as a good replacement herb for oregano.

Tips on Using:

  • Use only French or English varieties of thyme
  • Use the same amount of thyme in place of oregano

3. Sage

Sage is a Mediterranean herb used as a key ingredient in several recipes.

It gels well with fatty foods. Besides, it is great to use as a seasoning ingredient in turkey and other poultry items.

It is a highly versatile herb that goes well with other herbs. Sage is often used in vegetable dishes and soups. It can be used along with or as a substitute for oregano.

Sage leaves are suitable to use as an attractive garnish or for deep frying.

Tips on Using:

  • Use fresh sage to achieve the best flavor akin to oregano
  • A dried form of sage is not a good alternative to oregano
  • While replacing oregano with sage, use it in the same quantity as required by your recipe.

4. Basil

You can easily swap basil with oregano in some of the recipes.

Basil is best suited for making beef dishes and tomato-based pasta sauces.

You may also use basil instead of oregano in Mediterranean dishes because of its strong pungent flavor with a sweet and anise undertone.

However, use basil only when you don’t have thyme or marjoram to replace oregano.

Tips on Using:

  • Basil can be used in dishes that require deep frying
  • It has a stronger flavor than oregano and thus uses it in a smaller ratio
  • Use only half the amount of oregano while substituting

5. Italian Seasoning

Italian seasoning is a simple mixture of common herbal spices 0ften seen together.

Oregano is one of the chief ingredients in Italian seasoning.

Above all, it also contains other ingredients like marjoram, thyme, and basil which have a similar flavor to oregano.

So, this seasoning is an excellent alternative to oregano.

Use Italian seasoning instead of oregano in recipes like tomato-based pasta sauces, marinades for lamb, chicken, and beef dishes, and olive oil-based vegetarian dishes.

Of course, any spice seasoning has a strong flavor as it contains a mixture of various spices. For this reason, use it in small quantities while using it as a substitute for a single herbal spice.

Tips on Using:

  • Use Italian seasoning in small quantities as it has a strong flavor
  • As a substitute, use it in a 1/3:1 ratio for oregano

The Bottom Line

The best alternative to oregano is to swap dried for fresh or vice versa.

Fortunately, you can also use other herbs that belong to the same plant species of oregano. In this regard, thyme, marjoram, sage, and basil are suitable choices that match the flavor and aroma of oregano.

Remember, while substituting herbs or spices, add them in small quantities first till you find the golden mean.