Parsley Substitute – 10 Alternatives Every Cook Must Know

It is easy to find a parsley substitute and, probably, you already have one or more of them in your kitchen cabinet.

Don’t think that parsley is merely a garnish. Its robust green and herbal flavor are delicious in marinades, salads, and sauces. This flowering plant in the family Apiaceae is a good-to-have ingredient in cooked dishes like soup and quiche.

Parsley is known not only for its versatile flavor but also for its several health benefits and medicinal uses.

You can use either fresh or dry parsley in your dishes. Fresh parsley gives the fullest flavor and aroma. When fresh leaves aren’t available substitute them with dry parsley. Dried parsley is an incredible addition to green salads, dips, chutney, and pesto.

In this article, you will get a brief overview of the best substitutes for fresh parsley, as well as dried parsley.

What to Choose as Parsley Substitute?

At times, it becomes necessary to find a suitable substitute for any ingredients in a recipe. There are a good number of replacement options for fresh or dried parsley.

I have found a few substitutes that are nearly identical to the flavor and aroma of parsley. Here are a few of those herbs that prove to be awesome substitutes for parsley, either fresh or dry.

1. Cilantro

Cilantro, an essential spice in global cuisine, is also known as Chinese parsley, coriander leaves, dhania, or cilantro.

This herb from the Apiaceae family has delicate, lacy green leaves, resembling the flat leaves of parsley. Also, the pungent, complex, and citrusy flavors of cilantro are almost similar to parsley.  Cilantro and parsley have a similar appearance and uses but different in flavor.

Cilantro goes very well with most foods that call for parsley to garnish them. Use it in a one-to-one ratio, but using a substitute in moderation is safe to start with.

2. Chervil leaves

Chervil, sometimes called French parsley or garden chervil, is a delicate annual herb related to parsley.

It adds a light, anise-like flavor to soups, salads, and sauces. Just like parsley, it’s a fantastic garnish for a wide variety of bright spring recipes.

Importantly, chervil’s flavor is lost very easily, either by too much heat or by drying the herb. The tenderness of chervil leaves allows you to toss it into dishes just before serving or eat it raw.

Garden chervil has a milder flavor than parsley, while using chervil as a substitution for parsley use it in slightly more quantity.

3. Celery leaves

Celery is a marshland plant in the family Apiaceae like parsley.

Celery leaves can be used for various dishes for enhancing flavor. Use in salads, soup, broth, or in stock. Celery leaves also make great garnishes in place of parsley. This leaf is amazingly relishing when used to flavor and garnish a fish.

Simply crush or chop the celery leaves and sprinkle them onto your dishes just as you do with parsley. Use celery leaves in the same portion as you use parsley or alter the quantity according to the need of your recipe. Adding a little more or fewer celery leaves don’t matter.

4. Carrot greens

The lanky Bugs Bunny-like green tops on carrots are edible. Carrot greens are super delicious and loaded with nutrients.

Carrot tops have an earthy root-vegetable flavor, similar to beet greens or Swiss chard. The carrot greens and parsley are tangoes for their mild bitterness.

Parsley and carrot belong to the same plant family. Carrot greens tend to be a little tougher than fresh parsley but both share a similar flavor.

To use, chop up some carrot tops just as you do with parsley and sprinkle them onto the dish as a garnish.  Surely, carrot tops can mimic parsley’s herbaceous greenish brightness on your pesto, chimichurri, and salad.

Other alternatives for garnishing

Above we have discussed the four best replacements for parsley. Let us now look at some other alternatives for parsley that are helpful when you are left with no other options.

5. Basil

Basil and parsley do not share the same flavor profile but both stand good as a garnish.

Use basil to garnish your favorite dishes to give them an appetizing greenish brightness, especially in place of parsley.

Basil has a stronger and distinctive aroma in comparison to parsley. The benefit of using basil instead of parsley is not the flavor but the green flourish it adorns your dishes.

The strong aroma of basil can subdue the original flavor of your dish if used in excess. When using basil as a substitute for parsley, use just half of the parsley that you would normally use in a dish.

6. Mint

Mint is sweeter and highly pungent than parsley. Certainly, they both don’t agree with flavor but are similar in greenish texture. Most importantly, the health benefits they provide are quite the same and very useful.

Mint leaves are a popular garnish item in Asian cooking. In the absence of parsley, you can comfortably use mint for garnishing your dishes.

If you are just using mint in place of parsley for garnishing purposes, no vinegar will be needed. Pay special attention to balance the sweetness of your dish.

7. Oregano

Oregano belongs to the mint family. It has a strong savory taste. For purposes of garnishing your dishes, this can be used to substitute parsley.

Please note, use oregano in less quantity than parsley otherwise its strong flavor may become overwhelming.

8. Rosemary

Rosemary has a distinctive sharp flavor and piney aroma and can be used fresh or dried.

It is a good stand-in for parsley as this serves as a wonderful ingredient for garnishing your dishes. While swapping rosemary for parsley, use it in less quantity than parsley for its strong flavor and aroma can become dominant.

9. Tarragon

Tarragon is a popular ingredient in French cuisine. Tarragon has a slightly bittersweet flavor and an aroma similar to anise.

The flavor of this herb is quite different from parsley, yet it works as a parsley substitute for garnish. Similar to parsley, it easily complements many flavors.

10. Chives

Chives have a flavor like garlic and onions and resemble small green onion sprigs.

Fresh chives have a bright green color, suitable for garnishing the dishes as a replacement for parsley.  In addition, the mild flavor of chives complements well into many varieties of foods.

While you use it as an alternative for parsley, use it in moderate quantity.

The bottom line

Parsley is a commonly used herb as a garnish and in cooking. If you don’t have it at hand, it’s easy to find alternatives that can stand in their place.

We recommend cilantro, carrot greens, celery leaves, and chervil leaves as the best substitutes for parsley.

We’re sure the substitutes that we have suggested will help you in cooking delicious dishes even when parsley isn’t available to you.