Poultry Seasoning Substitute – 5 Simple Options That Work

What Is Poultry Seasoning?

Poultry seasoning is an appealing herb blend that adds robust depth to poultry dishes. Going beyond the traditional poultry recipes, its uses stretch beyond chicken and turkey. Some love to mix it into spice rubs, and marinades for lamb, beef, and veal, or drizzle it over your favorite stuffing recipe.

In case, you don’t have poultry seasoning readily available, then look for other blends or ingredients that can replace it. This article explores the best substitutes for poultry seasoning that are flavorful and satiating.

What Is Poultry Seasoning Made Of?

What is poultry seasoning made of? The traditional poultry seasoning is made with dried spicy herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, sage, ground black pepper, and marjoram. Some brands of this blend may also contain a few other ingredients like celery salt, ground ginger, garlic powder, nutmeg, celery seeds, or cloves.

All ingredients in this seasoning are entirely vegetarian and vegan. Therefore you can comfortably use it in vegetarian and vegan recipes besides meat dishes.  Furthermore, all the constituent herbs in poultry seasoning are easily available in any good grocery store.

Best Substitutes For Poultry Seasoning

What can be used in place of poultry seasoning? It is easy to find a replacement for poultry seasoning as all the ingredients in it are easily available and commonly used in other herb blends. If you don’t have ready to use a pre-mixed blend of this seasoning, either you can make it at home or use another herb blend that has similar ingredients.

Choose any of the following options to use as a poultry seasoning substitute that suits your recipe.

1. Homemade Poultry Seasoning

When you don’t have the pre-mixed or branded poultry seasoning, don’t panic.  If you have the basic ingredients you can make it very easily. All the ingredients you might already have in your spice rack; it doesn’t matter if one or two of them are missing.

For this herb mixture, the most important ingredient is sage. You’ll find it heavily used in McCormick’s or Bell’s seasoning blend. In fact, sage is the ingredient that dominates the flavor profile of poultry seasoning. Therefore, sage is the must-have ingredient in your homemade poultry seasoning.

Ingredients (required for 25 servings):

  • 2 teaspoons ground dried sage
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground dried marjoram
  • ¾ teaspoon ground dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper

Use dried and ground ingredients, and mix them well to make the seasoning blend.

Some of the ingredients are optional and you may alter them according to the flavor profile of your recipe. Moreover, you may add to the blend any of the additional ingredients like ground ginger, garlic powder, celery salt, celery seeds, or cloves according to your taste preferences.

Note that adding too many spices and herbs to the blend will make your poultry seasoning more complex and nuanced. Sage is the most important ingredient. Besides sage, only a few other basic ingredients are required to produce the original essence of traditional poultry seasoning.

2. Herbs de Provence

Herbes de Provence is a mixture of dried herbs considered typical of the Provence region of southeastern France. This blend is an integral part of several Provencal recipes.

A traditional herbes de Provence contains most of the key ingredients in poultry seasoning such as thyme, rosemary, and marjoram. However, sage, the most important ingredient in poultry seasoning is absent in herbes de Provence.

Usually, most varieties of this blend include lavender that actually dominates its flavor profile. Lavender can very well suit a poultry recipe though some would not appreciate it.

Despite a few major differences, this herb blend can work in poultry dishes. For a better substitute option, you can add a pinch of sage to herbes de Provence while using it in place of poultry seasoning.

3. Italian seasoning

Italian seasoning renders most of the flavor notes that you get from poultry seasoning. In fact, it is an American seasoning blend despite the name Italian being prefixed to it. Italian seasoning originated in America for the sake of European immigrants who loved to have Mediterranean dishes.

Italian seasoning blends include thyme, marjoram, and rosemary akin to poultry seasoning. When you are using Italian seasoning to replace poultry seasoning add ½ teaspoon of sage to make it work perfectly for poultry recipes.

4. Za’atar

Za’atar is a culinary herb, as well as a spice mixture that includes herbs like marjoram and thyme along with toasted sesame seeds, dried sumac, and often salt. It’s a popularly used traditional herbs blend in Middle Eastern cooking and also includes some of the European recipes.

Za’atar also includes sumac which is a departure from the original flavor of poultry seasoning but they can interchangeably work in the same recipes.

Adding a little sage to Za’atar is a great idea while using this herb blend as a substitution for poultry seasoning.

5. Other Alternatives

Let us now look at some of the single herb alternatives to poultry seasoning:

Dry sage: Use ½ a teaspoon of dry sage in place of one teaspoon of poultry seasoning. Adding a pinch of dry thyme and rosemary to dry sage is still a better option.

Dry thyme: Use 1/3 teaspoon of dry thyme to substitute 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning. It works perfectly for chicken, turkey, stuffings, and soups.

Dry marjoram: Use 1/3 teaspoon of dry marjoram for every teaspoon of poultry seasoning. The citrusy and slightly woody notes of marjoram are a nice addition to poultry dishes.

Dry rosemary: Use ½ a teaspoon of dry rosemary to substitute one teaspoon of poultry seasoning. It works great in most poultry dishes. It also goes well with other ingredients like sage, thyme, and marjoram.

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