Thyme Substitute: A Guide to Different Herbs

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Seasoning can take your meal to the next level, but you may not like all the recipe ingredients. Here’s a look at some thyme substitutes you can use. 

Picture this: you just went grocery shopping yesterday to stock up on everything needed for your weekly meals when you realize one essential element is missing –– seasoning. It's easy to get preoccupied with purchasing produce, meat, and sides that you forget to check on which herbs and spices you may need. 

In just a moment, we'll show you how easy it can be to ensure you have everything needed to prepare dinner. But first, let's talk about one seasoning in particular: thyme. We'll show you how to use thyme and what to use when you've run out of this ingredient, so you feel confident in the kitchen.

What Is Thyme?

Thyme is a Mediterranean herb that grows on small stems in bushy groups. Many types of thyme are used in different ways, such as medicinally, ornamentally, and dietarily. The most common variation of thyme is Thymus vulgaris, an herb that people enjoy adding to their dishes to contribute unique flavor. 

Some sources claim that thyme may have food-preserving properties as well! Regardless of its many uses, it's a staple in the kitchen for many people. 

How To Use Thyme

This fragrant herb has a reputation for use in many recipes. It is available both fresh or dried, and depending upon which form you have on hand, you might add it at a different time or use a different measurement. 

Fresh Thyme

Fresh thyme can be very easy to get and use. If you have an herb garden in your kitchen with thyme, you might simply break off the leaves and add them to your dish. On the other hand, you might add a sprig of thyme, which is basically a twig of thyme with a stem attached to the leaves. 

Dried Thyme

The thyme you see in seasoning bottles is dried thyme. You might sprinkle this seasoning at the beginning of a recipe to add flavor. If your recipe calls for fresh thyme, you can substitute a third of that amount with dried thyme. 

What To Use Instead of Thyme

Let's say you're preparing to have dinner guests this week, and you've been planning the perfect recipe. The day arrives, and you begin prepping your meat, veggies, and appetizer, only to realize you're missing thyme to season your dishes. 

In this scenario, let's say it's rush hour traffic, and you don't have time to go to the store to grab more thyme in time to prepare your dishes. Luckily, there are several seasonings you can use in thyme's place if you've run out of this herb. 

Let's discuss the most appropriate thyme substitutes and the differences between each option. After reading about these herbs, you'll have the know-how to choose an alternate seasoning in a pinch. 


Almost any fresh herbs will make an acceptable substitute for thyme, but oregano is a great herb to start with. To use oregano as a substitute, note that you can use a 1:1 ratio for fresh thyme. The same goes when swapping dried oregano for dried thyme. However, if you plan on using fresh oregano instead of dried thyme, you'll want to use a 2:1 ratio. 

Oregano is a terrific replacement for thyme since it tends to be slightly bitter, earthy, and minty. Keeping this spice around can come in handy.


If you're in need of an herb replacement for thyme and you don't have any oregano, marjoram is a terrific second-best alternative. It's similar to thyme and oregano with its woody essence but tends to be slightly sweeter and more delicate. When using this herb as a replacement for thyme, keep the same substitution ratio rules in place that we mentioned for oregano. 


This mint family herb makes another acceptable substitution when you're short on thyme. However, it maintains a few distinctions in its flavor profile. It tends to have a peppery, robust flavor, making it slightly more vibrant. Regardless, you can still follow the same substitution rules when adding this herb to your dish.


Did you know that basil and thyme are in the same herb family? Because of this similarity, basil makes an excellent swap for thyme. The exception with this herb is that you'll want to use half as much fresh basil as you would fresh thyme. Basil tends to be potent, so cutting the amount will still yield a flavorful dish. 

Italian Seasoning

Sometimes, bottled herbs can make terrific seasoning blends. In the case of Italian seasoning, you'll find multiple herbs that contribute to its rich flavor. It contains thyme, so it's a solid alternative to add to your dish when you're short on fresh or dried thyme. 

Herbes de Provence

This blend of herbs comes from the Provence region of France. This blend contains marjoram, basil, rosemary, parsley, tarragon, thyme, and fennel seeds. Remember that this blend of herbs tends to be quite potent, so you'll want to add it in a little bit at a time.

How To Store Herbs

When you're using dried herbs, you'll usually already have a container where you can store them. On the other hand, storing fresh herbs may be a mystery to you!

Here are a few steps to storing fresh herbs:

  1. First, wash the herbs you're going to use.
  2. Next, remove any wilted leaves and snip the stems of each herb.
  3. Place your spices in a jar with a thin layer of water at the bottom (around an inch).
  4. Seal the jar and keep your herbs in the refrigerator.

Where To Find Herbs

If you're going to the grocery store, locating the items you need can feel challenging. If you use dried herbs, you'll most likely be able to locate them in the seasoning aisle. However, if you're hoping to find fresh herbs, you'll want to look in the produce section.

Let's Make Groceries Simpler

Running out of the ingredients you need can be frustrating. Fortunately, we can show you a few ways to simplify grocery shopping, so you don't run into this problem so often!

At Jow, we can help out with all things grocery! We help you create custom menus for the week of recipes you love, and then we optimize your grocery list, so there are enough of each ingredient for everyone at your table. Plus, our recipes are easy-peasy, so you can follow them to execute deliciously simple meals every time. 

Dig Into Tasty Meals

Mealtimes don't have to be a headache! At Jow, we're happy to help you shop for what you need while discovering recipes you love. It's never been so easy to keep your pantry stocked on all your necessities.

6 Easy Thyme Recipes

Let's say you're ready to put your seasoning capabilities to the test. Whether you have thyme or you want to use a replacement, we've got several easy meal ideas you can try!

Gnocchi With Parmesan Cream and Thyme

Heavenly gnocchi with creamy sauce and thyme seasoning? Yes, please! This delicious gnocchi dish is an excellent option for wowing guests. The best part is that it's ready in around ten minutes.

Polenta With Summer Veggies

Not every night feels right to have pizza or burgers. Sometimes, you just want a light, fresh meal that tastes flavorful with every bite! Our Polenta With Summer Veggies is a terrific meatless option that doesn't take long to make. Enjoy rich veggies with garlic and thyme!

Pork Tenderloin With Mustard Sauce

Pork is an excellent entree to prepare when you want to mix things up. Our Pork Tenderloin With Mustard Sauce is proof that great meals don't have to take hours to prepare. Enjoy this dish in as little as fifteen minutes!

Fig and Goat Cheese Tart

Want to get creative with your meals? Our Fig and Goat Cheese Tart makes it possible for you to enjoy flavors of thyme, fig jam, and onion on a delicious flaky tart. It's ready in twenty-five minutes!

Roasted Sausage Peppers and Potatoes

Preparing a meal in one pan can help make your mealtime even more manageable. This one-pan wonder is a dish you'll want to keep on a regular rotation. Garlic and onion are the star flavors of the show, with thyme making a delightful appearance. You can enjoy our Roasted Sausage Peppers and Potatoes in no time. 

Goat Cheese-Stuffed Butternut Squash

When you're craving something creamy, this is the dish to make. Our Goat Cheese-Stuffed Butternut Squash is a perfect addition to any cool-weather day. Enjoy it solo or prepare it as a side dish for your main course.