Thyme or also called Thymus Vulgaris is a kind of herb in the same family as that of basil, mint, oregano and Shiso. The lemon thyme and the regular fresh thyme can be used in different varieties of recipes and savory dishes. But what if you do not have access to thyme? Not to worry as there are a number of substitute for thyme. In this article, we will talk more about thyme and the common thyme substitutes that you can use as a replacement.
What is Thyme?
Common Thyme is an herb that is the most popular variety of thyme has a minty, earthy and have a slight lemon flavor. It is characterized to be small with round leave that typically grows in groups of clusters found on woody stems. Since there are different varieties of thyme such as caraway thyme, za’atar thyme, orange thyme and others.
Thyme is a versatile herb that is used in savory food and different recipes such as soups, sauces, marinades, braises as well as meat, poultry and seafood dishes. Other recipes that makes thyme a delicious addition in side dishes such as vegetables, potatoes as well as bread.
Thyme taste that of an earthy flavor with hints of mint, grass and or wood. Thyme smells like a wood herbal plant, its fragrance resembles as that of a roasted dish inside the oven.
Best Substitute For Thyme
The very first on the list as a substitute for thyme is Oregano. It is similar to thyme wherein is also has an earthy flavor but a lot stronger than thyme. Aside from that, it also has a spicy herbal undertone.
In using oregano as substitute for thyme, you are use this 1:1 ratio. Fresh oregano as a substitute for fresh thyme whilst 1:1 ratio for dried oregano as a substitute for dried thyme. However, when using fresh oregano as a substitute for dry thyme, you can use 2:1 ratio wherein 2 fresh oregano for 1 dried thyme. But for dried oregano as a substitute for fresh thyme, you can just use half teaspoon of dried oregano than that of fresh thyme.
Another recommended ratio between oregano and thyme should be in a whole teaspoon of thyme, should be replaced with at least 3 quarters of a teaspoon of oregano.
Savory is another popular substitute for thyme which is a member of the mint family. Savory is also known for as Summer savory or Winter savory.
Summer savory generally has a pepper flavor, this means that it goes well with meat and fish dishes. While winter savory on the other hand has a more toned down on its earthy flavor which can be used in any kinds of recipes.
When using savory to replace thyme, follow the 1:1 ratio. This means that one teaspoon of savory to substitute for one teaspoon of thyme.
Marjoram is widely popular as an Italian seasoning. Marjoram is similar to thyme in so many way, making it a good thyme substitute. Aside from both is a member of the mint family, both also are similar in terms of taste. Also, marjoram is also similar to oregano too which makes it more similar to thyme.
Its woody yet minty flavor makes it similar to oregano but marjoram more has a sweet flavor.
When using marjoram as thyme substitute, you can use the following ratios below:
- 1:1 for fresh marjoram for fresh thyme
- 1:1 for dried marjoram for dried thyme
- 1/2 dried marjoram for fresh thyme
- 2x the amount of fresh marjoram as substitute for dried thyme.
Marjoram is a great substitute for thyme because it goes well with vegetable and meat dishes, even with soups too.
Herbes de Provence
Herbes de provence is a mixture of dried herbs such as dried basil, rosemary, marjoram, parsley, tarragon, thyme, bay leaf and fennel seeds. Since herbes de provence is a mixture of different flavors, the taste may slightly differ as that when using thyme alone.
When using herbes de provence as substitutes for thyme, use the 1:1 ratio which means one teaspoon of Herbes De Provence as substitute for one teaspoon of thyme.
Italian seasoning is a mixture of herbs that is also an excellent thyme substitute. As the name suggests, it goes well with Italian dishes but not only that it works well too with other Mediterranean cuisines as well.
Italian seasoning is similar to Herbes de Provence wherein it also comprises the mixture of marjoram, oregano, rosemary, dried basil and savory. In other varieties there can be sage, garlic powder or cilantro on the mixture.
If you want to use Italian seasoning as thyme substitute follow the 1:1 ratio wherein you substitute 1 tsp. of thyme to 1 tsp of Italian Seasoning.
Poultry seasoning is another favorite thyme substitute. It typically contains dried sage and thyme although accompanied by other seasonings such as marjoram, black pepper, rosemary, and nutmeg. Since thyme is included in the mixture, poultry seasoning is used to substitute thyme.
It has quiet that intense flavor most especially when salt is added to the dish. Make sure not to put to much salt and not to add at once.
Basil is widely used seasoning in most of the recipes worldwide, more so as a substitute for thyme.
Using dried basil is not really recommended, make sure to use fresh basil in recipes such as tomato based dishes or Mediterranean dishes.
When using basil as thyme substitute, you use at least half or 50% that of fresh basil.
Za’atar or also known as Thymbra Spicata comes from Marjoram and oregano family. It is a mixture of herbs such as dried thyme, marjoram and oregano. Other varieties contains sumac, sesame seeds and salt. The mixture creates a nutty, or tangy herbal flavor to your dish. Since it contains salt, make sure to lessen the amount of salt in the dish.
Za’atar works well in giving an excellent flavors to vegetables, appetizers, and side dishes such as dips.
Fresh Thyme to Dried Thyme Ratio
You can use fresh thyme as an alternative to dried thyme in any recipe. You can always substitute dried thyme for fresh thymes.
There are different ratios between fresh herb and dried herbs, you just need to remember that dried herbs create a stronger flavor as compared to fresh herbs.
How to use fresh thyme in your recipes
Using fresh thyme in recipes is pretty simple. All you need to do is to simply pull the leaves from its stem. Finely chopped the leaves and then add to your dish.
It is not actually that difficult when looking for the best thyme substitutes as there are several different options to choose from. Always remember that when choosing the best substitute for thyme, you have to consider the flavor you want to create that varies with the kind of dish that you are preparing.
We hope that this guide has helped you identify the different thyme substitutes that you can try and hope to choose which is your favorite thyme substitutes that suits your dish well.