Thyme is a delicate plant with thyme leaves and thyme essential oil. The thyme plant may be small but has a powerful flavor that can add so much to an ordinary dish. Thyme has many health benefits, such as boosting the immune system and preventing inflammation in the body.
Unfortunately, thyme is not always accessible everywhere and not everyone can afford it at all times. There are instances when thyme may not be available or thyme needs to be replaced in a recipe and no thyme substitute can be found. So how does one replace thyme? What’s the best thyme substitute?
Best Thyme Substitute
Mint is commonly used as a replacement for thyme in thyme recipes. Mint and thyme both belong to the mint family, so it’s not surprising that thyme can be replaced by mint easily. There are two kinds of mint: spearmint and peppermint. Spearmint has a milder flavor than peppermint and is sometimes preferred because thyme has a robust taste. The best thyme substitute is one-third thyme with two-thirds of either spearmint or peppermint leaves.
The taste of thyme is very strong, so using the fresh herb is even more intense than using dried thyme, which tastes slightly different. The flavor of this herb is usually described as being somewhat like oregano but earthier due to its origins in the Mediterranean region. It’s also an ingredient in the popular French bouquet garni.
Oregano has a peppery flavor but thyme does not have this characteristic at all. Despite having different flavors, oregano still works as thyme for most dishes, especially Italian ones like pasta, pizza toppings, etc. Oregano can be used as thyme for an average thyme substitution of 1:1.
Unlike thyme, oregano has more of orange color and is less subtle in taste. It has elongated leaves that are italicized. Oregano can fall under two categories: Mediterranean oregano, grown mostly west of the Middle East, and Mexican oregano, grown almost exclusively south of the United States border.
Lavender is thyme’s best thyme substitute because lavender has the same aromatic smell and taste as thyme does. The main difference between thyme and lavender is that thyme comes in green color whereas lavender flowers come in blue, purple, or white colors. Lavender may not be easy to find depending on where you live so thyme can also be replaced with rosemary if necessary.
The leaves of this plant produce a similar flavor to thyme, and they also help repel insects like ants and mosquitos. This alternative thyme works great in dishes like salads and pasta.
Rosemary is thyme’s close cousin botanically speaking. They are both members of the mint family, genus “Rosmarinus”. The leaves are different from each other. Thyme leaves are smaller and more oval-shaped compared to thyme which is larger and more needle-like. Rosemary is thyme’s best thyme substitute for dishes where thyme but not lavender can be used.
There are many types of Rosemary plants, ranging from dwarf varieties to large shrubs. The plants are very fragrant, with needle-like leaves that are pine green. Thyme is not actually related to the rose family, but it does have similar leaves and flower heads. Rosemary flowers range from bright purple to white or pinkish-white flowers that bloom in clusters at the end of branches during the summer months.
5) Bay Leaves
Bay leaves have a somewhat similar appearance with thyme leaves so its best thyme substitute for thyme is bay laurel or bay leaf. Bay leaves come from the bay laurel tree, a Mediterranean evergreen shrub that can grow up to 40 feet tall. Bay laurels must be picked when fully ripe as they drop their foliage very easily before then. As such, those harvested early do not have the same flavor as those who were allowed to ripen first on the tree before harvesting. Bay leaves also come in two types: Turkish and Californian bay laurel. Also, thyme can be replaced with marjoram if thyme is unavailable at all times.
The aromatic property comes from their essential oil content. Many recipes call for dried thyme because thyme is so flavorful and you don’t need to use much thyme at all. In fact, thyme can be pretty strong if you add too much thyme to your dish, so it may be helpful to have an alternative thyme substitute when necessary.
Is Parsley okay in a bouquet instead of Thyme?
Yes, thyme and parsley are cousins in the mint family, so thyme can totally be replaced with parsley. I suggest that you use one part thyme and two parts parsley to make thyme using parsley instead!
Also, try to get fresh thyme leaves; dried thyme won’t provide you with thyme’s thyme flavor. This is because thyme is an herbaceous shrub or small tree with leaves that are very fragrant when thyme is fresh. Thyme becomes woody when they get dried. If you want thyme’s taste in your dish, it has to be fresh.
If you use the same amount of each ingredient, then yes it should be okay to use parsley instead of thyme in a bouquet garni. As long as they have similar flavors/textures, then they will work just fine! Hope this helps
Is it possible to substitute Dill with Thyme?
It depends on the thyme recipe. There are many substitutes that you can use to replace thyme, but they may not yield the same thyme results.
Yes, it’s possible to substitute dill with thyme if thyme is unavailable at all times or if you don’t have any dill on hand. Just remember that there are differences between dill and thyme. So try not to use them interchangeably unless specified by the recipe. Dill has a more grassy flavor.
Thyme leaves are smaller than dill leaves, but it depends on what you’re cooking. Dill can also be replaced with parsley depending on the recipe. Both have grassy flavors, which make them good substitutes for each other.