Don’t have any fresh or dried oregano on hand while you’re making a recipe? Here’s the best oregano substitute to use in cooking.
Making a recipe that calls for oregano and don’t have it? Or want to substitute dried oregano for fresh? Oregano is a popular Mediterranean herb that’s most famously used in Italian pizza sauce. You’ll find when you add a pinch to a pizza or pasta sauce, your brain instantly recognizes the flavor. Oregano stars in cuisines like Mediterranean, Italian and Mexican recipes, and is used dried or fresh (though Mexican cuisine always uses the dried version).
When it’s the season, we highly recommend growing oregano in your garden (here’s How to Grow Herbs). And of course, dried oregano is a must in any home cook’s spice cabinet! But don’t have time to pick up more at the store? Here’s the best oregano substitute for the dried and fresh herb.
How do I substitute dried oregano for fresh?
The best option for fresh oregano is to use dried if you have it on hand! Here’s the conversion ratio. Ratio: For 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, substitute 1 teaspoon dried oregano. (This works for any dried herbs.)
Best oregano substitute
Note that how these options work depend on the type of recipe and how the oregano is used. Of course, it’s best to run out and grab some if at all possible.
1. Basil (fresh or dried).
The best oregano substitute? Basil. Use equal parts of fresh or dried basil for fresh or dried oregano. Keep in mind: this only works in Mediterranean cuisine! Basil has a distinctly Italian vibe, much like oregano. If you’re substituting for fresh oregano, you might want to try the second option below.
2. Thyme (fresh only).
The best oregano substitute for the fresh herb? Fresh thyme. Fresh thyme and oregano look very similar, and they do have a similar flavor in their fresh states. This is a great substitute if you’re using it for a garnish. Typically we’d avoid substituting dried thyme for dried oregano: it has a much stronger flavor.
3. Italian seasoning (dried, for Italian-style recipes).
Here’s a fun trick! Oregano is included in Italian seasoning, so in a pinch you could use it as a substitute for oregano. Of course, use this trick only in Italian style dishes.
4. Marjoram (dried, for Mexican style recipes).
The last best oregano substitute? Marjoram. Marjoram has a similar flavor to oregano. Dried marjoram can stand in for dried oregano in Mexican-style dishes. This herb is a little more unique, so you might not have it on hand.
Here are some of our favorite recipes featuring fresh or dried oregano:
- Oregano Tea
- Mushroom Pasta with Goat Cheese
- Best Ever Sauteed Mushrooms
- Greek Seasoning
- Pizza Marinara
- Italian Seasoning
- Grilled Zucchini
- Mushroom Pizza with Fresh Herbs
- Perfect Sauteed Zucchini
- Homemade Italian Dressing
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.