Don’t have parsley, or realized you’re all out while you’re cooking? Here’s the best parsley substitute for both the dried and fresh herb.

Parsley substitute

Making a recipe that calls for parsley and don’t have it? Parsley is an herb with a clean, peppery flavor and subtly bitter undertone. It’s often used in Mediterranean cuisine and has a vibrant green color. There are two types of parsley: curly parsley has curly leaves and Italian parsley has dark green, flat leaves. While it’s most often used fresh, some recipes also call for dried parsley. Don’t have time to shop for it? Here are some ideas for a parsley substitute.

Keep in mind: some recipes require fresh parsley

Cooking a recipe with the word “parsley” in the title? Or making the popular Middle Eastern salad Tabbouleh, known for its heavy use of parsley? If so, try to find the real thing if at all possible! For these types of recipes, it’s worth waiting for when you’re able to find it. But if you must: keep reading for the best parsley substitutes.

Best parsley substitute

1. Celery leaves (in a recipe)

The best parsley substitute for cooking into a recipe? Celery leaves. Yes, that’s the leaves from the top of a bunch of celery! They have a flavor that’s oddly quite similar…because it’s a member of the parsley family itself! This substitute is especially great for cooked recipes like a soup or stew.

2. Carrot greens (in a recipe)

Another parsley substitute for cooking? Carrot greens: as in, the greens from the top of a bunch of carrots! Carrots are also part of the parsley family and have a similar bitter undertone to parsley leaves. You’ll want to chop them very finely. (And again, don’t try this in parsley-heavy recipes like tabbouleh.)

3. Fresh basil (as a garnish)

The next best parsley substitute? Many recipes call for finely chopped parsley as a garnish, like to sprinkle onto roasted vegetables, fries, or a soup. In this case, the function of the parsley is mainly about the green color, not the flavor. In this case, basil is a nice option because it is similarly Mediterranean in vibe. You could use other green fresh herbs: just use your best judgement. Cilantro is not always optimal because it has such a strong flavor, but it does work as a substitute in Middle Eastern-style dishes (for example, where parsley and cilantro might be used together, like falafel). See more at Parsley vs Cilantro.

4. Dried basil or omit (for dried)

Some recipes call for dried parsley: for example in soups or seasoning mixes. You can generally substitute dried basil as a one for one substitute. One exception is Ranch Seasoning: you’ll want to get the real thing because it’s an integral part of the ranch flavor.

Parsley recipes

Here are some parsley recipes where you can use this parsley substitute:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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2 Comments

    1. You could definitely add a tablespoon or two of dried parsley but it wouldn’t bring the depth of flavor that fresh would.