Best Sage Substitute

Don’t have any sage on hand while you’re making a recipe? Here’s the best sage substitute for the fresh and dried form of this herb.

Sage substitute

Making a recipe that calls for sage and don’t have it? Or want to substitute dried sage for fresh? Sage is a fresh herb with a earthy pine-scented flavor that originated in the Mediterranean. While it’s used in may recipes, it’s flavor is most often associated with the holidays for its popular use in stuffing and with poultry. Sage has

When it’s the season, we recommend growing sage in your garden (here’s How to Grow Herbs). And of course, dried sage 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 sage substitute for the dried and fresh herb.

How to substitute dried sage for fresh?

The best option for fresh sage is to use dried if you have it on hand! One note about dried sage: there are two types you can buy: rubbed sage and powdered or ground sage. Rubbed sage is made by rubbing the leaves together and it has a coarse, fluffy texture. Powdered sage is a fine powder. We recommend rubbed sage because it has the best flavor. Here’s the conversion ratio:

Ratio: For 8 large or 12 medium sage leaves or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage, substitute 1 teaspoon rubbed sage. 

Best sage substitute

Note that how these options work depend on the type of recipe and how the sage used. Of course, it’s best to run out and grab some if at all possible.

1. Rosemary (fresh or dried).

The best sage substitute? Rosemary. Rosemary has similar pine-like undertones, and it’s especially effective fresh. You can also use it dried, but keep in mind it has a different look (rosemary has long needles vs a ground appearance). Use equal parts of fresh or dried rosemary for fresh or dried sage. Or you could use the fresh vs dried ratio above to substitute 1 teaspoon dried rosemary for 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage.

2. Thyme (fresh or dried).

The next best sage substitute? Thyme. Thyme has a similar herbaceous quality to sage, but it’s not nearly as strong. Of course it doesn’t have the unique earthy flavor that sage brings, but it will do in a pinch. You can use equal parts fresh or dried thyme for fresh or dried sage.

3. Poultry seasoning (dried).

Here’s a fun trick! Sage is usually the main ingredient in poultry seasoning, so in a pinch you could use it as a substitute for sage. This works for the dried version only.

4. Marjoram (fresh or dried).

A final sage substitute? Marjoram. This herb is a little more unique, so you might not have it on hand. But it can work if you have it. Substitute equal parts fresh or dried marjoram for fresh or dried sage.

Here are some of our favorite recipes featuring fresh or dried sage:

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

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

Cookbook Author and photographer

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.

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