Rosemary is hard to replace, but there are a few options if you don’t have this herb on hand! Here’s the best substitute for rosemary (fresh or dried) in recipes.

Substitute for Rosemary

Making a recipe that calls for rosemary and don’t have it? Or want to substitute dried rosemary for fresh? We’ve got all the answers. Rosemary has a pungent, spruce-like flavor. It is popular in Mediterranean cuisine like Italian, Greek and French style recipes.

We highly recommend growing rosemary in your garden (here’s How to Grow Herbs). Rosemary has such a distinct flavor that it’s hard to swap it out. If you can, the best option is to run to the store and grab some! But if that’s not an option, here are a few of the best substitutes for rosemary.

How do I substitute dried rosemary for fresh?

One option for fresh rosemary is to use dried if you have it on hand! Caveat: Dried rosemary is very brittle and hard to bite into unless it’s cooked. It doesn’t work as a garnish like fresh rosemary would. But if you’re making a recipe where it’s cooked, here’s the conversion ratio:

  • Ratio: For 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (in a cooked dish!), substitute 1 teaspoon dried rosemary. This works for any dried herbs.

Best substitute for rosemary

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

1. Thyme (fresh or dried, including garnishes).

Thyme can work as a substitute for rosemary, though its flavor is much more mild. (If you’re feeling bold, use sage below!) If you’re making a crostini or salad where it calls to use fresh rosemary leaves as a garnish, fresh thyme would work well. In cooked dishes, you can substitute equal parts of fresh or dried thyme for fresh or dried rosemary. It will taste like thyme (sorry!), but it will have a similar vibe to what the recipe intended.

2. Sage (fresh or dried, including garnishes).

Sage is a nice substitute for rosemary because they both have a pine-like flavor. Important: Sage is a very strong herb, so be careful in the way you use it. If a recipe calls for fresh rosemary as a garnish, use very thinly sliced sage leaves to taste. In cooked dishes, substitute ½ the amount fresh or dried sage for the rosemary, and then adjust to taste.

3. Marjoram or savory (dried).

Marjoram or savory have similar flavors to rosemary, so if you have them they work as a substitute. These herbs are a little more unique, so you might not have them on hand. (They’d likely work for fresh as well, but if you don’t have fresh rosemary we assume you don’t have fresh marjoram or savory, either!)

Related recipes

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

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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