Tarragon 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 tarragon in recipes.
Making a recipe that calls for tarragon and don’t have it? We’ve got all the answers. Tarragon is an herb often used in French cooking, but it’s also used in other Mediterranean and European cuisines. The fresh herb has an anise or licorice aftertaste, like fennel. The dried version is similar but not quite as strong.
Tarragon is so unique that if at all possible, go to the store and buy yourself some tarragon! Bearnaise sauce always has tarragon, so don’t even think about substituting it there. But if the store is all out or you don’t have time to shop, we get it. Here are the best substitutes for tarragon.
Best substitutes for tarragon
1. Fresh basil (for fresh tarragon)
The best fresh tarragon substitute? Fresh basil. Basil also has a vaguely anise / licorice flavor on the finish, and is bright green and herbaceous like tarragon. You can use it in a 1:1 substitution, just make sure to thinly slice the basil mimic the thin tarragon leaves.
2. Fennel fronds (for fresh tarragon)
The best fresh tarragon substitute? Fennel fronds. Fennel also has an anise / licorice flavor, and is delicately herby. (Then make Roasted Fennel with the bulbs!)
3. Dill (for fresh or dried tarragon)
Dill has a different flavor profile than tarragon, but you can use it in a pinch! Again, it’s got that licorice flavor on the finish. You can also use dried dill as a substitute for dried tarragon. In all cases, use it as a 1:1 substitution.
4. Dried oregano or marjoram (for dried tarragon)
You also might be able to get away with dried oregano or marjoram as a dried tarragon substitute! The flavor is not nearly the same, but the herby intrigue that it adds will mimic the way tarragon works in a recipe.
Here are some of our favorite recipes featuring tarragon: