3 Ways to Replace Herbs

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3 Ways to Replace Herbs
3 Ways to Replace Herbs

Realizing that a particular spice or blend of herbs has run out can be frustrating. However, with a little creativity, you can find something to complete the recipe. It may not be possible, in the middle of winter, to get the fresh rosemary that the recipe asks for in the garden, but you can use the dried one you have in the kitchen. If both the fresh and dry seasoning are gone, you can definitely find another similar flavor. There are also more creative solutions for using different types of herb in place of a ready-made spice you don't have. You can also sometimes use a mixture instead of a particular herb. In the end, you have to be willing to let go of something and use a little creativity to replace herbs.


Method 1 of 3: Replacing Fresh Herbs with Dried Herbs

Make Herb Substitutions Step 1

Step 1. Use a three-to-one ratio of fresh to dried herbs in replacements

For example, if the recipe calls for a tablespoon of fresh oregano, you can use a teaspoon of the dried herb instead.

  • Dried herbs have a more concentrated flavor, so you should use a smaller portion than fresh herbs in the recipe.
  • Fresh herbs are often used to give freshness and life, so such substitutions will change the recipe. The flavors will be more concentrated, but the dish will lose some of its vibrancy.
Make Herb Substitutions Step 2

Step 2. Replace fresh salvia with dry or powdered one

If you've run out of fresh sage to season your Christmas turkey or other meat, use the dry one. Keep in mind that it has a more concentrated flavor and you need to use a third of the amount of fresh sage the recipe calls for.

Make Herb Substitutions Step 3

Step 3. Use dried rosemary instead of fresh

Rosemary is often used in baked dishes, sauces and meats in Mediterranean recipes. If your fresh rosemary has run out, you can use the dried one. Remember to put in only one third of the recipe amount.

Make Herb Substitutions Step 4

Step 4. Replace fresh mint with dry mint

Mint is a great seasoning for savory dishes. It is also used in many desserts and in some beverages such as tea or mojito. If the recipe calls for a tablespoon of chopped fresh mint, put a teaspoon of the dried in place.

Make Herb Substitutions Step 5

Step 5. Use dry cilantro instead of fresh

Dry coriander doesn't work very well in garnishes, but you can use it if you want to mix it with the other ingredients in the main dish.

If the recipe calls for a large portion of fresh cilantro, it might be better to make another dish

Method 2 of 3: Replacing One Herb with Another

Make Herb Substitutions Step 6

Step 1. Replace bay leaves with thyme or oregano

Add a quarter of a teaspoon of thyme or dried oregano to each bay leaf in the recipe.

For example, if you need a bay leaf for a stew and you don't have any within reach, you can use a quarter of a teaspoon of thyme or oregano to replace it

Make Herb Substitutions Step 7

Step 2. Use caraway seeds to replace cumin

Caraway and cumin are related, as both are in the parsley family. The flavor is similar, although cumin is more almond and smoky, while caraway is sweeter and more earthy. Start with a little less caraway than the cumin recipe calls for and add until you get the flavor you want.

You can also substitute powdered cumin for coriander, but be aware that it will lose some of the smoky, almond flavor. The cilantro will give a more citrus touch to the dish

Make Herb Substitutions Step 8

Step 3. Replace the cilantro with a mixture of parsley, tarragon and dill

If you need a replacement for fresh cilantro, use an equivalent amount of parsley, tarragon or fresh dill. Another alternative is to use a mixture of all three to replace an equivalent amount of cilantro. Swapping works best on trims.

Make Herb Substitutions Step 9

Step 4. Use cumin, fennel or caraway to replace coriander

If you need to replace powdered coriander or the seeds, you can use an equivalent amount of cumin, fennel or caraway seeds, or a combination of all three.

Make Herb Substitutions Step 10

Step 5. Use other Mediterranean herbs to replace the sage

If both fresh and dried sage have run out, use an equivalent amount of another Mediterranean herb instead. Try, for example, one of the following replacements:

  • Use marjoram in place of sage. It is salty like sage but has a more citrus flavor.
  • Replace the sage with rosemary. Rosemary tastes more citrusy and closer to pine than sage, but the substitution works well.
  • Use thyme in place of sage. Its taste is a little more reminiscent of mint, but the change will give a great result.
  • Use savory instead of sage. The peppery taste resembles that of sage, which makes savory excellent for enhancing the pepper flavor of the dish.
Make Herb Substitutions Step 11

Step 6. Replace summer savory with winter savory

Savory is widely used in Mediterranean cuisine, mainly in meat and grains, but also in vegetable recipes with mushrooms. When replacing, remember that winter savory is a little stronger. You can also try one of the following exchanges:

  • Replace summer savory with thyme and a little mint.
  • Use a mixture of equivalent servings of parsley and celery leaves in place of summer savory.

Method 3 of 3: Using Ready-Made Seasonings in Herb Replacements

Make Herb Substitutions Step 12

Step 1. Address fresh or dried sage shortages using poultry seasoning

Sage has a peppery and earthy flavor, similar to poultry seasonings, which have a similar profile in that they are composed of sage and other herbs. Use the same portion of poultry seasoning that the recipe calls for for sage.

Some poultry seasonings contain salt, so you may need to adjust the recipe to avoid getting too salty

Make Herb Substitutions Step 13

Step 2. Replace cumin with pepper seasoning

This way, you'll be able to add a little cumin to the recipe this way, since it is usually present in pepper seasonings. However, pay attention to the other seasonings in the mixture. They can include cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic and onion powder.

You can also use Garam masala. This spice mix contains cumin as well as cilantro, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Additional spices such as fennel are sometimes also present. Start with half the amount of cumin you would use and add until you reach the desired flavor

Make Herb Substitutions Step 14

Step 3. Make your own Ras el hanout

Mix equal amounts of paprika, cilantro and ginger and a dash of turmeric.

Another alternative is to use only powdered coriander as a substitute for Ras el hanout. The flavor won't have the same complexity, but the switch works well

Make Herb Substitutions Step 15

Step 4. Make a simple version of Bahrat

If you don't have Bahrat at home, make your own with equal portions of paprika, cumin and cinnamon.

You can also simply replace Bahrat with cumin

Make Herb Substitutions Step 16

Step 5. Use black pepper or curry to replace Garam masala

If you don't have Garam masala for a recipe, use a little black pepper or mild curry to warm up the dish.

You can also substitute Garam masala by making a version with all the ingredients you have at home. Roast over medium heat for two minutes: two tablespoons of coriander; a tablespoon of cumin, cardamom and black peppercorns; a teaspoon of fennel and mustard seeds; half a teaspoon of cloves; and two dried red peppers. Then grind the roasted spices in a coffee grinder and add two tablespoons of turmeric powder. Store the seasoning mixture in a pot

Make Herb Substitutions Step 17

Step 6. Make your own Provence herbs

If you need a substitute for herbs from Provence, try making your own mixture. Use a spice grinder or coffee to mix two teaspoons of dried thyme, two teaspoons of dry savory, one teaspoon of dried marjoram, one teaspoon of dried lavender, half a teaspoon of dried rosemary, half a teaspoon of fennel seeds and a crushed bay leaf.

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