10 Most Essential Substitutes for Basil

May 12, 2023

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about basil. You’ll learn about the flavor and texture, as well as some home cooking ideas. Most importantly, you will get to know the substitute for basil when cooking in basil recipes.

What is Basil?

Basil is a member of the mint family. It provides taste to dishes and contains nutrients that may be beneficial to one’s health. Sweet basil (Ocimum Basilicum) is used in a variety of Mediterranean, especially Italian, dishes. Pesto is made from it, and it gives salads, pasta, pizza, and other food a particular flavor.

What Does Basil Taste Like?

Basil has a sweet and savory flavor profile, with overtones of mint, anise, and pepper. While this aromatic herb has distinct black pepper tones at first, it eventually provides a note of sweetness to any dish.

Fresh basil has a distinct flavor that is spicy with a tinge of anise. It gives anything you put in a tremendous burst of freshness. Salads and sauces are included in this category. The flavor of dried basil is rather different. It’s mellower and has a stronger oregano flavor. It’s great in sauces and soups, but it’s finest in salads and for presentation.

What Is Basil Smell Like?

The leaves have a strong, pungent, and often sweet aroma that tastes like anise, depending on the species and cultivar. The fragrance of the dried large-leaf variety is somewhat anise-like, and the flavor is warm, sweet, aromatic, and gently spicy. The dried leaves of common basil have a stronger flavor and are less aromatic.

What Are The Substitutes For Basil?

Don’t have any basil on hand, or realized you are out while cooking? To use in recipes, you may confuse to choose, and this is the finest substitute for dried and fresh basil. Basil isn’t like some other herbs with clear substitutes: it has a distinct flavor that is difficult to duplicate. When you locate it, it’ll be well worth the wait.

If you absolutely must, the followings are the best replacement for basil. This list includes fresh basil substitute and dried basil substitute. And also, you can substitute dry basil for fresh as well.

How Much Dried Basil Equals Fresh Basil?

2 Teaspoons Finely Chopped Fresh Basil for Every 1 Teaspoon of Dried Basil

If you are not comfortable with dried following basil substitutes are the best alternatives.

  1. Oregano
  2. Tarragon
  3. Mint
  4. Thyme
  5. Spinach leaves
  6. Italian Seasoning
  7. Celery Leaf
  8. Cilantro
  9. poultry seasoning
  10. Parsley

Best Basil Substitutes



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Oregano is an herb that is used in cooking. But the flavor profiles are not identical, it’s close enough that it’ll suffice in a pinch: it’ll add a lot of Italian flavors. To replace fresh oregano or dried basil, use equal amounts of fresh oregano or dry oregano.

Another herb that is widely used in Mediterranean cooking is oregano. This popular plant has a similar flavor profile to basil, except it has a stronger flowery, peppery flavor. This substitution can be used in spaghetti sauces, casseroles, and even pizza or bruschetta topping.

Oregano is spicy and pungent, and it gives foods a genuine depth of flavor. Oregano is full of flavor and is great in tomato sauces – think Italian food like pasta and pizza – rustic recipes, especially meat-based dishes.

It’s also one of the greatest dried herbs you can obtain because, unlike other herbs, it retains a lot of taste when dried, making it an excellent substitute for dried basil.

Oregano vs Basil

ShapeOval in shapeOval in shape
LeavesFlatterer and longerCurly Bending Down
TasteSlightly bitter taste and a pungent flavorSweet smell and a strong taste
ColourDark greenLight Green
Calories265 Calories per 100g23 Calories per 100g
Potassium1260 mg per 100g295 mg per 100g


Tarragon is one of the best substitute for basil in 2022, substitute for fresh tarragon and basil, substitute basil for tarragon

Tarragon is a delicate herb with delicate flavors and smells that is commonly used in French cuisine. It goes well with poultry and fish and creamy sauces and can be used in place of fresh or dried basil in recipes that call for a faint aniseed flavor.

How Much Fresh Basil Equals to Fresh Tarragon?

2 Tablespoons Fresh Basil for Every One Tablespoon of Fresh Tarragon

Have you heard about the Tarragon alternatives?



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Mint is a cousin of basil, and both have a similar “minty” flavor character. Mint isn’t used on pizzas or in casseroles. Due to the cold taste of mint, the flavor doesn’t completely work. Mint’s application would be in dressings and sauces that do not require cooking.

The mint will add a burst of color as well as a burst of taste. Mint is an excellent substitute for basil in dessert recipes like basil ice cream or cheesecake. It’s a more commonly used herb in sweet foods, and it goes nicely with almost any dessert that asks for basil. And also, as a substitute for fresh basil leaves, mint leaves can be used for garnishing.

How Much Fresh Basil Equals to Fresh Mint?

One Tablespoon of Chopped Fresh Basil for Every One Tablespoon of Fresh Chopped Mint 


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Thyme has a warmer flavor profile than basil, as well as a distinct lemony flavor. It shares a minty undertone with basil and, like oregano, works well in casseroles and sauces.

When it comes to thyme, go easy on the ratios. It has a distinct flavor that, if used excessively, can give your meal a disagreeable flavor. Thyme is a wonderful herb that may be used in a variety of dishes. As a result, it’s a great dried basil alternative.

So, if you want to ramp up the wow factor in your tomato sauce, add depth to a chicken meal, or dress up a potato salad, thyme is the herb for you. Thyme, like oregano, retains its flavor when dried.

How Much Fresh Basil Equals to Fresh Thyme?

Half Tablespoon of Fresh Basil for Every One Tablespoon of Fresh Thyme 

Read more about Thyme alternatives.


Spinach Leaves

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If you’re preparing pesto, spinach leaves are a great choice. Basil has an overpowering flavor that not everyone, especially children, appreciates. Instead, add spinach leaves to preserve the brilliant green color.

It’s also possible to add a small bit of basil to give the bug a slight taste boost. To make a nice dinner without too much overbearing flavor, use spinach leaves in stir-fries or Thai cooking.


Italian Seasoning

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If you use Italian spice instead of basil, many Italian recipes will still taste great. Parsley, rosemary, thyme, pepper, oregano, and, of course, basil is all used in this flavor. Pasta sauce is one of the dishes that will benefit from the addition of Italian flavor.

Check the recipe to see what other herbs and spices are used if you choose this option. If the components include thyme, for example, you’ll want to add less because it’s already in the Italian seasoning.


Celery Leaf

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If you’re making pesto, celery leaf is also a great option. Isn’t Basil your favorite flavor? To keep the green color and reduce the flavor, use the same amount of these leaves.

This is a good alternative for someone who despises food waste, as celery leaves are frequently discarded in favor of the stalk. Use every last bit of celery you buy to help the environment.

Celery juice is one of the nutritious juices you can take every day. Most of the companies introduced the type of celery juicers specifically for this plant. If you don’t have a celery juicer, it’s worth knowing how to juice celery juice without a juicer.



Cilantro is the Most Essential Substitutes for Basil, dried basil substitute, how much dried basil equals fresh basil

Cilantro, also known as coriander, has a distinct flavor of lemon, mint, and pepper in one bite. It isn’t everyone’s favorite herb, and it does not have the same flavor as basil. Sauces and dressings, on the other hand, have the same wonderful green vitality. It would work nicely in Thai cooking, particularly curries with strong spices.

In addition, both basil and cilantro work well as garnishes. So, if you’re seeking a substitute for basil as a finishing touch, cilantro might be the way to go.


Poultry Seasoning

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When a recipe calls for fresh basil, and you need to flavor chicken or fish, poultry seasoning is a fantastic substitute for dried basil. This seasoning, made up of herbs and spices, gives meat and fish dishes an incredible luscious flavor.

Keep a large container in the back of your pantry for when you are out of fresh or dried basil and want to add some more flavor to your dishes.



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Parsley is another terrific garnishing herb that looks beautiful on the edge of a plate and can help you complete your culinary creation. It has a mild, fresh flavor that makes it an ideal substitute for basil in Italian or Mediterranean recipes, especially salads and tomato-based foods.

Read more about parsley substitutes.

Types of Basil

Thai Basil vs. Holy Basil

The flavor of Thai basil and holy basil differs significantly. Thai basil has a sweet, anise flavor, whereas holy basil has a hot, peppery flavor. It can be difficult to tell the difference between holy basil and Thai holy basil because they seem similar. However, the following are some of the major differences.

Thai basil has purple stems that become more intense in color as it ages, whereas holy basil’s stems are simply green and hairy. Thai basil has smaller, sparsely shaped (almost mint-like) and sturdier leaves than holy basil, which has broader, oval leaves. Specially Thai basil leaves are also brighter and greener (as if they have been coated with a reflecting covering);

Thai basil leaves can be purple or green (depending on the type), whereas holy basil leaves are solely green; Thai basil leaves have a smooth border, but holy basil leaves have a toothed one.

When we compared the flavors, Thai basil has a strong licorice sweet flavor, whereas holy basil has a pepper flavor with a clove note. And Thai basil has a strong licorice sweet flavor, whereas holy basil has a pepper flavor with a clove note.

Thai Basil vs. Italian Basil

Before we know about the distinction between Thai basil and Italian basil, let’s see what’s Thai basil and what’s Italian basil. And also, we’ll answer your question of what can I use Thai basil in and Italian basil in.

If you’ve ever had Italian food, you’re familiar with Italian sweet basil. Those lovely, floppy green leaves are a staple of Italian cuisine and the distinguishing, major element of Genovese-style pesto. Thai basil has purple stems and narrower, perkier leaves than its Italian counterpart. If you stick your nose in a clump of Thai basil, you’ll smell anise rather than pesto.

It is also hotter and stronger in flavor. If you only have Italian basil, go ahead and use it in Southeast Asian meals, perhaps with some fresh mint. On the other hand, Thai basil provides something distinctive that it’s worth looking for well-stocked grocers and specialized markets — or planting in your backyard this spring.

10 Most Essential Substitutes for Basil in cimbad


How Much Dried Basil Equals Fresh Basil?

A frequently asked question is how much to substitute dried basil to fresh and fresh basil to dried. The simple answer is for every 2 teaspoons of fresh basil, use 1 teaspoon of dried basil.

Fresh Genovese basil leaves can be used to flavor a number of foods, including pasta sauces, salads, and seafood. Fresh basil leaves can sometimes be substituted for dried basil leaves if you don’t have any on hand.

However, substituting dried basil for fresh basil works best in recipes that use this highly fragrant herb in modest amounts rather than as a prominent ingredient. 

Substitute for Basil Leaves in Thai Cooking

Thai basil is one of many types of basil. Sweet basil is well-known for its use in various Mediterranean cuisines, but Thai basil is just as significant in Thai cuisine. Consider pad ki mao (drunken noodles) and green curry as examples.

Thai basil, like fish sauce and kaffir lime leaves, is essential to the flavor of Thai cuisine. This indicates that you should try to obtain some of this plant if you’re planning to cook Thai food. If you can’t obtain Thai basil, try one of the substitutes for Thai basil from the upon mentioned substitutes. Make sure only to use Thai basil substitute if you’re unable to find Thai basil as it adds a unique taste to all your Italian foods.

What Is The Best Basil Substitute In India?

Based on research, the best substitute for basil is curry leaves in India. So, curry leaves can be considered as Indian substitute for basil. Let’s see the role of basil in Indian cooking. Basil is not a traditional Indian plant, but as Thai cuisine demonstrates, its pungent-sweet flavor can be delicious in curries. Basil is known as the “queen of herbs” in India

Is Basil Paste the Same as Pesto?

Fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts, and cheese are mashed into a thick, green paste to make authentic pesto. For hundreds of years, pesto was produced by crushing these aromatic herbs and mortar and pestle.

Basil paste can be used as a substitute for fresh basil in stews, soups, casseroles, and other dishes where basil is a secondary background ingredient. It will not impede in any way the quality of the finished meal.

Thus, basil paste is the same as pesto. And you’ve heard of using basil paste to make pesto. Yes! You can use basil paste to make pesto.

Fresh Basil Substitute in Pasta

There are many more substitutes that we have mentioned in this article among them all, as a fresh basil substitute for pasta, we can use rosemary. If you’re looking for a strong savory taste, fresh rosemary is as aromatic and tasty as it gets. Use it sparingly for a subtle substitute, particularly in a tomato-based recipe. 

In addition, both basil and cilantro work well as garnishes. So, if you’re seeking a substitute for basil as a finishing touch, cilantro might be the way to go. If you’re cooking a delicious Italian pasta sauce and want to keep the taste similar, Italian seasoning and oregano are fantastic choices.

Substitute for Basil in Lasagna

Substitute for basil in lasagna is from the pesto. It’s the cheapest way that you can find a substitute for basil in lasagna. Or else if you’re unable to find pesto  

within your home, you can go with dry basil substitutes that we have mentioned in our article.

Wrapping Up

It’s not difficult to find a basil alternative that won’t damage the dish. There are a variety of choices available at your local retailer. You undoubtedly already have some in your kitchen, but not all of them will work in every recipe. Fresh and dried basil can be used interchangeably; however, the fresh alternative must be reduced in quantity.

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