Everything About Tarragon and 10 Perfect Substitutes

June 16, 2021

Are you a fan of fresh aroma in the dishes? That is awesome. As you most probably know, Tarragon is such a great spice to blend fragrance and flavor to mostly the poultry and meat fares. In this piece, we will up-skill your knowledge of this aromatic herb and the tarragon substitute.

What is Tarragon?

It is a perpetual and perennial plant from the Sunflower family. Tarragon herb is used as a spice for most of the poultry and meat cuisines. There are several famous varieties of this herb, and the most well-known ones are French, Russian, and Mexican. 

What is Tarragon Used For?

Tarragon is widely used for the cuisines to add aroma, particularly for the French dishes and casserole. You can see two forms of this herb as fresh and dried, in addition to the meat dishes, the former is used for the vegetable cuisines as well because the greenish nature blends perfectly with foods like salads.

Besides, Tarragon is used for the world-famous Béarnaise sauce, and the French Tarragon is mostly used for the dishes simply because of the deliciousness it brings with licorice fragrance. To be precise, the dried Tarragon is more tenuous in taste than the fresh ones, so it’s up to you to decide which one suits best for your mouth! 

Types of Tarragon

Even though the tarragon is native to Serbia, it grows around the world. Mainly there are three types of tarragon varieties we can identify from all across the globe. Those are,

French Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) – This is the main type of Tarragon that we commonly used for daily cooking.  French tarragon very famous among the people from France, England, and the United States, and it has a good place in western cuisines.

The plant’s leaves are darker, smoother, and glossier than the Russian variety, and it grows to a height of about 2 ½ feet.

French tarragon is difficult to grow unless it has suitable weather and other conditions. You cannot grow this plant if you have super-hot weather, super cold weather, or too-moist soil.

Russian Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculoides Pursch) – This variety of Tarragon is a member of the Asteraceae family that can grow 3 – 4 feet in height and survive in cold climates. This verity gives some bitter taste than the French Tarragon, therefore not commonly used in cooking. Even though Russian Tarragon has less culinary value, it has a good commercial market.

This is mainly because of the commercial value of the seeds. French tarragons are difficult to grow and do not provide viable seeds, but this variety of herb provide much of seeds, and it is easy to grow in any climate.

Mexican Tarragon (Tagetes Lucida) – This variety is known as the Texas Tarragon, winter tarragon, Mexican mint marigold, false tarragon, or hierba de anis. It grows in the Texas, Mexico, and southwest climates. We cannot identify this plant as a true type of tarragon; since it provides some anise-like flavor, we can identify it as a perfect substitute for tarragon.

The plant grows up to 2- 3 feet tall, and leaves have some complex flavor. You can use the same proportion as French tarragon when it is using to make your favorite dish.

What does Tarragon look like?

As I mentioned at the start, Tarragon is a greenish perennial herb plant with skinny and angular leaves. You can see yellowish or greenish miniature flowers, and the plant grows up to 2-3 feet in height.

The Tarragon seeds take less than 14 days to germinate, and if you have any intentions of growing a plant on your own, keep in mind that the French ones cannot be grown by the seeds and consumes much time than the Russian and Mexican varieties.

Can’t grow one? Don’t fret my friend; there are so many products and Tarragon substitutes available in the market. Keep on reading, I will reveal them!

What does Tarragon Taste Like?

This is the question everyone asks, what is the “Tarragon taste”? The experts or the experienced chefs would say that the taste is very much kindred to Anise or Licorice. To be honest with you, some like the taste of Tarragon, while many don’t.

If you are a one searching a Tarragon replacement or have intentions of typing in Google, what spice is similar to Tarragon? We got you covered.

What Does Tarragon Smell Like?

French tarragon smells like anise or a mixed smell of mint and celery. But Russian tarragon smells like sweet grass.

tarragon substitute, Everything About Tarragon and 10 Perfect Substitutes

Can I Substitute Dried Tarragon for Fresh Tarragon? 

Is that another question you have? Actually, the answer depends. You must understand that fresh Tarragon has a different and non-identical taste from the dried ones. Moreover, it depends on the recipe you cook and the delicacy you wish to bring to your cuisine. All in all, the flavor is not the same, and I suggest you consider the recipe and the Tarragon flavor before you buy to avoid disappointments. 

How to Choose the Substitute for Tarragon Spice?

One thing unique to the use of Tarragon is that you must be vigilant with the form and the usage with supreme delicacy when you handle it in your dishes. It can get the better of the recipe easily if not used adequately and correctly. This is a valid reason for most people to prefer other herb substitutes over Tarragon.

Chefs around the world use different herbs and spices to soften the strong Licorice and Anise flavor of Tarragon, while some use this herb as a preference irrespective of the consumer’s taste. Besides the Béarnaise sauce, it is not necessary to use it for all dishes, and there are many replacements for Tarragon to buy. 

Concerning substituting Tarragon, you must understand the ambition of the Tarragon use before visiting the store. It can lead you to the most appropriate replacement for Tarragon. In other words, you must be vigilant of the fragrance and taste, also, how it complements the dishes before jumping into a replacement. 

If you want the same characteristics of Tarragon, the herb you replace must have the same taste and aroma else the intended results of the recipe might change. Moreover, we understand that you have the question of, what can use as a substitute for Tarragon. Hence, we have decided to help you with ten tried and tested herbs and how to use them with the dishes, learn and buy!

10 Tarragon substitutes 

1

Chervil

Chervil has the most identical aroma to Tarragon, having said that, handling of Chervil can be a little difficult as same as Tarragon. This small plant has the flavor of T herb, also a hint of Anise and Licorice. If you desperately want the feeling of Tarragon and you can’t find it in your household or the market, then we urge you to add parsley with Chervil to get the desired taste. 

The Chervil leaves can be used with dishes like salmon fish, Chicken, soups, and salads; this particular herb is more familiar with French and European recipes.

You must know How to tell if salmon is bad If you are true salmon lover. So read now!

When you mix Chervil with fennel seeds, you can have a fragrance that reminds the good old friend Tarragon. As an American, it is not the most straightforward thing to find Chervil in the market, but if you came across the product, make sure you grab it before others! 

2

Basil

replacement for tarragon, tarragon substitute

Basil is nothing new for most people, but the different types of it and various recipes might not be that familiar. Holy Basil, Purple Basil, Sweet Basil, Genovese Basil, and Lemon Basil are a few you can try with your dishes. There are more varieties, and basil alternatives each sort is complimenting with different dishes.

If you in need of dry or fresh Tarragon substitute, then Basil would be a great choice as a replacement because of the versatile and flexible nature of the plant. 

The sweetness of the Basil allows you to explore more cuisines, but it is better to keep in mind that this has a much stronger taste than T herb. Like Tarragon, Basil comes from two forms as fresh and dried. If you carry excess or leftovers, install them in a jar with a tight lid. Suppose you are looking for a Tarragon substitute for a chicken stew, Pesto, or Tarragon sauce, Basil is for you.

3

Dill

tarragon replacement, substitute for tarragon

This celery family member is another go-to Tarragon substitute for many who can’t get their hands to T herb. Dill can be found easily across the world, and it’s not the hardest thing in the world to grow up a plant if you have the willpower.

This herb is more of a seasoning substance, and there are loads of recipes you can experiment with Dill. Though the flavor and fragrance are similar to Tarragon, the dish can get spoiled with a bitter taste if you don’t handle it with perfection. 

Dill’s lush nature helps you more ways than other than cooking, and one is to preserve leftovers for future needs in a water-filled jar. Even though I mentioned the taste is a bit bitter if not handled carefully, Dill does have a licorice flavor too. So buy your Dill and play with it.

4

Angelica

Angelica is another captivating herb plant out there used as a cute substitute for Tarragon. The plant looks astonishing and beautiful. However, only the seeds and roots are using for cooking purposes.

Angelica is enriched with the Licorice flavor as same as Tarragon, and it is ideal for flavoring gins, sweet wines, and desserts as a replacement of Tarragon. Moreover, Angelica seeds and roots help seasoning foods in many different dishes too. 

If you have a requirement or idea to use Angelica as a perennial spice, it won’t be as easy as you think. It is challenging to find Angelica in the market, as the cultivation of the plant happens mostly in Asia, primarily in China and Japan. So the chances for experiments you can afford with Angelica might be not as same with other Tarragon substitutes; keeping that in mind, how about improving your green thumb a wee-bit?

5

Marjoram

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“The Joy of mountain,” Marjoram is another fantastic substitute for Tarragon with cuisines. This herb has a lot of similarities to T herb, and the flavor consists of citrus nature Licorice taste and a bit of sweetness. Marjoram is widely in use with cuisines like stews, soups, and sauces purely because of the above-mentioned flavors.

And, the Marjoram leaves are used for dressings of the meats too. If you tend to use Marjoram as a Tarragon substitute, particularly with soups, I guarantee that you will gradually start to like Marjoram over Tarragon.

Regarding the Marjoram plant, it is not that difficult to grow one in your garden, but exposing the plant to cold atmospheres would lead the plant to death. We suggest buying over planting a one simply because of the availability and the less hassle in protecting the Marjoram plant under severe weather conditions. 

Read more about Marjoram alternatives.

6

Rosemary

tarragon leaves substitute, what can use as a substitute for tarragon, substitute for tarragon

Rosemary matches most of the Tarragon uses, and this is a renowned spice worldwide. This herb is identical and particularly substitutes dried Tarragon; also available in most of the supermarkets. Like Tarragon, Rosemary has two versions as dried and fresh; the former contains a penetrating flavor, and the fresh ones are more subtle by nature,

The taste of Rosemary is not foreign for any spice lover. You have to understand the flavors of two forms better to include Rosemary suitably with dishes. 

This herb is mostly used for salads, bake vegetables, stews, and soups. You can always experiment Rosemary with more dishes as per your requirement so that you can find the sweet spot.

Rosemary is a versatile plant with loads of other alternatives and benefits as it is a member of the mint family. Besides cooking purposes, it is used to produce perfumes and carries countless health benefits too. So, why not buy some and prevent situations without curing. 

7

Anise Seeds

tarragon substitute

Aniseed, Anise, or Anise seeds, is another perfect solution for your question of what to replace Tarragon with. It is not just a regular spice you can see in the supermarket but also a fantastic Tarragon substitute, which has the flavor of T herb and fennel seeds.

As we are more familiar with the Anise seeds, less knows that the Anise leaves too using for cuisines and ideal for replacing Tarragon. The eye-catching appearance brings more value to the chef’s table beside the taste it has. 

Aniseeds are using to make cakes, seasons, as well as for baking cookies. Moreover, these seeds have more health benefits than any other herb mentioned in the list as they are used to produce in flavored medicines and works as an antiseptic.

As per my viewpoint, Anise is the best substitute for Tarragon as it carries the same essence and probably the exact taste. Don’t take my words; buy and try it by yourself!

8

Oregano

Oregano is one of the best alternatives you can try instead of dried Tarragon, and the usage is quite similar to the one of Tarragon as well. To get the same taste of Tarragon, use the same amount of Oregano in your dishes. This herb has a camphor-like aroma, and the taste is a little bit bitter.

The feeling of Oregano imparts a trenchant feel to the mouth, and the fragrance has an earthy and mint nature. However, you have to be careful when using Oregano because the plant can be allergic to some people. 

Oregano is used for sprinkle meat, marinades, stuffing, and the fresh leaves of Oregano are outstanding for garnishing purposes at the end of the cooking process. You can get both fresh and dried Oregano’s from the market. The dried ones are stronger than the fresh leaves and require one third from the requirement of fresh leaves. 

9

Fennel Seeds

what spice is similar to tarragon, what can i use as a substitute for fennel bulbs

South Asia supplies a significant portion of the total requirement of fennel seeds, and India is the leading exporter. If you are a reader from a subcontinent, Fennel obviously would be your go-to Tarragon substitute quite easily. These seeds very much look like Anise, and the fragrance has lots of similarities too.

The taste is sweet; hence these seeds are fitting for most sweet dishes; importantly, you don’t suppose to face much of a hassle in substituting Tarragon with Fennel. 

If you are a feeding mother, fennel seeds will help you to improve breast milk production additionally to the helps it gives you in the kitchen. Besides the above-mentioned sweet dishes, fennel seeds are excellent for garnishing foods like meat, different types of sauces, and salads. Regardless of the country you live in, fennel seeds can be found in almost every supermarket, so why not try it today?

10

Thyme

tarragon and thyme, tarragon substitute

Thyme is another member of the mint family, and the leaves are best used once they are fresh. Tarragon and Thyme contain substantial similarities, and Thyme leaves are another great Tarragon substitute.

You can experience the same amount of results as it has a pungent fragrance, which allows you to apply for most of the foods associated with Tarragon. One such recipe is cornbread. Even you can use Thyme for flavor meats and to grill fish with ease. 

In addition to the assistance it gives you in cooking, people tend to use Thyme as an aromatic substance for various other reasons. There are stories that, Romans had used Thyme in bathing because of its unique fragrance and currently in use as a home remedy for several health concerns.

Interestingly, Thyme oil can be quite helpful if you are suffering from a bad hangover too, so it’s a no brainer to explain adding Thyme to your pantry in whatever form you get it. 

Read more about Thyme and its alternatives.

Measurements for Tarragon Substitutes

As you would have the answer by now for what are the herbs you can experiment to substitute Tarragon, let’s see a few measurements you can implement to achieve maximum relevancy with the replacements. How to use Tarragon substitutes depends on the dish and your requirement. These are just recommendations. 

HerbAmount (for every 1 T of fresh tarragon)
Chervil1 and 1/2 tablespoons of Chervil for 1 tablespoon of Tarragon (fresh)
Fennel Seeds1/2 tablespoons of Fennel seeds for 1 tablespoon of Tarragon (fresh)
Angelica1 tablespoons of Angelica for 1 tablespoon of Tarragon (fresh)
Basil Leaf2 tablespoons of Basil Leaf for 1 tablespoon of Tarragon (fresh)
Marjoram1 tablespoons of Marjoram for 1 tablespoon of Tarragon
Dried Dill1 tablespoons of Dried Dill for 1 tablespoon of Tarragon
Dried Oregano1 tablespoons of Dried Oregano for 1 tablespoon of Tarragon
Dried Rosemary1 tablespoons of Dried Rosemary for 1 tablespoon of Tarragon

Further, if your goal is to replace the dried form of Tarragon, I urge you to use dried versions of the Dill, Marjoram, or Basil to eliminate the excessive flavors and fragrances. The aforementioned herbs must be added equally as the Tarragon requirement. Concerning fennel or Anise seeds to replace dried Tarragon, it’s better to go with 1/8 of a teaspoon for every teaspoon of T.

The Benefits of Fresh Tarragon

Artemisia dracunculus or Tarragon is enriched with loads of nutrients and benefits unbelievably if you include a pinch to your diet. Few mentioned below for your attention.

  • Tarragon contains fewer calories and carbohydrates, which is beneficial for weight loss and overall enhancement of health condition.
  • Helps to herd Insulin sensitivity to decrease the blood sugar. 
  • Adequate consumption of Tarragon assists you in gaining good sleep and improves the patterns of sleep.
  • Relieves the pains of Osteoarthritis.
  • Tarragon contains antibacterial properties to eliminate food-related illnesses.
  • Manganese of Tarragon is beneficial in improving metabolism, reducing stress, and overall growth of your body.
  • Tarragon contains natural antibacterial propositions; it helps to improve the immunity of the body.
  • You can use this herb for any kind of recipe. It makes tastier favorite dish of your family and improves the health benefits.
  • This herb reduces the body inflammation and bloating in the stomach.

There are more to include in the above list, but I think these reasons are more than enough for you to run to a shop and purchase your Tarragon.

substitute for tarragon, Everything About Tarragon and 10 Perfect Substitutes

How to Make Dried Tarragon?

Dehydrating Tarragon is somewhat a complicated process that requires close attention, irrespective of the breed you are using. Follow the below steps, so you don’t mess with the process.

Step 1 – Once you lay the fresh Tarragon leaves in the dehydrating trays, let it dry for at least three hours at 95F. Monitor the situation after 3 hours and make sure you repeat the process if the leaves contain moisture. 

Step 2 – Once you are done with the dehydration process, remove the stems out and separate the leaves.

Step 3 – Then, chop the dried leaves into small pieces to mix well. You can use good herb grinder for this.

Step 4 – Store the pieces in a small jar, make sure the lid is airtight, and store the container in a dark, cool but dry place.

Famous Tarragon Recipes

Here comes the interesting part, now you are well equipped with loads of details about Tarragon, how about executing them with renowned recipes? Here we go.. 

  • Chicken Tarragon – In this recipe, you cook fresh boneless Chicken with, Butter, white wine, chicken broth, and of course, Tarragon. And Garnish it with few leaves of Tarragon. 
  • Tarragon Crab Cakes – this delicious dish is made from the crab meat, and it requires, bread, lemon juice, mayonnaises, Tarragon, and seasoning properties, 
  • Tarragon Salad – This is a salad mainly made using tomato and Mozzarella, in addition to Tarragon. You can swap Basil instead of Tarragon as per your need.
  • Herb Crusted Chicken – This delicious recipe for roasted chickens. You can use parsley leaves, chives, basil, chervil, and tarragon to make the paste. It would be best if you marinated overnight to get the maximum taste and grill for dinner the next day.
  • Omelet with Fresh Tarragon – It’s another traditional French cuisine. In here, French Omelet filled with the chopped fresh tarragon and goat cheese.
  • Poached Lobster with Lemon Sauce – You can make this with the quick duck in flavorful boiling liquid and lemon source. After that, you can be topped with a mixture of celery, beans, tarragon, and fresh lemon source.
  • Tarragon Aioli – This is made using minced tarragon, lemon juice, Mayonnaise combined with minced garlic, and lemon zest. You can serve this delicious food with crusty bread with fresh vegetables like tomato and Lettuce.
  • French Chicken Veronique – It is another French dish introduced by Mrs. Ruth Dubbonnet in 1962. It includes boneless, skinned chicken breast, Fresh grapes, and fresh herbs like tarragon.

There are loads of other Tarragon recipes out there; see whether you are familiar with the one or few mentioned below.

  • French Chicken Tarragon
  • Potato Salad and Tarragon
  • Creamy Tarragon Chicken
  • Tarragon sauces
  • Fresh Tarragon Pasta
  • Skillet Tarragon Chicken and many more.

What Foods Pair Well With Tarragon?

Tarragon has a unique taste than the other herbs. Therefore you can get the maximum flavor from this herb by paring with the below food items.

  • Chicken
  • Salmons
  • Pasta
  • Veal
  • Rabbit
  • Egg
  • Baby Vegetables (artichokes, fava beans, asparagus, and carrots)

Using a tarragon substitute may alter the taste of the food a little bit, but perfect substitution gives the same taste as tarragon.

How to Grow Tarragon?

Flowering SeasonSummer
Foliage SeasonSpring, Summer, Autumn
SunlightFull/Part
HeightUp to 3 feet
SpreadUp to 1.5 feet
Time Taken to grow1 Year
Flower ColorLight Green
Hardiness Zones4 and above
Soil PHNeutral (6.5 to 7.5)
Soil MoistureMoist but well drained
Soil TypeChalky, Loamy, Sandy

Planting tarragon in your home makes wonderful benefits to your family. It gives not only health benefits but also commercial benefits.

Firstly you must buy some French Tarragon plants from the market because you cannot grow tarragon from the seeds.

Then arrange a suitable place to grow tarragon plants in your home or garden. French variety is much suited for the plant in pots for those who have little space. If you have some considerable space, you can plant these herbs directly in the ground.

When choosing a place, you must think about other factors like sunshine, soil quality, and moisture. It is essential to choose a place it receives plenty of sunshine (not too much – morning sun enough) with good drainage.

Remember to remove the soil of the area slightly deeper than the root ball when you are starting to prepare planting holes. It makes it easier to absorb minerals and water from the soil.

The soil should not include any acidic or moist. It must contain the mature compost, worm castings, or well-rotted manure to quickly grow the tarragon plant.

Then place the plants and fill the holes by using hands.

If you’re planning to use pots, use two to three inches larger size pots to make more space for the plant.

Tarragon herb does not require much fertilizer, but using fish fertilizer makes benefits the plant.

Using water depends on the weather conditions in your area. You can use some water for the young tarragon plants during the warmer periods. It’s nice to have some light watering every few days for the mature plants.

You can start harvesting as soon as the shoots are about size inches tall. This helps to grow quickly and to branch the plant.

How to Store Tarragon?

You can store tarragon in the fridge by wrapping a plastic bag for a maximum of two or three days, but if you want to keep fresh tarragon for a long time, you can lay off the layers of the stem of paper towels and store in the fridge with loosely wrapped in a plastic bag.

Wrapping up..

Tarragon is a magnificent herb and spice you can afford in the market, and in this article, we have let you learn on the substitutes for Tarragon too. As it’s not common to have a green thumb to get these spices all the time; it’s better to buy these from the market and most of them are not expensive too. We’ve got ours; it’s your turn now! Have a good day!

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