Every man and woman expects tasty and health benefits from their daily diet. Therefore they are using the world’s best ingredients like herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables to make their delicious foods. As a part of the herb family Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Tarragon, and Parsley are famous among the food lovers. Out of all these herbs, Thyme is one of the common uses of herbs. These tine leaves add unique mint flavor and freshness to the main dish or side dishes. The value of the Thyme increased from the last couple of decades due to taste and health benefits and as a result of this number of unique types of Thyme substitute came to the market. Today we will reveal what are the uses of Thyme with the health benefits, as well as the wonderful herbs that you can use as the substitute for Thyme. Stay tuned!
History of Thyme
Thyme is a healer. History goes back to thousands of years. Romans used to eat Thyme before, during or after meals to avoid food poisoning. Even the warriors exchanged sprigs of Thyme as a mark of respect and strength.
When Black Death disease occurred in the 1340s, people used Thyme as protection. Even there are shreds of evidence that old Egyptians too got benefits from this incredible plant. So there is no thinking required to use Thyme as a remedy as well as a spice in recipes.
What does Thyme Look Like?
Well, the outlook of Thyme really depends because there are three major types as English, German and French Thyme. Overall the leaves are greenish. When it comes to the shape of the leaves, the English and French leaves are pointy and carry red stems. Whereas, the German ones are bit rounded and have greenish stems.
How does Thyme Taste Like?
As a member of the mint family, Thyme got a sharp flavor of mint. The answer to the question of what does thyme taste like is, it’s a bit of sweet and has a peppery mouthfeel. As mentioned, people around the world use Thyme sprigs as a spice in two forms as fresh and dried Thyme, and the latter is stronger in flavor and aroma.
How to Substitute Dried Thyme for Fresh?
Before we jump into Thyme replacements or learn what to use in place of Thyme, it’s a must to learn the difference between fresh vs dried Thyme. You would know that most of the dried spices are distinctive than the fresh ones and it’s the same with Thyme spice. Regarding the ratio, if your cuisine calls one tablespoon of Thyme, then you would want to use one teaspoon of dried Thyme. Alternatively,
Fresh Thyme to dried – six sprigs of Thyme/ one tablespoon of Thyme = 1 teaspoon of dried Thyme.
Want a substitute for Thyme? Check out our list of 10 Thyme Substitutes.
Now you know the ratio between fresh Thyme vs dried, right? Due to various reasons, we might have to consider a replacement for Thyme in recipes as well. These Thyme substitutes are tested and tried before, and you will have the answer to the question of what can be used in place of Thyme?
First, let’s see 4 spice blends which you can use as a Thyme substitute.
We assume you know that Thyme is an ingredient of poultry seasoning. Poultry seasoning typically includes herbs like dried Marjoram, ground Sage, Rosemary, ground Pepper, Oregano and Thyme. Since this mixture contains different spices, you don’t want to mess up your cuisine with trying equal amounts right from the word go.
The standard is to use 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning for 1 teaspoon of Thyme.
Poultry seasoning can work as an excellent substitute for Thyme in dishes like Chicken, pork or fish when cooking or grilling. But, as we said, you have to be careful while blending, as poultry seasoning can alter the taste of your cuisine.
We recommend adding half of the requirement, and you can add more if you feel insufficient. Further using of manual grinder helps you to keep the taste alive. There will be no cure if you don’t prevent it! So, be wise.
Italian Seasoning is a fantastic mixture of different spices which is used for many food seasonings. It is a combination of many dried spices like Marjoram, Basil, Rosemary, Oregano and Thyme. It’s a popular spice most of you have in spice rack and one of the best Thyme substitutes you can imagine of. Perhaps, the complexity of the Italian Seasoning is what made us comment like that.
The ratio of the replacement is 1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning for 1 teaspoon of Thyme.
You know, that complexity we spoke above can work magnificently as a substitute for Thyme in dishes like Lasagna, kinds of pasta, spaghetti, beef, and pork. Keep in mind that, Italian Seasoning blends mouth-watering Mediterranean flavor to cuisines, but, do not overuse it.
Be precise and delicate all the while. If your recipe includes Marjoram, Basil or any other above-mentioned spices, please make sure you omit them from cuisine.
ZA’ATAR is a popular middle-east blend of spices which people use for many dishes. It’s a mixture of savory spices and earthy spices like cumin seeds, coriander, Syrian Sumac, and sesame seeds as well. You can purchase ZA’ATAR from middle-eastern grocery shops and use as a substitute for Thyme if you want for similar results. However, these seeds particularly can bring a different taste to your cuisine if not appropriately handled.
The ratio for replacement is 1/2 teaspoon of ZA’ATAR for 1 teaspoon of Thyme
As you saw in the ratio, it requires half of the Thyme requirement to get the intended results. Sesame seeds alone can alter the taste drastically, and Sumac can bring a sort of a lemony flavor which you don’t want. Add a little and taste first.
Herbes De Provence
Herbes De Provence is another traditional mixture of spice you can see mostly in the French cuisines. It consists of many herbs and spices like Basil, Rosemary, Tarragon, Oregano, Savory, Bay leaf, Marjoram and Thyme. Herbes De Provence is another remarkable spice blend we suggest as a Thyme substitute, and you can test it with your meals as follows,
1 teaspoon of Herbes De Provence = 1 teaspoon of Thyme
You can use Herbes De Provence as a substitute for fresh Thyme leaves as well as dried form. Further, you can try it in dishes like Chicken, Beef, Pork or vegetable with same or close results. One important thing is that, as you saw, Herbes De Provence includes various spices that have unique flavors.
So if you add Herbes De Provence into your cuisines as a Thyme substitute, you must either omit or limit if above spices listed in your cuisines’ ingredients list.
So, it’s time to see what are the individual spices that can perform as a substitute for Thyme? And what is the ratio required?
Rosemary is an ideal substitute for Thyme. The peppery undertone is common for both spices; having said that, Rosemary might not fit with all Thyme recipes because of its strong, distinctive flavor. While both the spices hold the same place at your spice rack and both can act as a substitute for each other, you can notice that there are differences when it comes to the taste.
Speaking more about Thyme vs Rosemary, Thyme suits most of the dishes because of its gentle flavor, whereas Rosemary got a great dominating taste and you have to add sparingly to the dishes. Let’s see the ratio.
3/4 teaspoon of Rosemary = 1 teaspoon of Thyme
You can use Rosemary as a Thyme substitute particularly with Italian cuisines and dishes like stews, soups, as well. And, as said in the previous spice blends, use them carefully because Rosemary too can easily overpower your cuisines and you’ll find recovering is impossible.
If you find all below are unavailable in your kitchen, try Oregano as a substitute for Thyme. Oregano is famous for its intense aroma and minty, earthy flavor which is very much similar to Thyme.
Despite having a slightly higher note than Thyme, Oregano still can do the work for you without getting much of a notice. But the requirement of Oregano is less than Thymes’. Thyme vs Oregano ratio is,
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of Oregano = 1 teaspoon of Thyme
If you are finding Thyme unavailable for your Chicken or potato dish, do not hesitate in using Oregano as we instructed above. But, all and all, if you consider using Oregano as Thyme substitute, always remember that Thyme is delicate and Oregano is more potent.
Marjoram comes from the mint family as Thyme and is a must in most of the Mediterranean dishes. Usually, it’s common in meat and vegetable cuisines because of its woody and delicate taste. These inherent tastes of Marjoram are tailor-made as a substitute of Thyme.
The versatility of Marjoram is another reason why we suggest it as a Thyme substitute. Both the aromas too got similarities and bring a sense of balsam-like pine. Considering all these factors, you can use the same amount of Marjoram in your dishes as you do with Thyme.
1 teaspoon of Marjoram = 1 teaspoon of Thyme
As we stated earlier, you can try Marjoram instead of Thyme in dishes like Chicken, pork, lamb, or potato. And, remember, these spices won’t cost you much and worth giving a try to see how our suggestions work.
Have you heard about Marjoram substitutes?
This family member has a flavor of licorice and particularly does a great job as a dried Thyme substitute. Basil is nothing new to many, and compared to Thyme, Basil has a bit of a stronger flavor but loads of other similarities.
If you use fresh Basil instead of fresh Thyme, make sure you use half a teaspoon if Thyme requirement is one teaspoon. This is because of the strong Licorice-y flavor of Basil. The ratio would be 1:1 vice versa, as the dried Basil is typically muted than the fresh ones.
1 teaspoon of dried Basil = 1 teaspoon of dried Thyme
1/2 teaspoon of fresh Basil = 1 teaspoon of fresh Thyme
Moreover, Basil can replace Thyme easily in Chicken and tomato-based recipes. And, Basil has loads of health benefits as well. It can lower the blood sugar, and help proper digestion as well.
Read more about Basil substitutes.
Savory has two kinds as summer and winter. While summer ones have hints of Thyme and Marjoram, winter sort tastes like sage and pine. In that sense, we recommend summer Savory as an ideal Thyme substitute rather than winter ones.
The appearance of Savory is very much similar to Thyme, and the truth is Savory is not a regular in most of the kitchens though it’s a great spice and a suitable substitute for many other spices.
1 teaspoon of summer savory = 1 teaspoon of Thyme
The taste of Savory tends to be less minty, and it can provide a sensational herb taste for many dishes. Importantly, it can replace Thyme in dishes like salmon, chicken, stews, and most Mediterranean dishes.
Most of the experienced chefs say that the taste and aroma of Savory are strong and rich compared to Thyme, so start from half a teaspoon and see how it pairs with dishes.
Tarragon is famous for its bittersweet flavor and complement well with meat and poultry dishes. If you are desperate for a Thyme seasoning, and in a tight situation, feel free to use Tarragon as a substitute for Thyme. Yes, it’s true that Tarragon has a bittersweet texture, but from our point of view, it’s the most suitable and mildest of spice that can act as a Thyme substitute.
1 teaspoon of Tarragon = 1 teaspoon of Thyme
Another thing, if you have both the spices in your armory, try adding both particularly in fish and poultry dishes. It will bring an amazing mouth feel to the dishes, and the aroma would be exceptional.
Read more about Tarragon and its substitutes.
How to use Thyme in Dishes, and Recipes
Before we talk about the culinary uses of Thyme, do you know it’s often used in cloaks of Knights as a mark of bravery?
Thyme is common in most countries, and if you have a green thumb, it’s not rocket science to grow a plant at your garden. Thyme can add layers of flavors to many dishes without overwhelming recipes.
Chefs and home chefs use Thyme in dishes like vegetable, soups, sauces, potatoes, meat and pairs magnificently with most of Mediterranean, Italian and French cuisines. In most of the recipes, you have to use not more than 1 teaspoon to get the desired taste.
- Creamy lemon Thyme chicken
- Garlic Thyme chicken thighs
- Mushroom Asparagus Frittata
- Lemon Thyme rice
- Spaghetti with lemon, garlic and Thyme
Health Benefits of Thyme
Thyme is a spice which has loads health benefits beside of its culinary help. Let’s see what are those?
Help to lower blood sugar
Thyme can reduce the heart rate and significantly lowers cholesterol levels. Consider using Thyme for salt, which is sure way to lower the heart rate.
Boosts the immune system
Thyme is a great source of Vitamin C and A. And, Vitamins are essential for a good immune system.
Boosts your mood
The essential oils of Thyme can enhance your mood by its aroma and therapeutic substances. Regular use will help bring a positive attitude throughout the day.
As a cough remedy
Sprigs of fresh Thyme are used to extract oil, which you can use to make tea. This tea will help your sore throat.
Good for hair
Essential oils of Thyme can stop the hair fall and help the hair growth.
How much is a Sprig of Thyme?
Before checking how much you should know the answer for what is a sprig of thyme? It’s difficult to measure the exact amount due to the delicate flavor. Generally, a 2 to 4 inches piece of Thyme can be identified as the spring. You can use ½ teaspoon of dried Thyme for spring but make sure to check the recipe before you make the final decision on a sprig of thyme to dry.
How to use Fresh Thyme?
The use of the fresh Thyme for the dish depends on the recipe. You can use the Thyme leaves with the stem or without the stem. If your recipe called for “Sprig”, you can use leaves and stem completely to your favorite dish, stew, soup, or casserole.
How to Chop Fresh Thyme?
First of all, we think you know what is a sprig of Thyme? If so, you will have to remove the stems off the sprigs. But, we would say that it’s an unnecessary hassle as the Thyme sprigs are too small and the stems won’t change the taste. Use the nose of your blade rapidly on these sprigs until they get finely chopped.
How to Store Thyme?
Now you know that Thyme is a spice that requires mere one teaspoon for most of the recipes. And you will have to store in suitable conditions to keep it fresh until your next use. Do this, wrap the sprigs from damp paper towel and put inside of a resealable plastic bag. Of course, in a refrigerator. This will help you in preserving Thyme for several weeks.
Nowadays, we can substitute almost everything without much of a problem, and the same applies to this remarkable spice as well. There are loads of Thyme substitutes you can easily afford in the market, try a few and play around. And, don’t forget to let us know about the results by commenting below.