The Best Simple Rosemary Substitutes

Rosemary Substitutes

Looking for an alternative to rosemary? You’re in the right place! Keep reading for my favourite simple rosemary substitutes.

What is Rosemary?

Rosemary is a woody green herb used extensively in Mediterranean cooking. The aroma is resinous, fragrant in a similar manner to pine needles.

The flavour is intense and a little goes a long way. While it can be eaten raw, I tend to prefer it cooked so that it gently flavours the whole dish. If you’re lucky enough to have a large bush of rosemary, the stalks make excellent skewers for cooking kebabs, just remove most of the leaves from each stalk, leaving some for decoration at the tip.

The Best Rosemary Substitutes

(in order of preference)

1. Thyme

If something ever happened to my roesmary bush, my first go-to replacement would be thyme. Both herbs are in the ‘woody’ spectrum although the flavour and aroma from thyme is more floral vs the pine-needle like flavour of rosemary. Just substitute 1:1.

2. Sage

Sage leaves are larger and softer and the flavour is more distinct but it can work in a similar manner to rosemary. Start with substituting less sage and add more if needed.

3. Bay Leaves

In slow cooked dishes, soups and stews a few bay leaves can add a different yet equally delicious complexity.

4. Parsley

While parsley is much softer and leafier, it can be a good way to add some fresh herbiness to a dish if you are missing rosemary.

How to Prepare Rosemary

Pick the leaves away from the stems and discard the stems. The leaves can then be either used whole or finely chopped. Or you can throw whole stalks into slow cooked dishes, soups, stews or stock so that the leaves fall off into the pot – then just discard the stalks before serving.

How to Store Rosemary

I keep mine in the garden and just pick as needed. But it keeps for weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge.

You can also freeze Rosemary – the texture will change slightly but will still add amazing flavour and fragrance.

Delicious Rosemary Pairings

  • Almond & Rosemary
  • Ham & Rosemary
  • Lamb & Rosemary
  • Potatoes & Rosemary
  • Mushrooms & Rosemary
  • Garlic & Rosemary
  • White Beans & Rosemary

More Ingredient Substitutes

Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.

Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x