The Best Simple Sage Substitutes

Sage Substitutes

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

What is Sage?

Sage is a leafy green herb used in French and Italian cooking. The unique aroma is sometimes described as being camphorous similar mothballs. But for me it’s a much nicer smell.

While it can be eaten raw, I tend to prefer it cooked so that it gently flavours the whole dish.

The three most common ways I use it are finely chopped in stuffings, added anywhere you are frying an onion, Or frying the whole leaves in butter so the butter browns slightly and the leaves go crispy. Crispy sage leaves and brown butter are the classic accompaniment to pumpkin filled ravioli or gnocchi.

The Best Sage Substitutes

(in order of preference)

1. Thyme

My first go-to replacement for sage would be thyme. Both herbs are in the ‘woody’ spectrum although the flavour and aroma from thyme is more floral. Just substitute 1:1. If using thyme to replace whole sage leaves, adjust the cooking time because the tiny thyme leaves will cook in a fraction of the time it takes to cook the more robust sage.

2. Rosemary

Rosemary leaves are harder and more needle like than sage so be prepared to chop them finely. The flavour is completely different but it can work in a similar manner to sage and will complement the other ingredients typically cooked with sage.

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 sage.

How to Prepare Sage

Pick the leaves away from the stems and discard the stems. The leaves can then be either used whole or finely chopped.

How to Store Sage

I keep mine in the garden and just pick as needed. But it keeps for up to 2 weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge.

You can also freeze Sage. The texture will change slightly but will still add amazing flavour and fragrance.

Delicious Sage Pairings

  • Brown Butter & Sage
  • Pork & Sage
  • Mushrooms & Sage
  • Garlic & Sage
  • Onions & Sage
  • Sausages & Sage

More Ingredient Substitutes

Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.

Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x