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15 Ways to Substitute for Oregano

Here are 15 easy ways to substitute for oregano, fresh or dried, plus several easy and delicious recipes with oregano.

Oregano is a popular herb in Mexican, Mediterranean and Italian cuisines in fresh and dried form. You’ll find it on pizzas, in sauces, soups, and more. It is zesty and earthy with a peppery edge and comes from the mint family. It even has some medicinal properties.

This herb is unique in that you can add it to your dish at the start of cooking time and it won’t lose its flavor.

While incredibly popular, your grocery store may not always have it in stock or you might run out right when you need some for dinner. And some may have an oregano allergy. So, here are some common ways to substitute for oregano, fresh or dried.

Dried oregano on worn wooden spoon next to fresh stems with oregano leaves.

Substituting dried and fresh

The best way to substitute for an herb is to use its fresh or dried counterpart. Dried herbs will always have a stronger, more concentrated flavor so you will need to adjust the amounts accordingly.

Use 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh oregano to 1 tablespoon of dried oregano (and vice versa) to substitute in your dish.

Common ways to substitute for oregano

Herb substitutes will never make a perfect replacement and are more or less suitable depending on the particular dish. With that in mind, always start with a conservative amount of your oregano substitute and you can always add more to taste.

1. Marjoram

Two wooden bowls of dried marjoram and oregano on wooden table.

Marjoram is a great option to subsite oregano, especially in Mexican dishes. It has the most similar flavor to oregano making it an ideal replacement.

If you happen to have some on hand or find it in your grocery store, you can use it as 1 to 1 substitute.

2. Thyme

Bundle of thyme tied with twine and lose stems on burlap fabric.

Fresh thyme is the best way to substitute for fresh oregano when used as a garnish. They have a similar appearance and taste and work well with the same kinds of recipes. However, thyme does have a stronger punch of flavor.

Use as a 1 to 1 substitute when garnishing a dish.

3. Italian Seasoning

Italian seasoning on large white kitchen spoon and sprinkled on  kitchen table.

If you’re substituting oregano for an Italian dish, you can use Italian seasoning mix. Oregano is one of the main ingredients in these seasoning blends, so it will fit right in with your dish.

Use as a 1 to 1 substitute. Just be sure to adjust the other seasonings and herbs accordingly!

4. Basil

Close up of bright fresh green basil in small mortar and pestle.

Basil is best used to substitute oregano in Mediterranean dishes or Italian recipes. It is has a similar flavor profile and can be used as a 1 to 1 substitute, fresh or dried.

5. Mexican Oregano

Overhead photo of Mexican oregano growing in small pot on gray table.

Did you know that there is more than one version of oregano? Mexican oregano is actually a completely different herb and botanical family.

To substitute, use half the amount of oregano due to its stronger flavor.

6. Parsley

Bunch of bright green fresh parsley on rustic wooden table with garden scissors.

Parsley is a very versatile herb that can be used in a variety of dishes. It is often used to flavor recipes, but also as a garnish. Parsley makes a particularly good substitute in tomato-based dishes.

Use as a 1 to 1 substitute in dried form, or half the amount for fresh.

7. Tarragon

Fresh tarragon with drops of water on leaves spilling from overturned wooden pot.

Tarragon comes in a few different varieties, but its most popular form is French Tarragon. This herb has a strong flavor that works well in dressings, tomato-based dishes and with chicken.

Use as a 1 to 1 substitute for these types of recipes.

8. Dill

Vibrant green, fresh dill fronds piled on wooden kitchen table, tied with twine.

Dill has a very unique grassy, caraway flavor, especially in fresh form. This herb is popular in fish recipes, yogurt-based dips and to make pickles. Dill can act as a substitute for oregano in the right dish.

Make sure dill matches the flavor profile of your recipe before using it as a substitute, and use a slightly smaller amount.

For 2 teaspoons of oregano, use 1 1/2 teaspoons of dill.

9. Fennel

Fennel bulb with long stems and fronds on round woven wood placemat.

Fennel can be used to substitute for oregano as a garnish or in salads and roasted meat dishes. The entire fennel bulb is edible, but the fronds make the best oregano replacement.

Fennel has a unique, anise flavor that might not be right for every recipe. Smell or taste the fennel before use to make sure it fits the flavor profile of your dish.

Substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons of fennel fronds for 2 teaspoons fresh oregano.

10. Sage

Leaves of fresh sage in rustic whicker basket on gray patterned table.

Sage is a popular Thanksgiving herb that you’ll find in stuffing and dressing recipes and other hearty and meaty dishes. It has a distinctive flavor, but makes a suitable oregano substitute in a slightly smaller amount.

Use 1 1/2 teaspoons sage to 2 teaspoons oregano.

11. Summer Savory

Close up of twig of bright green summer savory on rustic wooden surface.

If you’ve never heard of Summer Savory, you’re not alone!

It’s a popular herb in German cuisine but has seeped into other parts of the world, too. It has a similar taste to oregano and can be used as a 1 to 1 substitute (if you happen to have some).

12. Rosemary

Dried rosemary in heart-shaped wooden bowl next to fresh twigs of rosemary.

Rosemary is a great herb to flavor meat dishes and potatoes. Use just a pinch of rosemary to substitute for oregano in hearty and meaty dishes.

13. Bay Leaf

Fresh, dried and crushed bay leaf in white dishes on weathered blue wooden table.

Bay leaf is typically used to flavor soups and stews, especially in dried form. It’s best for slow-roasted and slow-cooked dishes.

Substitute 1/4 tablespoons crushed bay leaf for each 1/4 tablespoon dried oregano.

14. Fenugreek

Fenugreek seeds in wooden spoon next to fresh fenugreek leaves on wooden table.

Fenugreek has a mild, sweet and nutty flavor and is often used in Indian dishes. You can use fenugreek to stand in for oregano in just about any recipe.

Use as a 1 to 1 substitute.

15. Ajwain Leaves (Carom)

Overhead photo of carom pods in small silver bowl on wooden table.

Carom is another popular Indian ingredient that is similar to oregano. It has a similar look, feel and taste and is even from the same family. You can use Carum as an oregano substitute in most dishes, 1 to 1.

Recipes with Oregano

Here are some simple and delicious recipes that call for oregano. Use these to try your favorite substitute for oregano above.

Healthy and Delicious Lasagna Zucchini Boats

Dinner table with three lasagna stuffed zucchini boats on cream plate.

Easy Spaghetti with Olive Oil and Garlic

Close up of forkful of garlic spaghetti specked with basil lifted from wooden plate.

Cheesy Zucchini, Black Bean, and Rice Skillet

Zucchini black bean and rice skillet covered with cilantro dressing on white plate.

Best Ever Lasagna Made With Cottage Cheese

Baking dish of lasagna with cottage cheese on white dinner table.


Sunday 23rd of October 2022

I’m trying to be polite, but…basil for oregano? Why not mint then? Basil and oregano have such different tastes than suggesting to use one for the other is preposterous.

Jessica Ashcroft

Sunday 23rd of October 2022

Thanks for being polite ;) You're right that oregano is part of the mint family, and you would definitely be free to try it, although the flavor of the dish would be different. We say toward the beginning of the post, "Herb substitutes will never make a perfect replacement and are more or less suitable depending on the particular dish." Of course, basil is not a perfect substitute for oregano but they are often used together in Italian dishes so it makes sense to try it. Our substitute posts aim to provide readers with options when they're in a pinch not exact replacements :)