Best Oregano Substitute For Soups, Sauces & Pasta

Are you looking for the best substitute for oregano? Do you have a recipe that requires you to use this pungent herb and you don’t have any on hand? Don’t worry, I’ve got you.

Oregano is a popular herb used to flavor Italian foods like pizza and pasta sauce. It is also a common ingredient in Greek and Mexican cuisines. No matter how much you stock up with, one day, you’ll find out you’re out of your favorite herb.

But, you don’t have to stop that great dish. Some herbs are just as excellent as oregano. Yes! there are, and you should know them.

Let’s take a look at this list of oregano substitutes. You should keep this list somewhere and stock up on some of the alternatives. You’ll need them soon again.

What is oregano?

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is a popular Mediterranean herb that has long been used in cooking and medicine. Like other herbs, it can help boost the flavor of food while providing some additional health benefits.

Oregano is a fragrant herb with a warm and slightly bitter taste, which can vary in intensity. Its flavor is similar to that of marjoram but more pungent.

Oregano is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like thymol and carvacrol. The herb is widely available in both fresh and dry forms that can be bought whole or finely ground.

What does oregano do in a meal?

Oregano’s purpose in a meal is to enhance the flavor of the meal. Cooking with fresh or dried oregano gives your meal an earthy and herbal taste that blends well with the taste of other ingredients in the meal.

You can use oregano as a spice in a variety of cuisines, including Italian and Greek. But keep in mind that it has a strong flavor, so only use a small amount when preparing your meal.

Best oregano substitutes

1. Marjoram

oregano substitute - millenora

If you’re looking for the best oregano substitute, look no further than marjoram. Marjoram and oregano are both parts of the mint family, so they have a very similar flavor profile and can be used interchangeably in similar recipes.

However, marjoram has a milder flavor than oregano, which makes it a good choice for casseroles or soups. It is also the perfect substitute for tomato-based pasta sauces and chicken dishes, such as baked chicken breasts.

When substituting marjoram for oregano, you may want to use more in your recipe to achieve the oregano taste (if that’s what you want).

2. Basil

basil - millenora

Basil is another popular herb that you can use as a substitute for oregano. It has a slightly spicy flavor and aroma that works well with tomato sauces, pizza, and tomato soup recipes.

Using basil as a substitute for oregano will result in a milder flavor than the original recipe intended. To balance the taste, use about twice as much basil for the amount of oregano required in the recipe.

Basil is also available as an oil, which you can use to create a custom blend by mixing it with other herbs such as rosemary, marjoram, and thyme.

3. Italian seasoning mix

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The great thing about the Italian seasoning mix is that it contains all the flavors associated with Italian cuisine. It is a seasoning mix that contains oregano, basil, and rosemary.

It also contains other herbs such as parsley and garlic powder. This blend is best used when making pizza or pasta sauce.

In addition, you should use this mix when you want to create a blend of flavors or when you want something less pungent.

4. Thyme

thyme - millenora

This is another herb in your pantry you can use as a substitute for oregano. It has a slightly bitter taste with citrus undertones that complement savory dishes like soups and stews.

Thyme can be substituted at a 1:1 ratio for oregano in dishes. It won’t be identical to oregano, but it will add a nice herbal flavor to your dish if you’re out of oregano.

5. Rosemary

oregano substitute - millenora

Rosemary has an intense pine-like flavor and bitter taste, so you’ll want to use it sparingly.

Use half the amount of rosemary that the recipe requires for oregano. Also, add rosemary towards the end of cooking time to prevent your dish from becoming too bitter.

6. Parsley

parsley - millenora

Parsley is a mild herb that makes a good substitute for oregano. Although it won’t give you the oregano taste, it is still quite good.

To achieve the oregano flavor, you will need to use more parsley. Use 3 tablespoons of minced fresh parsley to replace 1 tablespoon of dried oregano or 1 tablespoon of dried parsley for 1 teaspoon of dried oregano.

7. Sage

oregano substitute - millenora

Sage is another great substitute for oregano. They both have similar flavors with earthy and slightly bitter notes.

However, sage is milder than oregano. So, you may need to add more sage for the same flavor impact as when using oregano.

8. Fennel leaves

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This is a very popular herb for cooking, and it’s not hard to see why. Fennel leaves are easy to work with. Its flavor profile gives a mix of mint and licorice.

You can sprinkle fresh fennel leaves on salads or add them to soups, stews, or stuffing recipes. You can also use the dried leaves in Mediterranean-style dishes such as stuffed artichokes, stews, and pilafs.

9. Dill

Dill has a delicate flavor and aroma, which makes it a good substitute for oregano. It also adds a green note to salads, soups, sauces, and vegetable dishes.

However, you should add it towards the end of your cooking because heat can cause its flavor to dissipate quickly.

10. Summer savory

oregano substitute - millenora

Savory is a herb with a very strong flavor. There are two varieties of this herb; winter savory and summer savory.

Summer savory is the more popular variety. It has a more pungent flavor similar to thyme and oregano. And this is why you can use it as an alternative to oregano.

Summer savory is especially good in soups and stews, as it has a very strong flavor. It equally makes tasty omelets, fish dishes, and poultry stuffing.

11. Bay leaf

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Bay leaf has an earthy, herbal, and slightly floral flavor. The taste is stronger when the leaf is dry than when fresh.

When cooking with dried bay leaves, make sure to remove them before serving the meal as they can be sharp and unpleasant to bite into.

12. Tarragon

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Tarragon has a more intense flavor than oregano but can be used as a substitute. It is a perfect option for your white meats, salads, soups, sauces, and dip recipes that require oregano.

Why does oregano need substitutes?

There are many reasons why you need oregano substitutes. Let’s start by agreeing that your oregano supply will run out someday, and this may be amidst cooking a great dish. In such cases, you will need a substitute that will give you the oregano effect.

Also, some people consider oregano too strong for their taste buds, while others simply don’t like the flavor. If you’re in any of these two categories, you need oregano substitutes.

Finally, some people are allergic to oregano and need to use something else instead. Or, you may just want to create something different with an oregano-like herb.


Which oregano substitute should you use for chili?

Sage, marjoram, and thyme are the perfect oregano alternatives to use in your chili recipes.

Can you use dried and fresh oregano interchangeably?

Yes. Dried oregano is the most perfect substitute for fresh oregano. While other herbs also do well, dried oregano will give the true oregano flavor. However, dried herbs are more potent than fresh forms.

Therefore, use one teaspoon of dried oregano to one tablespoon of fresh oregano.

Is oregano spicy?

Oregano is spicy but cannot be used as a substitute for peppers. It is a blend of sweet ad spicy which is great for meals.


If you’re looking for an oregano substitute, marjoram is the best choice. Marjoram is milder than oregano, but it makes a great substitute.

Other excellent options are basil, thyme, or rosemary. These herbs have an excellent flavor and work well with a variety of foods, including tomato sauces and pizza. 

So, when next you’re restocking your oregano supply, remember to buy some of these spices.

Also, see excellent substitutes for fennel seeds for different recipes.

Thanks for reading.