Best Substitutes For Thyme In Baking

best substitutes for thyme in baking

When it comes to baking, thyme is a versatile herb that adds a unique and earthy flavor to a variety of dishes. However, there may be times when you don’t have thyme on hand or need an alternative due to personal preferences or dietary restrictions. Thankfully, there are several excellent substitutes for thyme that can be used in baking, allowing you to achieve similar flavors and aromatic profiles in your recipes. In this article, we’ll explore the best substitutes for thyme in baking and how to use them effectively.

Key Takeaways

  • Thyme is a popular herb for baking due to its earthy and aromatic flavor.
  • There are several substitutes for thyme that can be used in baking, including rosemary, oregano, marjoram, and parsley.
  • Each substitute has its own distinct flavor profile, so it’s important to choose the right one based on the recipe you’re making.
  • To achieve the best results, use fresh substitutes whenever possible and adjust the quantity based on your personal preference.

Why You Need A Substitute For Thyme In Baking

There are several reasons why you may need to find a substitute for thyme in baking. Some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to thyme or simply prefer not to use it in their recipes. In other cases, thyme may be unavailable or out of stock at your local grocery store. Whatever the reason, having alternative options allows for flexibility in your baking endeavors.

Types Of Substitutes For Thyme In Baking

Fresh thyme leaves on dough

  1. Rosemary: Rosemary is a close relative of thyme and shares some similar flavors, such as a hint of pine and a slightly peppery taste. It can be used as a one-to-one substitute for thyme in baking recipes. However, keep in mind that rosemary has a stronger and more assertive flavor, so use it sparingly if you’re not a fan of its intense taste.

  2. Oregano: Oregano is another herb that can be used as a substitute for thyme in baking. It has a slightly milder flavor compared to rosemary but still provides a similar herbal and earthy profile. Oregano works well in savory baked goods like bread and pizza dough, adding an aromatic twist to your recipes.

  3. Marjoram: Marjoram is a member of the mint family and has a sweeter and more delicate flavor compared to thyme. It can be used as a substitute for thyme in baking but should be used in smaller quantities as it has a more subtle taste. Marjoram pairs well with a variety of flavors and is particularly popular in Mediterranean cuisine.

  4. Parsley: While parsley may not have the same earthy flavor as thyme, it can still provide a fresh and vibrant addition to your baking recipes. It has a mild and slightly peppery taste that works well in both sweet and savory dishes. Parsley is an excellent substitute for thyme in recipes where you desire a mild herbaceous profile.

Best Substitutes For Thyme In Baking

Fresh thyme leaves on dough

  1. Rosemary: As mentioned earlier, rosemary is a fantastic substitute for thyme in baking. Its assertive flavor works well in dishes like roasted vegetables, bread, and meat recipes. To use rosemary as a substitute for thyme, replace it in equal amounts. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of thyme, use 1 teaspoon of rosemary instead.

  2. Oregano: Oregano can be a great alternative to thyme in baking, especially in savory recipes. Use it in the same quantity as called for thyme in the recipe, ensuring that the flavors complement each other. Oregano pairs particularly well with garlic, tomatoes, and cheese, making it a popular choice for pizza and Italian-inspired breads.

  3. Marjoram: If you’re looking for a milder substitute for thyme, marjoram is an excellent option. Use it in a slightly smaller quantity than thyme, as its delicate flavor can be easily overpowered. Marjoram works well in recipes like soups, stews, and herb-infused bread. It can also be a good addition to desserts with its subtle sweetness.

  4. Parsley: While parsley may not provide the same distinct flavor as thyme, it can still add a pleasant herbaceous note to your baking recipes. Use parsley as a substitute for thyme in equal amounts, adjusting the quantity based on your preference. It works well in recipes like quiches, frittatas, and herbed biscuits.

Choosing The Right Substitute For Thyme In Baking

Fresh thyme leaves on dough aromatic

Choosing the right substitute for thyme in baking depends on the specific flavor profile you’re looking to achieve in your recipe. Here are a few factors to consider when selecting a substitute:

  • Intensity of flavor: Consider whether you want a bold and assertive flavor (rosemary) or a more subtle and delicate taste (marjoram).
  • Complementary flavors: Think about the other ingredients in your recipe and choose a substitute that pairs well with them. For example, oregano works well with tomatoes, while parsley complements eggs and cheese.
  • Personal preference: Ultimately, it comes down to your personal taste. Experiment with different substitutes and find the one that suits your palate best.

Cooking With Substitutes For Thyme In Baking

Fresh thyme leaves on dough aromatic

When using substitutes for thyme in baking, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:

  1. Fresh vs. Dried: While you can use either fresh or dried substitutes, fresh herbs tend to have a more robust and vibrant flavor. If using fresh substitutes, use approximately three times the amount called for in the recipe compared to dried herbs.

  2. Taste and adjust: Whenever you substitute thyme with another herb, it’s crucial to taste and adjust the seasoning as per your preference. Start with a smaller quantity and gradually increase until you achieve your desired flavor.

  3. Timing: Add the substitute herb at the appropriate time in the baking process to ensure it infuses the dish with its flavor. For example, if a recipe calls for adding thyme at the beginning, add the substitute herb at the same stage.

  4. Pairing ingredients: Consider the other ingredients in your recipe and make sure the substitute herb complements them. The right herb can enhance the overall flavor profile of your baked goods.

Recipes Using Substitutes For Thyme In Baking

thyme in baking

Here are a few recipes where you can use substitutes for thyme:

  1. Rosemary Focaccia Bread: Replace thyme with rosemary in your favorite focaccia bread recipe for a delicious herbed twist. The rosemary adds a fragrant aroma and pairs well with the olive oil and sea salt toppings.

  2. Oregano Pizza Dough: Use oregano instead of thyme in your homemade pizza dough recipe to give it a Mediterranean flair. The oregano’s slightly earthy taste complements the tomato sauce and cheese beautifully.

  3. Marjoram-infused Butternut Squash Soup: Swap thyme with marjoram in a creamy butternut squash soup. The marjoram’s delicate flavor adds a subtle sweetness to the soup, enhancing the natural sweetness of the squash.

  4. Parsley and Cheese Biscuits: Replace thyme with parsley in a savory biscuit recipe and add some grated cheese for an extra indulgence. The parsley’s freshness and the cheese’s richness create a delightful flavor combination.

Storage And Shelf Life Of Substitutes

thyme in baking

To ensure the freshness and longevity of your substitutes for thyme, follow these storage tips:

  • Fresh herbs: Store fresh rosemary, oregano, marjoram, and parsley in the refrigerator. Wrap them loosely in a damp paper towel and place them in a plastic bag. They should stay fresh for up to two weeks.
  • Dried herbs: Keep dried substitutes for thyme in airtight containers away from sunlight and heat. They will retain their flavor for about six months. However, it’s always best to use them within three months for optimum taste.


While thyme is a popular herb in baking, there are plenty of substitutes available that can provide a similar flavor and aromatic profile. Rosemary, oregano, marjoram, and parsley each offer their unique taste and can be used in a variety of baked goods. Remember to adjust the quantity and timing when using substitutes and always taste and adjust the seasoning to suit your preference. With these alternatives, your baking adventures will never be restricted, and you can create delicious recipes with the flavors you love.

Pro Tip: If you’re unsure about which substitute to choose for thyme, start with a smaller quantity and taste as you go. You can always add more if desired, but it’s difficult to remove the flavor if you’ve added too much.


What Are Some Good Alternatives For Thyme In Baking?

Some great substitutes for thyme in baking are marjoram, oregano, sage, rosemary, and savory. These herbs have similar flavor profiles to thyme and can add a delicious depth of flavor to your baked goods.

Can I Use Fresh Herbs Instead Of Dried When Substituting For Thyme?

Yes, you can use fresh herbs in place of dried thyme. However, keep in mind that the substitution ratio between fresh and dried herbs is different, so you may need to adjust the amount used accordingly. Generally speaking, one tablespoon of fresh herb equals one teaspoon of dried herb.

What Kind Of Baked Goods Can Benefit From Thyme Substitutes?

Thyme substitutes can add wonderful flavor to a variety of baked goods such as bread, muffins, scones, and biscuits. They also work well in savory pies, quiches, and tarts.

Are There Any Flavor Differences Between Thyme And Its Substitutes?

While the thyme substitutes listed above have similar flavor profiles to thyme, they do have their own unique flavors. Marjoram has a slightly sweeter taste, while oregano is more pungent. Sage has a strong aroma and earthy flavor, while rosemary has a woodsy taste. Savory, on the other hand, has a spicy and peppery taste.

How Much Of The Thyme Substitute Should I Use In My Recipe?

The amount of thyme substitute you should use in your recipe will depend on your personal preference as well as the recipe you are making. As a general rule of thumb, start with a smaller amount and then adjust according to taste. As a starting point, try substituting one teaspoon of dried thyme with one teaspoon of your chosen substitute.

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  • About the Author Jenny

    I'm Jenny, a housewife with an unwavering passion for food. My culinary journey began with my grandmother's kitchen, and it's now a full-fledged food blog. I've turned my love for cooking into a creative outlet, sharing recipes and stories with a global community of fellow food enthusiasts. It's proof that being a housewife can also mean pursuing your passions and savoring life's delectable moments.