Here's What You Can Substitute For Thyme

Thyme is an herb with a subtle, earthy, and ever-so-slightly citrusy flavor, with perhaps even a tiny hint of mint — and, in fact, thyme does belong to the mint family (via Spiceography). It is used prominently in Mediterranean cooking, and also makes an appearance in many Middle Eastern dishes. Thyme is also one herb whose flavor does not diminish with heat, so it is often added to soups, stews, and roasted meats as well as used in sauces, rice, and even savory baked goods.

What do you do, though, if you're in the midst of a recipe which calls for this wonder herb, and you open the spice cabinet only to find you're out of thyme? You could run out to the nearest grocery store, sure, but perhaps you're out of time as well as thyme. At any rate, it's about thyme — er, time — we knocked off the bad puns and let you know just what herbs can be used in place of thyme.

​ For a good thyme (substitute), call these herbs

The best thyme substitutes, according to The Spruce Eats, are savory, marjoram and oregano, all of which are somewhat similar in flavor to thyme and will usually work well in recipes that call for it. Should you not have any of these individual herbs on hand, you can also use either Herbes de Provence, poultry seasoning, or Italian seasoning, as all of these seasoning blends contain thyme along with other herbs.

What you should not do, however, is use rosemary as a substitute for thyme. Despite the fact that they both get namechecked in the Simon and Garfunkel song "Scarborough Fair" (along with parsley and sage, neither of which is recommended as a thyme substitute), rosemary and thyme have quite a different taste. Rosemary is fairly astringent, and its flavor can tend to overwhelm a dish rather than blending in nicely which is more typical of thyme.