Here's What You Can Substitute For Tarragon

One of the best parts of springtime is the abundance of fresh herbs. While dried herbs are great and add plenty of flavor to dishes, there's just something a little extra special about fresh, green herbs that really take dishes to the next level. Even if you grow herbs like basil, cilantro, parsley, or even thyme indoors year-round, herbs like tarragon seem to fall to the wayside.

Tarragon is a wonderful pick to add to tons of recipes, so if you find you've run out, then it is time to look for a quick-fix alternative. While the best substitute for fresh tarragon is really dried tarragon (should you have it available), there are other options. Other green herbs like chervil, basil, and fennel seed also work well as fresh tarragon replacements. If you had planned to use dried tarragon all along, then consider using dried dill, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, or anise seed instead. These aromatic dried herbs are much stronger than fresh alternatives, so less is required of any one of these tarragon substitutes (via Marvelous Chef).

Measurements for tarragon substitutes

If you plan to replace fresh tarragon, try using 1 1/2 tablespoons of chervil for every tablespoon of fresh tarragon you need to replace. Though the taste is not quite as strong as tarragon, chervil is the most similar when it comes to aroma. Fennel seed is another alternative, as it's very versatile and packs a lot of flavor. Use 1/2 teaspoon for every tablespoon of fresh tarragon. Finally, basil is also similar to tarragon, but without the distinct licorice flavor of chervil. Substitute 2 tablespoons fresh basil for every one tablespoon of fresh tarragon since basil is a milder herb.

To replace dried tarragon, stick to dried marjoram, basil, or dill to, again, avoid that bitter, licorice flavor. Each of these alternatives can be added to a recipe in equal parts to the amount of dried tarragon called for. To replace dried tarragon with fennel seed or anise seed, it's best to use an eighth of a teaspoon for every teaspoon of tarragon. These substitutes will add the bitter notes tarragon can have (via The Spruce Eats).