You are not alone if you are looking for an Italian seasoning substitute. Many options are available, whether you are out of Italian seasoning or want to try something new. Italian seasoning is a blend of herbs that typically includes basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and sometimes garlic powder.
It is commonly used in Italian cuisine and other dishes to add flavor.
One popular substitute for Italian seasoning is simply using individual herbs. This allows you to customize the blend and ensure fresh herbs. Combining basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and garlic powder creates a similar flavor profile.
Understanding Italian Seasoning
What is Italian Seasoning?
Italian seasoning is a blend of herbs and spices widely used in Italian cuisine. It is a versatile seasoning used in various dishes, including pasta, pizza, soups, stews, and salads. Italian seasoning typically includes a blend of herbs such as basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary, as well as spices such as garlic powder and onion powder.
What are the Key Ingredients of Italian Seasoning?
The key ingredients of Italian seasoning include herbs and spices commonly used in Italian cuisine. Here are some of the most common ingredients found in Italian seasoning:
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
Basil is one of the most essential ingredients in Italian seasoning, as it adds a sweet and slightly peppery flavor to dishes. Oregano is another crucial ingredient that adds a slightly bitter and pungent flavor to dishes.
Thyme and rosemary are also commonly used in Italian seasoning, adding a savory and earthy flavor to dishes. Garlic powder and onion powder are often added to Italian seasoning blends to add a subtle depth of flavor. Italian seasoning blends can vary depending on the brand and recipe, so reading the label and checking the ingredients before using them in your cooking is essential.
Best Italian Seasoning Substitutes
When you run out of Italian seasoning, you may wonder what you can use instead. You can combine oregano, basil, rosemary, garlic powder, and thyme. You can use these dried herbs in any combination to give Italian flavors. These herbs and spices can recreate the flavor profile of Italian seasoning and bring a delicious depth of flavor to your dishes.
Here are some of the best Italian seasoning substitutes:
1. Basil and Oregano
Basil and oregano are two of the main ingredients in Italian seasoning. You can use them together or separately to replace Italian seasoning. They both have a slightly sweet and bitter taste that works well in Italian dishes. Use about 1 teaspoon of basil and 1 teaspoon of oregano for every tablespoon of Italian seasoning.
2. Dried Oregano + Thyme
If you have finished your Italian seasoning but have some oregano and thyme, you can create your Italian seasoning substitute in minutes. Use oregano and thyme in a ratio of 2:1. If you have dried basil or parsley, you can use that instead of thyme.
For me, Oregano is a must whenever I prepare something Italian. Oregano is the primary herb that gives spectacular flavor to dishes.
3. Pizza seasoning
Pizza seasoning is another excellent seasoning loaded with oregano flavors and a great alternative to Italian seasoning.
It offers a unique blend of herbs and spices that create the classic flavors associated with pizza. It’s beneficial in recipes that call for more than just Italian seasoning, such as homemade pizzas or calzones.
4. Herbs de Provence
Herbs de Provence is a French seasoning blend containing many herbs in Italian seasoning, including thyme, rosemary, and oregano. It also contains lavender, which gives it a unique flavor.
Use about 1 tablespoon of Herbs de Provence for every tablespoon of Italian seasoning.
While using the Herbes de Provence, check if it has floral solid flavors of Lavender. If so, it is best to use it in small amounts.
Pesto is a sauce made from basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. It has a similar flavor profile to Italian seasoning and can be used as a substitute. Use about 1 tablespoon of pesto for every tablespoon of Italian seasoning.
6. Rosemary and Thyme
Rosemary and thyme are two herbs that are commonly used in Italian cooking. They have a slightly piney and minty flavor that pairs well with Italian dishes. Use 1 teaspoon of rosemary and 1 teaspoon of thyme for every tablespoon of Italian seasoning.
7. Marjoram and Sage
Marjoram and sage have a slightly sweet and earthy flavor that works well in Italian dishes. Use 1 teaspoon of marjoram and 1 teaspoon of sage for every tablespoon of Italian seasoning.
8. Garlic and Onion Powder
Garlic and onion powder are two spices often included in Italian seasoning blends. They add a savory flavor to dishes and can be used as a substitute for Italian seasoning. Use 1 teaspoon of garlic and 1 onion powder for every tablespoon of Italian seasoning.
9. Single Italian herbs
Oregano -A classic herb with an unmistakable flavor, it can substitute Italian seasoning in any recipe that calls for it.
Basil: This sweet and savory herb is an excellent substitute for Italian seasoning. It has a flavor similar to oregano but with a more subtle sweetness.
Rosemary – A strongly flavored herb, rosemary is often used as an alternative to Italian seasoning. The fragrant notes of this herb can be used to elevate the flavor profile of any dish.
Thyme – A milder herb with a slightly lemony flavor, thyme is an excellent substitute for Italian seasoning. It’s perfect in recipes with a subtle and delicate flavor.
Garlic powder – Garlic powder is one of the main ingredients in Italian seasoning and can be used as a substitute to recreate the flavor profile. Garlic powder also has the bonus of providing an additional depth of flavor with its mild heat.
10 Fresh herbs
If you can access fresh herbs, these can be an exciting and flavorful substitute for Italian seasoning. A combination of basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary is especially suitable for Italian-style dishes.
You have to adjust the amount of fresh herbs you are using for your recipes. Flavors in dried herbs are more concentrated, so you have to use fresh herbs in increased quantities. Use fresh herbs in a ratio of 1:3. For one teaspoon of dried spices, use 3 teaspoons of fresh herbs.
You can chop the herbs finely or use a small processor to grind the herbs. Add at the end of the dish.
Fresh herbs give a beautiful flavor to your dish with an enhanced taste.
What cannot be used as Italian seasoning?
You should avoid using other seasoning blends, such as taco seasoning or curry powder, as Italian seasoning substitutes.
I have read people’s advice of using old bay seasoning and crab boil. These seasonings never taste like Italian seasoning. Old bay seasoning has more warn spices as compared to Italian seasoning herb flavors.
Also, spice blends like the Chinese five-spice, Lebanese seven-spice, or French four-spice have warm spices. So they are not suitable to use as Italian seasoning.
These seasonings will change the flavor profile entirely and won’t taste like Italian seasoning. If you want a substitute similar in flavor to Italian seasoning, opt for one of the spices with similar flavor profiles I have listed above.
It is better to use a single Italian herb than warm spices.
What to use instead of Italian herbs?
The best substitute for Italian herbs is a combination of oregano, basil, rosemary, garlic powder, and thyme. This blend of herbs and spices can create the flavor characteristics of Italian seasoning and be used in any dish that calls for it.
Alternatively, you can use Italian herbs such as oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, and garlic powder. While this won’t be the same as Italian seasoning, these herbs can still give your dish a classic Italian flavor.
You can also use other herbs, such as parsley, marjoram, sage, and bay leaves to add a slightly different twist to traditional Italian dishes.
How to Use Italian Seasoning Substitutes
Proportions and Ratios
When using Italian seasoning substitutes, it is important to remember the ingredients’ proportions and ratios. For example, if you use a substitute containing oregano, basil, and thyme, you may want to use a ratio of 2:1:1 respectively.
However, it is essential to note that the proportions and ratios may vary depending on your specific substitute. Read the label or recipe carefully to determine the appropriate ratios.
Italian seasoning substitutes can be used in various cooking techniques, including sautéing, roasting, and grilling. When using a substitute in a recipe, following the cooking instructions carefully ensures that the flavors are appropriately incorporated.
Some substitutes may work better in specific cooking techniques than others. For example, substitutes that contain rosemary and thyme may work well in roasted dishes, while substitutes that contain basil and oregano may be better suited for sautéed dishes.
Experimenting with different cooking techniques and substitutes can help you discover new and delicious flavor combinations.
Fresh herbs are an excellent choice for those who want a healthier option. It may require more effort, but the result is worth it. Mix fresh basil, oregano, and thyme for a flavorful Italian seasoning substitute packed with nutrients.
Overall, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to Italian seasoning substitutes. It’s up to you to decide which one to use based on your taste preference and the availability of ingredients. So, experiment with different herbs and spices until you find the perfect substitute for your recipe.