Basil Substitutes for Cooking: 19 Options Exposed

Basil is a mint-like leafy plant native to Asia and Africa. It has a sweet and salty flavor with traces of mint and pepper, and it is often used in Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian, and Mediterranean cuisine. It contains a lot of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Basil, on the other hand, may not always be accessible. Some of the greatest basil replacements for cooking are as follows:

  1. Oregano
  2. Spinach Leaves
  3. Mint
  4. Tarragon
  5. Thyme
  6. Rosemary
  7. Sage
  8. Parsley
  9. Celery Leaf

Don’t worry if you can’t locate any replacements from the list above; we have a lengthy list of basil substitutes that you may try in your culinary recipe below.

20 Best Substitute for Basil

Basil is said to have originated in India and is widely cultivated as a kitchen herb across the world.

Fresh or dried, the leaves are often used to flavor meats, seafood, salads, and sauces. Basil tea is also used as a stimulant [Source].

Some of the greatest basil alternatives with comparable mint and peppery flavors, such as oregano and thyme, have Mediterranean roots.


Oregano is the first on our list of excellent basil alternatives. It belongs to the mint family. Because the herb originated in the Mediterranean area, it is often utilized in their cuisine.

The leaves of fresh oregano are vivid olive-green, and the blossoms are purple. The leaves and stems of certain kinds are woolly. It tastes earthy, peppery, somewhat bitter, and minty.

When substituting oregano for basil, use equal parts fresh oregano and fresh basil. Oregano is a fantastic substitution for basil, particularly in Italian recipes such as pizza, spaghetti, and casseroles.

Spinach leaves

Spinach is an amaranth-family leafy green vegetable. Fresh, fresh spinach has a mild, sweet flavor. When cooked, though, spinach becomes more strong and acidic.

Because of its many health advantages, spinach has been labeled a superfood. Among the many benefits are: (1) it lowers blood sugar, (2) it prevents cancer, (3) it protects bones, (4) it promotes weight loss, (5) it lowers the risk of hypertension, (6) it lowers inflammation, (7) it is good for the eyes, (8) it boosts immunity, (9) it prevents atherosclerosis and heart attacks, and (10) it prevents anemia.

Spinach leaves are best utilized in pesto for pasta dishes as a replacement for basil in cooking.


Mint is a Lamiaceae family plant best recognized for its fresh and cold flavor. It has serrated green leaves and white, pink, or purple blooms.

Mint leaves are abundant in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins A, C, D, and E. Mint is also often used to treat dyspepsia. Mint is also used to relieve stress and promote healthy sleep.

Mint has also been found in studies to help alleviate nasal irritation, hence alleviating respiratory symptoms. Mint is also often found in dental goods including toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash.

Mint comes in two varieties: peppermint and spearmint. It is preferable to swap peppermint for basil rather than spearmint.

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Tarragon is the next ingredient on our list of great basil alternatives in cooking. It is a sunflower herb that is native to North America and Eurasia.

Tarragon has long, thin green leaves with pointy tips. Tarragon has a pleasant aroma that most people associate with licorice. It has a bittersweet flavor that is evocative of licorice, fennel, and anise.

Tarragon offers several health advantages. It is often used to enhance sleep, cure stomach issues, initiate menstruation, increase appetite, and decrease inflammation.

When substituting tarragon for basil, use one measure of tarragon for one measure of basil. Tarragon goes well with Italian and other European meals.


Thyme is another plant in the mint family. Thyme, like the majority of the herbs on this list, originated in the Mediterranean. It tastes earthy, minty, and savory, and it smells minty.

Thyme is highly valued for its culinary, medicinal, and aesthetic properties.

Almost every part of the thyme plant is valuable; the leaves, flowers, and oil are all utilized in different ways.

According to research, thyme oil possesses antimicrobial characteristics [Source]. It has been shown to be effective against germs such as Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Thyme has been shown to have antifungal qualities in addition to antibacterial characteristics. It was discovered to be efficient against Candida albicans.

When substituting thyme for basil, use equal parts thyme and basil. Thyme taste enhances roasted vegetables, meat, soups, stews, and beans.


Rosemary is a plant renowned for its needle-like leaves and pink, white, or blue blooms. Almost all of the components of rosemary, like thyme, are helpful.

Its leaves and stem are often used as a spice in soups, pasta, and other meals. It is also used as a meat marinade. Meanwhile, its blooms are utilized in the preparation of drinks and salads. Because of their pleasant scent, several people use rosemary flowers in their bouquets.

Rosemary blooms have been demonstrated in studies to promote digestion, enhance circulation, ease migraines, minimize hair loss, and treat muscular discomfort.

A research published in Nutrition Today by Keith Singletary found that inhaling Rosemary essential oil works wonderfully. It has been shown that rosemary essential oil boosts memory and lifts one’s spirits. [Source]

Fresh rosemary is an excellent addition to stews, soups, casseroles, and salads. It is often combined with potatoes, peas, mushrooms, and spinach. Dried rosemary, on the other hand, may be used as a dry massage. It is also used in the preparation of drinks and bread.


Sage is a perennial plant of the mint family that is native to the Mediterranean area. The leaves of sage are oblong in form. It might be green, red, gold, cream, or purple in color.

Sage has an earthy, peppery flavor. Sage is highly valued for its fragrant properties. It smells strongly like soil with undertones of mint and lemon.

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Vitamins A, C, and K are abundant in sage.

In a research published in the National Library of Medicine’s National Center for Biotechnology Information, Mohsen Hamidpour et colleagues discovered that inhaling sage essential oil enhances memory and mood.[Source]

According to the same research, sage decreases blood sugar, lowers cholesterol, relieves hot flashes, limits bacterial development, and heals diarrhea.

Salads benefit greatly from the addition of sage. It is often used as a condiment in sausage stuffing in British and Italian cuisines. It may also be used to flavor sweets such as toast and jelly.


The herb parsley is native to the middle and eastern Mediterranean. It’s popular in Mediterranean, European, and American cooking.

Parsley is highly valued for its many health advantages. It is very high in vitamin K. One tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley contains more than 70% of the daily value for vitamin K. Aside from that, it is a good source of vitamin A and antioxidants.

As previously said, parsley is often used as a garnish. It is, however, excellent for pesto, sauces, and dips. It is also used to add taste to salads.

Celery Leaf

Celery is a herbaceous plant in the same family as parsley. Celery is mostly produced for its stalk. Because its leaves are fibrous and rough for some, it is usually discarded.

However, most people are unaware that its leaves have a delicious taste and perfume. Celery leaves have a flavor similar to anise and fennel.

Because of its comparable color and taste characteristics to basil, celery is an excellent pesto alternative. It may also be found in salads, stews, and soups. In addition, celery leaves are mixed with kosher salt to form seasoning salt.


Cilantro is the next item on the list. It is a herb that belongs to the same family as parsley. Cilantro, also known as Chinese parsley and dhania, is well recognized for its acidic taste and lemony aroma.

Cilantro has a lot of antioxidants. It also contains a lot of vitamin K. A quarter cup of raw cilantro leaves provides 16% of the daily value. It has also historically been used to alleviate diarrhea and inflammation.

Cilantro is often used uncooked. It, like parsley, may be used as a garnish. Its distinct taste is also the key to producing delicious salsa. Cilantro works well as a basil alternative in pesto.


Kale, often known as leaf cabbage, is a vegetable in the same family as cabbage. Kale comes in a variety of kinds that are utilized in a variety of ways. Kale is grown for its culinary, medicinal, and decorative properties.

Kale has a distinct taste and fragrance character. It is high in vitamins A, B6, C, E, K, folate, and manganese.

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Kale is frequently utilized in a variety of cuisines, including Asian, American, and European dishes. It may be used as a replacement for basil in pesto. Aside from that, it gives a unique flavor to pasta, salads, and other side dishes. It may also be prepared into chips and used in place of potato chips.


The plant stinging nettle has pointed leaves and yellow and white blooms. It is found in Canada, the United States, and Europe.

Nettles have traditionally been used to treat anemia, muscular aches, arthritis, gout, eczema, and urinary tract infections.

Nettle is often used in teas, soups, salads, and mixed vegetables. Nettle is often used to create pesto as a replacement for basil.


Fennel is another ingredient on the best alternatives list. It is a carrot family plant endemic to the Mediterranean area.

It has been shown to aid in weight reduction, heal anemia, decrease inflammation, and alleviate irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.

When preparing pesto, fennel may be used in place of basil.


Lovage is a perennial plant used throughout Europe for its many applications. Loveage tastes like a combination of celery, anise, and parsley. Its leaves are often used as a herb, its roots as a vegetable, and its seeds as a spice.

When preparing pesto, lovage is a fantastic alternative for basil. Lovage complements walnuts and other nuts.


Coriander and cilantro are both derived from the same plant. Cilantro refers to the plant’s leaves and stems. Coriander is a spice produced from the plant’s seeds.

Coriander may be used in place of basil in rice dishes, soups, and stews.


Arugula is a green leafy vegetable that is often utilized in diets. It has a spicy and somewhat sour flavor. Baby arugulas have a milder flavor than adult arugulas.

It contains calcium, potassium, vitamins C and K, and folate, among other nutrients.

Arugula is an excellent replacement for basil in salads and soups. It may also be used to make pesto.


Sorrel is a green, leafy plant related to rhubarb and buckwheat. Its leaves have a strong tart taste similar to lemons.

Sorrel has been demonstrated in studies to prevent skin infections, improve digestion, delay aging, and enhance the immune system. It’s often seen in sauces, purees, and soups.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a plant native to North and South America, as well as the Mediterranean region. It has a subtle lemon scent and a minty flavor, making it an excellent alternative for basil.

It provides several health advantages, including relief from indigestion, improvement of cold and cough symptoms, and stress reduction.

Lemon balm is a flavour that works well in spritzes and other drinks. It may also be made into pesto.


What is a good substitute for basil in cooking?

Basil substitutes:

Alternatives to basil include its mint cousins: Greek oregano, mint, and thyme. Tarragon and savory are also good substitutes for basil. Because basil is used in Italian seasoning, it is also an excellent substitute for basil in an Italian-style dish.

What could be substituted for the fresh basil and in what amount?

To replace the basil, use equal parts fresh or dried tarragon.

What dried herb can I substitute for basil?

Basil and oregano, dried. When it comes to texture, taste, and color, this is the closest equivalent to the fresh variety.
Seasoning from Italy.

What can I substitute for 1 cup fresh basil?

Basil’s closest replacement is oregano. Due to the texture, color, and taste. We advocate using minimal quantities since, like basil, it may overshadow the meal. You may replace the basil with equal amounts fresh oregano.

How important is basil in a recipe?

Basil is a fresh herb that adds flavor to certain classic meals and serves as a stand-in in others. You may use it to lend a burst of peppery, fresh taste to pizza, spaghetti, sauces, drinks, and salads.

Can I use Italian seasoning instead of basil?

Seasoning from Italy

This spice is a combination of all the dry herbs typically used in Italian cookery. This includes basil. As a result, it is an excellent alternative. Oregano, rosemary, marjoram, and thyme are common herbs found with basil.

What is the conversion of fresh basil?

That example, 1 tablespoon fresh herbs to 1 teaspoon dry herbs is the ideal ratio. For example, if a recipe asks for 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, use 1 teaspoon dry oregano instead. The same is true with basil, dill, parsley, and any other herb you like.

What is the conversion basil leaves?

For every 2 teaspoons of fresh basil, use 1 teaspoon of dried basil.

Can I substitute basil for thyme?

Although basil and thyme are related, their taste characteristics are not the same. It’s a good substitute for thyme, but bear in mind that basil has a licorice taste, which may be crucial in your dish.

Can I use dried parsley instead of basil?

When used as a garnish, basil works well in place of parsley. Because of its strong flavor, it should only be used as a replacement for dried or fresh parsley in Italian recipes.

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