Marjoram is one of those spices that you have constantly but somehow never recognize.
If you are about to cook one of your favorite meals and see marjoram pop up in the ingredient list, then you may be in trouble if you don’t have any. Instead of panicking, pick one of these options before you ruin your dish.
What Is Marjoram?
This herb is often used dried or fresh, as it adds citrus, earthy, and sweet pine aromas.
This plant is native to the Mediterranean region, particularly in Turkey and the nearby regions. That’s why you will probably encounter marjoram when you prepare Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods.
Marjoram looks and tastes like oregano, so it can easily be mistaken with this herb. It is common to add marjoram to soups, dressings, sauces, stews, and more. You can even find marjoram in Herbes de Provence and za’atar.
What Can I Replace Marjoram Spice and Herb With?
Now that you know what it is, these great marjoram substitutes can work great in plenty of dishes:
Best For Cooking, Chicken, Pork, and Stuffing
As stated above, oregano is very similar to marjoram in flavor and aroma. Many people confuse the two herbs.
You can use fresh oregano in the same way that you would fresh marjoram, and the same goes for the dry version of the two. Basically, you can swap 1 teaspoon of marjoram spice for the same amount of dried oregano.
This choice works great in cooking meats, like beef, pork, or chicken, and it also adds flavor to a stuffing.
You can buy fresh and dry oregano in any grocery store, usually by the spice or produce sections. Oregano is a bit more pungent and spicy than marjoram, so you may want to taste as you cook.
Dry and fresh thyme is a great addition to your roasts, stews, and casseroles made of beef, chicken, or pork. The flavor and aroma thyme brings is very mild and somewhat similar to marjoram. Use the same amount of dry or fresh thyme as you would marjoram.
Finding thyme shouldn’t be too hard, you can try the produce section of your grocery store or a farmer’s market. Since thyme is a very versatile herb, it is common in French, English, Swedish, and Italian cuisines.
See More: Thyme Substitutes
This herb is very common in plenty of dishes, including stuffing, chicken, pork, and roasts. You can use dry or fresh sage in cooking recipes that call for marjoram, as they both add pine and citrus notes.
You can find sage in most grocery stores, though it is not as common as the rest of the herbs.
Try using sage in the same amount you would use marjoram when it is fresh. If you decide to go for the dry kind, go with half the amount. Other good dishes to use sage in include potatoes, pasta, and cream sauces.
Best For Soups, Baking, and Seasoning Mix
#4. Dry or Ground Basil
In this case, fresh basil won’t work as it changes the flavor profile too much. Use dry or ground basil instead, considering that these two are very aromatic and have a slightly peppery taste. Use basil in making soups, baking pasta, or making a seasoning mix.
Finding dry or ground basil shouldn’t be too hard, but try the grocery store’s spice rack. You can also try adding other herbs, like lemon thyme and sage.
#5. Herbes de Provence
As you already know, marjoram is part of the herbes de Provence mix, so it makes sense to add this when you’re missing this spice.
This mix contains dried thyme, dried oregano, dried marjoram, dried parsley, dried rosemary, and bay leaves. Because it is highly fragrant and aromatic, you should only add half of the amount that the recipe calls for.
Herbes de Provence is a great alternative when cooking soup, baking pasta, vegetables, and roasting meats. You can probably find herbes de Provence in any grocery store, but this mix is a bit stronger than other herbs, so take that into account.
This herb isn’t the best substitute, but it can be a last-minute option. Tarragon has stronger licorice and earthy taste, so try to use it sparingly when replacing marjoram. Use it for dishes like sauces, soups, and in creating a seasoning mix.
You can use both dry and fresh tarragon in replacing marjoram, but be careful as the strong anise notes can overpower the rest of the ingredients. Finding this herb shouldn’t be too hard at your local grocery store.
See More: Tarragon Alternatives
#7. Dried Lemongrass
This is the last choice in the list because the flavor is highly citrus and pungent, so it doesn’t work in every dish. In making soups, sauces, and baking, you can use dried lemongrass to add a floral aroma to your meals. The dry kind is a bit similar to marjoram, while the fresh kind is too strong.
Even though it is not a common spice, you can find dried lemongrass in some grocery stores or organic markets. You can add about half of what the recipe calls for, as this flavor is a bit too citrus and pungent.
See More: Lemongrass Replacements For Cooking
No, oregano and marjoram are not the same, though their flavors and aromas are very similar. However, oregano is pungent and spicy, while marjoram is more citrus, floral, and woodsy. Sometimes you can even use both interchangeably in certain dishes.
Yes, raw marjoram is very flavorful and refreshing, so plenty of recipes call for this kind. You can use dry too, but the citrus and floral notes are more prominent in this form. Raw marjoram is part of dishes, including roasted chicken, pork, sausage, and potato salad.
Spices that resemble marjoram include oregano, thyme, and sage. Still, any of these 7 choices will work in different recipes.
Despite not being a very common herb, marjoram is part of many dishes that we all enjoy. If you find yourself scrambling to find it, try using one of these 7 alternatives for similar and even better flavor.
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