Herb and Spice Substitution Chart

Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a recipe, open the spice cupboard and – “uh-oh!” you’re  out of an herb or spice called for in the recipe? Fear not, for here is a handy list of close substitutions of herbs and spices that should get you through cooking successfully. Keep in mind that these alternates don’t taste exactly like the ingredients they’re replacing; but with a bit of experimentation on the amounts you put in, you can still produce a great-tasting dish.

Allspice – Cinnamon, cassia, dash of nutmeg or mace, or dash of cloves
Aniseed – Fennel seed or a few drops anise extract
Basil – Oregano or thyme
Balsamic Vinegar – Sherry or cider vinegar
Brown Sugar – 1 Tbsp of light molasses added to 1 cup of sugar
Cardamom – Ginger
Chervil – Tarragon or parsley
Chili Powder – Dash bottled hot pepper sauce plus a combination of oregano and cumin
Chive – Green onion, onion, or leek
Cilantro – Parsley
Cinnamon – Nutmeg or allspice (use only 1/4 of the amount)
Cloves – Allspice, cinnamon, or nutmeg
Cumin – Chili powder
Ginger – Allspice, cinnamon, mace, or nutmeg
Italian Seasoning – Blend of any of these: basil, oregano, rosemary, and ground red pepper
Mace – Allspice, cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg
Marjoram – Basil, thyme, or savory
Mint – Basil, marjoram, or rosemary
Nutmeg – Cinnamon, ginger, or mace
Oregano – Thyme or basil
Parsley – Chervil or cilantro
Poultry Seasoning – Sage plus a blend of any of these: thyme, marjoram, savory, black pepper, and rosemary
Red Pepper – Dash bottled hot pepper sauce or black pepper
Rosemary – Thyme, tarragon, or savory
Saffron – Dash turmeric (for color)
Sage – Poultry seasoning, savory, marjoram, or rosemary
Savory – Thyme, marjoram, or sage
Tarragon – Chervil, dash fennel seed, or dash aniseed
Thyme – Basil, marjoram, oregano, or savory

Do you know of any other herb or spice flavor substitutes or alternatives? Have you devised one that works for you?  Any approximations of garlic, dill, mustard seed, or bay leaves? Let everyone know in the comments. ~ Scott

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