Italian seasoning is a ready-made blend of herbs used for preparing a wide variety of dishes.
Typically, Italian seasoning contains dried oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, and thyme. But you can find different variations, which may include other dried herbs such as garlic powder, salt, bay leaves, sage, red chili flakes, or others.
While you can make your own Italian seasoning mix according to your personal preferences, there are some easier ways to replace it in specific recipes with a suitable Italian seasoning substitute.
Creole and Greek seasoning are excellent replacements for the Italian seasoning mix.
Here is our complete list of the best replacements you can use for recipes calling for Italian seasoning.
Best Italian Seasoning Substitutes
To understand which replacements and adjustments are best for the dish you are preparing, here is an overview of the basic herbs used for making the classic Italian seasoning and which foods they are most suitable for:
Basil is the top-recommended seasoning for most tomato-based dishes, sauces, pizzas, and other foods. It is a key ingredient for making pesto sauce as well.
Oregano is commonly used for seasoning pasta sauce, pizzas and for adding flavor to chicken or seafood dishes.
Thyme goes well with stews, beans, fish, meat, and soups. It is commonly used for seasoning dishes containing lamb.
Rosemary is ideal for seasoning potatoes, lentils, beans, as well as for different meat dishes, including pork, lamb, and chicken. Rosemary is an herb that is perfect for adding a unique Mediterranean flavor to cheese and olive oil. However, its powerful flavor can be overpowering if not used in the right quantities.
Marjoram is an herb with a more delicate and slightly sweeter flavor as compared to oregano. It is used for seasoning tomato dishes, beans, rice, minced meat, and even some salads.
These dried herbs are commonly blended together and offered on the market as part of the recipes for different Italian and other dishes.
An interesting fact is that this blend does not exist in Italy. It is an American creation that is very popular for preparing Italian pasta, pizza, and many other foods.
But if you prefer, you can add or omit some of these ingredients and create your own blend of herbs. There are also easy ways to replace the store-bought Italian seasoning with an Italian seasoning substitute from the following list:
Using fresh herbs is one of the easiest ways to substitute an Italian seasoning mixture. But keep in mind that dried herbs have a more concentrated flavor than fresh ones.
This means that to get the flavors just right, you should use about 1 ½ fresh herbs in the place of 1 part dried ones.
For the best results, professional chefs recommend that you add fresh herbs towards the end of the cooking. This will allow the food to absorb more of its distinct flavors.
Homemade Italian seasoning
If you are like us and prefer to make your own homemade Italian seasoning, you can customize your herbal blend in accordance with your liking and to the dried herbs you have available on your spice rack.
An easy recipe for homemade Italian seasoning includes blending equal quantities of dried oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram with the help of a coffee grinder or a food processor.
Depending on your preferences, you can also add some garlic powder, black pepper, salt, red chili flakes, or other dried herbs of your choice.
Herbes de Provence
Herbes de Provence is another popular herbal blend that goes well with grilled fish, roast lamb, chicken, veggies, and other recipes.
It typically consists of savory, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, oregano, and in some cases, dried lavender flowers.
The herbes de Provence mix can also be used for preparing flavorful salad dressings.
When used as an Italian seasoning substitute, you can use it in a 1:1 ratio. For the most similar taste and results, you may want to opt for a herbes de Provence blend which does not contain the fragrant lavender flowers.
Dried basil and oregano
If you don’t have Italian seasoning and are making pizza, pasta, or another dish that calls for this herbal blend, you can successfully replace it with some dried basil and oregano.
The basil has a savory and sweet flavor with a hint of pepper and mint.
Oregano is slightly bitter and has a sharper taste.
Use equal amounts of these two herbs when preparing your Italian seasoning substitute for the best end results.
Dried basil, oregano, and thyme
Like in the previous option, you can mix your own blend to replace the Italian seasoning.
This time add some thyme to the blend of oregano and basil.
The thyme will bring a fresh and minty flavor, as well as a slightly floral, peppery, and sweet taste to your food.
Our recommended proportions for this blend are 1 teaspoon of oregano and ½ teaspoons of basil and thyme.
Homemade Italian seasoning with sage
For a more exotic flavor with a trace of mint, lemon, and a hint of eucalyptus, you can use Italian seasoning, which contains sage too.
To prepare this blend at home, mix 3 teaspoons of oregano with 2 teaspoons of basil and add a teaspoon of rosemary, thyme, and sage each to it.
Blend them well, and add them to the food of your choice.
Homemade Italian seasoning with fennel seed
Dried fennel seeds will add a sweeter aniseed flavor to the dish you are preparing.
To create a homemade Italian seasoning with fennel seed, mix equal quantities of basil, oregano, thyme and add half the quantity of fennel seed to the blend.
Homemade Italian seasoning with black pepper
By adding black pepper to the Italian seasoning, you will give your food a spicier and stronger kick and a mild floral aftertaste.
To prepare Italian seasoning with black pepper, mix equal quantities of basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, garlic powder, onion powder, ground black pepper, and some red pepper flakes.
If you like spicy food, you can use Creole seasoning as an alternative to Italian seasoning for just about any recipe.
Creole seasoning usually consists of basil, oregano, black pepper, white pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and paprika.
If you are not into spicy food, you can make your own Creole seasoning blend at home and exclude the hot cayenne pepper.
This seasoning is perfect for stews, soups, jambalaya, shrimps, gumbo, rice, salads, and other Creole meals.
Another suitable alternative for Italian seasoning is the Greek seasoning blend.
Typically, Greek seasoning is made of a blend of oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, marjoram, thyme, and parsley.
In some cases, other ingredients are added to the blend. These can include basil, pepper, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Greek seasoning will give the food a savory, peppery and minty taste. It is commonly used for seasoning beef, lamb, turkey, and chicken dishes, as well as for vegetables and salads.
The Greek seasoning is a great option for making a salad dressing. Just mix some olive oil, vinegar, lemon and add some of the seasonings, and you are ready.
You can also combine the Greek seasoning with some Greek yogurt and lemon to make a fresh veggie dip.
You might ask
Are oregano and Italian seasoning the same?
While oregano is one of the key ingredients of Italian seasoning, it is a single plant and herb and is not the same as Italian seasoning.
Are parsley and Italian seasoning the same?
While parsley is an essential herb for seasoning various dishes, sauces, and salads, it is not the main ingredient of Italian seasoning. You can add some dried parsley to your own homemade Italian seasoning if you prefer.
What are the ingredients of store-bought Italian seasoning?
The basic ingredients which are included in most store-bought Italian seasoning are oregano, basil, and rosemary. Other common ingredients are marjoram and thyme.
My Favorite Homemade Italian Seasoning Recipe
Here is our favorite easy and inexpensive recipe for making your own homemade Italian seasoning.
- Dried oregano – 1 ½ teaspoon
- Dried marjoram – 1 teaspoon
- Dried thyme – 1 teaspoon
- Dried basil – ½ teaspoon
- Dried rosemary – ½ teaspoon
- Dried sage – ½ teaspoon
- Use a coffee grinder, spice blender, or food processor to blend the dried herbs well
- Store them in a tightly sealed jar or another container
Italian seasoning is a common ingredient found in a wide variety of dishes.
Thankfully, it is readily available in just about any store in the USA, and even better – you can easily and quickly make your own Italian seasoning blend at home.
There are some basic ingredients that remain consistent in the different brands of Italian seasonings, such as oregano, basil, and rosemary.
The good news is that you can find different variations or add other herbs to your customized Italian seasoning to match your preferences and taste.
Some of the suitable herbs to add to your Italian seasoning include marjoram, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, salt, red chili flakes, and others.
When experimenting and adding new herbs, it is recommended that you start with small amounts of the new ingredient and then adjust the quantities depending on the taste and on your liking.
Happy blending, and enjoy your perfect Italian seasoning substitute!
Related: Best Old Bay Seasoning Substitute