Food Substitute

5 Best Rosemary Substitutes In Chicken Dishes: The Best Rosemary Substitutes That Can Elevate Your Chicken

Rosemary is a great herb for many recipes, especially chicken dishes.

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However, when you don’t have this herb ingredient on hand, there are still many options that can help enhance the flavor of your chicken.

In this article, we have compiled a list of the best rosemary substitutes that can work great in your next chicken recipes.

What is rosemary?

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Rosemary is a plant that belongs to the mint family with purple flowers and narrow leaves.

In culinary, only rosemary leaves are used as a fragrant herb to enhance the flavor of many dishes from plant-based, red meat, poultry, or seafood recipes.

This herb has an earthy scent and tastes very pungent with a note of piney, woody, minty, and a little bitter flavor which makes it perfect for using in roasted meats to add a stronger and fragrant flavor profile.

Rosemary also goes well with potatoes and carrots or added into tomato sauces as well as lemon zest.

Rosemary is widely used in the world, especially in European, American, and Mediterranean cuisines rather than in Asian cooking.

Rosemary is also great for planting in your garden because it is an evergreen with purple flowers that can decorate your house’s exterior.

Moreover, you can have fresh herbs available to flavor your dishes.

Dried rosemary is more available in most grocery stores or supermarkets across the country.

The dried version often has a stronger flavor compared to the fresh one, therefore, you just adjust the quantity of rosemary that the recipe calls for when using the fresh herb to substitute for the dried counterpart, and vice versa.

Can you substitute rosemary in chicken recipes?

Rosemary is an ideal herb for cooking chicken.

However, it doesn’t mean that it is a compulsory ingredient in your chicken recipes.

If you don’t have any rosemary in your kitchen and are unable to find some in your local grocery store, there are still many options that can help offset the absence of this herb.

What can you substitute for rosemary in chicken dishes?

Below is the list of the best rosemary substitutes for chicken dishes that you can easily find in your local grocery store or supermarket:

1.    Thyme

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Thyme is the top option when it comes to looking for a rosemary substitute in your chicken recipe.

It has a minty and earthy flavor with a hint of lemon.

Thyme can be found fresh or dried, and keep in mind that the dried version is always more pungent in flavor.

It is not only great to replace rosemary in chicken dishes but also in fish or red meat recipes.

2.    Oregano

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You can also use oregano to substitute for rosemary.

This herb has a slightly bitter and spicy kick, which creates an interesting flavor profile that is different from what you often have when cooking with rosemary.

Fresh oregano leaves can be directly added to your chicken salads, while other chicken recipes like baking or roasting better call for dried oregano to marinade and sprinkle the meat.

3.    Basil

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Basil is a popular herb used in tropical regions like in the south and southeast of Asia.

It has a minty flavor with a tone of black pepper, making it great to substitute for rosemary to enhance your chicken dishes.

It is also perfect for beef dishes thanks to the complex flavor that is both slightly sweet and savory.

4.    Caraway seeds

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Caraway seeds are not only great to enhance the flavor of your chicken dishes but also packed with many health benefits.

They have a nutty, citrus, and licorice-like flavor that can substitute for the flavor of rosemary.

Caraway seeds are often found dried in plastic bags that are sold in most grocery stores or supermarkets in the world, especially from Western Asia, Northern Africa, and Europe.

5.    Salt, pepper, and garlic

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The simplest but useful substitute for rosemary in your next chicken dish is the mixture of salt, pepper, and garlic.

These classics are nearly always available in any kitchen.

Even if you have just run out of them, salt, pepper, and garlic can easily be found in any grocery store and supermarket in your neighborhood.

Salt, pepper, and garlic are affordable and provide a salty, pungent, and fragrant flavor that works well with chicken.

The bottom line

In the end, rosemary is a powerful herb that can add flavor to many dishes.

It’s not always easy getting your hands on this kitchen staple though because of the high demand for it.

If you don’t have any rosemary when you are about to make some best baked or roasted chicken, don’t worry, our rosemary substitutes mentioned above will help you resolve this situation.

Which of these herbs or spices do you think would work best with your next chicken recipe even without rosemary?

Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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