Food Substitute

6 Thyme Substitutes For Chicken: Great Herbs That Will Make Your Next Chicken Dish Wonderful

Herbs like thyme can elevate your chicken dish to a whole new level.

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It is not a compulsory ingredient, but the addition of herbs can make a huge difference.

If you don’t have any thyme, don’t worry, it is easy to substitute this herb to give your chicken a new twist that is also very appealing and delicious.

What is thyme?

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Thyme is a plant that natively grows in the Mediterranean region.

It has been used for centuries due to its healing properties, as well as in cooking.

Thyme can be bought fresh or dried from most grocery stores, but if you grow your own, you’ll have more control over what goes into your food.

This herb adds a complex flavor with a note of herbal, floral, citrus, and minty taste.

Therefore, it is widely used in many cooking recipes from grilling, baking, roasting, stewing, or making soups that are meat-based, seafood-based, or vegan-friendly.

Dried thyme is more favored because it has a longer shelf life and pungent flavor.

Can you substitute thyme in chicken recipes?

Chicken is one of the most popular kinds of meat in any cuisine in the world.

There are many ways to cook this ingredient, but the tip to create a flavorful taste is to add thyme.

In case you don’t have this herb available in your kitchen, there are still many choices for you to choose from.

Thyme can be substituted by different kinds of herbs or spices that can be easily bought in a local grocery store or supermarket across the country.

What can you substitute for thyme in chicken recipes?

In this section, we are going to figure out what herbs go well with your chicken besides thyme so that you can have a lot more options for herbs when it comes to making the best chicken dish.

1. Cilantro

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Cilantro is our first suggestion to substitute for thyme in your next chicken recipe.

It is sometimes known as coriander or Chinese parsley and is an edible plant (both leaves and soft stems).

Cilantro has a strong and fragrant flavor and a hint of fresh citrus.

You can make use of fresh cilantro or dried cilantro seeds to season your dish.

The whole plant can be used to garnish dishes.

Cilantro is also a very suitable ingredient for making a creamy dipping sauce to serve with your meat dishes.

It goes well with different kinds of meat, seafood, dairy products, beans, and vegetables.

2. Oregano

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Oregano is also a plant in the mint family, which can be a great substitute for thyme.

It has a mild to bold flavor with an earthy and bitter taste.

Fresh oregano is milder than its dried counterpart.

It can be used in different forms, such as whole fresh leaves to garnish, chopped oregano to sprinkle on food, or dried oregano to marinate or season your dish.

Not only works with chicken, but oregano can also be used in much other meat, seafood, or veggie recipes.

3. Rosemary

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Rosemary, either fresh or dried, can be used as a great alternative to thyme for cooking chicken.

This herb has a special and complex taste that contains minty flavor, citrus flavor, pine, lavender, woody, and floral flavor.

It has a hard stem so you should pull off the leaves and chop in the desired length to season or marinate your chicken.

4. Tarragon

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Tarragon is a common herb in North America.

It has a similar look to rosemary with long and pointy leaves.

Tarragon has a licorice-like taste and a fragrant flavor, making it suitable for roasting or grilling chicken.

Tarragon also goes well when combined with other spices and veggie ingredients like onions, mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes.

You can directly rub it on the chicken surface, mix it with sauce before basting the chicken, or stuff it inside the whole bird before baking.

5. Poultry seasoning

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Poultry seasoning often contains different kinds of dried herbs and spices, such as sage, rosemary, nutmeg, marjoram, thyme, and black pepper.

This blend is typically bought in a plastic or glass jar from any grocery store or supermarket in the country.

This will save you a lot of time in preparing a mixture of various spices and herbs to create a blend that works well in many recipes, especially poultry like chicken.

6. Garlic

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Garlic really works with chicken rather than other kinds of poultry or red meat, especially in grilling or roasting recipes.

You can bake some dashes of garlic beforehand so that it can easily be blended with some melted butter to brush over the chicken surface.

It can be finely chopped to make sauces for marinating or dipping the chicken.

The bottom line

Thyme is a herb that imparts both flavor and aroma to the dish.

It has been used for centuries in traditional dishes like chicken, turkey stuffing, beef stew, lamb chops, and more.

The addition of thyme can elevate your chicken dish from bland to boldly delicious with just one ingredient change.

And with our list of the best thyme substitutes for chicken above, you will never have to worry about ending up with a tasteless chicken dish.

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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