Food Substitute

6 Thyme Substitutes For Pork: What Herbs Go Well In Your Pork Recipes?

If you are about to cook up some pork chops or have a perfect top loin to roast for dinner and just realize there is no thyme in your kitchen, what are you going to do?

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Don’t worry, read on to find out the best thyme substitutes that go well in your pork recipes.

With our help, you will never have to worry about running out of thyme or just want an alternative with a slightly different flavor on your amazing pork dish.

What is thyme?

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The thyme plant is a herb that has been used for centuries in the culinary world.

It is commonly known as being added to a variety of dishes from red meat, poultry, seafood, to vegetables.

In cooking recipes, only a few small leaves of thyme (usually dried) are needed to enhance the flavor, while the plant can be used to produce a medicinal oil.

Thyme adds a lemony, minty, and earthy flavor to your dish, which helps counteract the heavier flavors of other ingredients like meat or seafood.

It can be used alone or combined with other herbs to create a more complex flavor.

Besides the benefit of adding flavor, thyme is packed with many potential health benefits as a natural remedy for common ailments, such as stomachaches, headaches, coughs, or hair loss.

In addition to this, it can be used as an ingredient in different types of bread and dips as well as soups and sauces.

The thyme plant is perfect for those who are looking for a way to make their food taste better without having too much salt or sugar added.

Can you substitute thyme in pork recipes?

As already mentioned, thyme goes well with different ingredients, including pork.

However, in case you don’t have this herb on hand, don’t worry, it can be substituted with other kinds of herbs or spices without any fuss.

Thyme is often combined with other herbs, so normally, any of these herbs that are available in your kitchen or local grocery store can be used to alternate for thyme in pork recipes.

What can you substitute for thyme in pork recipes?

Now, let’s learn about what the other herbs or spices can replace thyme in pork recipes:

1. Dried rosemary

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Rosemary, especially the dried version, can be a great substitute for thyme in your next pork dish.

It has a similar look to thyme but with longer, pointer, and pine-like leaves.

Rosemary’s flavor resembles lemon and pine flavor, so it is pretty close to the flavor of thyme and can be used interchangeably with thyme in any pork or other recipes that call for thyme.

To use rosemary as a fragrant herb for your pork, pull the leaves off the stems, chop them or not, and add to your dish to enhance the flavor.

 It is also loaded with many health benefits like supporting joint pain, hair loss, improving memory and digestion.

2. Oregano

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Oregano is another popular kind of herb that is a nice addition to your pork dish.

Oregano also belongs to the mint family, so it can be a great alternative for thyme.

It is especially popular in Italian cuisine and the Mediterranean, but now you can easily get some from any grocery store throughout the world.

You can use either fresh or dried oregano, but the latter can last longer and has a more pungent flavor.

3. Dijon mustard

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If you want a slightly spicy kick, Dijon mustard is great to substitute for thyme in your pork dish.

This is a mixture of brown mustard seeds and vinegar or other acidic agents like unripe grape juice.

The regular store-bought Dijon mustard often has a paste form, which is less spicy than the dried powder version.

Dijon mustard will generally provide your pork a tangy, sharp, and robust flavor.

4. Basil

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Basil is a herb that is native in tropical regions, such as Southeast Asia or central Africa.

Basil also has a mint flavor with a hint of black pepper and anise.

Basil can be used in both fresh or dried forms depending on personal preference.

Thai Basil is another variety that has a stronger flavor.

5. Marjoram

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Marjoram is a herb that can provide your pork with a sweeter taste.

It is considered oregano in some regions in the Middle East.

It also has a note of citrus and floral flavor, but in general, Marjoram is milder than oregano and resembles a thyme flavor.

Therefore, you can use the same amount of dried or fresh Marjoram to substitute for dried or fresh thyme in any cooking recipe.

6. Sage

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Another minty flavor herb that can be used to substitute for thyme for pork is sage.

Sage has a pungent flavor that will be perfectly paired with a fatty and rich cut of pork or any other kind of meat.

It can be used fresh or dried, and the dried version provides a more complex flavor with a note of citrus, earthy, and savory flavor as well.

The bottom line

Now you know thyme is a good herb to flavor your pork dishes, but it is not the only choice.

There are many other substitutes that work great with pork, such as sage, oregano, rosemary, mustard, basil, or marjoram that you can try in turn to find out your favorite.

Each has its own flavor and might be suitable for a specific recipe like roasting, baking, or frying.

Try all of the aforementioned thyme substitutes in your next pork recipes and let us know how they work.

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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