You're in the middle of cooking and realize you're out of oregano. Now what? Before you run to the store, take a look in your pantry.

There is no perfect oregano substitute. Depending on what you are looking for, there are a few different herbs that might work as an acceptable oregano substitute.

Here are a few of the most popular oregano substitutes.


Marjoram is a close relative of oregano, so it should come as no surprise that it makes an excellent oregano substitute. Marjoram has a more delicate flavor than oregano, so it is best used in dishes where you do not want the herb to be the star of the show.


Thyme is another herb that is closely related to oregano, and it shares many of the same flavor compounds. Thyme has a slightly minty flavor which can be a nice complement to other herbs in a dish. however, if you use too much thyme, it can easily overwhelm other flavors.


Rosemary is not related to oregano, but it shares many of the same flavors. Rosemary has a strong flavor, so it should be used sparingly. A little goes a long way with rosemary, so start with just a pinch and add more if needed.


Parsley is not related to oregano and does not share any common flavors. However, parsley is often used as a garnish, so it can be used to give your dish a pop of color without adding any additional flavor.

Bottom Line

There really isn't a good substitute for oregano if you're looking for an herb with similar flavors. If you need an oregano substitute for aesthetic reasons (for example, if you're out of oregano and don't have time to run to the store), then parsley makes an acceptable stand-in.

However, if you're looking for an herb with similar flavor profiles, then thyme, marjoram, or rosemary are your best bet.

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