11 Best Sage Substitute That You Can’t Ignored

The cuisine world considers sage as a unique flavor that has become indispensable in many people’s pantries. We often utilize it to make poultry and stuffing dishes for special meals.

Despite being famous worldwide, some kitchens may still lack this herb. Or else, you may just have run out of this wonderful ingredient. Then, what can you substitute sage with?

Whether you want to discover this ingredient’s flavor or you are in urgent need of it, this post will provide you with some spices for sage substitute. Let’s see what we have to offer!

All About Sage 

sage substitute

Perhaps you have never heard about sage before. First and foremost, this plant originates from the Mediterranean and is a member of the mint botanical family. It is a fresh plant and comes with a pine-scented odor. You can relate it to similar herbs like basil, thyme, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, or lemon balm.

In terms of taste, it is a combination of bitter and a bit of sweetness. Meals in the Mediterranean and Italy often contain this herb. People also add lemon, pine, or eucalyptus to complement these dishes.

Many recipes today require the help of this particular herb, such as pasta sauces, pork marinara, poultry, and soups. For instance, you can easily find sage in turkey or other recipes on some special holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Best Recommended Sage Substitute 

It’s clear how useful and indispensable sage is in our kitchens. Then, what if we run out of this ingredient? What can you substitute for sage

Let’s look at some other herbs in your kitchen and then decide what to use instead of sage. There are many options for sage alternatives that you can choose from our list below!

#1. Thyme

sprig of thyme
sprig of thyme

The first one for sage replacement is thyme. As you know, sage vs thyme has many common features. You can use thyme for some kinds of vegetables, potatoes, and meat. It tastes sweet and bitter, which enhances the flavor of your meals.

It is considered a perfect substitute for sage seasoning and is mostly used in the Mediterranean. However, you should be careful when you choose these two kinds of spices as they look similar.

In terms of dose, you can use the same amount of thyme as when you use sage.

#2. Marjoram


Apart from thyme, what can you use instead of sage? The answer is using marjoram. This one comes with a similar flavor to sage, but it has a bit stronger citrus note. When your recipes contain lemon juice or lime, you need to reduce the amount of marjoram, or else it tastes too sour.

One more thing you need to focus on is not letting it sit under high temperatures. Hence, it’s a must only to add marjoram when your dishes are almost done. Unlike sage seasoning, you cannot use marjoram for marinating food.

When you add marjoram to your meals, you can use the same dose as sage. 

#3. Oregano


Perhaps most people are amazed that oregano can be a sub for sage. Oregano is an indispensable spice in pizza, and people also use it to decorate margettina. This spice can add more flavor to pizza that has few or no toppings. 

Although you can replace sage with oregano, you should be careful about the used dose. It is because oregano often comes with a stronger flavor and will not completely transfer the same taste. Hence, while cooking, you need to try it several times to make sure that the taste is suitable.

The most fantastic combination between oregano and tomatoes can be replaceable for sage. People often use this recipe for some Indian meals, pasta, snacks, or paninis.

In addition, you need to use a smaller amount of oregano than sage. An advice for you is to add a little bit into the meal first, then try it and add more until the flavor is perfect.

#4. Rosemary


Another sage equivalent that we want to recommend in this article is rosemary. It is one of the most common spices in the Mediterranean, and its price is not cheap. This herb also comes with a more dominant flavor than other types. So you should only use a small amount of rosemary for your meals.

Rosemary is a mixture of wood, citrus, pine, and a bit of pepper. You can use it for baked potatoes, grilled steak, soups, or vegetables. 

In case you use rosemary instead of sage, you should only use a one-third dose of the sage. It will bring your meals the same flavor, or even better.

#5. Savory


Unlike the replacement for sage spice recommended above, savory does not belong to the mint family. It originated from Canada, and we also called it the Canadian replacement for the Mediterranean sage. You do not need to prepare other herbs with this spice as it offers thyme, mint, and marjoram.

Moreover, you can use savory in frosty climates in the winter. It is why savory is popular in Canada, and we often call it winter savory.

Savory can be suitable in hot and cold weather, but if you use it in the winter, you should notice that it tastes bitter.

Therefore, the best advice for you is to use the same amount as sage in the summer and a smaller amount in the winter.

#6. Poultry Seasoning

poultry seasoning
Poultry Seasoning

Despite not being a herb, poultry seasoning is also one of the best replacements for sage. You can use it for meat, poultry, and soups. 

When using poultry seasoning, you should use it at a smaller amount than sage. The best way is to taste it while you are cooking and then adjust accordingly.

#7. Tarragon


Tarragon comes with the same flavor as the savory. To use this kind of herb, you can combine it with other herbs like marjoram or thyme and then infuse it into your dishes. It will add more pepperiness and taste to your meal.

My advice for you is to use the fresh cut tarragon because the dried one will not taste well. Before using the tarragon, try to bruise it slightly. It will express oils and bring your meal a more intense flavor.

#8. Bay Leaf

Bay Leaf
Bay Leaf

Bay leaf, or what we call laurel, is also the best substitute for sage leaves. It brings a flavor of pine and bitter. You can use bay leaves for some dishes like soups or meat. 

Yet, you should not use the thick bay leaf as it cannot add enough flavor to your meals. One more thing is that you can only apply it for cooked dishes. If you want to infuse raw materials, you can use thyme or marjoram to replace them.

#9. Basil

What Is Basil

Another herb that can bring a bitter and sweet taste to your meal is basil. This herb might be more flavorful than sage, such as cinnamon, lemon, or anise aromas.

If you dried the basil correctly, it could also bring a more intense flavor like mint. Hence, it has become an ideal sage substitute for most dishes in the Mediterranean and Italy.  

#10. Italian Seasoning

italian seasoning
italian seasoning

Italian seasoning will add a distinct flavor to your meals. It is a combination of basil, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, oregano, and sage. This mixture brings peppery, earthy, and woodsy aromas, so you can use it to replace sage.

#11. Mint

Mint Leaves
Mint Leaves

Mint is also the best answer for the question “What is similar to sage?”. It can be used as a substitute for sage in some circumstances, so your concerns are well-founded.

On the other hand, people frequently use mint with something sweet, like drinks, ice cream, pastries, or chocolate. Although it is similar to sage, you should not always use it as a substitute because consumers do not use mint with savory meals.

Still, you can use it to spice up other dishes like soups, salads, or sauces. It will bring a perfect flavor for your meals, and if you use mint in the appropriate dose, it does not affect the original taste of sage.

In the beginning, you should add a half amount of mint and add more until you get the wonderful taste.

How To Choose A Substitute For Sage 

Before choosing a substitute for sage, you need to consider the kind of dishes you want to cook. For example, mint can only replace sage in sweet dishes unlike thyme that is suitable for cooking with meats and vegetables. Meanwhile, you can choose between thyme and rosemary when cooking for steaks and vegetables dishes.

Each substitute comes with a different flavor, use, and dose, so you should choose the most suitable one. You surely do not want to overuse a certain ingredient, making your food taste or smell “too much,” do you?

As mentioned, there are many kinds of herbs that you can use as a sage substitute, but we highly recommend thyme and marjoram. These two herbs come with a similar flavor, and you can use the same dose as sage.

You can also use many different forms to replace sage leaves substitute, such as fresh sage, dried sage, rubbed sage, or ground sage. Nevertheless, pay attention to the dose you use because these forms have a stronger flavor than the original one.


The above article must have answered the question of “What can I use instead of sage?” Besides the mentioned sage substitute, there are also other choices that you can use to replace.

Utilizing these options can save you when you don’t have this herb in hand but still want to enjoy the dishes in their best form. The only note is that you should read carefully and use the exact dose to replicate the same taste!

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