Skip to Content

The 8 Best Substitutes for Dried Basil Leaves

Have you ever tried to make a dish that called for dried basil leaves, only to discover that your grocery store did not carry them?

Don’t worry, you are not alone.

Dried basil leaves are often difficult to find and may be expensive when they can be found.

Fortunately, there are a few different substitutes that can work in place of dried basil leaves and provide similar flavor profiles.

Here are the best alternatives: fresh basil leaves, oregano, thyme, parsley, and rosemary. All these herbs can give your dishes the same flavor as dried basil without having to use hard-to-find ingredients.

What Are Dried Basil Leaves?

Dried Basil Leaves

Dried basil leaves are an essential ingredient for many Italian dishes such as pesto, spaghetti sauce, and minestrone soup.

They have a sweet flavor with notes of licorice and cloves and provide an unmistakable aroma to any dish they touch.

Unlike fresh basil leaves which must be stored cold or placed in water soon after harvest, dried basil leaves can remain stored in a sealed container at room temperature indefinitely without losing their flavor or aroma.

To use them, simply add the amount needed directly into your recipe while cooking or baking without having to pre-soak them in water first.

This makes it easy to quickly incorporate their flavor into any dish you prepare without much hassle at all.

The 8 Best Substitutes For Dried Basil Leaves

If you find yourself in need of a substitution for dried basil leaves but don’t have access to them right away or don’t want to spend money on them due to their costliness, here are eight great alternatives that can still provide excellent results:

1 – Fresh Basil Leaves

Fresh Basil Leaves

Fresh basil leaves make an excellent substitute for dried ones because they offer the same wonderfully sweet and fragrant taste that is typical of this herb.

As with other types of herbs such as oregano or rosemary, when using fresh basil leaves it’s important to keep in mind that its taste will be stronger than if you were using the same quantity of its dry counterpart due to its high moisture content.

To get around this issue, simply reduce the amount used by about half when substituting for one teaspoon of dried basil with one teaspoon of its fresh counterpart.

This ensures that you won’t overpower your dish with too much flavor while still enjoying the delightful scent and taste provided by this delectable herb.

2 – Oregano


Oregano is another favorite spice used throughout Mediterranean cuisine which makes it an ideal substitute for dried basil leaves.

It has milder notes compared to those present in freshly harvested or even lightly cooked versions of this type of herb so you won’t get any sharpness when using it as a substitute.

You will however get earthy tones reminiscent of licorice, very similar to what you would expect from using Basil itself.

Keep in mind though, since Oregano tends towards being slightly more bitter than Basil, it may require more careful seasoning so as not to overpower your recipe.

Lastly, try adding some freshly chopped oregano near the end stages of cooking so its flavors stay intact.

3 – Thyme


Thyme is yet another great alternative for those looking for substitutes for dried basil leaves.

Its woodsy aroma combined with citrus undertones provides a wonderful balance between sweet and savory flavors making it perfect if you’re looking for something new but still familiar tasting when cooking up Italian-themed dishes such as pasta sauce or ratatouille.

The trick here is trying not to overuse Thyme as too much could make things overly complicated instead of complementary.

Start off small by gradually adding more until desired taste is achieved before committing fully.

4 – Parsley


Parsley may sound like a strange choice but trust us: it works great! Its unique balance between spicy tones from cilantro along with earthier elements reminiscent of Rosemary makes Parsley almost indistinguishable from Basil when cooked up correctly.

Simply sprinkle some onto whatever dish you’re making just like how one would do with traditional Basil – maybe even swap out half the amount used – and voila! You’ll have an equally delicious result with no discernible difference!

5 – Rosemary


And then we have Rosemary!

Although quite different in fragrance compared to Basil (Rosemary has piney/woodsy undertones while Basil has light/licorice notes), both herbs share common citric elements making them interchangeable depending on which way is most suitable given whatever particular recipe being made at the time​ ​​of cooking​ ​​up​​ ​the​​ dish​ ​in​​ question​ ​for​​ maximum satisfaction!

Just remember: less is more when working with powerful herbs such as Rosemary so use sparingly even if tempted otherwise!

6 – Sage


Sage has a similar flavor profile to Basil, with earthy and slightly bitter notes. It is a great substitute for dried basil leaves in dishes that call for a more robust and savory flavor.

Sage is often used in dishes like chicken or pork, but it can also be added to pasta sauces or soups. When using Sage as a substitute, start with a small amount and add more to taste.

7 – Bay Leaves

Bay Leaves

Bay leaves have a subtle, herbal flavor with a slightly floral undertone. They are often used in soups, stews, and marinades, but can also be used as a substitute for dried basil leaves.

Bay leaves work well in tomato-based sauces and are also a great addition to roasted vegetables. Just remember to remove the bay leaves before serving your dish.

8 – Marjoram


Marjoram is a herb that belongs to the same family as oregano and is often used in Mediterranean cuisine. It has a sweet and slightly floral flavor with hints of citrus and pine.

Marjoram is a great substitute for dried basil leaves in pasta dishes, stews, and roasted meats. It can be used in equal amounts, but keep in mind that it has a slightly stronger flavor.


In conclusion, although there’s nothing quite like actual dried basil leaves due to their unique combination of sweet & savory aromas along with licorice/clove-type flavors; there are plenty of other good substitutes available including Fresh Basil Leaves, Oregano, Thyme, Parsley & Rosemary that can each provide their own delicious twists depending on whichever way cooks decide best suits their particular needs !

And once again: always work cautiously when selecting spices, especially those potentially overpowering such as Rosemary; less truly is more here! So why not give these fun & flavorful alternatives a shot now? We guarantee satisfaction!

The 8 Best Substitutes for Dried Basil Leaves

The 8 Best Substitutes for Dried Basil Leaves

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Bay Leaves
  • Marjoram


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
jenny happy muncher
 | Website

Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.