Are you looking for alternatives to Mexican oregano in your cooking?
As a key ingredient in many Latin American dishes, Mexican oregano is an essential part of Mexican cuisine.
While it shares some similarities with Mediterranean oregano, it has a distinct taste and aroma that make it stand out.
Unfortunately, this spice may be hard to find at local grocery stores.
To help you keep the flavor of your favorite dishes intact, here are some excellent alternatives for Mexican oregano that you may not have considered: Greek Oregano, Italian Oregano, Marjoram, Thyme, and Rosemary.
By using one or more of these spices when creating your favorite dishes, you can easily achieve the same flavor profile without having to go out of your way to hunt down Mexican oregano.
What is Mexican Oregano?
Mexican oregano is a type of dried spicy herb native to tropical regions of Mexico and Central America.
It has a slightly bitter taste and is used primarily as an essential ingredient in Latin American cuisine such as mole sauce, pork carnitas tacos, grilled fish dishes, and enchiladas.
Its unique pungent flavor adds depth and character to any dish.
It’s also known for its antioxidant properties and its ability to reduce inflammation due to its high oleic acid content.
The 8 Best Alternatives For Mexican Oregano
Mexican oregano is a key ingredient in many Mexican dishes, but it can be hard to find.
Fortunately, there are several alternatives that can be used as substitutes if you don’t have access to the real thing.
Here are eight great alternatives:
1 – Greek Oregano
Greek oregano (Origanum vulgare) is a close relative of Mediterranean oregano but with a sharper taste which makes it the perfect substitute for Mexican oregano.
This highly aromatic herb enhances flavors while adding freshness to salads and other cold dishes like tabbouleh or hummus.
Greek oregano also works well in cooked dishes such as pastas sauces where its strong flavor stands out against other ingredients like tomato sauce or garlic butter sauce.
2 – Italian Oregano
Italian oreganos (Satureja italica) share some notable characteristics with Greek oreganos but boast their own distinct flavors and aromas which make them great alternatives for Mexican oreganos in any dish requiring a strong taste but slightly milder than what the latter provides.
When used in marinades or rubs for meats such as chicken or steak, the slight sweetness from this herb pairs well with bolder flavored foods like garlic or chili powder making them ideal choices for robustly flavored meals like fajitas or burritos!
3 – Marjoram
Marjoram (Origanum majorana) has an earthy flavor that offers hints of citrus making it an excellent substitute for Mexican oreganos when making soups or stews.
When blended into sauces like pestos too much marjoram can overpower so care should be taken not to add too much if using this substitute!
The delicate flavor blends well with other herbs like thyme, sage, or rosemary providing additional depth without being overpowering though so be sure to experiment before settling on proportions!
4 – Thyme
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is similar to marjoram but offers a more distinctive aroma which makes it great for soups and stews where extra seasoning will benefit any dish!
Its strong but pleasant smell also adds character to simple side salads when sprinkled over them before serving although caution should still be taken not to overuse this alternative if replacing Mexican oregano in recipes!
5 – Rosemary
Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) adds an unmistakable herbal note that improves virtually any recipe requiring unique flavors such as salsa verde or pestos adding subtle notes that enhance traditional meals like paella giving them just enough kick without overpowering the rest of the ingredients!
Its sharp yet mellow aroma also brings added texture when used sparingly so experiment when replacing your usual supply of Mexican oreganos with rosemary!
6 – Cumin
Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) is a popular spice used in Mexican cuisine that can be used as an alternative to Mexican oregano.
It has a distinctly earthy and nutty flavor that works well in dishes like chili con carne, enchiladas, and tacos. Cumin is also known for its health benefits, including aiding in digestion and boosting the immune system.
7 – Bay Leaves
Bay leaves (Laurus nobilis) are a versatile herb that can be used as a substitute for Mexican oregano in soups, stews, and sauces.
They have a subtle flavor that adds depth and complexity to dishes without overpowering other flavors. Bay leaves are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties and can help improve digestion.
8 – Epazote
Epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides) is a Mexican herb that has a distinct flavor and aroma similar to Mexican oregano.
It is often used in traditional Mexican dishes like black bean soup, tamales, and quesadillas.
Epazote has a slightly bitter taste that can help balance out the flavors in spicy dishes. It is also known for its digestive benefits and can help alleviate gas and bloating.
In conclusion, finding suitable substitutes for Mexican oregano can be challenging, especially since it is not widely available outside of Latin American cultures.
However, there are plenty of options available if you look beyond the usual suspects.
From Greek oregano to thyme, there are many herbs belonging to the same family that can help recreate familiar flavors while introducing new ones at the same time.
With these eight alternatives, anyone looking to replace their supply of Mexican oregano will find something suitable, whether they’re cooking up traditional Latin American meals or seeking new ways to improve already existing recipes.
Knowing what each option brings to the table will help take any dish to the next level, regardless of the type of cuisine being prepared.
The 8 Best Mexican Oregano Alternatives
- Greek Oregano
- Italian Oregano
- Bay Leaves
- Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
- Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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.