Sage is one of the most versatile herbs out there, but if you’re like me, sometimes you get sick of it and want to shake things up.
Well, you know what? I’m here to help!
I’ve rounded up the 28 spices and herbs that might not seem like they’d go well with sage—but they absolutely do!
Check out my list below!
What Herbs and Spices Go Well with Sage?
We all know that sage is a classic herb, beloved for its earthy flavor and warm color.
But did you know it also goes well with a variety of other spices and herbs that you probably wouldn’t guess?
Here are 28 lesser-known herbs that pair perfectly with sage for a delicious, unexpected kick:
This brilliant green herb is usually used as an accent or garnish, but it actually goes really well when combined with sage.
Try sprinkling these two together on top of a potato dish or fish to bring out the best in each flavor.
This summertime favorite gives sage’s earthiness an added dimension of warmth and spice.
Try using them both for your next pesto recipe!
You might not know this one by name, but you’ve probably tried it before—it’s the seed from which cilantro comes from!
And while cilantro can be polarizing, most people love coriander in spice form.
It adds a fresh, citrusy dimension to the heartiness of sage that makes it perfect for chicken dishes or hearty soups and stews.
Oregano is a spicy herb that works beautifully with sage to create an extra-special kick for your favorite dishes.
Try mixing them together to create a killer rub for your next roast!
Marjoram is another herb with a warm, slightly peppery flavor.
It pairs beautifully with sage to add some bite and dimension to meatless dishes like bean salads or vegetable soups.
Rosemary has a sharp, almost piney taste, but when mixed with sage in the right proportions, it can offer a fresh balance to the earthy flavors of this classic herb.
Try combining these two in butter—you won’t regret it!
The combination of thyme and sage is an herby dream.
The distinct earthy notes of thyme enhance the savory aroma of sage, making this the perfect blend to add to any meat dish or vegetarian option (like tofu or tempeh).
You can even use this combination to make a yummy bread dip! Who knew?
Dill can be tricky to work with because of its pungent flavor, but when paired with sage, it takes on more of a citrusy note and plays nicely off sage’s sweet undertones.
Try using both herbs in the same dish to bring out the savory notes in each one.
Chives have an onion-like flavor but with a lighter taste and aroma than onions themselves.
They work well in dishes where you want to add flavor without changing the consistency of the recipe or making it too heavy.
Chives can be used raw or cooked, and they’re great on top of salads or baked potatoes!
Tarragon has a licorice-like taste, but much more subtle than its cousins anise and fennel.
This herb pairs well with fish, chicken, and egg dishes, as well as some fruits like apples and grapes.
It’s also the main ingredient in the famous French Béarnaise sauce.
Tarragon’s subtle flavor adds a whole new dimension to the earthy flavor of sage without overpowering it.
Try mixing tarragon with sage in your next stuffing or breakfast dish to take your recipe to the next level!
Chervil has a mild parsley-like flavor with subtle hints of anise and licorice (the latter two flavors come from tarragon, which is part of the same family).
It’s often used in French cuisine as a garnish, or to brighten up soups and sauces.
Sage’s sweet lemon notes will add another layer to chervil’s delicate flavor profile.
Lavender’s rich purple color, fresh floral aroma and sweet taste are surprisingly compatible with sage’s woodsy flavor profile.
You can use lavender to add color and interest to any dish or drink that uses sage liberally.
13. Lemon Verbena
This lemony, vibrant green herb tastes like lemon peel but with a hint of mint.
It makes an excellent substitute for lemon zest in any dish and complements sage’s peppery taste.
Peppermint has an herbal flavor profile similar to sage’s.
Both are earthy and slightly peppery, with hints of mint and eucalyptus.
They have the same kind of intensity, too, which means they complement each other without competing for attention on the tongue.
Use them together in savory dishes to balance out fatty meats like pork belly or duck.
Rue (pronounced “ROO”) is a bitter green herb that has been used in cooking since ancient times.
You’ll want to keep your quantities low if you’re using rue, as it can be overpowering if it takes center stage—but it can be a wonderful accent in sauces and marinades when paired with sage.
The citrus notes of hyssop pair perfectly with the hints of lemon in sage, creating an incredibly refreshing blend of flavors.
his duo is perfect for salad dressings and marinades!
With an aroma described as “freshly cut hay,” this mild herb adds just the right amount of nuance to a dish featuring sage.
It does best when lightly cooked or used fresh in salads and sauces.
Lovage is one of those herbs like cilantro—you either love it or you hate it!
Those who do enjoy its strong taste describe it as tasting like celery seeds or parsley.
I recommend using lovage in dishes where you’ll be cooking the ingredients slowly—such as stews or roasts—because this will soften the flavor and make the dish more approachable for people who aren’t familiar with lovage’s distinctive taste.
19. Rau Ram
A staple of Vietnamese cuisine, this herb pairs nicely with sage because it has its own peppery flavor that complements the subtle spice in sage and really makes it pop.
Skewer them together to make amazing kabobs, or mix them into some breadcrumbs to make your own fancy croutons.
This herb is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine, and is an essential ingredient in Thai dishes like tom yum soup, but it also works wonders when paired with sage.
Lemongrass and sage work especially well together when used to make tea.
Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:
- Take 4 lemon balm leaves and 2 stalks of lemongrass and chop them into small pieces.
- Place the chopped herbs in a saucepan containing about 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
- Then, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and strain the mixture (or use a tea infuser).
- Add honey or sugar to taste before serving.
21. Chili Pepper
I was surprised to discover that chili peppers go well with sage!
Chili peppers have a mildly spicy flavor that complements sage very nicely.
They are usually paired together in dishes featuring dark leafy greens like kale or spinach.
Garlic complements the minty notes in the sage and adds a little pop of acidity.
Try mixing chopped sage with garlic and olive oil and roasting it in your oven for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.
Then sprinkle it on top of steamed vegetables or pasta for an easy side dish.
This spice adds just enough spice to balance out the sage and turmeric so they don’t overpower each other (or your taste buds).
The result is the perfect flavor combination for dishes like soups or stews, where you want each ingredient to shine without overpowering one another.
While turmeric’s earthy flavor is a lot like sage’s, they don’t complement each other as much as they create an entirely new taste when combined.
To really make these two shine, try using them together in a seasonal soup or stew.
When used in recipes like these, the two herbs do more than just add some extra flavor—they add an entirely new dimension!
Cinnamon might not be the first spice that comes to mind when you think of sage-friendly ingredients.
But when used in moderation (I recommend just a dash), it adds a surprising sweetness and depth of flavor that works beautifully with salty dishes and meat-based sauces.
26. Curry powder
Sage is commonly used in Indian food, which makes sense because the earthy taste works well with the rest of the classic Indian spices like curry powder.
If you’re looking for a way to make your curry more authentic, try adding just a pinch of sage!
Paprika and sage pair well because they share many common notes—they both have an earthy flavor!
This makes them perfect for meat dishes, like roasted chicken with sage.
Paprika and sage also go very well together because paprika is known for its deep red color and can be used to add flare to plates without changing their flavors too much.
Cardamom has a very distinct taste that can easily overpower other spices if it’s not used correctly.
But when combined with sage, it has a subtle flavor that works well in both sweet and savory recipes.
This spice blend would work great with some kind of meat dish (like pork) but also could give great flavor to desserts like apple pie or pumpkin bread!
28 Sage-Friendly Spices & Herbs
- Lemon Verbena
- Rau Ram
- Chili Pepper
- Pick any number of spices and herbs from this list to use in your meal that contains sage.
- Prepare the rest of your meal.
- Be ready to eat in no time!