Substitute for Sage

Substitute for Sage

11 Spices Used as a Substitute for Sage Leaf in 2024

Sage leaves come from the same family as mint and marjoram. They add a woody, yet sweet flavor to any dish. They even pair well with garlic, onion, and different types of meats. They’re extremely popular during Thanksgiving and other holidays.

Imagine craving some of that amazing holiday turkey, but the moment you enter the kitchen, you find out that you ran out of sage. You’ll definitely want to retain that powerful sweet and earthy taste of sage leaves.

The good news is that many commonly found spices could easily substitute for sage leaf. 

Other Substitution Ideas

Sage Tea also has a number of uses like helping in weight loss.

The Best Substitute for Sage Leaf

To efficiently replace sage in any recipe, you have to consider the different types of sages and how each of them impacts your recipe.

That minty herb comes in three different forms:

  • Rubbed sage
  • Ground sage
  • Green sage

When we mention rubbed sage, we mean dried sage leaves that have been rubbed and squeezed in a colander until they form a crumbly mixture. Rubbed sage leaves add a much lighter flavor than other types of sage.

Ground sage comes from grinding dried leaves into fine powder. Once added to a recipe, ground sage maximizes the flavor and aroma of the dish, as they carry intense sage flavor.

Not many recipes require the use of green sage because it adds a bitter flavor to the cooking. However, you’d find it used as a garnish on soups and egg dishes.

Sage Substitutes for making a stew
Sage Substitutes for making a Stew

Bearing the above in mind, you could easily replace sage for:

  • Marjoram
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Mint

1. Dried Marjoram is a Good Dried Sage Substitute

Marjoram is a close relative to sage leaves, and it has a similar taste and texture. It could easily replace rubbed sage, as it has a similar mild taste.

However, marjoram leaves aren’t as easily cooked as sage, so they require a longer time to hold a good flavor.

In summary, there are several ways to replace sage with marjoram. The first thing you should consider is the quantity of sage required in the recipe because you will need about 25% more marjoram to effect the same flavor.

2. Thyme As a Substitute for Sage has a similar taste.

Another close relative to sage is thyme. Thyme is also a minty leaf that has a similar earthy taste to that of sage. It could easily replace the same amount of sage used in any dish. It’ll take longer to cook, but will hold a very similar taste.

However, if you’re using fresh thyme, you may not be able to use the same amount of sage due to its strong flavor. 

3. Oregano is a perfect substitute for Sage in Italian recipes.

Oregano is another herb that can be substituted for sage. Like marjoram, oregano has a similar taste to that of sage, but it’s a little stronger.

It’s one of the most common herbs used in Italian food.

Another minty leaf that could replace sage is oregano. Oregano has a peppery citrus taste that’s sharper than other sage substitutes. It’s the perfect substitute for green sage. You could use it as a garnish or add it to pasta dishes.

Sage Substitutes in a Casserole
Sage Substitutes in a Casserole

4. Rosemary is a strong aroma and used sparingly when Substituting for Sage

If you’re looking for a citrus, savory flavor that could easily substitute for your earthy sage leaves, then rosemary is a perfect pick. Rosemary leaves are well-known for their aromatic nature that could easily overwhelm any dish.

I suspect that you might want to try adding some lemon zest to the mix. This would give the dish an extra bit of acidity which might help cut through the strong flavors of rosemary.

5. Mint

Mint shares the bitterness and pine feel of sage. On the downside, it doesn’t provide similar richness or flavor. It’s used instead of rubbed sage in recipes that don’t require much sage. Mint is better used before the end of the cooking as it loses its original taste when cooked at high temperatures.

In brief, there are several ways of substituting sage leaves. However, you must make sure that the flavor of the dish remains intact after making these changes.  Mint plus Sage are pretty versatile herbs – they are often used in poultry, meat, fish, vegetable, and bean dishes.

You can always experiment with different spices to see what works best for you!

6. Can You Substiute Taragon for Sage

Yes, you can substitute tarragon for sage. However, you should be careful with the amount as it can overpower the dish. It works best when you use it as a sage substitute in a casserole or stew.

What’s more, the flavor of tarragon is quite intense, so you’ll have to work hard to find the right balance between the two.

7. How to use Dried Bay Leaf As a substitute for Sage

Dried bay leaves are used as a spice in cooking. They are also used as incense due to their fragrant smell. The main ingredient in dried bay leaf is eugenol which is responsible for the fragrance. Eugenol has been proven to be effective against bacteria.

If you are unsure how much bay leaf to use as a substitute for sage then try this method.

Add 2-3 teaspoons of dried bay leaves to a pot of water and boil them over medium heat. Once boiled, let them cool down. Then strain out the leaves from the liquid.

Use this strained liquid to season meat, soups as a substitute for Sage. Doing it this way you can add a little and check the taste and add more if you need.

what to substitute for sage in cooking
What to substitute for sage in cooking – Top 11 alternatives in 2024

8. Use Basil as a substitute for Sage in Italian Recipes

Basil has been used in cooking since ancient times. It was first cultivated in Egypt where it was known as “the herb of immortality”. It also has medicinal properties that were discovered only recently. 

While sage is often used in Italian recipes, its taste gets lost if you use too much. However, basil leaves retain their flavor even after being chopped. If you want to add freshness to dishes, try using basil instead of sage.

Here are some simple ways to incorporate basil into your everyday meals. 9. Add Fresh Basil Leaves To Your Salad

Fresh basil adds a lot of flavor to salads. It tastes great on a tomato salad or a pasta salad.

Add Some Basil to Pasta Sauce

Pasta sauces tend to get bland when left untouched for long periods of time. Adding fresh basil will bring back the flavor of the sauce.

Add Basil to Roasted Vegetables

Roasting vegetables brings out their natural flavors. Basil makes roasted vegetables taste even tastier

9. How To Use Chicken Rub as a Substitute for Sage

Chicken rub often will contain salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder and ground black pepper plus other herbs and spices.  I would use 50% of the amount of chicken rub quantity when substituting for sage. It is best used in substitution for dishes like stews, beans, soups, and some pasta dishes.

10. Can you use Vegetarian Seasoning as a good substitute for Sage

Yes, I would say so! Vegetarian Seasoning has a similar taste to Sage, and it’s also much cheaper. The main difference between them is that Vegetarian Seasoning is might be a little bit saltier. So use small amounts to start with.

11. Is Parsley a good substitute for Sage?

Parsley is a great herb to use in cooking, especially when you want something fresh and healthy. However, parsley has less flavor than sage, which makes it harder to pair with other herbs.

Here are some other things to consider when substituting sage.


– Sage is easy to find and inexpensive

– Sage tastes good

– Sage doesn’t have any bad side effects


– Other herbs may not be as effective or taste as good

– Some people don’t like the smell of sage

– You might need to buy some extra spices if you substitute another herb for sage


Because holidays are all about tasty food, replacing the strong-flavored components like sage leaves should be done carefully.

When considering a substitute for sage leaf, remember to check the amount of sage needed and whether you need a stronger or milder spice. In many cases, you’d find chefs recommending marjoram leaves as the best substitute for sage.

However, if marjoram leaves aren’t available as well, other substitutes like thyme, rosemary, or mint would do the trick just fine.

There are many different types of sage, but culinary sage is most often used in savory dishes.

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