What You Can Use Instead Of Marjoram

If you are preparing some Mexican food for the coming Holidays, you definitely need a handful of marjoram in your kitchen. What if there’s no available marjoram in the market right now? What are some good alternatives for marjoram? Do not fret, as I have compiled the best marjoram substitutes that you can try.

One of the closest substitutes for marjoram is oregano. Aside from the fact that marjoram is milder, it is also sweeter with hints of mint taste just like oregano (but with stronger flavor). Both came from the genus Origanum, and are from the mint family.

When it comes to cooking, adding herbs can make meals colorful because of their unique color and texture. And marjoram is a famous Mediterranean and North American herb that is added at the end as a garnish or added spice to the dish.

Alright, let’s find out what are other herbs can be used to replace marjoram. Before that here are some things you need to know about marjoram.

Dried Versus Fresh Marjoram: What’s the Difference?

Marjoram can be utilized as either entire fresh marjoram leaves or dried, squashed marjoram. Fresh marjoram is usually added toward the end of cooking to preserve its character. Try new marjoram in spice sachets or sprinkled on top of a finished dish, while dried marjoram is better for herb mixes and marinades.


11 Best Marjoram Substitutes

When you’re out of marjoram, but still looking for the aromatic, earthy, and woody flavor, you may use other substitutes that will also deliver the same aroma. Here are the best replacements for marjoram:


The closest substitute to marjoram is oregano. It is because both herbs are related and have the same flavor profile. However, oregano’s flavor is way stronger compared to marjoram. To avoid overpowering oregano in your dish, use only two-thirds teaspoon for every teaspoon of marjoram.

Also, it would be best to substitute fresh oregano for fresh marjoram and dried oregano for dried marjoram. For whichever case, use one-third less.

When using oregano as a substitute, use the following conversion:

  • ⅔ teaspoon oregano = 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • ½ teaspoon oregano = ¾ teaspoon marjoram
  • ⅓ teaspoon oregano = ½ teaspoon marjoram
  • ⅙ teaspoon oregano = ¼ teaspoon marjoram

In fact, both herbs are used in both cuisines, yet your taste buds might feel tangy with oregano. That’s why you should use less oregano, you may want to scale it back even more than the recommended conversion amount.

If oregano is not available as well, you may want to try other substitutions to replace marjoram in your recipe. If your recipe calls for fresh marjoram, your first choice should be a fresh substitute. If it calls for a dried substitute, then use a dry substitute.

Marjoram can also be used in different spice blends, and you can use them in your recipe if you have them in your kitchen.

  • Sweet basil
  • Summer Savory
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Herbes de Provence


Thyme is another great alternative to marjoram, which is considered a traditional herb used in European cuisines, especially in the Mediterranean region. Both are ingredients of the herbes de Provence herb blend. Like marjoram and oregano, it is a part of the mint family, which can be used in dried or fresh form. It is just as versatile as marjoram, and the flavor is equally mild.

You can use it in both meat and vegetable dishes. There are a hundred different varieties of thyme. The types on which you must focus when replacing marjoram are the French and English varieties. Use thyme in exactly the same amount that your recipe requires for marjoram.


In the US, sage is popularly known as one of the main ingredients in the stuffing for Thanksgiving turkey. It has many more applications, making it a great substitute for marjoram.

Like the other herbs listed, it is a member of the mint family and is a relative of marjoram. It provides the same pine and citrus notes that marjoram has.

Like thyme and oregano, sage is widely used in Mediterranean cooking. It is a well-known flavoring for potato, meat, and pasta dishes. Use the same amount of sage that your recipe calls for marjoram.

Summer Savory

Summer Savory is famous in Canada, which is often compared to sage. Traditionally, it is often used to flavor hearty roast recipes. It includes roast venison or fantastic pork medallions. You can substitute marjoram with dried or ground summer savory only.

The best way to use summer savory as a substitute to marjoram is in flavoring and seasoning sausages.

Lemon thyme

You can substitute marjoram with lemon thyme, especially when making a Lebanese lentil soup recipe. This type of lentil soup often calls for the addition of a lemon that goes well with notes of citrus.


Tarragon works as a sub in many Mediterranean recipes or French recipes. So, if you don’t have marjoram in your kitchen you can use this as a substitute.

Herbes de Provence

As mentioned, marjoram is part of the herbes de provence mixture. So you can use the mixture for seasoning your recipes that call for marjoram. Just make sure not to use too much of it in the mixture, as it includes other fragrant and overwhelming herbs. For example, you can substitute marjoram with herbes de provence in some vegetable recipes.

Sweet basil

Sweet basil is also a member of the mint family. It is highly aromatic that you can use on the same dishes that need marjoram.


Za’atar is another excellent option that provides many of the same flavors. This Middle Eastern spice mix has herbs such as thyme and savory along with sesame seeds and sumac. It provides the herbal flavor that you would also get from marjoram.

Dried lemongrass

Use dried lemongrass as a substitute for marjoram. The best way this works as a replacement to marjoram is it delivers a very citrusy flavor.

Poultry seasoning

Poultry seasoning is another option that you can work with because it contains sage, thyme, and marjoram.

How To Make A Successful Substitution?

If you’re making a dish that you’ve tasted before, taste as you go and see how the substitute alters the flavor. You may try on the new variation that you like better than the original. Then you can wink and say you have a secret ingredient.

Substitution is trickier if you’re trying a new recipe. It’s hard to rate a substitution if you don’t know or are not familiar with the original taste of the marjoram. If you want to achieve a regional specialty, your dish may taste different from someone who knows the original recipe.


How To Use Marjoram In Cooking? The Do’s And Donts

Marjoram is a versatile member of the mint family that is similar to other well-known herbs like other mint relatives thyme and oregano. One can say that it has a unique characteristic. While it can be used for a wide range of recipes, there are few things that you should keep in mind to get the best use of it. Use the following tips to get the best result from this herb.

Do use marjoram in the right use

Marjoram is said to work best as a flavoring for meat dishes basically. Since it functions admirably with meats, don’t expect that that is the degree of its flavoring capacities. It is adequately adaptable to be utilized with vegetables and as one of the spices in a bouquet garni.

Like oregano and other mint family members, marjoram plays pleasantly with tomato and is ordinarily included for tomato-based dishes. Its gentle character makes it a good addition to uncooked arrangements like salad dressings.

Do store marjoram properly

Marjoram is one of those spices that work well in both the fresh form and the dried, so you have different choices about storage. You can store fresh marjoram in the refrigerator like numerous other new spices.

Just place the stems upstanding in a container or similar container with a few inches of water; it can keep going for quite a long time utilizing this technique. You can also slash the twigs or eliminate the leaves from the stems and freeze them in an ice cube tray.

Lastly, you can air-dry your marjoram or dry it in a food dehydrator. Dried marjoram can keep going for quite a long time without losing its character.

Do add dried marjoram early in a long cooking process

Marjoram is one of those spices where the dried form has a substantially more concentrated flavor when compared to that of the fresh form. This makes it unique about those spices that really have a milder character when dried.

The tendency of the flavors to heighten implies that you can add it early when cooking dishes that require some time. It will keep on delivering flavor as the dish cooks.

Do know the distinction between marjoram and oregano

The two spices are firmly related and share a lot in common; indeed, oregano is once referred to as wild marjoram. This implies that there is extensive potential for getting the two herbs confused. One key distinction is that marjoram has a better and milder character when contrasted with oregano.

Do add marjoram before the dish is removed from heat

Fresh marjoram is less tasty than the dried form, which implies that it might lose its intensity whenever cooked extensively. Your smartest choice is to add it a couple of minutes before the dish is taken out from the heat.

Purchasing And Storing

Marjoram can be purchased from your nearby grocery store either fresh or dried. In contrast to numerous spices, marjoram, and oregano dry really well, better than every other spice, indeed. Consequently, if purchasing dried marjoram, a large part of the original flavor is retained

That’s why for every case it is always better to use fresh spices if possible in cooking. When picking new marjoram, try to search for a fresh and solid-looking spice, with no discoloration or imperfections.

Fresh marjoram should be stored in the fridge, wrapped in a damp paper towel, and placed in a plastic pack. If possible, store your fresh marjoram in the lower part of the cooler, where it will last for quite some time.

Related Questions

What is Marjoram?

Marjoram (Origanum majorana or Majorana hortensis) is a sweet-smelling spice in the mint (Lamiaceae) family that has been cultivated for many years. In Greek mythology, marjoram was grown by the goddess Aphrodite. The fluffy, green, oval-shaped leaves grow oppositely from one another, forming particular groups, or bunches (it’s otherwise called tied marjoram).

Local to the Mediterranean, North Africa, and western Asia, marjoram is frequently called sweet marjoram to differentiate it from oregano varieties like wild marjoram (Origanum vulgare) and pot marjoram (Origanum onites), otherwise known as Turkish oregano.

The genus of Origanum, whose name comes from Greek origanon (brightness or delight of the mountains), contains around 40 species, just one of which is viewed as true marjoram—the vast majority of the others are called oregano.

What Does Marjoram Taste Like?

Marjoram provides a citrusy and woody flavor to your dishes. It tastes milder than oregano but has a distinct linalool flavor, which suits well with tomato sauce, grilled chicken, and salad. Marjoram tastes the same as thyme, but it is sweeter and has a stronger scent. When burnt, it can be a bit bitter and slightly pungent.

Health Benefits Of Marjoram

Marjoram is well-known in conventional and alternative medicine because of its anti-inflammatory, cancer prevention agent, and antimicrobial properties.

The fresh or dried leaves can be prepared as a tea, or marjoram essential oil can be separated from the plant and may assist with treating colds, coughs, and asthma, to aid digestion, help regulate monthly cycles, increase milk supply during breastfeeding, and lower blood pressure.

Always check with your healthcare provider before utilizing spices therapeutically.

Nutritional Value Of Marjoram

As marjoram is somewhat a bit milder and less potent than its cousin, oregano, it can be used in larger quantities without too overpowering or spoiling in the dish.

Marjoram is rich in many minerals and is a good source of different elements such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. It also contains a sufficient amount of Vitamins A and C.

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