Forgot to buy Italian seasoning at the grocery store but need it stat?! Don't fret! I've got the perfect easy Italian seasoning substitute made from herbs you probably already have in your spice cabinet.
- What is Italian Seasoning?
- Recipe Ingredients
- Ingredient Breakdown
- How to Make This Recipe
- More Substitutions
- Recipe Variations:
- Tips & Tricks
- Serving Ideas
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Recipes You'll Love
This easy Italian seasoning alternative contains 6 dried herbs but you only have to have 3 of them to create a flavorful and delicious dish!
Italian seasoning is a popular seasoning blend that typically contains basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, and marjoram. Sometimes other herbs are added such as parsley but even ingredients like crushed red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and onion powder can be included for even more flavor.
This flavorful blend of herbs is a popular seasoning that is used to enhance the flavor of pizza sauces, pasta sauces, salad dressings, and many other dishes.
Whether you run out of Italian seasonings, forget to pick some up or you don't like the flavor or aroma of store-bought brands- I got you covered with this customizable herb blend. Don't have rosemary? Leave it out! Don't have sage? Leave it out!
If you're looking for more ingredient substitutions, check out the following: Simple Substitutes for Black Beans, The BEST Coconut Substitutes for Every Occasion, 25 Easy & Delicious Almond Butter Substitutes.
What is Italian Seasoning?
Italian seasoning is a mix of dried herbs with an earthy flavor that’s subtly sweet and peppery. Dried herb blends are popular to add to pasta sauces, pizza, and even salad dressings. This blend can be found in the spice aisle in most grocery stores. Italian seasoning is not found in Italian traditional cuisine, it's said to be American-made. It was created as a seasoning blend for many Italian-inspired American dishes.
Different brands tend to use a variety of different blends of herbs. But they typically have at least some combination of dried oregano, thyme, and basil. They’re the main herbs for Italian seasoning with the most powerful flavor.
You can find blends with rosemary, sage, marjoram, and parsley as well as garlic powder, red chili flakes, and black pepper. The added ingredients differ from brand to brand but it's super easy to make it yourself to craft the perfect herb blend for you.
I wanted to keep my blend of herbs simple. So, you’re not going to find any garlic, red chili flakes, or salt in my Italian seasoning substitute but feel free to add them! Those ingredients are typically in the dish that you might be using this spice blend in so I think it’s safe to leave them out.
- Dried Basil
- Dried Oregano
- Dried Parsley
- Rubbed Sage
- Dried Thyme
- Dried Rosemary
- Basil & Oregano: Both of these herbs are perfect in tomato-based dishes, pesto, on roasted vegetables and potatoes, on pizza and the list goes on and on! Dried basil and oregano are ones you are definitely going to want to include in your homemade Italian seasoning blend.
- Dried Marjoram: This herb has a sweeter, earthly flavor and is comparable to oregano. I'm not gonna lie, I've never purchased Marjoram outside of Italian seasonings so I didn't include it in my recipe but if you have it- throw some in!
- Thyme: Thyme has a slight floral flavor and is very earthy and has lemon and mint notes. This herb tastes amazing on potatoes, in pastas, in soups or sauces. I highly recommend including this one if you have it in your spice rack. Dried leaves over ground is preferred.
- Rosemary: Rosemary is perfect for many dishes but my favorite includes adding it to roast potatoes or mashed potatoes. Rosemary has a powerful taste so a little goes a long way! Sometimes dried rosemary can be very stick like so I recommend breaking it up a bit.
- Parsley: Parsley is sometimes added to Italian seasonings and I particularly LOVE adding it! Parsley is slightly bitter in flavor but very bright and is wonderful paired with other herbs. If you have it, add it!
- Sage: You might have some rubbed sage in your spice cabinet leftover from Holiday dishes. Sage is earthy and very aromatic! Rubbed sage over ground is preferred.
How to Make This Recipe
Simply whisk together all the herbs into a small bowl until well combined.
Portion out how much you need to make your favorite recipe and then store the remaining Italian seasonings in a spice jar for later!
Don’t have some of the herbs mentioned above? Don’t worry! I have even more ways you can create a flavorful herb-infused dish without using all of the 6 dried herbs that I included. That’s why I love cooking, you can improve and still end up with a tasty Italian seasoning recipe.
Dried Basil & Oregano
Simply use equal parts basil and oregano! These are the main ingredients in Italian seasonings and the ones that have the strongest flavor profile. These are the main herbs that you need to make your own Italian seasoning. Honestly, if you have those two then you've got yourself a great substitute.
1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning = ½ teaspoon of basil + ½ teaspoon of oregano
Dried Basil, Oregano & Thyme
Since basil and oregano are the main ingredients in Italian Seasoning blends, it's best not to leave them out! But if you have thyme in your spice cabinet, I highly recommending add a touch of it along with basil and oregano to add even more flavor.
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning = ½ teaspoon dried oregano, ¼ teaspoon of dried basil and thyme.
Only have dried basil? Simply use basil. Or if you only have oregano, use just oregano. But keep in mind that using one herb instead of a blend will make that flavor stand out. So if the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of Italian seasonings then I would recommend starting with ½ teaspoon and adding more if needed. Certain recipes will probably require some help or you could end up with a one note dish. So be sure to add more garlic, onion or red chili flakes for flavor.
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning = ½ teaspoon dried basil
Nothing beats fresh herbs! Just be sure to add the fresh herbs towards the end of the cooking process. This will help with keeping the flavors bright and more enjoyable. Always add more fresh herbs than you would add dried herbs. Fresh herbs that I recommended include fresh basil, fresh oregano, parsley, and fresh thyme.
1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning = 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs.
Herbes de Provence
Maybe you bought this blend for a recipe once and haven't used much of it since? Well, if you do- you can use it in replace of Italian seasonings. This is the French variety and is comparable to Italian seasonings because they share the same ingredient list, except for lavender flowers- which gives it a nice floral aroma.
1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning = 1 teaspoon of Herbs de Provence
More Store-Bought Blends
Creole seasoning could work as it has oregano, basil and thyme typically. As well as salt, pepper, and cayenne which can be added to Italian seasonings. It does contain paprika which is the only odd seasoning but honestly, it will still be delicious and could work in a pinch! Just note that it will add spice.
If you have pizza seasoning you could possibly get away with using that- it is typically heavy on the garlic, onion and fennel which would be tasty so as long as you enjoy fennel, go for it!
Another seasoning blend that could work in a pinch is a pre-made Greek-inspired seasoning. It has a base of oregano, basil, parsley, and garlic powder which will work when replacing Italian seasoning flavors but it often includes dill which might be a bit weird in some Italian-inspired dishes.
1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning = 1 teaspoon of Creole Seasoning, Pizza Seasoning and Greek Seasoning.
You really only need a few basic herbs to create a good Italian seasoning substitute but if you want to take it up a notch and add even more flavor- here are my recommendations!
- Salt & Black Pepper
- Cayenne Pepper or Red Pepper Flakes
- Lemon Peel
- Bay Leaves
- Fennel Seed
Tips & Tricks
If you’re missing an ingredient, don’t sweat it. Just simply leave it out and add more of the ingredients that you do have on hand. You’re still going to end up with a delicious herby blend you can use in a pinch! I've made pasta with fresh basil alone and it was super tasty. Compensate by adding more garlic, onion, fresh vegetables, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.
Anywhere you would use store-bought traditional Italian seasoning, use this homemade Italian seasoning mix instead! You don't need a bunch of fancy ingredients to create a flavorful, herb blend for your favorite recipes.
- In tomato-based pasta sauces, marinara sauce, pizza sauces, dips or spreads
- In salad dressings or sprinkled over salads
- Sprinkle over tofu, vegetables, potatoes, vegan chicken or in plant-based meatballs or as a pizza seasoning
- Add to olive oil with salt and pepper and use as a dip with a fresh baguette
- In calzones, pizza dough, creamy pasta, or soups
- Use it in marinades or dry rubs
Place your seasoning mix into an airtight container or jar and store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Creole seasoning could work as it has oregano, basil and thyme typically. As well as salt, pepper, and cayenne which can be added to Italian seasonings. It does contain paprika which is the only odd seasoning but honestly, it will still be delicious and could work in a pinch!
Yes! Compensate with other flavors like garlic, onion, red chili flakes, salt and black pepper.
I say go for it! Pizza seasoning is typically heavy on the garlic, onion and fennel which would work great.
Marjoram, Basil, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Savory, and Sage. The most powerful flavors are the oregano and basil.
I wouldn't recommend only using thyme or you'll change the flavor of the dish. Rosemary or sage probably wouldn't work as well depending on the dish. If you're using it to sprinkle over vegetables or roast potatoes then it would work out great. But not in a pasta sauce dish or pizza.
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- Tomato Basil Pasta w/ Tofu Ricotta
- Vegan Lasagna Soup w/ Tofu Crumbles & Ricotta
- Roasted Red Pepper Pizza w/ Tofu Ricotta & Balsamic Glaze
- Tofu Ricotta Stuffed Shells
- Tomato Basil Soup
Easy Italian Seasoning Substitute
- 3 tablespoons Dried Oregano
- 2 tablespoons Dried Basil
- 2 tablespoons Dried Parsley
- 1 tablespoon Dried Thyme see notes
- 1 tablespoon Rubbed Sage see notes
- 1 teaspoon Dried Rosemary
- Simply whisk together all the herbs in to a small bowl until well combined. Store in an airtight jar in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.