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A guide to substitute cooking ingredients: Part 3 - Substituting for Herbs & Spices

Herbs & Spices are essentials are must have ingredients in cooking. Every cuisine is significantly impacted by the herbs & spices common to that particular region. If you don't have the right herbs & spices for a recipe, don't let it stop you from cooking your favourite dishes.Keep reading to for the most common substitutes of herbs & spices.


Substituting for herbs rely a lot on your taste preferences. Herbs can be classified into 2 sections- tender or fresh herbs which include basil, chervil, chives, cilantro, dill, mint, parsley and tarragon. The second category is dry herbs which include bay leaves, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme.

  • Basil: Chervil, cilantro, dill, Italian seasoning, oregano, mint, parsley.

  • Bay leaves: Herbes de Provence, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme.

  • Chervil: Basil, dill, parsley, tarragon.

  • Chives: Cilantro, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley.

  • Cilantro: Basil, chives, parsley, mint.

  • Dill: Basil, chervil, mint, parsley.

  • Marjoram: Herbes de Provence, Italian seasoning, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme.

  • Mint: Basil, cilantro, dill, parsley.

  • Oregano: Bay leaves, herbes de Provence, Italian seasoning, rosemary, thyme, sage.

  • Parsley: Basil, chervil, chives, cilantro, dill, Italian seasoning, mint, tarragon.

  • Rosemary: Bay leaves, herbes de Provence, oregano, thyme, sage.

  • Sage: Bay leaves, herbes de Provence, oregano, rosemary, thyme.

  • Tarragon: Chervil, parsley.

  • Thyme: Bay leaves, herbes de Provence, oregano, rosemary, sage.


Spices can be subdivided according to their flavour- earthy, floral, peppery & warm.

  • Earthy: Curry powder, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, Vadouvan, za’atar.

  • Floral: Cardamom, coriander, fennel, lavender, nutmeg, saffron, star anise.

  • Peppery: Allspice, ground ginger, peppercorns, mustard powder, sumac.

  • Warm: Cinnamon, chile (dried), chili powder (blend), cloves, cumin, nutmeg, paprika.

  • Allspice: Combine cinnamon, ginger and cloves.

  • Cardamom: Coriander, fennel, ginger, lavender.

  • Cayenne: Aleppo pepper, chili powder, dried chiles, hot sauce, paprika, red-pepper flakes, sumac.

  • Chili powder: Combine paprika (sweet, hot or smoked), onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano and cayenne or red-pepper flakes; or use another warm spice, such as cayenne, cloves, cumin, nutmeg or paprika (sweet, hot or smoked).

  • Cinnamon: Allspice, apple pie spice blend, cloves, coriander, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice blend.

  • Cloves: Allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper.

  • Coriander: Cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, nutmeg, saffron, turmeric.

  • Cumin: Chili powder, coriander, curry powder, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric.

  • Curry powder: Combine coriander, cumin, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and black pepper; or substitute allspice, chili powder, coriander, cumin, garam masala, or turmeric.

  • Ginger: Allspice, cinnamon, cloves, coriander.

  • Nutmeg: Allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ground ginger.

  • Paprika: Cayenne, chili powder, curry powder, black pepper.

  • Turmeric: Curry powder, garlic powder, onion powder, Vadouvan, za’atar.

I hope you are loving this series on substitutes for cooking ingredients. If you haven't already read the first 2 parts on this series, read the first part on substitutes for Dairy Products, Oils & Fats and Stock here, read the second part on substitutes for Greens, Veggies & Alliums here.

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