There are plenty of good substitutes for basil, depending on the dish you’re cooking and the specific flavor profile you’re looking for! Here are some options, categorized by whether you need a fresh or dried alternative.
Fresh Basil Substitutes
Similar to spinach, arugula offers a peppery bite and a bit of texture. Works well in pesto, salads, and as a garnish.
Similar in texture and has a warm, peppery flavor that can mimic basil in tomato sauces, pizza toppings, and stir-fries. Use slightly less oregano than basil to avoid overpowering the dish.
A member of the same family as basil, mint has a similar refreshing aroma but with a cooler, menthol note. Works well in salads, dips, and some Southeast Asian dishes. Use even less than oregano as the flavor is more intense.
Another herb with a bright, herbaceous flavor and citrusy notes. A good substitute for basil in salsas, guacamoles, and stir-fries, but less suitable for Italian or tomato-based dishes.
Not a perfect flavor match, but spinach adds green color and a mild earthy taste to pesto, stir-fries, and soups. It won’t have the sweetness or bite of basil, but can hold its own in some dishes.
Dried Basil Substitutes
A slightly concentrated version of fresh oregano, perfect for sauces, soups, and stews. Use ½ the amount of dried oregano compared to fresh basil.
A blend of herbs including oregano, thyme, and basil, making it a convenient substitute for a variety of Italian dishes. Adjust the amount based on the desired intensity.
Provides a warm, earthy flavor, ideal for soups, stews, and roasted vegetables. Use a much smaller quantity than fresh basil, about ¼ teaspoon for every tablespoon.
Offers a unique licorice-like flavor and works well in creamy sauces, chicken dishes, and some Asian-inspired recipes. Use sparingly as it’s quite potent.
- Remember that substitutions may not be exact, so adjust the amount based on the herb’s potency and your taste preferences.
- Consider using a combination of herbs for a more complex flavor profile.
- If you’re unsure, start with a smaller amount of the substitute and add more to taste.
PS – Be sure to check out this post on 🌿 how to freeze basil 🌿 so that you’re never without it!
Here are some recipes using basil:
- Roasted Broccoli with Basil Tahini Sauce
- Basil Arugula Pesto Sauce
- EASY Thai Beef Stir Fry with Basil
- Caprese Risotto
- Easy Marinara Sauce
- Pad Kee Mao
The BEST Substitute for Basil
For Fresh Basil: Arugula
- 1 Tablespoon fresh argula (has a slightly peppery bite)
For Dried Basil: Italian Seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
- If your recipe calls for fresh basil, substitute with an equal amount of fresh arugula. Be aware though that arugula is a bit more peppery.
- If your recipe calls for dried basil, substitute with an equal amount of Italian seasoning or oregano.