Substitutes For Tarragon

If you love cooking dishes with unique flavor and aroma, tarragon is one of the most distinct ingredients that you can use. This perennial herb comes with long, green leaves. It is known for its bittersweet taste, which adds a different kind of flavoring in whatever you will cook.

However, it should be noted that tarragon is perennial, which means that it grows only in a specific season. Since it is not available year-round, there are many people who feel the need to look for a substitute that can prove to be promising, specifically those that are readily available in the kitchen or those that are easier to find.

What Are The Substitutes For Tarragon and Why They Are The Best

Are you searching for the perfect substitute for tarragon? Keep on reading and I’ll let you know some of the best options that can be taken into account. With these substitutes, it will be possible to achieve a distinct taste even without adding real tarragon.

1. Thyme

This is perhaps the most popular from all of the substitutes for tarragon that are available in the market. Especially common in the Western countries, it is considered as one of the healthiest foods in the world. It has been a staple in the field of natural medicine and is revered for its high content of antioxidants.

Similar to tarragon, this is one herb that can add life to any boring dish, and in an instant, can turn it into one with robust and recognizable flavor. It has an earthy and sweet flavor, which makes it a popular ingredient of choice when making homemade sauces and dips, as well as a marinade for grilled meats.

As a part of the oregano and mint family, you can expect that this is not only going to be flavorful, but it is going to be aromatic as well. If you are cooking meats and vegetables and if you do not have tarragon, you can consider thyme as the perfect choice for a substitute. It will make sure that the outcome will be savory regardless of how it is going to be cooked.

2. Basil

Like thyme, basil is one of the most common herbs found in the kitchen and used for cooking. It has more than 60 varieties. This plant is easy to grow and maintain even indoors, which is why this is amongst the most popular herbs that are used for culinary applications.

When using basil as a substitute for tarragon, you have the option to choose from dry or fresh. If you want the aroma and flavor to be strong, it would be best to use fresh basil as drying removes some of its flavorings. This is especially useful for making pesto sauces and stir-fried dishes, as well as for salad dressings.

Because basil can be pungent, it is important to be cautious about its use. If you use more than what is recommended in a recipe, there is a high likelihood that it will be too strong for your liking. This is the reason why for some people, they remove the basil leaves after it has been sauteed.

3. Angelica

This is an herb that is popular among culinary experts, although many of those who cook only casually might not yet hear of it in the past. This is a member of the parsley family, and some of its most common uses include liquor flavoring as well as for sweeteners in cakes.

A plant that is native to Asia, specifically in China and in Japan, the root part is edible and the one that can be used as an ideal substitute for tarragon. Aside from its cooking applications, for many years, it has also been a popular choice for natural treatment for a number of health problems.

Because of the sweetness of angelica, it is a popular tarragon substitute for making candies, which will make use of the full stalk of the plant. Additionally, it can also be used for cakes and for other desserts.

4. Marjoram

This is another aromatic herb that is a part of the mint family. It grows in the Mediterranean regions and has applications beyond cooking. It is also a popular essential oil and can also be a promising choice for a natural treatment for different health problems.

This tarragon substitute comes with a sweet and mild flavor. With this, some of its common applications as a substitute for tarragon include stews, soups, and salad dressings. This is a versatile herb, which means that it can be used for almost anything that requires a hint of sweet flavor but one that is never overpowering.

However, it is important that the natural licorice taste of marjoram can be too much for some people to bear. With this, make sure to watch out for how much of this ingredient is going to be used depending on what it is you are preparing.

5. Dill

With its ability to improve the immune system, prevent insomnia, and cure respiratory disorders, among others, there is no wonder why dill is recognized as one of the best herbs in natural medicine. Alternatively, it can also be an excellent addition for cooking because of its distinct flavor, which is especially popular for fish dishes.

This herb belongs to the family of celery and grows annually, which means that it is easily available and which is why it is an excellent choice for a tarragon substitute. It is important to note, however, that the licorice flavor is not as strong as tarragon. With this, you should be adding more in order to achieve the taste that is desired, but make sure to not overdo it as this can overwhelm.

Fresh dill can be used in many ways, depending on how creative you can be. For instance, you can use it as a dressing for a salad. The mild bitter taste of this herb makes this as a popular choice for naturally flavoring fish.

6. Chervil

Unlike most of the herbs that have been previously mentioned, chervil is not as popular. Its look is similar to parsley while its taste is comparable to basil, with the only difference being the fact that chervil is milder. It belongs to the carrot family and often tossed in dishes and not cooked so as not to destroy its flavor.

The licorice flavor of chervil is the main reason why it is recognized by many to be one of the best substitutes for tarragon. This is going to be a good choice when making creamy dips, herbed sauces, and salads, among others.

Among other things, this is commonly used for making herbed butter without tarragon. All that you need to do is to have the leaves chopped, mix with soft butter, and have it chilled in the freezer. Once ready, it will make a flavorful choice for a spread or dip.

7. Aniseed

Also known as anise, it is a herbaceous and flowering plant that grows year-round. Since ancient times, it has been popular for its medicinal value. To add, the licorice flavor makes it an excellent choice as well for many culinary applications.

The distinct flavor of anise is primarily the reason for its varied applications, such as for flavorings for sweet treats and for beverages. It is also commonly added to cookies. With a simple cookie recipe, you will be able to incorporate anise in your final product in an easy manner.

As a precaution, however, it is important to make sure that anise is used in the right quantity. As mentioned, it has a sweet profile.

If you add too much, the complexity of the flavors can be lost as it is only the sweetness that can possibly dominate. If you are not sure about the exact quantity, use less amount to begin with and just add more if it seems like it should be sweeter.


No tarragon in the kitchen or cannot find any in the supermarket? Consider the substitutes that I have recommended above, and for sure, you will end up with a dish that will taste similar to one that is prepared and cooked with the use of real tarragon.

Did you enjoy reading this post? Is there anything you would like to add as a good choice for a substitute for tarragon? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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Consumer Helping Team
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