Are you looking for the ultimate substitute for tarragon? Then read on as I show you the ten best ones to use! You’ll love these substitutes because not only are they almost alike, but they can easily be found in your home or groceries.
You won’t need to worry about running out of tarragon or not being able to find any in your local supermarket anytime soon with these alternatives.
Ten Best Substitutes for Tarragon
Tarragon became popular between the 16th and 19th century. It’s a small and shrubby herb and part of the sunflower family. The tarragon we usually see comes from the French plant (with its other species coming from Russia). It has a glossy and pungent characteristic.
This spice has a bittersweet flavor and an aroma similar to anise, perfect for many types of meat. So you’ve got no tarragon? Based on my research and experimenting, here are my ten favorite substitutes for tarragon you can use:
I would recommend thyme the most if you’ve got no tarragon available because it’s got the dry and subtle aroma similar to the spice. Another plus is that it has a minty flavor anyone will appreciate. This versatile herb isn’t only an excellent alternative to tarragon, but for many types of spices as well!
I would recommend using few thyme leaves when seasoning and grilling meats, adding it to your soups, or creamy sauces and dips. Use fresh or dried thyme, but take note that the former would have more flavor (and I prefer using fresh spices).
Marjoram is a spice that’s best for certain salads or meats. Like thyme, they come from the mint family and tastes similar to oregano. But what makes marjoram different is that it’s a bit sweeter with a hint of spice.
I would recommend you to use marjoram only at the last steps of your recipe to avoid the sweetness overpowering the dish as you cook it. Also, like thyme, use its fresh leaves for a more distinct flavor. Marjoram is best to rub on chickens for grilling or sprinkle on top of salads.
You might not have heard of Chervil before, but I would also recommend this herb as it’s similar to parsley, chives, and tarragon. It’s got the aniseed-like taste, a slightly sweet and savory one. The aroma is also similar to tarragon.
This herb is best when you are baking herbed butter or sprinkling on top of salads. Other times, you can also mix it with creamy sauces or top it off with deviled eggs. They add an elegant appearance with the perfect balance of flavors.
Dill is another ideal substitute for tarragon if you are planning on making a dish that consists of fish or any seafood. This herb has a subtle and bitter flavor that is comparable to tarragon. But do watch out for it, as dill is more bitter than tarragon. I suggest that you start off with a few leaves and taste it before adding more or wanting to keep it to that. So if you’re planning to grill seafood or want a bit of flavor, you know what to sprinkle on top of it.
For those who want a more intense flavor to their dishes, then oregano is the way to go. It has a bolder flavor compared to majorjam and tarragon. Not only is it best for flavoring your dishes, but oregano has health benefits you can reap as well. It’s a perfect addition to pasta, salads, or even dips and soups. It’s versatile, but remember that it’s stronger than most spices. Start off with a bit of oregano before working your way up to get the desired flavor.
Like what I mentioned, tarragon takes on an aniseed-like aroma, so what’s a better substitute for the spice other than the aniseed itself? This spice has a licorice flavor that’s best put into Asian dishes, most recommended for teas or candies for its sweet flavor.
And because of its taste, it’s also ideal for making jellies, jams, pastries, and even alcoholic drinks! So if you want something sweeter and rehire tarragon, opt for aniseed instead, as it will give a sweeter flavor with the spice you want.
I am a huge fan of rosemary because it’s a natural substitute. It’s got the mustard-like taste, as well as the combination of both earthy and woody flavors. If you are making an Italian dish and don’t have the tarragon required, then add a bit of rosemary to balance out the flavors.
I recommend using this for meatballs, pizza, or even rubbing it on your steak. If you want a dip for your bread, add a hint of oregano to your olive oil and balsamic vinegar mixture.
Fennel seed tastes a bit like the aniseed, making it an adequate substitute for tarragon. But they have a slightly different flavor, with it being sweeter but with a mix of spice. It’s ideal when using it as a rub for your meat or for even creating ice cream.
Another nice benefit of this herb is that it’s medicinal, containing excellent health benefits you can reap. Use this as you would with aniseeds, though remember not to go overboard and taste the recipe before you add more.
Just like the aniseed, the angelica is perfect for making candies and jams. They are also used to flavor alcoholic drinks such as chartreuse and gin. It possesses the licorice flavor like tarragon, making it an excellent way to sweeten dishes.
It’s perfect for candies, aims, or for alcoholic drinks, most specifically Asian dishes as they are found in Japan and China. While they are an optimal alternative for your dishes to make it sweeter, they are a bit difficult to find.
Parsley and Cinnamon Powder
Parsley is known for its distinct spicy and minty flavor, so to sweeten it out, add a bit of cinnamon powder to make the flavors similar to tarragon. It’s the optimal substitute when making French sauces.
To make this replacement, mix half a teaspoon of parsley, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, and a quarter cup of water. Heat the water and place the spices without letting it boil. Allow it to simmer and then use it for your sauces or as a dressing.
Where Can You Use a Substitute for Tarragon?
Now that you know about the awesome alternatives for tarragon you can use, what are the ways you can add them to your dishes for better flavors? Here are some excellent ideas you can use tarragon and its alternatives in:
Soup or Broth
Adding a hint of tarragon or its alternatives to your soup will give it a more distinct flavor without overpowering the dish and its ingredients.
Tarragon and its alternatives are best used for sauces of any chicken dish. Make a quick gravy by mixing chopped tarragon with butter, mixing it with your desired seasonings and chicken brown. Pour it on the chicken or use it as a dip.
Another idea is to use these is to create a spread with feta cheese, spreading the mixture on top of crackers or bread.
You can also make vinegar, as it has a bittersweet flavor. Add a few leaves (or powder, depending on your chosen alternative) and leave it for a month before using it as a salad dressing or dip for unique dishes.
This is one of the most popular ways people use tarragon in. It gives your meat a hint of a savory flavor combined with sweetness, which offers the perfect balance to any dish. I love seasoning a rub mixed with tarragon to my chicken or turkey.
Besides meat, you can also season sweet corn with it, providing a slightly savory and bittersweet flavor to tone down its sweetness level.
Tarragon is such a heavenly spice you’ve got to try, with explosive flavors coming into your dishes when you sprinkle it as you cook. But, there will be times you won’t have it in the house. If you’re caught in a pickle and need the tarragon immediately, then not to worry. You can find an awesome substitute for tarragon sitting right in the comforts of your home.
I hope that this article on the best substitute for tarragon helped you find the ideal alternative you can use in exchange for this spice. So don’t wait any longer! For those who need a substitute for tarragon today, then try any of these alternatives today.
If you’ve got any queries or want to share your tips and experiences with using a substitute for tarragon, then do post your comments here. I would love to hear what you’ve got to think.