tarragon substitute

Tarragon Substitute: 8 Alternatives For Your Homemade Recipes

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Tarragon Substitute – Tarragon is a bittersweet herb that has light and long green leaves. You can use it both dried and fresh. It is available only in some particular season, so if you don’t have dried tarragon, then few of tarragon substitute options are available.

8 Tarragon Substitute Options

You can get it in all season and thus need not worry even when you don’t have tarragon. There are in total eight substitutes that work well in place of tarragon.  They are Dill, basil, aniseed, chervil and many more. These are the best substitutes that are perfect for any dish that you want to prepare.

  • Dill – this is perfect for the fish recipes.
  • Basil – it goes well with Italian dishes.
  • Marjoram – best in salad dressings.
  • Chervil – a European secret.
  • Fennel seed – even perfect for ice cream.
  • Aniseed – perfect for adding extra flavor to your dish.
  • Angelica – best for jams and candies.
  • Thyme – a versatile substitute.

You might not have heard of many of the ingredients so use those which you get easily in the kitchen. No need to search for those substitutes that are hard to get within your area. However, most of them are easily available at the store, and you might be aware of them as well.


An annual herb, dill belongs to the celery family and nicely substitutes tarragon. The flavor of dill is not same as the licorice flavor of tarragon so don’t use too much of it. It is slightly bitter and goes well with fish and meat. Even a small amount of it can bring most of the flavor of fish without giving a bitter taste to it. So, if you have fresh dill in your garden then it’s good otherwise you can also buy it from a grocery store.

Basil – For you Italian dishes

Basil is a very common ingredient and is found in most of the kitchen. Most people also grow them in their herb garden. There are many types of Thai basil, sweet basil, holy basil and lemon basil to experiment with. It has a strong flavor, and both dried and fresh basil leaves are best to use in your recipes.

It tastes great in pesto sauce and all Italian and American food. With cheese, sauce, and chicken it tastes right. You can also add them while Sautee or bake in oven with the chicken. It will bring more flavors to the dish, and if you want, you can remove the leaves after the dish is baked. Don’t add too much of basil leaves as it can overpower its flavor.

See also: Cottage Cheese Substitute

Marjoram – best for salad dressings

A popular tarragon substitute is Marjoram. It has a sweet and citrus taste. This herb is not available in winter season or colder regions as it does not grow in cold atmosphere. It goes well in soups, dressings, stews, and sauces. It is as versatile as tarragon. Use it in dressings or meat dishes.

Chervil – a European secret

Not so common in America, chervil is an excellent tarragon substitute. Its scent and aroma are similar to that of tarragon. Fennel also has the similar aroma, and thus both are good substitutes. It has a very mild flavor like tarragon.

It’s a common ingredient in France and England. Its leaves enhance the flavors of eggs, fish, vegetables, sauces, soups, salads and chicken. Chervil is a perfect substitute for tarragon and chives and even parsley. The fresh chervils taste good than the dried chervils. Add it at the end of a cooking process and see the magic.

Fennel seed – best for ice cream

It belongs to the same family as carrots. It is a hardy plant and produces yellow flowers. Its leaves are like feathers. It has good medical properties and tastes similar to anise, but the flavor is different. It is also used in natural healthcare products, absinthe. In sweet dishes like soups and dessert, it adds a different flavor. You can also use it for garnishing of salads, soups, fish sauces and puddings.

See also: Buttermilk substitutions

Aniseed – a flavor enhancer

Its flavor is somewhat between fennel and tarragon. It’s a fruit and flower-bearing herbaceous plant. In western culture, aniseed is used to flavor candies, drinks and many more. Its distinguished flavor makes it useful in medicines, flavoring tea, as a digestive or antiseptic and in liquor as well.

Besides its cooking use, it has medicinal value and thus used to treat colic in children, bloating pain and menstrual cramps. It’s commonly used in cookies. However, don’t use it in large amounts otherwise it may give a bitter taste to the dish.

Angelica – great for jams and candies

Its roots are edible, and this plant is found in pastures. Angelica a common plant found in Asian countries like China has multiple uses. In Asia, it is used to treat ailments and is a great healer. In many culinary products, it’s widely used. Angelica’s roots and seeds are of great use. Its qualities are very interesting and can be used to sweeten the dish. However, Angelica is not easily available and thus cannot be used as a great substitute.

Thyme – a versatile substitute

In western culture, both basil and thyme are popular herbs. It is used since ancient time for embalming, purifying rooms, flavor liquors, and cheese. Its leaves were used to assure safe passage, ward off nightmares and other uses. It tastes really good.

It is a relative to mint and organic families thus its textures and looks are great. Besides, it gives great flavor when used fresh instead of dried but can be used in both forms. In the grocery store in springs, it is available in abundance. It also resembles oregano.


Tarragon is used in breasts, omelets, chicken, fish, bread, and seasoning. However, you may not have it all the time in the kitchen so try these Tarragon substitute options. Since it’s a seasonal product, so finding it out of season is difficult, but these herbs are great to use in any kind of recipes even in the desserts.

They are similar in taste; some have same textures, aroma, and many matches the versatile characteristics of tarragon as well. Now you not only know about the substitutes but can also enhance the flavor as well.

photo credit: Alexander guy

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Katie Leslove

I have a passion for cooking different foods every day, and that’s why I have chosen it as the topic for my writings. I cook the dishes, garnish it with green veggies and snap the photo. I like to show those photos to my blog readers. Read More