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Sage Substitute in Cooking

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In Italy, sage is a fragrant component in rich Italian tomato sauces and creamy pasta dishes, whereas in France, it is used in sausage stuffing and herb bouquets like bouquet garni alongside other aromatic herbs including flat-leaf parsley, summer savory, bay leaf, and sweet basil.

Sage is also often used in traditional Thanksgiving stuffing and turkey recipes in the United States and Canada.

Notably, brown butter is one of the greatest and most popular sage pairings, and it goes well with luxurious pasta dishes as well as simple chicken and vegetable recipes.

However, you may be wondering what to do if you don’t have sage on hand, or if you prefer something else. Other seasonings may be used as a replacement.

Please keep reading to learn more about sage in cooking and to discover your finest sage substitutions.

What Is Sage

Sage Substitute in Cooking

Sage is available in three forms: fresh, dried, rubbed, and ground.

Because dried and powdered sage has a stronger taste, the quantity used must be calibrated. One fresh sage equals one teaspoon of dried sage or one teaspoon of powdered sage. To add a blast of herbal flavor to beverages and teas, use fresh sage leaves.

Sage, because of its powerful taste and aroma, should be used early in the cooking process rather than towards the end, as many delicate herbs are.

Frying a strong herb, such as sage, may soften its taste. To enhance flavor, scatter fried sage over a dish at the last minute. Sage may be used to flavor sauces, compound butter, meat marinades, pastries, and bread.

Sage is also often used to flavor roasted turkey or poultry as well as stuffing, making it a Thanksgiving or holiday favorite.

Sage Uses in Cooking Recipes

Despite its fragile appearance, sage is a tough plant that can withstand severe temperatures. This means it’s straightforward to cook with since its taste remains consistent regardless of when it’s added to the dish.

Notably, sage is supposed to assist with digestive ailments such as gas and bloating, which is odd considering that chefs see sage as the perfect accompaniment to rich, fatty foods.

See below for some delicious sage recipes:

  • Butternut Squash, Sage, and Goat Cheese Lasagna
  • Fried Sage Leaves
  • Sage Herbal Tea Recipe
  • Chicken Breasts With Fresh Sage
  • Pasta With Butter, Sage, and Parmesan
  • Sage and onion stuffing
  • Sage Dressing
  • Preserved Herbs in Oil
  • Grilled Turkey Breast with Fresh Sage Leaves
  • Sauted Chicken with Sage Browned Butter
  • Herbs for Roasting Turkey
  • Fettuccine with Brown Butter and Sage
  • Lemon & Sage Roasted Chicken
  • Rosemary Sage Pork Chops
  • Sauted Carrots with Sage

Sage Substitutes in Cooking

Sage is only one of many instances of distinctive herbs and spices. If you can’t locate the precise sage you’re searching for at the market, you may want to experiment with a few herb replacements in your cuisine.


Marjoram is the plant that is most similar to sage. It is a mint family member with pine and citrus aromas that is milder than sage. It comes in fresh and dried forms and complements meat, poultry, and pasta dishes.

Marjoram is said to have a milder taste than oregano. To preserve its taste, add it towards the conclusion of the cooking process. Substitute in the same ratios. 1 tsp sage (fresh or dry) equals 1 tsp marjoram (fresh or dried).

Marjoram is a plant that has been utilized for its medicinal properties in a variety of traditional and folk remedies. Marjoram-derived compounds, for example, have been shown to be anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant. Notably, marjoram is beneficial to women’s hormonal health.

Poultry Seasoning

Because chicken seasoning includes sage, it works well as a sage alternative.

Poultry seasoning is a spice made of herbs that is used to enhance the taste of cooked meats, poultry, and a range of other prepared foods.

Herbs including marjoram, thyme, sage, and rosemary are widely used in Poultry Seasoning. Additional components that may be added individually dependent on taste include parsley, celery seed, basil, and powdered pepper.

Poultry Seasoning is rubbed on chicken, turkey, hog, veal, lamb, and various white flesh upland game birds. It may also be used to season poultry stuffings, salads, casseroles, meatloaf, herbed bread, and herb sauces.

Replace the dried sage in your recipe with the same quantity of poultry seasoning. Alternatively, for every tablespoon of fresh sage called for in the recipe, use a teaspoon of poultry seasoning.


Thyme, like sage, belongs to the mint family. The flavors will vary greatly depending on the kind of thyme you choose.

The herb thyme (Thymus vulgaris) has a unique scent. The flowers, leaves, and oil are used to flavor food and as medicine.

Thyme is used to provide depth to flavors without becoming overwhelming. It goes nicely with potatoes, rice, vegetables, and even fresh baked bread, as well as soups, sauces, and braises.

Because it does not lose taste when exposed to heat, this alternative is great for recipes that need a longer cooking time, like as pasta sauces. Because sage has a stronger taste than thyme, replace it with more sage and less thyme.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which foods complement sage the most?

Sage goes nicely with fatty meats like pork, cattle, duck, and chicken. In Italy, it is generally chopped, mixed with melted butter, and served over pasta or gnocchi.

What is the flavor of sage?

Sage is used in Italian and British cookery and has long, grey-green leaves with a somewhat hairy surface. It has a strong, somewhat minty, musky aroma as well as a slightly minty, musky taste. It’s been used for centuries to season sausages and stuff fatty meats like pig and geese.

Is sage similar to thyme in flavor?

Sage and thyme are compatible and replace herbs with virtually same taste strength due to their similar herbaceous properties. Thyme has a stronger, woodier fragrance than sage, which is pepperier.


Sage is a main ingredient that is widely used to flavor roasted turkey or poultry as well as stuffing. Other seasonings may be used as a replacement if you don’t have it on hand.

If you don’t have any sage on hand, there are hundreds of other herbs and spice combinations you may use in its place. Sage has an earthy and pungent taste. Nothing exactly like it exists, but all of the options mentioned below should work well.


What spice tastes closest to sage?

What you should know: Marjoram is the closest plant to sage. It is a member of the mint family and contains pine and citrus tastes, but it is milder than sage. It goes well with meat, poultry, and pasta meals and is available fresh or dried. The taste of marjoram is regarded as a more delicate oregano.

What tastes the same as sage?

Marjoram. Another herb that goes nicely with meats. It’s savory, like sage, but with a pine and citrus taste.

Can I omit sage from a recipe?

How to Cook Without Sage

The dearth of dry sage can easily compensated for with a few other dried herbs, and there are a few fresh herb substitutes that may work as well. If you have dried sage but a recipe asks for fresh, substitute 1 tablespoon fresh for 1 teaspoon dry.

What is the dried equivalent of fresh sage?

The following is a basic rule of thumb for the dried-to-fresh herb ratio: Use one-third the quantity of dried herb as fresh herb in the recipe. For example, in a recipe that calls for 1 Tbsp. fresh sage, use 1 tsp. dried sage instead.

What flavor does sage add to a dish?

Sage, a member of the mint family, has an earthy, sweet-yet-savory taste that complements hearty foods like sausage, stuffing, cured meats, winter squash recipes, and creamy pasta dishes.

Is sage similar to thyme?

Thyme has a similar grassy flavor to sage, although it’s not as potent. Of course, it lacks the distinct earthy taste that sage provides, but it can suffice in a pinch. You may substitute fresh or dried thyme for the fresh or dried sage.

Does sage taste like oregano?

Oregano, like marjoram, imparts an earthy flavor to the meals in which it is used. Fresh oregano tastes more like sage than dried oregano since it is softer in flavor. However, both types taste more peppery than sage and have a stronger flavor.

What is a good substitute for sage and onion stuffing?

Thyme may be used in instead of sage in recipes for meat, poultry, and fish, as well as vegetables and stuffing.

Is sage a strong taste?

Sage is a strong herb that is popular in autumn cuisine. When eaten uncooked, its strong taste is characterized as bitter. To get the appropriate taste balance, use uncooked sage sparingly. Sage, like other powerful herbs, has the potential to overwhelm a meal.

Are bay leaves a good substitute for sage?

The Bay Leaf

This sage substitution will only work in situations where the leaves will be cooked, as opposed to other choices like marjoram or thyme, which may be served fresh and raw.

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