If you need an Italian seasoning substitute, the good news is that you might already have the ingredients at home to make it yourself. If not, several other seasonings such as Herbes de Provence serve as an excellent replacement.
Despite its name, experts believe that Italian seasoning has its origins in America, as Italians usually don’t use it in its pre-made form. Nevertheless, the earthy flavor of Italian seasoning is a favorite taste in pizza, pasta, and meat marinades.
The flavor of Italian seasoning can vary depending on the brand and the ratio of ingredients they use. So, we did our due diligence and tested several Italian seasoning substitutes to find the best ones for different recipes.
Recommended Italian Seasoning Substitutes
After lots of trial and error, below are the best alternatives for Italian seasoning that we discovered:
1. Homemade Italian Seasoning
Did you know that the ingredients in Italian seasoning are often the same ones you have lying around your spice cabinet? Needless to say, making homemade Italian seasoning is hands-down the best option when you run out since you’ll be able to mimic the store-bought kind.
You’ll need the following ingredients (make sure they’re all dried spices):
Do you have all these spices? If so, great! Either mix them together according to your taste or make three tablespoons of the seasoning by mixing one tablespoon of oregano with two tablespoons each of basil and thyme. Then, add one teaspoon of sage and a ½ teaspoon of rosemary.
You can use your homemade Italian seasoning as is. But for an even more robust flavor, put the mixture into a food processor for a few seconds.
That said, keep in mind that some Italian seasonings contain salt. Therefore, if you’re used to working with salty seasoning, you’ll likely want to add a bit of extra salt to your recipe.
Also, you can use fresh herbs instead of dry ones. If you choose this option, keep in mind that you should use 1.5 times the number of fresh herbs as dry herbs. Furthermore, you should add fresh herbs at the end of cooking to help accent the herb flavor.
Homemade Italian seasoning is an excellent spice to add to any recipe where you would use the store-bought kind. Whether you put it on pizza or in eggplant zucchini, we guarantee that your family won’t be able to tell the difference.
2. Basil and Oregano
If you’re the type of person who usually purchases spice mixtures, you might not have all the ingredients listed above. But if you have dry basil and oregano, you can get by with making a makeshift Italian seasoning substitute.
The beauty of Italian seasoning is having an array of strong and subtle flavors. So, basil and oregano combine the best of both worlds.
For example, basil’s profile includes a combination of sweet and savory notes with traces of mint and pepper. In contrast, oregano has a more robust flavor that leaves a somewhat bitter aftertaste. Together, they create some of the best flavors that you find in traditional Italian seasoning.
When preparing a makeshift Italian seasoning mixture of basil and oregano, you can mix them in equal proportions.
You can also use fresh oregano and basil if you have them on hand. However, you’ll need to add more of these fresh herbs to your recipe. That’s because the non-volatile nature of an herb’s flavor compounds means that the flavor doesn’t escape when they dry out, causing them to become more concentrated.
While you can use this basil and oregano mixture in any recipe calling for Italian seasoning, it’s best to use it in pizza, pasta sauce, and other tomato-based dishes.
3. Herbes de Provence
If you’re reading this from the grocery store and want a less work-intensive substitute for Italian seasoning, check if they have Herbes de Provence in stock.
The premixed Herbes de Provence has similar ingredients as Italian seasoning, plus a few others that could make for a unique flavor twist in your recipe.
Herbes de Provence’s main ingredients include:
Here’s the kicker—the Herbes de Provence might also come with lavender flowers, given that it has its origins in southern France.
If you have the option, choose the variety without lavender. If that’s not available, you’ll need to decide whether you want to chance a slightly floral taste in your recipe or if one of the other Italian seasoning replacements here is a better alternative.
You can use the same amount of Herbes de Provence as the amount of Italian dressing your recipe calls for.
However, unlike the seasoning suggestions we’ve covered up to this point, we don’t recommend using Herbes de Provence in pasta dishes and pizza. Instead, consider using it to marinate meat, fish, and vegetables. You can also mix it with salad dressing.
4. Creole Seasoning
If you plan on making a spicy dish, creole seasoning can serve as an excellent Italian seasoning replacement. You can purchase creole seasoning premixed in grocery stores.
The main ingredients in creole seasoning include:
- Black and white pepper
- Paprika (see suitable substitutes)
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Cayenne pepper
Needless to say, creole seasoning is the furthest seasoning off the track from Italian spices. However, it’s useful for making dishes such as gumbo, burgers, and stews.
If you choose to use creole seasoning as an Italian seasoning substitute, you may not want to use it in a 1:1 ratio. Instead, it’s best to add a little to your recipe at a time and taste how the flavor mixes with the other ingredients.
For example, if your recipe calls for many other spicy flavors, adding the same amount of creole seasoning as the recipe calls for in Italian seasoning could cause the dish to become too spicy.
Similarly, if your recipe already contains one or more of the ingredients in creole seasoning, you might want to cut back on the amount you add to avoid any single flavor from dominating the taste.
Alternatively, you could create your own creole seasoning mix, only including the ingredients that your recipe doesn’t already call for.
5. Greek Seasoning
It may sound unconventional, but when you’re in a bind and need an Italian seasoning alternative, Greek seasoning can do the trick. The advantage of Greek seasoning is that you can buy it premixed and apply it in an equal ratio to Italian seasoning.
The type of Greek seasoning you buy depends on the brand. But generally speaking, you can expect to see the following ingredients:
- Onion powder
You also might encounter Greek seasoning that contains rosemary and thyme. These ingredients are ideal since they make up traditional Italian seasoning.
When working with Greek seasoning, it’s important to be mindful of the salt content, which is often high. Nevertheless, you can expect to get a dose of vitamins and minerals by including this seasoning in your recipe.
It’s usually safe to use Greek seasoning in a 1:1 ratio to Italian seasoning in your recipe.
Because of its savory tone, you’re better off using it with meat, chicken, and vegetables. It also goes great with olive oil to make a bread dip or salad dressing. Furthermore, you can mix it with Greek yogurt and lemon, making for a healthy dip.
Do you still have questions about substitutes for Italian dressing? Read on to learn more.
Yes, you can. However, oregano is only one of many spices in Italian seasoning. Therefore, it serves you better to mix oregano with basil, thyme, sage, and rosemary to have a more well-rounded flavor.
Pizza and Italian seasoning are two different spices. However, if you’re looking for an Italian seasoning replacement for a pizza dish, using pizza seasoning is an excellent option. Unlike Italian seasoning, pizza seasoning often contains garlic, fennel, and onions.
Yes, you can use fresh herbs for Italian seasoning. However, dry herbs have a more concentrated flavor. Therefore, you’ll need to use a higher number of fresh herbs to achieve the same flavor. We recommend about 1.5 times the fresh herbs to dry herbs.
Some store-bought Italian seasonings have sodium while others don’t. If you’re trying to watch your salt intake, an alternative to buying Italian seasoning is purchasing dry herbs individually and mixing them to make a homemade, salt-free seasoning.
Whether you use Italian seasoning or an Italian seasoning alternative, it’s a versatile spice that you can add to pizza, pasta sauce, meatballs, garlic butter, meat, and fish.