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5 Poultry Seasoning Substitutes You Didn’t Know

Lisa Price
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by Lisa Price

Poultry seasoning is one of the most useful spices you can have on your spice racks. And that’s why it can be so annoying when you run out.

Luckily, there are several different spices you can use as a poultry seasoning substitute: herbes de Provence, Italian seasoning, za’atar, among others.

Primarily consisting of dried sage and thyme, poultry seasoning also includes a mixture of rosemary, parsley, black pepper, nutmeg, and other ingredients. Together, these spices can help liven up any meal—even those without poultry!

When you run out of poultry seasoning, it can dampen your enthusiasm for a meal. But don’t worry; let’s go through some options and what they’re best in.

Poultry Seasoning
Poultry Seasoning

Top 5 Poultry Seasoning Alternatives

Here are the top 5 replacements for poultry seasoning.

While going through these five options, we’ll break down each choice’s best use and how to substitute it for a similar taste:

Herbs de Provence

Herbs de Provence
Herbs de Provence

Herbes de Provence is the go-to spice mix when you run out of poultry seasoning. It consists of a mix of rosemary, thyme, savory, marjoram, and oregano. Some mixtures include other herbs like tarragon, fennel, bay leaves, and others.

The main reason why herbes de Provence is a solid replacement for poultry seasoning is because of its similar flavor profile.

Poultry seasoning has a peppery thyme flavor, while herbes de Provence has a peppery flavor with hints of rosemary and thyme.

If you add sage to your herbes de Provence, the taste is almost identical to poultry seasoning.

People use both spices in multiple dishes. Both work well for dry rubs, broth flavoring, stuffing, or dressing. Herbes de Provence mimics the flavors of poultry seasoning well in all these dishes.

One problem you may encounter with this spice is how it’s packaged. Generally, manufacturers don’t grind herbes de Provence. Instead, the rosemary and thyme still have their original shape.

Non-ground spices can cause the herbs to float in things like broths. So, although this spice will taste good in broths and soups, it might not look appetizing.

Herbes de Provence will remind you of Thanksgiving flavors, as it’s a favorite spice mix during the holiday season. Those Thanksgiving flavors make it a perfect substitution for poultry seasoning in dishes like stuffing.

Replacing poultry seasoning with herbes de Provence is easy, too. Replace one tablespoon of poultry seasoning with one tablespoon of herbes de Provence.

If you’re adding dried sage, remove ⅛ of a tablespoon of the herbes de Provence and replace it with sage.

Italian Seasoning

Italian Seasoning
Italian Seasoning

Italian seasoning is another option for anyone who runs out of poultry seasoning. It consists of basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, plus other herbs and spices. That means Italian seasoning isn’t identical to poultry seasoning, but it can be a good substitute.

Instead of a peppery taste, Italian seasoning usually has a savory, earthy flavor. In general, the flavors you need to recreate with poultry seasoning can work for Italian seasoning, although they’re not identical.

In general, people use Italian seasoning in sauces and other Italian dishes, such as sausages. If you plan on making something that requires poultry seasoning and a red sauce, like chicken parmesan, Italian seasoning should be your number one choice.

If you’re out of poultry seasoning, Italian seasoning is a solid substitute in certain dishes. Italian seasoning works well in dry rubs and in dressing or stuffing. Although the flavor won’t be identical, the taste will be unique, but similar enough so that no one will complain.

You can use Italian seasoning in chicken broth, but the taste will be different. Instead of tasting like a classic chicken broth, chicken broth with this seasoning will taste slightly earthier.

Once again, replacing poultry seasoning with Italian seasoning is a breeze. If you’re using one tablespoon of poultry seasoning, replace it with one tablespoon of Italian seasoning. In some cases, you might get compliments for the unique seasoning you used. 

Za’atar

Za’atar
Za’atar

Za’atar is a spice blend from the Middle East. It is different among the various nations in the Middle East. The primary ingredients in za’atar include oregano, thyme, marjoram, sumac, and toasted sesame seeds. In some cases, cooks use olive oil to bind all the ingredients together.

Za’atar is a good substitute for poultry seasoning because of its similar flavor profile. The sumac gives za’atar an acidic taste that other spices like herbs de Provence lack. Aside from that, the two mixtures are remarkably similar.

You can use this spice in almost anything you use poultry seasoning in. It adds flavor to chicken rubs while not overpowering the meat. You can also use za’atar in stuffing or dressing to give it a unique, nutty flavor. The only time you shouldn’t use it is when you’re making broths.

Since za’atar utilizes sesame seeds, it can give your stock a deep, nutty flavor. Most people don’t enjoy those flavors in their stock. So, if you’re looking for a spice or herb mix to put in your chicken broth, avoid za’atar unless you enjoy nutty flavors.

To replace poultry seasoning with za’atar, use the volume stated in the recipe. So, if the recipe calls for one tablespoon of poultry seasoning, replace it with one tablespoon of za’atar. You can add additional sage to replicate poultry seasoning if you desire. Add a ¼ of a teaspoon of sage for every tablespoon of za’atar.

Oregano

Oregano
Oregano

By itself, oregano can be a solid poultry seasoning substitute. Oregano has an earthy taste with a bit of bitterness. You can use it to replace poultry seasoning in a pinch because most people have it around their homes.

Although you can use it in a pinch, oregano doesn’t have the robust flavors present in poultry seasoning. When you just use oregano, you lose most of the sweet and acidic flavors that mark a good poultry seasoning.

That’s why oregano isn’t an appropriate herb for every dish. You can use oregano in dry rubs and stuffing, although the flavors won’t be as robust. The dish will still taste great, it just won’t have the same depth of flavor.

One time you should avoid using only oregano is in chicken stocks. Broths need depths of flavor to help give the soup base a pleasant taste. If you only use oregano, the broth will taste flat. The only flavors your diners will taste are chicken and oregano.

So, you should avoid making chicken broths if the only herb you have left is oregano. When you substitute poultry seasoning for oregano, you should use about half as much oregano as poultry seasoning. Then, use salt and pepper to taste.

Homemade Spice Mix (Thyme and Sage)

Homemade Spice Mix
Homemade Spice Mix

Do you have sage and thyme in your cupboard? If you do, then you have the basic ingredients required to recreate poultry seasoning. If you have other spices, you can add them to the mix to create a poultry seasoning substitute that’s close to the original.

Poultry seasoning is primarily a mixture of thyme and sage, which many people have in their houses. By mixing these two ingredients together (along with some salt and pepper), you can recreate poultry seasoning with a similar flavor.

Making your own spice mix is useful for two reasons. As stated before, most people have these products in their homes, which makes it convenient. Not only that, but because the mix uses the same main ingredients as poultry seasoning, you can use it in any dish that calls for poultry seasoning.

So, if you’re out of poultry seasoning and need to make a dry rub, broth, stuffing, or dressing, you’re in luck! A mixture of sage and thyme will do the trick. You can even use the mixture on non-poultry-related items, like lamb or pork.

To replace poultry seasoning with a basic herb mixture, use one teaspoon of thyme and two teaspoons of sage for every one tablespoon of poultry seasoning that the recipe calls for.

That’s a basic herb blend for those that only have thyme and sage. Let’s go into some mixes for those that have more herbs in their cupboards.

You can make another blend that includes nutmeg and rosemary for a more robust taste. Blends with nutmeg are best used in broths and stuffing.

If the recipe calls for one tablespoon of poultry seasoning, replace it with two teaspoons of sage, one teaspoon of thyme, ½ teaspoon of rosemary, ½ teaspoon of ground nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.

About Lisa Price
Lisa Price
Lisa is Food Champ's resident fitness enthusiast and nutrition expert. She holds a nutrition degree in her home state of Florida and works for a large health system to ensure sound nutrition and dietetics information is passed on to all members.
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