6 Sage Substitutes

Sage is one of those herbs that pairs beautifully with almost any dish. It is a part of the mint family, and it is known for its piney and woody aromas and tastes. 

You can get it in quite a few different forms, some of the most popular are dried, fresh, and rubbed.

6 Sage Substitutes

But there may come a time when you are making a dish that needs sage and you’ll find that you’ve run out, and what do you do then? 

If that day comes, don’t panic! There are plenty of ingredients you can use that are perfect substitutes for sage.

We have put together a list of 6 sage substitutes you should definitely try. So let’s have a look at them! 

1. Rosemary

Kicking off this list we have rosemary. Rosemary is a very pine-like herb that also has strong, woody flavors. It’s quite similar in a lot of ways to sage, which is why it’s a great substitute to start with.

You do have to be careful how much rosemary you are using though. It’s quite a lot stronger than sage, in both taste and fragrance, so less is always more when you’re using this as a substitute. 

If you want to use rosemary, always opt for a variation of the plant that is more green in hue rather than the older, grayer variety. This will ensure that the overall taste is milder and less pungent in taste. 

2. Oregano

Another great choice is oregano. It’s quite a lot similar to marjoram, which is another herb on this list we’ll talk about later. 

Oregano is very earthy in flavor. It is a bit more peppery and pungent than sage, but you can compensate for that by using less of it than you would for the sage. 

There are two different types of oregano forms you can use, which are dry and fresh. Dry oregano (see also ‘Oregano Substitutes‘) works better for things like salads, whereas fresh oregano works better for things like stews. 

3. Marjoram

Marjoram is also a part of the mint family, just like sage. Overall, marjoram is similar to sage in texture and taste, but it is a bit milder, and once it’s cooked, its potency decreases. 

Because it loses its potency as it is cooked for longer, if you’re going to use it in the place of sage, you ideally want to wait to add it until the end. 

You can use marjoram in either its fresh or dried form and you may want to use slightly more of it than you would with sage. 

4. Bay Leaf

Bay leaf is another great choice if you need a substitute for sage. It has a mild pine taste, but it is also slightly bitter, so it can add a bit of extra depth to whatever recipe you are making. 

The most popular form to use when cooking with bay leaf is its dried form. You can use the full leaf if you desire, but make sure you remove the leaf once you’ve reached the dish’s desired flavor level. 

The main downside to using bay leaf in the place of sage is that it is a bit more limited in what dishes it works in.

It only really works for recipes in which you can actually infuse the leaf, so you may need to look for another alternative in some cases.

5. Italian Seasoning

Italian Seasoning is great because it is usually made with a blend of marjoram, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and sage.

So not only do you have sage in the seasoning, but you also have pretty much all of the best substitutes too. 

Italian seasoning is filled with woody and earthy tastes and aromas, and because it has sage in the blend, this means that even if you can’t get hold of sage by itself, you’ll still be able to include it in some form in your dish. 

6. Basil

Another member of the mint family, basil can easily be used as a sage substitute. It’s peppery in taste and slightly bitter, and it can be used with a variety of other ingredients to really bring out a beautiful taste. 

If you want your basil to be a bit more potent, you can opt to dry it. When it is dried properly it also becomes more peppery and even has a subtle minty taste. 


Sage can be easily substituted when you use any of the ingredients we have provided in this list. 

Because most of these choices are a part of the mint family, including sage itself, you will not be straying too far from the desired texture and taste of sage, so the differences in the substitutes will be incredibly subtle. 

Try some of these substitutes today and see which one you like the most! 

6 Sage Substitutes

6 Sage Substitutes

Recipe by Jenna

Are you making a recipe that requires sage but you’ve just realized you don’t have any? Well, click here to learn about 6 of the best sage substitutes you can use instead!

Course: Substitutes
5 from 1 vote


  • Rosemary

  • Oregano

  • Marjoram

  • Bay Leaf

  • Italian Seasoning

  • Basil


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy

Recipe Video

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