If you run out of Italian seasoning in the middle of making a recipe, don’t fret! These 4 ways to substitute Italian seasoning are sure to save your meal and are ready in just 2 minutes with pantry ingredients!
Italian seasoning is often used in so many recipes, from sauces and soups to dressings and marinades, and is typically easy to find in most grocery stores. However, it’s possible that you run out or have a hard time finding one with ingredients/flavors you love.
Instead of rushing out the door or making an emergency Instant Cart order, you can likely find a substitute for Italian seasoning in your pantry or garden!
Make your own Italian Seasoning Substitute
This is my go to method for substituting Italian seasoning in a recipe. I typically don’t buy Italian seasoning at the store because I prefer my homemade Italian seasoning recipe over store bought. Making your own Italian seasoning can help you control the quality of ingredients and the flavors.
Many of the store-bought Italian seasonings have fillers, preservatives or anticaking agents or may not have high quality ingredients. You get to control the ingredients when you make your own Italian seasoning substitute.
Typically, Italian seasoning has a combination of various dried herbs, all are grown in or around Italy. That is where the name actually comes from, as Italian seasoning is an American made spice blend to help home cooks here in the US create Italian inspired meals easily.
Most store-bought Italian seasonings include the following dried herbs and spices:
- Other ingredients sometimes include garlic powder, black pepper, fennel seeds and crushed red pepper flakes.
Homemade Italian seasoning ingredients
Through much experimentation, I have found the recipe for homemade Italian seasoning that is the perfect store-bought Italian seasoning substitute that is also low FODMAP friendly:
1 tablespoon dried chives
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried parsley
½ tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried ground sage
Since many of these spices are different sizes, I like to blend this mixture of spices in a high-speed bullet style blender or use a spice grinder or coffee grinder to pulverize everything into similar size pieces. This way when you are measuring out the homemade Italian seasoning, you don’t get a teaspoon of mostly dried chives or dried parsley and basil without the other flavors.
Once you make your own italian seasoning at home, you can store it in a well-sealed container for up to 6 months. I like to save spice jars once they are empty to use for this.
Ways to use homemade Italian seasoning
- To give flavor to pasta sauce, marinara sauce or pizza sauce
- To spice up soups or stews
- To make your own salad dressing
- To sprinkle over homemade garlic bread or crackers
- Make your own dipping sauce for bread by using high quality extra virgin olive oil and homemade Italian seasoning with added crushed red pepper flakes.
Recipes that use Italian seasoning
A combination of dried basil and dried oregano (2:1 ratio)
You will find that a majority of Italian recipes call for dried basil and dried oregano. These two herbs are also in most Italian seasoning blends. I find that dried oregano can overpower a dish and push it closer to having Greek flavors than Italian flavors. Because of this, I recommend a 2:1 ratio of dried basil to dried oregano if you are going to replace Italian seasoning in a recipe.
For example, if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons), you would use 2 teaspoons dried basil and 1 teaspoon dried oregano.
If you are unsure, simply put 2 tablespoons of dried basil and 1 tablespoon dried oregano in a spice jar or bowl and stir well. From this mixture, simply measure out how much Italian seasoning was recommended for your recipe.
Herbs de Provence
Herbs de Provence is a spice blend from the South of France that has many similar ingredients to Italian seasoning, like dried parsley, rosemary, fennel, tarragon and thyme. What makes herbs de Provence different is that it often also has dried lavender in the mix, which can drastically change the flavor of a dish. Because of this, I encourage you to take a small sample of whatever you are cooking and sprinkle just the sample with Herbs de Provence and tasting it before committing to using this spice blend, as it can work sometimes, but not all the time.
Use fresh herbs
If you have access to fresh herbs, you can also use those as a substitute for Italian seasoning. A combination of fresh basil, flat leaf parsley, oregano, thyme, sage and/or rosemary could all be great for substituting dried Italian seasoning.
It’s important to note that fresh herbs are not as potent in flavor as dried herbs, so usually a 3:1 ratio of fresh to dried is used. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of dried basil, you would use 1 tablespoon of fresh basil chopped for 1 teaspoon dried basil in a recipe (remember 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons).
Another important thing to consider is that fresh herbs tend to lose their potency the longer they are cooked. This is why you often see fresh herbs added at the end of cooking, as they will not create the same flavor after simmering for hours on end. This is why dried spices are often recommended in long simmering soups and sauces and fresh herbs are added at the end to amplify the flavor and add a fresh note at the end of cooking.
Other spice blends you could consider:
Perhaps you have a spice blend labeled “pizza seasoning” or “pizza blend” in your pantry. Many times these spice blends are very similar to Italian seasoning and can be used 1:1 replacement for Italians seasoning.
Mediterranean or Greek Seasoning
Mediterranean inspired meals often have many of the same flavors making these a great substitute for Italian seasoning as well. You may notice more oregano is in the Greek style seasoning or a hint of sumac (which has a lemony flavor) has also been added to these spice blends making them similar but not exactly the same flavor.
This middle eastern seasoning has many of the same flavors as Italian seasoning but also includes sesame seeds. Za’atar can be a great option if you are using the Italian seasoning for marinades or for sprinkling on garlic bread for some flavor. However the sesame seeds may not work well in your red sauces or soups, as they will not melt down into the sauce like Italian seasoning does.
Hopefully these ideas gave you something to work with so the next time you run out of Italian seasoning blend, you don’t run to the store or choose a new recipe for dinner. Once you start experimenting with these other flavor options you may find that you have a new go-to instead of always using your default Italian seasoning blend!
If you love making your own homemade spice blends, you should try
Homemade Italian Seasoning$1.15 Recipe/$0.38 Serving
- Add all the ingredients to a high speed bullet blender, spice grinder or coffee grinder.
- Blend 20-30 seconds until all the ingredients are similar sized.
- Store leftovers in an air-tight container for 6 months.