Drink & Food Guides

13 Best Tarragon Substitutes in Recipes You Should Try

Tim Parry


Finding a great tarragon substitute can be tricky, but it’s worth it to have the perfect dish. This guide will show you some of the best substitutes for tarragon. Whether you’re looking for an herb that has a similar flavor or one that can mimic its texture, you’ll find what you need here. Keep reading to get started!

Tarragon is a type of herb that has been used for centuries in different cultures.  It can be found all around the world, but it’s most commonly grown in France. Tarragon is typically paired with French dishes like coq au vin and bouillabaisse, as well as German dishes like sauerbraten.

There are many reasons why tarragon should be added to your recipes.

  • First of all, tarragon has antibiotic properties which help ward off infection from bad bacteria and viruses.
  • Secondly, tarragon contains antioxidants that fight against free radicals that damage cells and cause diseases such as cancer or heart disease.
  • Thirdly, it tastes great!

If you’re looking for tarragon substitutes in your recipes, here are 13 great options to try:

What Is Tarragon And What Does It Taste Like?

Tarragon Substitute

Tarragon, also known as dragon herb and estragon (which is where the name of the French sauce ‘ étouffée’ comes from), belongs to the family of Asteraceae. Its genus is Artemisia. It is native to Northern Africa and Eurasia but grows well in North America too. Tarragon has slender green leaves that are long and serrated at their edges. When it blossoms, it produces purple or white flowers.

The taste of tarragon is similar to anise, licorice, or fennel, with a slight touch of citrus.

What Are Some Substitutes for Tarragon

Tarragon Substitute

Because tarragon has a unique flavor, it can be hard to find an exact substitute. However, if you’re looking for something that will give you a similar taste profile, consider using one of the following herbs:

1. Rosemary

When it comes to using rosemary as a tarragon substitute, the flavor is actually quite similar. If you’re looking for a substitution that will give you a similar flavor profile, consider using one of the following herbs:

2. Basil

Basil has a slightly sweet and anise-like flavor that makes it the best tarragon substitute in recipes.

3. Using thyme as a tarragon substitute

Thyme is another herb with a flavor that is similar to tarragon. It’s earthy and herbaceous with a touch of bitterness, making it a great substitution when you’re looking for something to give a recipe a similar flavor profile.

Thyme is another great option when you’re looking for a substitution for tarragon in your recipe. It has a strong flavor that can hold its own against other herbs, but it’s also quite versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes.

Tarragon Substitute

4. Parsley

Parsley is a good herb to consider using as a tarragon substitute if you’re looking for something with an herbal taste and smell. Parsley pairs well with garlic, onion, and tomatoes; it also has those same earthy qualities that make it such a great substitution.

5. Mint

Mint is another herb that reflects many of the same characteristics as tarragon: It’s slightly sweet and has an aromatic licorice-like taste. Mint also adds brightness and freshness to dishes, making it one of the best substitutes for tarragon.

6. Marjoram

Marjoram is another herb that has a similar flavor profile to tarragon, with a delicate woodsy and mint-like taste. Marjoram is more subtle than other herbs, meaning it’s perfect when you’re looking for something that won’t overpower the flavor of your dish.

Tarragon Substitute

7. Cilantro

Cilantro is a great herb to consider using if you’re looking for a substitute with an earthy and slightly grassy taste. Cilantro imparts an almost lemon-like quality, which makes it ideal for seasoning seafood dishes or salads.

8. Oregano

Oregano is a strong, pungent herb that has a flavor that is similar to tarragon. It’s perfect for adding depth of flavor to dishes and is most commonly used in Italian and Mexican cuisine.

9. Dill

Dill has a slightly sweet taste with an aromatic floral note. When it comes to using dill as a tarragon substitute, it’s important to keep in mind that the flavors are quite different; dill will add a new dimension to your dish, but it won’t be quite the same as if you were using tarragon.

10. Cumin

Cumin is another herb that has an earthy and slightly bitter flavor, making it perfect for vegetarians looking for a substitute with similar properties to tarragons. However, because cumin has quite a strong flavor, only small amounts are necessary; otherwise, your dish can end up tasting quite different than if you’d used tarragon.

11. Chervil

Chervil adds brightness and freshness to any dish, which makes it one of the best substitutes for tarragon when you’re looking to add something new to your recipe without radically changing its profile.

12. Sage

Sage has a slightly bitter and earthy taste that makes it a great substitute to use when you’re cooking with a recipe that calls for tarragon. The flavors of the two herbs are quite similar, but sage can be much more overpowering, so it’s best used as a smaller part of your overall seasoning to avoid problems.

13. Woodruff

Woodruff has an almost clover-like flavor profile, which is exactly why it works well as a tarragon substitute. However, keep in mind that woodruff is not very common; if you want to grab some before heading into the kitchen, you may have to do a little searching at your local herb shop.

Tarragon Substitute

How to Store Fresh Tarragon

If you’ve been lucky enough to find fresh tarragon at your local grocery store or farmers’ market, it’s important to know how to store it properly so that it stays fresh and flavorful. Tarragon should be stored in the fridge in a loosely closed container; if it’s too tightly sealed, the herb will start to lose its flavor.

What Are Some Recipes that Use Tarragon?

Some recipes that use tarragon include Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon, Seafood Paella, and Potato Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette. Keep in mind that tarragon is a strong herb, so it’s best to use small amounts of it when you want its flavor to come through; otherwise, your dish can taste quite different.


1. What is a good substitute for tarragon?

A suitable substitution for tarragon would be basil or chervil. Chervil is in the same family but has no aromatic oils so substitute with parsley instead when using chervil as a stand-in for tarragon in your cooking.

2. How many substitutes should I use?

To replace 1 teaspoon of dried tarragon: use 2 teaspoons of dried basil, 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme plus 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley.

For 1 tablespoon of fresh tarragon: use 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil, 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme, or 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley.

3. Can I freeze tarragon?

The frozen herb will maintain its flavor for about 3 months. To freeze, place small bunches (1/2 cup) of washed and dried tarragon leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze until solid then transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag.

4. Can I dry tarragon?

Drying will reduce the flavor so it is best to use other substitutes. If you must dry the herb, spread the tarragon leaves on a baking sheet and place them in a preheated 200-degree oven for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Place the leaves in a blender or food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add to recipes as needed.

5. How do I use tarragon in cooking?

Tarragon is a popular herb in French cuisine and goes well with chicken, fish, eggs, and cream sauces. It has a licorice taste that is not overpowering and can be used fresh or dried. When using fresh tarragon, add it at the end of cooking time as prolonged exposure to heat will lessen its flavor. Dried tarragon can be added during the cooking process.


Now that you know how to use a variety of herbs as a tarragon substitute in recipes, you’ll be able to easily adapt any dish to your liking. Keep in mind that each substitution has its own unique flavor profile, so be sure to experiment until you find the perfect one for your needs. Happy cooking!

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Tim Parry

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