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Bay Leaf Substitute – Bay leaves come from the laurel plant of the bay, an evergreen shrub that in warm climates grows slowly. The plants are grown and dried for ornamental use and used in cooking. With pointy ends, the thick and leathery leaves are elongated. Recipes most commonly call for dried bay leaves, which are slightly stronger than fresh in fragrance.

Does Bay Leaf Really Make A Difference?

The ancient Greeks used bay leaves for flavoring. In many European cuisines (particularly those of the Mediterranean), as well as in the Americas, they are a fixture in cooking. They are used in soups, stews, poultry, fish, sauces, and vegetable dishes. Many traditional French dishes are also flavored by the leaves.

Letting the bay leaves sit down and simmer in your dish is essential. Over time, some of the more potent leaf flavors, especially that menthol-like tinge, are broken down by the heat and made into a gentler, more friendly aspect of your soup.

Combine this transformed flavor with the rest of your recipe, particularly in liquid or high-humidity foods, and add a slightly sweet, tea-like note to the bay leaf. It’s a relatively mild addition that sits in the background and boosts other, more bold flavors. It’s also only when people are offered a blind taste test that they note that, with the addition of nothing but the humble bay leaf, one dish has a stronger flavor profile than another. In recipes involving meats such as chicken or beef, this works especially well.

Can You Substitute Basil For Bay Leaf?

Dried basil’s minty, mild, woody taste makes it acceptable as a substitute for bay leaf. Similarly, in soups, stews, and other braised dishes, bay leaves can be a decent substitute for dried basil but cannot be used in pesto or salads to replace fresh basil.

Is Bay Leaf The Same As Basil?

As for seasonings,  fresh bay leaves and fresh basil are most often not used together because basil pairs well with light summer foods, though bay leaf is perfect for hearty winter dishes, such as soups and stews.

What Kind Of Flavor Does Bay Leaf Have?

An almost minty taste (somewhere between spearmint and menthol) grows, with slight hints of black pepper and Christmas tree pine, when the herb is infused into wine, broth, or another cooking liquid. They bring a slight bitterness that prevents being too, well, heavy with heavy soups and stews.

Bay Leaf Substitutes

Let’s get straight to it. Here are 5 of the main ingredients you could use to substitute bay leaf.



Thyme is a herb that grows on clusters of thin stems with small leaves. In addition to other traditional herbs, such as rosemary, sage, and marjoram, thyme is used to season all kinds of dishes, either alone or as part of a blend or bouquet garni. Thyme can be eaten by anyone looking to cook with fresh herbs and is fit for any diet and very rarely considered an allergen.

Although dried thyme has an almost identical flavor profile to its fresh counterpart, it usually needs to be rehydrated to show its full range, whether on its own or during the cooking process ( i.e. adding to a braised dish or bread dough) In any use, dried thyme leaves may be substituted for new, just use one third as much dried thyme as you would use new.



In cooking, in a number of dishes, such as soups, casseroles, salads, and stews, rosemary is used as a seasoning. Use chicken and other poultry with rosemary, game, lamb, pork, steaks, and fish, especially oily fish. Grains, mushrooms, tomatoes, peas, potatoes, and spinach also go well with it.



Oregano is a herb consisting of the oregano plant’s fresh or dried leaves. The plant has small leaves that give a range of savory foods a pungent fragrance and good flavor. The plant sports pink or purple flowers when in bloom, which are also edible. It is gluten-free as a herb and acceptable for vegan and paleo diets.



is an important herb in Italian cooking in the mint family, although it is also used in a number of other cuisines, including Thai, Indonesian, and Vietnamese. It is recognized in traditional pesto for being the main ingredient and is also a common seasoning in pasta sauces based on tomatoes. Basil is an annual herb with a color that is most commonly green. It has a soft and fragrant scent and a peppery taste. The basil leaves are broad, somewhat delicate, with a smooth texture marked by a series of veins; they are the main part of the cooking plant. It’s a simple herb for home cultivation and popular addition to kitchen gardens.

Juniper Berries

Juniper Berry

A heavy aromatic (scented) herb from an evergreen plant or tree is Juniper berries. In the temperate regions of Northern Europe, Asia, and North America, where it grows. The portion that is referred to as the berry is the cone of the juniper berries. It appears like a small green berry and in the second year of growth it ends up becoming a bluish-black hue. The small flowers bloom on the juniper plant in the late spring.

Boldo Leaves

Boldo leaves are evergreen, an aromatic shrub native to Chile, particularly the Andes Mountains. 1 The tree is also widely found in other countries, such as Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador, and Morocco. Scientists believe the leaves of this tiny tree have been eaten for centuries as a health tonic.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does bay leaf taste like?

Minty with a little bitterness.

Can I substitute fresh bay leaves for dried?

One fresh leaf equals two dried leaves.

How long does bay leaf last?

Fresh bay leaves can be stored up to three months in the freezer. Dried bay leaves can be stored up to two years.

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