I have a confession to make. I’m not the biggest fan of chervil. But even still, it’s an essential herb in my kitchen.
So when I found out that one of my favorite grocery stores was going to stop carrying it, I knew I had to find some chervil substitutes.
I’ve compiled a list of 7 great substitutes to use instead of chervil that include Tarragon, Fennel leaves, Parsley, Dill, Cicely, Chives, and Chervil Mix.
Continue reading to find which substitute will be most suitable for your chervil cravings!
What is Chervil?
Chervil is a delicate, licorice-flavored herb that’s perfect for adding to salads and soups. Unfortunately, Chervil has an extremely short growing season so it’s hard to find in local stores for the most part of the year.
Luckily, you can try one of these chervil substitutes in your next recipe or enjoy them raw as a garnish on dishes like salad or soup!
7 Best Chervil Substitutes
Tarragon is an herb that can be found in many types of French cooking. It will add a savory flavor to dishes without being too overpowering.
Tarragon is the most popular substitute for Chervil as it has a similar flavor as they both contain anise. Similarly, they both have culinary use, but oftentimes, you can find tarragon in stores before chervil.
Chervil and tarragon are so similar that you can use them interchangeably in recipes. However, fresh tarragon’s flavor is a bit strong, so you may want to use a little less than you would with chervil.
Otherwise, it’ll overpower the other flavors in your recipe.
2. Fennel Leaves
It’s no secret, that fennel is fantastic. The leaves can be used the same way as chervil in both savory and sweet recipes. It’s a popular ingredient used in French and Italian cooking.
Unlike tarragon, fresh fennel doesn’t overpower a dish so you can use the same quantity that your recipe calls for if you’re substituting for chervil.
Fennel has anise flavors like tarragon and chervil but they are not quite as intense. It also has a slight licorice taste that gives off an earthy aroma when crushed or cooked.
Parsley is probably one of the most popular herbs out there and it’s easy to see why! This herb is packed with vitamins A, C & K which makes it a fantastic addition to any dish!
Parsley is great for recipes where you want to add fresh, raw flavors. Its bitter and grassy taste can also give dishes an extra kick if they need sprucing up.
Like chervil, parsley leaves will wilt quickly once chopped so make sure you use them as soon as possible!
You’ll often find dill in Mediterranean cooking but it’s perfectly suitable for any recipe that calls for herbs and even some soups or stew. Like fennel and tarragon, dill tastes like licorice with undertones of anise-flavored herbs.
Dill pairs very well with cucumbers giving a cooling compliment to each other. It can be used as a garnish on dishes like salads or soups.
Just like the other herbs on this list, you can substitute dill for chervil in your cooking. If using fresh dill is not an option, mix dried dill with tarragon to create another great tasting replacement.
Also known as sweet chervil, cicely might be a new herb for many food lovers. While it’s a good substitute for chervil, it’s more popularly used in baked goods, flavoring candy, and desserts.
It has a sweeter flavor than chervil, but it also tastes milder with a hint of anise and licorice flavor. Like other herbs on the list, cicely leaves can be used as a garnish to add some flare to dishes like salad or soup.
However, the biggest problem with using cicely as a substitute is its availability. Consider yourself lucky if your local stores carry it.
Fresh chives are a popular topping on dishes like fish or potatoes, but have you ever tried using them as an herb in cooking?
This nifty herb is the slender cousin of onion and garlic. It’s a popular herb used pretty much in all French and Italian recipes. The flavor of chives is similar to onions without being overpowering or pungent.
Chives are perfect for garnishing soups and salads as they’ll add that extra bit of spice that takes it from good to great. It also goes well with fish dishes so it’s ideal for seafood lovers but you can use it on just about anything.
Just like chervil, you should only chop chives when you’re ready to serve them as chopping will start to wear away the outer layer of their leaves.
7. Chervil Mix
Chervil isn’t that popular or easy to find, so you can simply buy it whole and grind it yourself into a powder.
Don’t worry about the flavor being different; as soon as you crush chervil leaves, their strong flavor will start escaping!
If grinding is too much of an effort, you can also pick up a mix that’s available in stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. This makes it easy for you to add the right amount of herbs without getting your precious chervil leaves dirty!
What Does Chervil Taste Like?
Chervil is a delicate herb that features an aromatic, slightly sweet flavor. The leaves are also known to have a cool, fresh aroma.
Chervil is also used for its health benefits like aiding digestion and even improving appetite! It’s no wonder that this herb is popular among chefs that want to add a special touch to their dishes.
Also, chervil’s taste isn’t quite as strong as these other herbs so it’s perfect for dishes where you want subtle flavors that are still noticeable but not overpowering.
In layman’s terms, chervil’s taste is similar to tarragon with some hints of anise. As a result, it tastes great with butter and cream as well as fish recipes!
Where to Buy Chervil?
If you’re like most people, chances are chervil is a herb you’ve never used before.
So where do you buy it? Can it be bought fresh or should you settle for dried? Don’t worry as I’ve got all the answers.
Remember though, that not all grocery stores carry chervil. If it’s a regular item in your pantry, you can check out online retailers like Amazon where you’ll be able to find bottles of dried or fresh chervil.
If using fresh chervil in your cooking, make sure to store it properly so its leaves remain crisp and flavorful!
To keep the flavor of chervil intact, simply wrap the leaves loosely in plastic wrap, then place them in a bag and refrigerate. Alternatively, if you’re using dry chervil, simply wrap it in foil so that air doesn’t contact the leaves.
Is Chervil the Same as Parsley?
The answer is: NO. Chervil and parsley are not even related.
Parsley is from the Apiaceae family, while chervil belongs to the Umbelliferae family. The only thing they have in common is that both herbs are members of the herb family.
Chervil also has a different taste than parsley and it’s slightly more potent.
Is Chervil the Same as Cilantro?
No, they both are very different. The taste of these two herbs is also very different.
Cilantro has a spicy, almost bitter flavor while chervil has an aromatic and slightly sweet flavor.
The main difference between the two herbs is that cilantro has stronger leaves than chervil which is why it’s more popularly used as a garnish on top of a dish.
Chervil only has one or two leaves that measure about 1-2 inches long.
So there you have it – the best substitutes for chervil that are (probably) available in your nearest grocery stores. Tarragon is easily the most common substitute as they’re both similar and will taste great when added to your dishes.
Did I miss any of the other common chervil substitutes that you know? Let me know in the comments.