Whenever my family comes together, I try to make something all of them can enjoy. They love my French recipes.
And my favorite French recipes are incomplete without the aromatic presence of tarragon. So when I use tarragon substitutes, I ensure that lt is has a similar effect on the cuisine.
Today I am sharing the 9 best tarragon substitutes that work for my recipes, like Angelica, Chervil, Basil, Fennel, Oregano, Anise/Aniseed, and more.
Read on to find how you can substitute Tarragon with these ingredients and get the same flavor.
- What is Tarragon?
- 9 Best Tarragon Substitutes
- What Does Tarragon Taste Like?
- Fresh Tarragon vs Dried Tarragon: Which Is Better?
- Can You Use Thyme Instead of Tarragon?
- What’s A Good Tarragon Substitute in Béarnaise Sauce?
- What’s A Good Tarragon Substitute in Chicken Salad?
- Final Words
What is Tarragon?
Tarragon is an aromatic herb that elevates the taste and essence of a recipe. The fresh tarragon leaves are shiny, thin, and long. It works well with vegetables, fish, and meat, making tarragon perfect for all kinds of recipes.
The taste goes mild to intense depending on the type of tarragon you are using. The most famous french variety is milder than the others, and thus, it only supports the taste of your recipe without causing any significant changes.
There are other types of tarragon like Mexican tarragon, Russian tarragon. However, I prefer French tarragon in my recipes.
9 Best Tarragon Substitutes
If you have some angelica herb in the pantry, you can substitute tarragon with the same quantity. Ensure that you are using the herb and not the spice made from its roots. Angelica is a pretty good replacement for tarragon.
However, it is not easily available. If you have some angelica available in the pantry, look no further and use it to substitute for fresh or dried tarragon.
It has a more earthy tone of flavor with a hint of licorice flavor. The taste also has a tone of celery. Only the leaves and stems of angelica are used to make the herb.
If you use it in the same amount of tarragon, it will not change the recipe’s flavor and will help create a tasteful dish. You can use this for any recipe that requires tarragon, from soups to seafood.
Chervil includes hints of tarragon, chives, and parsley in its flavor profile. So can be used as a substitute for all of these herbs.
However, chervil has a lighter taste than tarragon. To substitute tarragon, use a pinch more to mimic the effect.
Of all the tarragon substitutes, chervil comes as close as possible in terms of taste and essence.
You can use chervil as a tarragon replacement in meat, salads, and soups.
Basil is the most readily available substitute for tarragon. You can either buy fresh or dried basil in the grocery store near you from the herb section.
Fresh basil is more prominent in taste than dried basil. In addition, Basil has a strong flavor, so it will help with the dish’s flavor even when you are using other strong ingredients.
While using it in a recipe, you’ll have to double the quantity. So for one tablespoon of tarragon, use 2 tablespoons of basil, fresh or dried alike. Use basil to replace tarragon in poultry, seafood, soups, and pasta.
Fennel looks like celery and works like tarragon. Fennel has a prominent tone of licorice that makes it a suitable match for substituting tarragon in some recipes.
Fresh fennel can be used in an equal amount of tarragon in your dish. However, while replacing dry tarragon, use 1/8 of a tablespoon for every tablespoon of tarragon. Replace tarragon in lighter recipes like soups, salads, and sauces.
Oregano is readily available and used in a variety of recipes. If you don’t have any other herbs on this list, you can use oregano to substitute tarragon.
However, it has a slightly more bitter tone and some amount of spice in the dried options. So while using oregano, try using fresh ones if possible, as dried oregano might alter the dish’s taste mildly.
Whether you use dried or fresh, the same quantity as tarragon is the way to go. You can use oregano instead of tarragon in soups, pasta, and nightshade-based recipes.
It tastes like a hybrid of fennel and tarragon. If you need a prominent licorice flavor in your dish, anise is a perfect match. It has a lightly sweet and spicy flavor profile, making it a suitable replacement for fresh and dried tarragon.
For every tablespoon of tarragon in your recipe, use aniseed 1/16 of a tablespoon. In soups, broths, and stews, anise can replace tarragon well.
If you need a herb to substitute tarragon in a recipe that does not require a licorice taste, dill is the right choice. It is not a replica of tarragon; you can benefit from some of the flavors that both herbs offer.
However, dill can not mimic the effects of tarragon and a dishonest tablespoon of dill is enough to replace one tablespoon of tarragon. Therefore, Dill can be the best substitute for tarragon only in seafood recipes.
If you’re also out of dill or can’t find it, you can use these dill substitutes instead.
Like dill, marjoram is not the best way to go if you need a strong licorice flavor and essence. However, it can still be a suitable tarragon replacement as both have woody, earthy flavor profiles. Use the same quantity of marjoram as tarragon required in the dish.
Marjoram can enhance the essence of vegetable and meat recipes.
9. Parsley & Cinnamon
The bitter and sweet duo of parsley and cinnamon can create a tarragon flavor profile. If we use each herb alone, the results are not as desired. Persley can still replace fresh tarragon in some ways.
You can only substitute tarragon in Béarnaise sauce with a mix of parsley and cinnamon. Simmer both herbs in water and make a tea that has a mix of both flavors.
And this liquid will substitute tarragon in Béarnaise sauce in the best way possible. However, it does not work well with any other recipes that call for tarragon.
What Does Tarragon Taste Like?
Tarragon is a woody, earthy, mildly sweet, and bitter herb. It also has a distinct taste of licorice. Because of this versatile flavor profile, tarragon is called the “king of spice” in French.
Among the types of tarragon, Mexican mint tarragon and Russian tarragon have a more bitter and heavier licorice flavor. And the french variety has a milder taste, and this makes it more prevalent in food recipes.
So using Mexican mint tarragon might result in mild alterations in the final flavor of the dish. While for its more pungent bitter taste, Russian tarragon is used to flavor many drinks.
Fresh Tarragon vs Dried Tarragon: Which Is Better?
The difference in fresh and dried tarragon is more prominent than in other herbs. Fresh tarragon is always preferred over dried in restaurants, as the flavors become somewhat weaker while drying the leaves.
However, it’s not possible to use fresh tarragon at home if you have not planted it. You can dry tarragon at home in the oven or buy from the store, and it will work well in your recipe. Use equal amounts of dried tarragon as fresh in your dish.
If you want fresh tarragon always available in your kitchen, plant it once in your garden. And it will grow back every year. I love that about tarragon plants.
Can You Use Thyme Instead of Tarragon?
Thyme and tarragon have a similar earthy flavor. However, these herbs do not share the licorice flavors of tarragon. So in some recipes, thyme can be an okayish replacement for tarragon.
You can use this as a substitute in only seafood and meat recipes. I experimented with thyme in other dishes, and the results were not what I wished for.
To replace tarragon in your meat and fish recipes, use equal amounts of thyme as fresh or dried tarragon.
What’s A Good Tarragon Substitute in Béarnaise Sauce?
Many chefs recommend the mixture of parsley and cinnamon to create the best substitute for tarragon in their Béarnaise recipe.
The tea made with cinnamon and parsley can mimic the effect of tarragon in this sauce. This remix works wonders in Béarnaise sauce.
However, it does not work well in any other recipe that needs tarragon.
What’s A Good Tarragon Substitute in Chicken Salad?
I like to use marjoram in my chicken salad recipe to replace tarragon. It will not give you licorice flavor but add a warm, woody feel of tarragon to the salad.
Fennel and chervil are also great tarragon substitutes for chicken salad. You can achieve a favor that comes close to tarragon in the dish.
If I am cooking, every ingredient is essential. And tarragon is one of the top ingredients in my list of herbs. It has a flavor and fragrance that can make your recipes more delicious in taste and aroma.
However, if you don’t have any fresh or dried tarragon in the pantry, now you have a list of tarragon substitutes to choose from.
If you wish to mix and match these ingredients, I suggest tasting along the way you cook to control any substantial alteration of the final product.
Tell me which substitute worked best for your recipe and which topic you want to read about next in the comments below. And I will come back with a new ingredient soon.