The beauty of Tarragon can be chosen and used in many dishes, and so can a flavoring substitute for tarragon. It is a classic French herb, best known for giving a distinctive flavor to French chicken salad. But it also goes perfectly with other dishes that need an herb that can eliminate fishy odors or add a tantalizing spiciness; for whatever you create!
It is one of the ultimate rules in cooking as far as I am concerned- when in doubt with any recipe, always add some fresh tarragon. It doesn’t matter if it is savory or sweet; this herb will liven it up and make it taste so much better. That’s why Tarragon is considered a classic herb!
But for those times when you have no tarragon, don’t worry. There are a couple of great substitutes available. Also, depending on what you are using Tarragon for, different herbs are going to give you additional options.
Also- the best substitute for any recipe (but especially ones with fish) is fresh herbs that have been chopped up and added to whatever dish you want- as close to just before serving as possible.
Table of Contents
What Is Tarragon?
Tarragon is a type of herb known for its robust and aromatic flavor. It has the scientific name Artemisia dracunculus, with dracunculus meaning “little dragon.” It is a species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. It can be found in French cuisine and sometimes used as an alternative to Parsley or thyme.
Everyone has their favorite herb, but Tarragon is generally one of the more popular ones. It’s great when you want something that packs a strong punch, like when you’re making chicken salad or trying to wake up your taste buds with a refreshing drink.
It may not be the most popular herb globally, but there are still many ways to enjoy it. Grab a handful of fresh Tarragon from your local grocery store or farmers’ market and start playing around with it in your cooking. Tarragon is excellent with fish or steaks, and of course, it pairs wonderfully with vinaigrettes.
If you want to get the most out of your Tarragon, you should consider making it into vinegar or an extract. It’s a bit like making wine vinegar or vanilla extract – all you have to do is steep the herb in wine vinegar, vodka, whiskey, tequila, or any other high-proof spirit. It will take about a month for the flavor to fully develop and settle into your alcohol of choice.
Tarragon’s Nutritional Value And Health Benefits
Tarragon has numerous significant medical advantages, including the possibility to diminish glucose, irritation, and agony while improving rest, hunger, and heart wellbeing. Also, it’s flexible and can be mixed up with food sources, regardless of whether you utilize new or dried assortments.
Although used in small amounts, Tarragon is still an excellent source of nutrients, calcium, and manganese.
When used heavily, Tarragon provides plenty of potassium, magnesium, and vitamin A and C. It also contains small amounts of copper, zinc, and phosphorus.
This herb is mainly used to treat stomach disorders and also acts as a mild anesthetic and sedative. Tarragon is also said to:
- Stimulates appetite, helps treat digestive disorders
- Anesthesia due to the properties of Tarragon
- It acts as a mild sedative, making it easier to fall asleep
- Removes toxins from the body, great for sauna use
- Supports the digestive system, especially breaking down meat fats and proteins
- Relieve menstrual pain
- Relieve colic and indigestion in babies
- Alleviate joint pain
- Reduces depression when used in combination with dill
If You’re New To Tarragon, Here’s What You Should Know
If you’re unfamiliar with Tarragon, consider using half of the recipe to introduce this new taste. Tarragon, in my perspective, is a classic French dish, but it’s not a flavor that many Americans are familiar with. As a result, you may find it difficult to include this taste into your cuisine in the first place, especially if you are unconcerned with the implementation.
In addition, unlike other spices, Tarragon’s taste intensifies when cooked. As a result, you have another legitimate reason to start slower than other aromas.
Another way to simplify your recipes is to use herbes de Provence instead of Tarragon. This combination provides a tempting layer of flavors that are recognizable to you. You will achieve outstanding outcomes with the one-on-one replacement.
Fresh Tarragon Or Dried Tarragon?
You may use dried Tarragon for fresh Tarragon, but you will not have a chance of outcomes. They have various tastes, especially since fresh tarragon contains more base than dried tarragon.
They have diverse flavors. If, in any instance, you are using a teaspoon of dried Tarragon instead of a teaspoon of fresh Tarragon as opposed to spices, you may include it in your kitchen. “Lighter” will be Dried Tarragon than the rest.
If you cultivate Tarragon in your kindergarten, consider freezing your harvest part and eat “fresh” Tarragon all year round. Tarragon is rich in a way that cannot be dried, as it is a solid jelly.
Best Tarragon Substitutes – Fresh And Dried Tarragon Substitute – 2023
Here are some of the best tarragon substitutes you can use in various recipes.
Tarragon Substitutes Conversion Chart
The conversion chart that I have compiled below will give you an overview of the basic ratio of herbs that can be used as a substitute for tarragon.
|1 tbsp fresh tarragon = 2 tbsp fresh basil.
|1 tbsp chervil = 1 tbsp tarragon.
|½ tbsp cinnamon = 1 tbsp parsley
|1 tbsp dried oregano = 1 tbsp dried tarragon.
|1 tbsp dried tarragon = 1 tbsp marjoram.
|1 pinch (about 1/16th of a tbsp) of anise = 1 tbsp of dried tarragon.
|1 tbsp dried tarragon = 1 stick cinnamon
|1 tbsp fresh tarragon = 1 tbsp fresh fennel fronds. 1/16 to 1/8 tbsp fennel seeds = 1 tbsp fresh tarragon (a pinch).
|1 tbsp dried tarragon = ⅛ tbsp fennel seeds.
|1 tbsp fresh tarragon = 1 tbsp fresh dill.
|1 tbsp dried tarragon Equals 1 tbsp fresh dill.
|1 tbsp dried tarragon = 1/16–1/8 tbsp anise seed.
|1 tbsp dried tarragon = 1/16–1/8 tbsp anise seed.
Which Herbs Can Substitute For Fresh Tarragon?
There are two main herbs that I think are the best substitutes for fresh tarragon. You can find information about them below.
1. Fresh Basil
Basil is a herb distantly related to Mint. It is known that the name Basil comes from the Greek word basilikon (meaning “king”). This name is since Basil was once highly respected by the Greeks and used as a medicine.
Basil’s leaves are usually gourd, green in color, and have a rather distinctive flavor, slightly spicy, slightly sweet, and characteristic aroma. Basil is commonly used in cuisine to add delicious flavor to soups, salads, pizzas, sauces for dishes, and cakes.
Talking in more detail about Basil’s taste, it is similar to the Basil we are familiar with but somewhat less intense, milder, and sweeter. Basil tastes quite similar to anise, intense and robust, and the scent is sweet and irresistible. Many people liken this flavor of Basil to the summer sun, both intense but still retaining its own sweet and attractive taste.
Conversion ratio: 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon = 2 teaspoons fresh basil.
Best used for: Soups, salads, vinaigrettes, chicken, and fish, with the exception of béarnaise.
You undoubtedly know Chervil, a green herb of the Apiaceae family, when you are a lover of French cuisine. It is a herb with both culinary and medicinal applications, known technically as Anthriscus cere/olium, commonly called French Parsley.
Chervil is a bit lighter green. If you know how parsnips or flat-leafed carrots look, it looks similar. Small, white blooms also grow.
Recently, research has shown that Chervil, owing to its violaceous oils and phytochemicals, possesses antioxidant, free radical scavenging, and membrane protection capabilities. This herb can therefore contribute to health in comparable ways to the advantages of parsley and coriander.
This plant is known as a good spice, extensively used in the cuisine due to its high vitamin content and mild scent of star anise. It has a mild taste, that some characterize, with an anise/licorice touch as a mix between Tarragon and Parsley.
Conversion ratio: 1 tbsp chervil = 1 tbsp tarragon.
Best used for: Thanks to its mix of anise, parsley, and tarragon, chervil is a spice to enhance the flavor of other foods, such as fish dishes, food, salads, and curds.
Which Herbs Can Substitute For Dried Tarragon?
So, what herbs may be used in place of dried tarragon? You’ll be amazed by the following section.
It is a common herb to me but not necessarily to others- I often see Parsley used in egg dishes, especially omelets and scrambled eggs. It has a nice flavor similar to Tarragon (without the licorice taste), and you can use it fresh or dried.
Parsley is a herbaceous plant in the genus Petroselinum consisting of curly and flat leaves. This spice is commonly used in cuisine, especially in the Middle East, North America, and Europe.
Parsley is often used for the leaves because, in the leaves, Parsley contains many healthy minerals and vitamins such as protein, carotene, iron, potassium, sodium, vitamins B1, B2, C, etc. Adding Parsley to the dish also adds nutritional value to that dish. If you are a fan of spice grinders, you can consider buying them to make your cooking jobs easier.
Conversion ratio: ½ teaspoon cinnamon = 1 tablespoon parsley
Best used for: The flavor is going to be stronger and more “pungent” than when you use Tarragon. So if you are using it for French béarnaise sauces or soups that already have solid herbal flavors, additional Parsley may not be necessary- just your desired amount of Tarragon.
Oregano is an herbal plant related to Mint. The size of oregano leaves is very small and dark green. It is a perennial plant grown in many regions globally, such as Turkey, Greece, and Italy. Its Latin name, Origanum vulgare, means “joy of the mountains” (where it is commonly detected). Oregano well adapts to growing in the UK and tastes better if you grow it yourself.
Typically, oregano plants have tiny leaves with a pungent and powerful scent. Its blooms are pink or purple and are delicious. You can use or adorn dishes in salads. Oregano leaves can be fresh or dried, and when dried, the leaves have a stronger aroma.
If you’re growing oregano at home, cut a small amount with scissors so the plant can continue to grow. To use oregano as a fresh herb, wash the plant and strip the leaves from the stem.
Oregano can combine with other herbs and flavorings, for example, garlic, onion, thyme, Basil, Parsley, and olive oil. It is also an excellent substitute for Tarragon. You may like these olive oil dispensers.
Conversion ratio: To substitute dried oregano for dried tarragon, use 1 teaspoon dried oregano to 1 teaspoon dried tarragon.
Best used for: Tomato sauces of pizzas, spaghetti, chili, and many other Italian foods are often used for oregano. But the recipes that incorporate oregano are not the only ones. A number of items are commonly utilized for taste, such as spaghetti from Bolognai, chili peppers, soups, and stews. You may be surprised by canned chili, and they can be convenient for your cooking jobs.
Marjoram has been found across the Mediterranean, North African, and Western Asian fragrant plants in the Mint Families.
Various marjoram components contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, such as carvacrol, reducing cell damage from free radicals. That’s why it can help assist the body to avoid chronic inflammatory conditions, decrease the risk of certain conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and auto-immune disorders.
In the dried form, marjoram generally has a stronger taste than the fresh one. Marjoram, however, may be used for making tea, adding flavor to soups and meat, and garnishing Salads for an attractive effect.
Conversion ratio: To substitute marjoram for dried tarragon, use 1 teaspoon dried tarragon to 1 teaspoon marjoram.
Best used for: dressings for salads, chicken dishes, and vegetable dishes.
4. Star Anise
Despite its similar name, anise does not relate to star anise, a spice from another plant family, or the same thing as Fennel, although both have a similar flavor, and the plants are somewhat similar looking. Generally, Fennel is a vegetable, while anise is used as a spice (i.e., granules, whole, or ground).
Star Anise is the seed of the Illicium verum plant. Illicium verum is a famous year-round green spice plant with a distinctive aroma; it is native to China and northeastern Vietnam.
The star-shaped fruits of anise are harvested before they are ripe. Anise has a shape like a star (hence the name Star Anise), and has six to eight petals, each containing a seed. Both the seeds and pods contain a sweet, anise flavor.
Before it is used as a spice, it is dried to give it an eye-catching color. Anise has a very distinct strong flavor, slightly sweet but slightly spicy. Its pungent flavor is similar to fennel and tarragon. Therefore, Star Anise is used in minimal doses, and it is often suitable for savory dishes.
Conversion ratio: Take 1 pinch (about 1/16th of a teaspoon) of anise for every 1 teaspoon of dried tarragon.
Best used for: Anise often combines with oranges, tangerines, onions, poultry, beef, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. So it is suitable to use for cooking sauces, broths, soups, and stews.
Angelica is a biennial plant known as the “Herb of the Holy Spirit” or the “Long-Living Root.” It is native to the Nordic countries, introduced by the Vikings in France, and then cultivated by monks in the Middle Ages. During the plague epidemic, it began to be used to try to cure it in the form of alcohol.
Angelica’s taste and smell are sweet and slightly bitter, slightly sweeter and earthy. The only downside is that this herb can be a bit hard to find. Some claim that the flavor is a combination of celery and licorice. The licorice scent softens considerably with just a hint of base notes.
The whole plant is edible. Angelica leaves are boiled and used just like radishes. If the leaves are green, they can be used for salads and to prepare sauces.
Angelica seeds can be used to prepare various alcoholic beverages such as Vermouth, Benedictine, and Chartreuse. In confectionery, the green stalks are used to mix with sugar and are used to make cakes, alajú, puddings, and suflés.
Conversion ratio: You can use angelica as a substitute for Tarragon in a 1:1 ratio without any real change to the taste of your recipes.
Best used for: in everything from soups and stews to lighter and brighter dishes like seafood and salads.
Rosemary is an excellent alternative to Tarragon, especially in recipes that call for dried Tarragon. Native to the Mediterranean, rosemary is a close-knit herb known by the nicknames “Sea Dew” and “Old Man.”
It got its name because it was first found growing along the Mediterranean coast. The uses of rosemary can number in the hundreds. Unlike other herbs, rosemary has a sturdier stem that adapts to harsh conditions, so it is easy to grow and care for outside.
If grown indoors, it needs a lot of light but not too much heat and humidity. Rosemary has been used for thousands of years in cooking and medicine, and it is well known for its ability to stimulate the mind, enhance memory and improve concentration.
Since rosemary belongs to the mint family, its flavor is very aromatic and rich, suitable for meat dishes such as casseroles and grilled meats.
Rosemary is an herb that contains many vitamins and minerals. However, the number of nutrients will increase or decrease depending on the freshness and dryness of rosemary. For example, fresh rosemary contains many manganeses; however, some manganese is lost through the drying process when dried.
On the other hand, dried rosemary has significantly higher levels of calcium and iron. Therefore, fresh rosemary, often used in more significant amounts than the dried form, is an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, and iron, calcium, and manganese. In addition, it is also rich in Vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, and copper.
Conversion ratio: Dried Rosemary can be used to replace Tarragon in a relation of 1:1.
Best used for: The flavor is reminiscent of charred wood, and it’s the perfect component for barbeque dishes.
Cinnamon is a type of cinnamon powder produced from the cinnamon tree or cinnamon stick in traditional medicine, with the complete scientific name Cinnamomum loureirii.
Cinnamon usually comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree, which is suitable for areas with a humid tropical climate, with a lot of rain and sunshine. Cinnamon is used as a raw material for marinating, mixing to create delicious flavors for dishes such as meat, fish, shrimp, etc., to reduce the fishy smell of food. Not only that, but cinnamon powder also can enhance the flavor of the dish, stimulate the taste buds, and make the dish more attractive.
With just half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder per day, you can comfortably enjoy the benefits of dried cinnamon with blood sugar, digestive system, immunity, and more.
In more substantial doses is key to heart health, reducing diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. In food processing, cinnamon is used to increase the aroma and concentration, creating a characteristic flavor.
Conversion ratio: 1 tbsp. dried tarragon Equals 1 stick cinnamon
Best used for: Thanks to the strong aroma and spicy taste, it is used to marinate or mix with dishes and cakes.
Which Herbs Can Substitute For Those Fresh and Dried Tarragon?
Several herbs can be used in place of Tarragon, both fresh and dried. Here are three of such adaptable herbs. You’ll be astonished at how close they are.
1. Fennel Fronds
Fennel Fronds is considered a spiced vegetable with the scientific name of Foeniculum vulgare is a flowering plant species in the carrot family, originating from countries in Asia and the Mediterranean region, grown in our country spice and as a spice medicine.
Not only is it rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, but it also contains many other essential vitamins that help prevent and reduce inflammation. In addition, Fennel also has some components that may help fight cancer. Just one tablespoon of fresh dill can provide 1 mg of quercetin, equivalent to eating half a cup of green peppers.
In general, fresh or dried Fennel leaves are used to enhance the flavor of dishes, such as salads and sauces. Fennel also has an anise/licorice flavor and is very subtle, which are very mimic and close to tarragon taste.
- Fresh fennel fronds are substituted for fresh tarragon: 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon = 1 tablespoon fresh fennel fronds.
- Fennel seeds are used to make fresh tarragon—1/16 to 1/8 teaspoon fennel seeds = 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon (a pinch).
- Fennel seeds in place of dried tarragon: 1 teaspoon dried tarragon = ⅛ teaspoon fennel seeds.
Best used for: Fennel has a high nutritional value and can be eaten raw or cooked; they can be added to salads or coleslaw; they are also suitable for grilled or sautéed dishes. Even if you want to pickle them, that’s OK; they still retain their nutritional value. Some dishes combine with Fennel: Cabbage salad with dill, Citrus salad with grilled Fennel salmon.
Dill (Anethum tombolens) gives luxurious green leaves to the dill weed. It’s a yearly spice that watches out for re-develop and generally spreads, which is incredible if you’re thinking about developing it in your nursery. Dill seeds are used in sauces, for example, in pickles. Like Chervil, dill is fragile and functions admirably with eggs or in servings of mixed greens.
You will discover dried dill available to be purchased in the zest segment of the store. However, the flavor is milder than fresh dill; if that’s all you can find, use more dried spices to get the dill flavor wanted in your formula.
Dill has a verdant taste with a trace of anise-like licorice. Know that once the climate turns warm, dill will bloom or “bud.” This cutting of the seeds changes the king of the leaves, making the leaves less fragrant and harsh. Dill seeds taste like a gentle rendition of caraway.
- 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon = 1 tablespoon fresh dill.
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon = 1 tablespoon fresh dill.
Best used for: Dill seeds are used in condiments, such as in pickles. Like Chervil, dill is delicate and works exceptionally well with eggs or in salads, seafood dishes, vinaigrettes, cream sauces.
Fun Fact: The Real Difference Between Fennel And Dill
Dill and Fennel regularly get mistaken for each other because, in case you’re taking a gander at the greens, they’re both fragile, padded light leaves. They’re both ordinarily included in Mediterranean cooking styles; however, they are not similar to a similar plant.
So the contrast between Fennel and dill is: Fennel is a perpetual plant that is edible, including the leaves and seeds. The stalks and bulbs are crunchy and marginally sweet, with flavor notes of anise. Dill is a fragrant spice typically used to season different food varieties, similar to dill pickles.
3. Aniseed (Anise)
Anise often refers to the seeds of a plant with fragrant leaves and stems that taste like licorice, Fennel, or wormwood in the culinary arts. While the leaves of the anise plant can be used as an herb, it is mainly the seeds used in cooking, sometimes called aniseed, the seeds used as a spice.
Tarragon seeds and anise seeds contain the same organic compound that gives the licorice flavor. Anise has a spicy taste and is a cross between Dill and Tarragon. If you’re making a recipe that calls for a more intense flavor, anise can be the perfect substitute, as it’s more pungent and has a slightly sweeter flavor with a spicy, tangy undertone. Anise is used in both savory recipes and sweet dishes.
Anise seeds are also the base for several alcoholic beverages, including Anisette, Ouzo, Sambuca, and Absinthe. You may have noticed that these drinks all share the same reputation of being pretty good, let’s say it firmly.
They also have the unique characteristic of changing color or crystallizing when mixed with other liquids. Anise flavored wine is known for a distinct licorice flavor that is not for everyone.
- Anise seed for fresh tarragon: 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon = 1/16 – 1 tablespoon anise seed.
- Anise seed for dried tarragon: 1 teaspoon dried tarragon = 1/16 – 1/8 teaspoon anise seed.
Best used for: Aniseed can be used in various baked goods and desserts, such as Italian biscotti, made from anise extract. Anise seeds are also commonly used in making sausages (e.g., charcuterie).
How To Freeze Fresh Herbs Like Tarragon To Use Later? Never Run Out Of Tarragon Again!
If you know you will be using Tarragon in the future, you can always pick up some fresh tarragon ahead of time and freeze it to use later. All you need is a heavy freezer bag or ice cube tray and to follow these three quick and easy steps.
- Wash, trim and chop the ends off of the Tarragon.
- Allow Tarragon to dry completely.
- Place Tarragon in the freezer bag or airtight containers and store in the freezer, freeze in an ice cube tray with a small amount of water, and transfer to a freezer bag.
- When wrapped in a damp paper towel and stored in a plastic bag in your refrigerator, fresh Tarragon can last 10-14 days. You can use the vacuum sealers for easier storage.
Here are some frequently asked questions about flavoring alternatives to Tarragon. I hope it will be useful to you!
Which Tarragon Substitutes Are Your Choice?
Tarragon is a one-of-a-kind spice with an unpleasant, somewhat sweet taste, licorice, anise, pepper, and Mint. Therefore, the best substitutes for fresh or dried Tarragon will eventually rely upon the flavor you’re attempting to accomplish in your formula.
As I would like to think, the best tarragon substitute for taste and smell is Chervil. Anise and Fennel are the best substitutes if you need to keep a more grounded, licorice-like flavor in your dish. In case you’re searching for a milder tar substitute without the licorice flavor, new Basil, Marjoram, or dill are your most innovative choices.
If you find the above information helpful, please share and comment to let me know. Or, if you know of other plants that can be substituted for Tarragon, you can also share with me. I am looking forward to a good response from you.