If you find yourself out of fresh or dried tarragon, try these tarragon substitutes! This replacement is exactly what you need then, and a flavorful way to enhance fish, eggs, and poultry!
Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) is a tasty herb traditionally used to season poultry, eggs, and fish. The plant leaves also go by the name of dragon's wort from the French word for "little dragon." In culinary, it is a fine herb blend, along with parsley, chives, and chervil. In this article we cover tarragon substitutes and alternatives along with varieties, growing, planting, harvesting, and tarragon uses.
This is a part of our culinary substitutions series on this site. Use a tarragon substitutes to flavor dishes like this amazing seafood recipe. And be sure to also check out how to keep herbs fresh longer.
Best substitutes for tarragon
I've been there too, in a dilemma where I am in the middle of cooking and suddenly realize I am out of the herb or seasoning I need! Tarragon has a citrus and licorice flavor, so we want to swap it out for a similar taste.
Here is what to use in place of fresh or dried tarragon.
Use 2 tablespoons fresh basil for 1 tablespoon fresh or dry tarragon.
Aniseed is very potent, so just use a pinch for a fresh or dry tarragon substitute.
3. Fennel fronds
Use 1 tablespoon fresh fennel for 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, ⅛ teaspoon of dry fennel for 1 tablespoon fresh or dry tarragon.
Another great sub for tarragon is oregano. Swap out 1 tablespoon oregano for 1 tablespoon fresh or dry tarragon.
Use 1 tablespoon marjoram fresh or 1 teaspoon dry for 1 tablespoon tarragon or 1 teaspoon dry tarragon.
Swap out 1 teaspoon thyme for 1 teaspoon tarragon.
Chervil is a great tarragon substitute! Use 1 tablespoon for 1 tablespoon fresh or dry tarragon. Adjust to taste.
Adjust a recipe with 1 tablespoon fresh dill for 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon.
Use 1 teaspoon rosemary for 1 teaspoon tarragon.
10. Parsley and Cinnamon
This is the ultimate best substitute for tarragon ever for bearnaise sauce! The combination of parsley and cinnamon copies the flavors perfectly. In a small saucepan over the stove, simmer together ½ teaspoon cinnamon with 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, and ¼ cup of water.
Basil, Aniseed, Fennel I think make the best alternative to tarragon, but you can use any one of these.
Fresh to dry herb ratio
When converting fresh to dry herbs and spices for a recipe a good rule of thumb to remember is the 1 to 3 rule. So for example, if a recipe calls for 3 teaspoons of fresh tarragon, then use 1 teaspoon of dry tarragon. Also 3 teaspoons is equal to 1 tablespoon.
See my teaspoon to tablespoon conversion guide here for more on how to measure.
Hint: 1 to 3 rule, unless stated otherwise as some herbs are more potent than others.
- French Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus "Sativa") - most flavorful type of tarragon with citrus and licorice flavors. The plant does not produce seeds.
- Russian Tarragon (A. dracunculoides) - is also known as false tarragon. It sometimes produces seeds and the leaves have little flavor or fragrance.
Growing and planting tarragon
Tarragon is an herb once used for snakebites, and not a beloved herb used in the kitchen. The herb prefers sunny locations with six to eight hours of direct sun daily, and can survive partial shade. Plant it in nutrient-rich, sandy, well-drained soil.
If you want to grow your own tarragon for culinary use, choose French tarragon. It has more flavor than the Russian variety. Start by growing from a seed or plant in 2-inch deep soul in a container or small pot.
Around late summer, transfer French tarragon into the garden so it can become rooted before winter arrives. In the fall, cut back plants and cover with a 4 to 6 inch layer of organic mulch for winter protection.
Harvest the stem and leaves of tarragon about 4 weeks after planting it outside and use it in your favorite recipes or dry it out to save. Fresh tarragon is best to add to recipes right before serving and tastes better than dried tarragon.
When looking for a tarragon substitute that is closest to the same taste, stick with basil, aniseed, and fennel. These herbs give off a slightly licorice taste, just like French tarragon. They are perfect herbs for seasoning eggs, poultry, and fish as a tarragon alternative.
Oregano is a famous herb and one of the most common herbs used in cooking. Italians and Mediterranean love to cook with this herb. It has a slightly peppery flavor and makes a great substitute for tarragon.
Looking for other articles like this? Try these:
These are a few of my favorite dishes to use tarragon:
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- 2 tablespoon fresh basil see notes below for more
- Use 2 tablespoons of fresh basil for for 1 tablespoon fresh or dry tarragon.
- Basil - 2 tablespoons for 1 tablespoon fresh or dry tarragon
- Aniseed - aniseed is very potent, so just use a pinch for fresh or dry tarragon
- Fennel - 1 tablespoon fresh for 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, ⅛ teaspoon of dry fennel for 1 tablespoon fresh or dry tarragon
- Oregano - 1 tablespoon for 1 tablespoon fresh or dry tarragon
- Marjoram - 1 tablespoon for 1 tablespoon
- Thyme - 1 teaspoon for 1 teaspoon
- Chervil - 1 tablespoon for 1 tablespoon fresh or dry
- Dill - 1 tablespoon fresh for 1 tablespoon tarragon
- Rosemary - 1 teaspoon rosemary for 1 teaspoon tarragon
- Parsley and Cinnamon - This is the ultimate best substitute for tarragon ever for bearnaise sauce! The combination of parsley and cinnamon copies the flavors perfectly. In a small saucepan over the stove, simmer together ½ teaspoon cinnamon with 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, and ¼ cup of water.
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