Best Bay Leaf Substitutes! Spice Hacks

This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from and other Amazon websites.

You might be confused while preparing a special meal for your guests when you come to know the recipe demands bay leaf and is not available in your pantry. So what you can do in such a scenario?

You do not need to worry since there are chances that you might be having the availability of certain herbs that can be used as Bay Leaf Substitute.

What is Bay Leaf?

You can either identify it as laurel or bay leaf, a common ingredient used to add flavors to enhance a strong taste to meat dishes and soups. They come from the bay laurel tree and mostly used in American and European dishes.

It is a frequently used item to enhance the fragrance and flavors of both vegetable and meat dishes, as well as stews and soups. But these leaves a strong effect on the food so recommended using in a smaller amount to avoid bitter taste from the dish.

It is best to use fresh bay leaves to get the most out of its flavor. But, if you have old ones, then you can dry and crush them to sprinkle their particles around your kitchen. It can help you to repel moths using the organic technique.

5 Options as Bay Leaf alternative

Following are the suggested herbs that you can use as substitutes for bay leaves;

1) Basil

BasilYou can use this if you are preparing a recipe that demands bit sweetness like what we generally get in Italian, beef or tomato cuisines. It adds the unique flavor of its own and must be used in proper amount especially to prepare the delicious tomato-based sauce. By the way, if you are using this herb as a substitute of bay left then use it precisely in the same amount that recipe demands.

2) Thyme

Thyme You can use dried thyme to get almost the same minty flavor in your dishes like the bay leaf. It could be the best substitute to make meat or beef recipes especially to marinate them.

3) Boldo Leaves

Boldo LeavesThese herbs are mostly used in South America, and it closely resembles bay since it belongs to the same Monimiaceae family. It tastes as spicy and warm with a bit essence of bitterness.

Overall, it delivers almost identical aroma and taste. The best part is the fact that many cooks are using it as a permanent alternative of bay leaf in the dishes that are made with them. Brazilians generally tame the strong flavor of it by adding yerba mate.

4) Juniper Berries

Juniper BerriesIf you want to enhance the taste of your dish (especially duck) then you can sure use juniper berries as a replacement of bay leaves. You can also use them with rosemary. But the only caution that you need to take care of is the fact that these berries are not allowed to be eaten by young children or pregnant women.

5) Oregano

OreganoYou can use this perennial herb as an alternative to the bay leaf to get similar health benefits. To highlight some of them, it can help you to detoxify your body and boost your immune system due to the presence of rich components in it.

What are Precautions to use Bay Leaf Substitute?

You need to be very careful in using the bay leaf if you didn’t consume any dish with it before. It is that you need to remove the crushed particles or the whole leaf from the dish before eating or serving.

The reason is that eating such leaves raw will make your food bitter such that you will not be able to enjoy your food well. So, if you are looking for a substitute for 1/4 tsp of crushed bay leaves, then you can go with one or 1/4 tsp of dried oregano or thyme.

Now there might be a confusion about the right quantity of bay leaves to use if you are not having the exact amount of ingredient that a recipe requires. In such a case, there is a formula to help anyone get the right amount of substitute.

A fresh bay leaf is equal to two dried leaves or 1/2 tsp of the powdered or crushed form of a bay leaf. In the same way, a dry bay leaf can replace or be replaceable by 1/4 tsp of a powdered or crushed form of bay leaf.

Get more stuff

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Leave a Comment