The Best Substitutes for Sage Spice

Over time and history, we use herbs in various food cultures and cuisines all over the world. Each cuisine has an impact from the herbs found within those regions. Many times, you find yourself using sage as a flavor for roasted meat or seasoning for stuffing during the holidays.

Sage may not be the only spice with a similar effect that you can keep on your spice rack; you will have to find a substitute for the herb in the next recipe. Turning to another herb may take place when you want to try a few options in the kitchen or when you are unable to get the sage at that particular moment. Looking for alternatives means you are resourceful in your kitchen, which is a good characteristic of a person who enjoys his or her cooking.

There are many sage substitutes, and most likely, there is one not far beyond your reach. Experienced chefs can substitute herbs or spices just by using a sense of smell, however, if you are not that experienced, follow this article, and you will find a perfect replacement.

The Best Substitutes for Sage Spice

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What is Sage: The History?

Sage in the scientific world is called the Salvia officnalis. The name is a derivation of the Latin word “salvere” loosely translated to mean, “To be saved.” Sage is a native Mediterranean plant. The plant can achieve a growth height of about two feet and produces leaves that are rich in flavors. It is the leaves that you collect, dry them and used in the kitchen as flavors.

Sage produces some variety of flavors depending on where the plant is found. The widely known Russian sage is from Afghanistan, which is also spread towards the Tibetan jungle. Sage was first located in the Balkan and Mediterranean regions.

The Flavor

The fragrant aroma of sage is noticeable because of the warm flavor that tends to dominate over other scents coming from the meals. Sage is known for its distinctive mild bitter taste, whereas in some cases you will find it to harbor both sweet and bitter flavors in the mouth.

Sage is an essential herb used in seasoning in most kitchens. In the Italian menu serving fish, you will not fail to notice the spicy aroma or the peppery taste. It is a perfect blend for many dishes and types of food, which also get a richer taste.

Types of Sage

Sage has different classifications when you consider how to use it in your seasoning. Sage is used as fresh in most cases to produce the most potent flavor and the strongest scent. When you opt to use as fresh, grounding and rubbing should apply.

The rubbed version is light because it turns into powder, which is the best alternative if you cannot access fresh sage. Remember that you do not need to store sage powder for more than one year because it will lose its flavor. To keep its taste and aroma, place the powder in a glass jar and store in a dark corner.

You will find sage in stores sold either as a fresh or dried product, which you can purchase in any form. The sage leaves sold fresh are still on the bunch giving them a longer stay. When bought in a package it should at least be fresh for a week before it starts losing flavor.

Which Foods Are Good With Sage?

Fish is an excellent match for this spice the same way it blends well with cheese, mushrooms, omelets, pork, and spicing of tea.  Sometimes back sage was not in the minds of chefs until it was linked to reducing cases of indigestion.

The flavor is a common recipe in stuffing poultry such as goose, turkey, chicken, and duck. In some countries such as Germany do not be surprised when you sage seasoning in sausages

Pork is another food that goes well with sage when roasted. To get the best out of sage flavors, crush the leaves and use small quantities. Use the small leaves to add flavor on vegetables, swordfish, tuna, breadsticks, and seafood.

If you have some herbs left for future use, keep it in a cool and dark place.

The Sage Substitutes

It may not be quite a task when you decide to look for sage unless you are in the middle of cooking and you need to finish preparing your food. To save the day and time, we will look at some of the closest sage substitutes that you can use to make the food, as good as it was meant to be.


Thyme has a wooden flavor with the presence of citrus or mint notes. You only need the same amount of Thyme as you would sage because the two belong to the same mint family. Thyme also helps when you need seasoning for vegetables and meats.

Thyme is a favorite in the Mediterranean because of its long cooking times, which makes it great for slow cooking of meat. Use this herb fresh as a replacement of Sage.

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Marjoram is a perfect recipe addition to anything that contains meat in it. The flavors are not far off from sage. Use it as per the recipe instructions. Marjoram is added when dry as a replacement to the sage flavor.

The notable thing about this spice is that you cannot use it for long cooking like sage. Therefore, it is a perfect replacement for foods where sage was to be used as a garnish. Anything that has a Marjoram flavor will always taste great.


Savory is a major recipe used in kitchen stuffing of poultry. Its flavor and that of sage are peppery and this a matching replacement. The similarity in flavors is strange because Savory and Sage are not from the mint family.

Savory has two varieties whose uses vary for example; the summer savory is more popular than the winter savory because of the bitter taste the winter savory leaves in the mouth.

In general, a savory spice has a mild flavor similar to both marjoram and thyme.

Poultry Seasoning

Poultry seasoning is arguably the best sage substitute that comes from different spice blends and used in poultry recipes. It is an excellent choice for stuffing the Thanksgiving turkey. The seasoning blend comes from a combination of Marjoram, Thyme, Savory, Rosemary, Parsley, Sage, and Onion Powder.

Because of the presence of sage in it and other herbs with an almost similar flavor makes it a better substitute for sage when you have to use it in the recipe. Use the same quantity as you would for sage and enjoy every aspect of the meal.


Rosemary is also a Mediterranean herb with a strong wooden and citrus flavor just like sage. A typical recipe for meats and you are likely to have it in the kitchen. Rosemary carries a strong aroma that overpowers the other herbs and spices, so do not use so much of it may be a third of what you would for sage. You only need a hint of Rosemary on your food to get the resemblance of sage.

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Dried or Fresh Herbs

In the world of herbs, the most common substitutes are taken in the form of dried herbs or powder form. If you ever find yourself choosing between replacing your sage with a suitable alternative, go for the dry or powdered version.

When you choose dried herbs, you will get more flavor than when using fresh herbs due to a higher concentration. Plan well and use the same quantity that sage in the recipe requires but not more unless your sage substitute is Rosemary, which needs half of what sage requires due to its intense aroma and flavor.

One important note is that when using dry herbs add them when cooking as opposed to leaves (fresh herbs) that are added at the end of the dish. When you open a jar with stored herbs in dried format, and you do not get the signature scent, it is time to replace its contents.

Imagine the disaster you averted because you had at least one of the five sage substitutes on the rack. Now it is time to pick your best spice.

Which Spice Wins

If you were to substitute sage and you happen to have an alternative that already has the combination of all the others including those not in the list and sage is in it, what else would you be looking for? Sometimes it is good if you can have the time and experiment different flavors and have your favorite flavor list to use.

When caught up in a cooking emergency and no sage is nearby, do not sweat, pick any of the sage alternatives and nothing can go wrong because we already tried them all. As a kitchen enthusiast, you probably know how these herbs taste like and using them instead of sage may be new to you, there is no harm in trying.

Once your table is ready, let us know how it went and how you find the new taste. Let us hope that the article gave you a better insight into sage substitutes.

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