Guide to Herb and Spice Substitutions
In order to be a great cook, you don’t need the entire spice aisle in your cupboard. Unused spices and herbs have a limited shelf life and typically go stale or bland anywhere from six months to a year after purchase. Instead, learn to pare down your herbs and spices to the essentials by using substitutions in everyday cooking. Try some or all of these substitution suggestions to keep your spice rack under control.
Depending on your taste preferences, oregano or thyme can fill in for basil, while tarragon or parsley can substitute for chervil. Thyme, tarragon, or savory can replace rosemary. Try a dash of hot pepper sauce or cracked black pepper if you don’t have red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper on hand. Lemon zest makes a fairly good substitute for lemongrass in a pinch and prepared yellow or Dijon mustard can easily be used instead of mustard powder.
Keep all your spices and herbs in a cool, dark, and dry environment away from the oven or other sources of heat to maximize their longevity.