Tarragon or estragon is a perennial herb that belongs to the sunflower family. It’s widely used for culinary and medicinal purpose. [1]

This herb is a popular ingredient in French cuisine and typically used to season fish, pork, and chicken dishes. Its distinct flavor is quite similar to licorice or anise.

However, not everyone likes the taste of this herb, and if you are one of them, there are some other options that you can use as substitutes for tarragon.

This article looks into some earthy herbs that can be an excellent alternative to tarragon. Some of them are suitable replacements for fresh tarragon, while others might be the right choice if you want to substitute dried tarragon.

substitutes for tarragon

Substitutes for Tarragon You May Try

1. Basil Leaves

This flavorful, leafy green herb is a member of the mint family. Holy basil is famous as a food seasoning and herbal medicines for various ailments. [2]

The aromatic and earthy quality of these leaves can be a good replacement of fresh tarragon, especially in pesto sauce. 

Based on the recipe, you can use dry or fresh basil leaves. But, remember, the flavor will be stronger if you use the fresh one.

2. Fennel

Fennel is a leafy green vegetable that comes from the carrot family. Both its seeds and the flavorful, crunchy bulb are Extremely nutritious that make them a popular choice in culinary uses. [3]

The seeds deliver a strong anise flavor while the fronds have a flavor similar to black licorice. Both of them can mimic tarragon in terms of flavor, meaning that you can use then as a tarragon substitute.

3. Chervil

Chervil or French parsley is commonly used to season dishes that call for a mild flavor. The aroma of this herb is similar to that of tarragon and fennel, which makes it a great alternative to fresh tarragon in salads and soups.

This herb is mostly used in France and England. Apart from salads and soups, chervil can also go well with chicken, eggs, and white fish.

Try to use this herb fresh for better taste and always add it to dishes at the end.

4. Marjoram

Marjoram is a cold-sensitive perennial herb that comes with a citrus flavor. This herb has a distinct mint-sweet flavor with slightly bitter undertones. [4]

Marjoram can be a good choice of spice in sauces, stews, soups, and dressings. However, it also suits the best in dressing meat.

While replacing tarragon with marjoram, use equal amounts in your recipe.

substitutes for tarragon

5. Rosemary

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is an evergreen herb that comes with needle-like leaves. 

Known best as a food seasoning, rosemary is one of the most popular medicinal plants in the world. [5]

Rosemary has a warm, bitter, and astringent taste that brings an incredible flavor in soups, sauces, roasts, stews, and stuffing. It can easily substitute tarragon when it comes to flavoring any fish and chicken recipes.

6. Dill

Dill is an annual herb that comes with delicate, feathery green leaves. For hundreds of years, it has been used for culinary and medicinal purpose. [6]

Dill has a bitter taste that makes it a perfect alternative to tarragon in fish and meat recipes. However, you should use it sparingly as its powerful flavor may change the recipe effect.

If you have diabetes, using dill in your dishes can be a good choice to keep your blood sugar in control.

7. Oregano

Oregano or Origanum vulgare is a popular herb that has become a staple culinary ingredient worldwide. 

Its flavor and aroma are far greater when the herb is dried rather than fresh, which is quite unusual for any herb. 

Oregano can be a perfect choice for salad dressing, starters, eggs, and vegetables. You can use it to replace dried tarragon.

Apart from its great flavor, oregano also possesses numerous health benefits. Only a teaspoon of dried oregano herb can fulfill about 8% of your daily need of vitamin K. [7]


It’s difficult to duplicate the distinct flavor of tarragon, but you can still find a good substitute for tarragon. 

The alternatives mentioned here can give your dishes the best flavor and taste, though not similar to that of tarragon. 

However, if you don’t like the licorice like taste of tarragon, using any of these herbs correctly will bring your desired flavor to the recipe.

Read Next: 6 Natural Substitutes for Brown Rice Syrup

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