We’re back at it again with the best substitutes for cooking ingredients! This time, we’re looking at some ideas for the best substitute for poultry seasoning.
When you’re in the mood for chicken or turkey, probably the number one ingredient you tend to reach for is poultry seasoning. It gives dishes that incredible woodsy and herby flavor that compliments chicken quite well.
Now while this flavor profile might be your jam, others may not like it. Luckily, poultry is versatile, and many other herbs and spice blends work well with it.
Looking to try out some of the best poultry seasoning substitutes that you can find? Read on to learn more about the top choices around.
What’s Poultry Seasoning?
Poultry seasoning is a dried spice blend used in making poultry dishes. It’s commonly used when making roasted chicken or turkey, stuffing, or for adding flavor to poultry dishes.
This seasoning mix usually has herbs and spices that complement each other and the type of poultry you cook. Here are the herbs that are found in poultry seasoning:
- Sage: The most prominent herb included in poultry seasoning is sage. This herb has a strong woodsy flavor and hints of mint, pine, eucalyptus, and even a bit of citrus.
- Thyme: You can’t have poultry seasoning without thyme. This herb usually brings an earthy flavor to the dish. It’s also a bit lemony, minty, and slightly floral.
- Rosemary: One of the ingredients of poultry seasoning is rosemary. This has a sharp scent and woody flavor. Some compare it to sage, albeit a tad bit milder. It also has slightly lemony and minty notes.
- Marjoram: Other than rosemary, sage, and thyme, poultry seasoning also usually includes marjoram. This herb features an earthy flavor profile that’s warm, slightly sharp, and bitter. Many say it’s similar to oregano and thyme.
These four herbs are usually present when you buy store-bought, pre-mixed poultry seasoning. But depending on the brand, they may add additional spices and seasonings like nutmeg, black pepper, garlic, parsley, and basil.
Why Use Poultry Seasoning Substitutes?
Even if you love using this seasoning blend, you may need to replace poultry seasoning. Here are some common reasons why people look for poultry seasoning replacements for their dishes.
Different people have different tastes. Some people may love the flavors of poultry seasoning, while others don’t. Luckily, this type of seasoning isn’t the only one that compliments poultry. Many herbs, spices, and seasonings offer flavor profiles that may also be used to flavor chicken and turkey.
If you’re one of those who might not like some of the ingredients in poultry seasoning, or if you want to mix things up a bit, searching for a substitute is a good way to go.
Poultry seasoning is readily available in many places in the United States. The aisle where you find other seasoning mixes and different herbs and spices, is where you can usually find this rub for poultry. However, in many places worldwide, you can’t find poultry seasoning as easily.
Additionally, there are times when you may run out of poultry seasoning and don’t have the time to go out and buy it.
When you’re faced with availability issues, you may want to find alternatives to season chicken, turkey, and other poultry meals.
Food Sensitivities and Allergies
Food sensitivities and allergies are two of the biggest reasons for seeking alternatives. Yes, poultry seasoning is tasty, but the risk of adverse effects and serious allergic reactions isn’t worth it.
Luckily, you can still enjoy good chicken and turkey dishes if you’re allergic to one of the ingredients in the traditional poultry mix. Other types of seasoning can be used that are free of the ingredient you can’t tolerate.
5 Best Substitutes for Poultry Seasoning
Many different herbs and spices can season chicken and turkey well; even salt and pepper, if done right, can do the trick. Here are the top subs for poultry seasonings that you should try.
Known for its distinct bitter and minty taste and its easily recognizable smell, oregano is one of the best alternatives you can use instead of poultry seasoning.
This herb is commonly used in cooking Italian and Greek dishes.
When you look for this herb fresh, you can easily find them having small, oval leaves. However, in cooking, it’s usually used dried.
If you want to substitute poultry seasoning with this herb, it’s best to use only half of what you would use for poultry seasoning. Also, since it has a strong, bitter taste, try to even it out with some thyme and sage or other milder dried herbs.
2. Herbs de Provence
As its name suggests, this seasoning blend involves herbs found in France’s Provence region. These dried herbs commonly include thyme, rosemary, basil, fennel, and even lavender. It’s a seasoning mix that adds both flavor and fragrance to a dish.
This blend of herbs is perfect for many savory dishes, including soups and casseroles. It also complements other forms of protein and vegetables.
If you want to use this in place of the traditional poultry seasoning blend, you need to use less of it. If a recipe calls for a tablespoon of poultry seasoning, substitute it with only 1 teaspoon of dried Herbs de Provence.
3. Italian Seasoning
As its name suggests, this seasoning includes a blend of dried herbs commonly used in making Italian dishes. Usually, it contains rosemary, thyme, oregano, and marjoram.
Based on this ingredients list, you can easily see that most of the herbs in this mix are also used in poultry seasoning. So, while the flavor isn’t exactly the same, if you’re pressed for time and don’t have poultry seasoning, you can use Italian seasoning instead.
Being the closest alternative to poultry seasoning, substituting this with a 1:1 ratio would do fine. Also, this seasoning works well as dry rubs for roasted chicken or turkey.
4. Turkey Rub
This alternative is already used to season a type of poultry, making it a great poultry seasoning substitute. This is another alternative that I often rely on, too!
Turkey rub is traditionally used to season roasted turkey. This blend usually includes dried sage, thyme, rosemary, and spices like garlic, onion, and paprika. It also usually includes salt, while poultry seasoning typically doesn’t.
Turkey rub works best when it’s put on the bird’s skin before cooking it and letting it sit for a minute. This helps infuse both the skin and the meat with intense flavor.
While you can easily use this as a poultry seasoning alternative, this blend typically works best with darker, gamier meats.
There isn’t any set amount of turkey rub to substitute for poultry seasoning. The best way is to start with a small amount of the rub and adding more based on your preference.
Commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking, Zaatar is another good pick to use as a poultry seasoning alternative. Identical to poultry seasoning, it also has thyme and marjoram.
Some of the biggest differences Zaatar has with poultry seasoning is its heavy oregano base and the use of sesame seeds. While the poultry blend’s flavor differs from Zaatar’s, this nutty-tasting alternative provides an equally tasty dish.
Substituting with Zaatar is also easy. You use it in a 1:1 ratio.
Yes, you easily can make your own poultry seasoning, and you can even customize it based on the flavors you like. You simply need to remember the traditional combination of herbs poultry seasoning contains: sage, thyme, rosemary, and marjoram.
No, they are not. They use entirely different herbs and spices.
Poultry seasoning mainly uses dried sage, along with thyme, rosemary, and marjoram. This presents a more woodsy, herby, and earthy flavor.
Meanwhile, seasonings marketed as chicken rubs typically use pepper-based spices like paprika and cayenne as their main flavor. They can also be complemented with cumin, creating a flavor more akin to barbecue rubs.
Depending on the herb or spice, these flavoring agents may last in your cupboard anywhere between 1-3 years.
Tasty, Easy-to-Find Alternatives
Describing dishes with poultry seasoning as “delicious” is an understatement. The rich, earthy, and complex flavor profile it provides any meal is one many consider their favorite.
However, this ingredient is not always available, and not everyone can eat it. Luckily, you can still achieve incredible poultry meals using equally delicious alternatives.
Hopefully, this article has helped you find substitutes for poultry seasoning that will help you create wonderful meals that you and your entire family can enjoy.