Want to make an aromatic stew or a dish that includes beef? But as soon as you started to check out the ingredient list you noticed the absence of bay leaves in your kitchen pantry. You can always think to yourself what difference could a leaf in a recipe make. Well, we recommend using any of the substitute for bay leaf rather than to just skip this important ingredient. It will not only complete your recipe, but you might end up having a better recipe of your own.

We will be discussing all the possible substitute for bay leaves in this article, but before that let’s have a quick view of what bay leaves exactly are?


Bay Leaves

These leaves come from the laurel plant and are used as an herb in Turkish, Mediterranean, and Asian cuisines. Bay leaf adds a special kind of aroma to a dish. According to old Asian cooking tradition they serve to reduce the effects of bad cholesterol; this is why it’s a must-found ingredient in most of the Asian recipes in meat dishes.

These leaves can be found in many forms such as fresh, dried, whole, or grounded. They are added to recipes that require slow cooking; including soups, stews, and sauces but mostly removed before serving the dish.


The laurel plant is an evergreen shrub that is slow but requires a warm climate. The plant also has ornamental use; and is dried to be used as a fragrant enhancer in many of the recipes. These leaves have a leathery and thick texture with pointy ends. Most often, their dried version is required, which has a slightly stronger scent than fresh.

The Best Substitute for Bay Leaf

If you are preparing a dish that requires the presence of bay leaves and your herb collection lacks it. Don’t leave for a market before checking out for these substitutes for bay leaves.

● Oregano

It’s a great alternative to a bay leaf that will add a vigorous taste to your dish. Oregano is famous for its bold, slightly bitter, and earthy flavor. As oregano gives a strong flavor to a dish, the little amount can do wonders in a recipe; just 1/4 teaspoon can substitute single or two bay leaves.

● Thyme

Thyme can also substitute a bay leaf despite its appearance; its final impact matches that in the recipe. They both have a little minty effect. You can use its 1/4 teaspoon for every single bay leaf used in the recipe.


● Mexican Oregano

It’s a kind of oregano that differs from the traditional Mediterranean or Italian oregano with a strong citrus touch. This alternative could do wonders in Mexican or Latin-style meat dishes. Same 1/4 teaspoon of Mexican oregano can fulfill the purpose of one bay leaf.

● Boldo Leaves

They are very similar to bay leaves and have a strong taste. Use half of the amount compared to bay leaves. Mostly used in South American cooking; The flavor of boldo leaves is strong and could be very overpowering if used in excessive quantities.

● Basil

You can easily replace bay leaves with basil on the condition that the recipe you are preparing belongs to Italian origin and may include beef and dishes with a tomato base due to its sweet flavor. Still, basil may not be a winning case in many other dishes that require bay leaves as it will shift the taste factor 360 degrees; if you are convinced to use basil as a substitute for this herb, use 4 or more fresh basil leaves for 2 bay leaves.

● Juniper Berries

You might also consider using juniper berries as the substitute for bay leaf if the dish you are trying will not be served to children and pregnant women; just add a ¼ tsp per leaf that the recipe requires for, that will add a fruity, piney, peppery flavor to your dish.


Why Substitute Bay Leaves?

Always remember not to get too stressful whale cooking as it’s a therapy to relieve stress, not an exhausting kitchen chore, there are no rules in cooking, and you do not have to follow everything as it is written in the recipe, try to be experimental with your food, create a new recipe by substituting on or two ingredients and enjoy some new flavors every time.

Some Quick To Make Recipes

Here are some brilliant and day-to-day recipes that you may like to make for your loved ones.