The Best Substitutes for Sage

Sage. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Sage is often used to flavor roasted turkey and chicken and as a seasoning in stuffing. That's makes it a star at Thanksgiving. But if it's not a spice that you keep in your spice rack, there are other spices that you can use as a substitute. Let's look at some options.

Substituting One Type of Sage for Another

Sage is available in fresh, dried (often referred to as rubbed) and ground form. If you don't have the kind that your recipe calls for, but you do have one of the other two types, that's probably your best substitute option.


Sage is more pungent in its dried and ground form, so it's important to adjust down. For one Tablespoon of fresh sage, use one teaspoon of dried (rubbed) sage or 1/2 teaspoon of ground sage.

Other Sage Substitutes

If you don't have sage in any form, there are still plenty of other herbs/spice blends that you can use as a stand-in. Sage has an earthy, peppery flavor. There's nothing else quite like it, but all of these options should stand in nicely:

Poultry Seasoning 

As the name suggests, this is a spice blend that's frequently used to season turkey and chicken. It includes sage as an ingredient. It typically also includes marjoram, savory, parsley, thyme, rosemary and onion powder. Despite the name, it also works well in stuffing. Use an equal amount of poultry seasoning in place of the dried sage called for in your recipe. Use one teaspoon of poultry seasoning in place of each Tablespoon of fresh sage called for.

Note: If your recipe calls for the other spices in poultry seasoning, think about using it in place of all the individual spices.


This is another herb that works well with meats. It's savory, like sage, but has a more pine and citrus flavor to it. Use it in equal amounts.


This herb has pine needle-like leaves, an intense citrus/pine flavor and a wonderfully distinct aroma.

It is also well-suited to use with meats. Replace it measure for measure.


This herb has a woodsy flavor, and depending on the variety, can also have citrus or mint notes. Use it in equal measure.


Like all the other herbs described above, it's commonly used to season poultry and stuffing. It has some of the same peppery flavor as sage. Replace it one for one, and you should get great results.

Before You Go...

If you found this substitution helpful, be sure to bookmark or pin my complete ingredient substitution list, so you'll have it to refer to the next time you run out of something.

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