When it comes to cooking chicken and poultry, one of the most important things to remember is the seasoning. While you can cook and eat poultry without seasoning, the majority of us prefer our poultry to have a bit of flavor.
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Many people confuse chicken seasoning with poultry seasoning. But, the main difference is that poultry seasoning works well with other types of birds other than chicken. Its main ingredients are usually thyme and sage. However, there are a host of other ingredients that can be used in poultry seasoning.
Some of the other ingredients can include parsley, ginger, Mediterranean thyme, red bell peppers, allspice, ground coriander, savory, Greek oregano, onion, garlic, and nutmeg. All of these herbs and spices can add a touch of astringency and earthiness. And the recombination of rosemary, marjoram, and black pepper delivers complex flavors great for roasting.
One of the best ways to add flavor to poultry is by using poultry seasoning. It completely transforms a plain poultry dish into something that is mouth wateringly good. Once you have tried poultry that has seasoning on it, it is unlikely you will want to eat plain chicken again.
With that being said, there is nothing more disheartening than when you are about to add poultry seasoning to your meal, only to find that you have run out. It can be so disappointing. However, all is not lost.
Poultry seasoning is not made with one singular ingredient, and given this you may already have some of the ingredients you need stored in your pantry.
Even if you do not have some ingredients, there are a handful of different ingredients you can use as a substitute for poultry seasoning.
Fear not, you do not have to have a bland meal!
In this article, we have discussed these great substitutes in more detail to hopefully find a suitable alternative for you.
What Is Poultry Seasoning?
Poultry seasoning is commonly used to cover poultry such as chicken and turkey. It is typically used when you bake or roast poultry. It is a great addition to this meat as it enhances the overall flavor, and it makes the chicken less bland.
The flavors are not overpowering, but there is just enough of each that it compliments the poultry well. Poultry seasoning does appeal to the majority of people as it has a mild taste.
While poultry seasoning can vary slightly depending on whether the seasoning is store bought or homemade, the main ingredients tend to stay the same.
However, some recipes do contain more or less of these ingredients and some also contain additional ingredients. But, on average the ingredients featured are:
While the majority of poultry seasoning contains these ingredients, some will also contain things such as pepper, nutmeg, and garlic.
These ingredients are then rubbed on to the skin or the meat of the poultry itself before it is cooked.
Oregano is an ingredient that is not typically featured in poultry seasoning. However, it is a good option to use as a substitute, and it works great with meats such as chicken and turkey.
Oregano is one of the best choices as a substitute because it is made up from a number of different ingredients that feature in poultry seasoning.
Some of these ingredients include – rosemary, basil, black pepper, salt, marjoram, and garlic.
As oregano contains many types of seasoning, it is a quick and easy option to choose. It will create a well-rounded flavor, and it is a seasoning that many people will already have in their kitchen.
Herbs De Provence
Another fantastic substitute for poultry seasoning is herbs de Provence. This was created in France, and similarly to oregano, it features many ingredients.
Some of which are also included in poultry seasoning, such as thyme, rosemary, and parsley. It is another quick and easy alternative to poultry seasoning.
As with herbs de Provence, and oregano, Italian seasoning is a great substitute for poultry seasoning as it contains much of the same ingredients, and it is rich with flavor.
Italian seasoning is made up of herbs that are used often in Italian cooking, such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, and marjoram. The ingredients are very similar to those featured in poultry seasoning.
Given this, if you were to use this as a substitute, there would be little difference between the two.
While it will not taste identical to poultry seasoning, it is one of the closest substitutes and a great and useful option if you have it in your pantry.
If you have Zaatar in your pantry, this is another great substitute for poultry seasoning. It is nutty, herbal and well-rounded in its taste, and it is a mixture of a handful of different herbs and spices.
It is used often in Middle-Eastern cuisine, and the ingredients that are used to create it do vary depending on the brand and homemade recipes. However, typically it contains ingredients such as oregano, thyme, and marjoram.
As it does contain similar ingredients it is a good substitute and will provide a taste that is fairly similar to poultry seasoning.
Rosemary is one of the key ingredients that is used to make poultry seasoning. So, if you have Rosemary in your pantry, you can substitute this fairly easily.
While it will not taste like poultry seasoning completely without the other included ingredients, it is still better than using no seasoning at all.
Rosemary is a pleasant flavor on its own, and it is quite pungent. Given this, a little will go a long way. If you mix in some salt and pepper before rubbing this on the poultry, this will create a beautiful flavor and aroma once cooked.
While it is a strong flavor, it is not overpowering. If you do have a handful of the other ingredients of poultry seasoning, you can add this in with rosemary too.
Thyme is another staple ingredient in poultry seasoning, so if you have some in the pantry, it is a great substitute. Again, while it will not create the full flavor of the poultry seasoning, it will emulate some flavor.
Thyme has a fairly distinctive and unique flavor. While it is not minty, it does resemble mint in some ways as it does have a fairly sharp flavor.
It is not overly powerful, and it is a great addition to poultry. It will enhance the flavor rather than overpowering it.
It is a seasoning that will blend well with other ingredients, so it is a great option to use if you want to create your own type of poultry seasoning. It can easily be added to other ingredients such as rosemary, garlic, and nutmeg.
Marjoram is a herb that is included in poultry seasoning, but it is probably the least popular and well known. However, it should not be forgotten about as it really does enhance the flavor of poultry.
It is not overpowering in its taste, and it is quite similar to thyme in its flavor. You can choose to use marjoram on its own, or you can add it to other seasonings if you want a more rounded flavor. Marjoram works well with garlic, nutmeg and sage too.
Sage is a key ingredient that is used in poultry seasoning, and when seasoning poultry in general, sage is a popular choice. It is full of flavor and compliments poultry very well.
Sage is a herb that has hints of lemon, eucalyptus, and mint. While it is quite earthy in its flavor, it does taste mildly peppery too. Sage is a popular herb that is commonly used to create stuffing.
If you have any sage in your pantry, we would recommend using it and potentially mixing it with some ingredients we have mentioned above.
When it comes to replicating the taste of poultry seasoning, the more of the original ingredients you can mix together the better.
While all of these ingredients do work well on their own, when mixed together they compliment each other and enhance the overall flavor.
Garlic is an ingredient that is often used in order to season chicken. It is a great option as it provides a unique and distinct flavor. While garlic is sometimes used as an added ingredient in poultry seasoning, typically it is not added.
Using garlic alone will not completely replicate the taste of poultry seasoning, however it will still enhance the overall flavor of the poultry. If you have other seasonings available, why not get creative and mix them in with the garlic too?
If you have some ingredients for poultry seasoning in your pantry, such as rosemary or thyme mix in with the garlic. Even if you just mix garlic, salt, and pepper, this will have a big impact on the flavor of the poultry once cooked.
Salt and Pepper
If all else fails, you can still season your poultry using salt and pepper. While this does not provide the fullest of flavors, you cannot go wrong with salt and pepper.
You can either choose to use black cracked pepper and sea salt, or you can choose to use table salt and white or black powdered pepper. It all depends on what you have in your panty.
Salt and pepper are both ingredients that you likely already have. If you have a handful of other seasoning options, such as garlic, or rosemary, you can mix these in with the salt too.
You will want to add a few pinches of salt and pepper to the poultry meat or skin and rub it in well, making sure to cover the majority of the meat.
There are a number of different substitutes you can use instead of poultry seasoning. Some of the best options include herbs de Provence, Zaatar, Italian seasoning, and oregano. This is because they contain a mixture of different herbs.
A lot of the herbs that are included in these seasoning mixes are very similar to the herbs that are featured in poultry seasoning.
While some may contain additional ingredients, some also contain fewer ingredients. However, there are enough similarities in the ingredients that the taste is not completely dissimilar.
If you are really struggling to find suitable seasoning, you can get creative and use things such as salt, pepper and garlic.
In addition to this, if you only have one or two of the ingredients used to make poultry seasoning you can use these individually or with other ingredients.
The most important thing to remember is that even if you are only using basic seasoning and what you have in your kitchen, this is still better than not seasoning the poultry completely. In addition to this, it will still add to the flavor and enhance it.
Our Best Substitute For Poultry Seasoning
- Herbs De Provence
- Italian Seasoning
- Salt and Pepper
- Try our kitchen tested poultry seasoning substitutes.
Use in or with your favorite recipe.