There’s lots of room for improvisation if you’re missing an herb or spice for a recipe. Although the flavor will be different, you’ll get close.
Use dried herbs in place of fresh herbs—simply add ½ the amount of dried herbs for the amount of fresh called for. For example, 1 tbsp. of fresh herbs equals 1 to 1½ tsp. dried herbs. The flavor of dried herbs is more concentrated so you don’t need as much. And if you don’t have a particular dried herb on hand, don’t be afraid to swap it out with one you do have. The flavor of the dish may be slightly different but it will still taste great.
Make driedseasoning blends using a combination of dried herbs and spices you already have on hand. For Italian seasoning, mix oregano, basil and thyme. For poultry seasoning, combine thyme and rubbed sage. For Cajun seasoning, combine paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano and thyme; add cayenne pepper to taste.
Use fresh curly and flat-leaf Italian-style parsleyinterchangeably.
Use rubbed dried sage and ground sage interchangeably. Because ground sage is powdery and fine, start by adding less than what is called for in a recipe using rubbed dried sage and add more to taste.
Use white or yellow onions interchangeably, or substitute red onion for shallot.
Use fresh chile peppers interchangeably but know that some pack more punch than others so you may need more or less of a certain variety to achieve a similar spicy result.
Add soy sauce to taste to savory dishes when you’re out of salt.
Substitute 1 tbsp. fresh ginger with 1/8 tsp. of ground ginger when you’re in a pinch. You won’t be able to tell the difference in this savory chicken noodle soup recipe.