11 Best Parsley Substitute Options

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Don’t have parsley, or realized you’re all out while you’re cooking? Here are the best parsley substitute options to use in just about any recipe! 

parsley substitute

Petroselinum crispum, also known as parsley, is a flowering plant in the Apiaceae family. This plant is widely cultivated as a vegetable and an herb. In temperate climates, parsley is a bright green biennial plant, while in subtropical and tropical climates, it is an annual herb.

It creates a bunch of tripinnate leaves which are 10 to 25 cm long with several 1 to 3 cm leaflets and a taproot utilized as a food store over the winter when it thrives as a biennial.

Parsley has a fresh, peppery flavor but also some earthiness, that makes it a versatile kitchen ingredient. A natural fragrant oil, called apiol runs through each leaf, and it is this oil that gives it its distinct flavor.

The addition of parsley to a dish improves the flavors. It balances out savory dishes in the same way as a squeeze of lemon juice improves the flavor of a dish.

Parsley has a slight “bitterness” to it. Parsley is best recognized for its versatility as it can be added in sauces, salads, and any dish that needs a splash of color and a hint of herbal taste.

Parsley, which comes in both fresh and dried forms, has a bright, floral, and slightly bitter flavor that, like lime juice, works as a contrast to highlight the other flavors in a dish.

What can I substitute for parsley?

If you’re making a dish that calls for parsley and you have none on hand, the best substitutes for parsley that you can use are chervil, cilantro, celery leaves, arugula, carrot greens, basil, endive, tarragon and other varieties of parsley.

Let’s discuss each in more detail below including the recipes each can be used, why each works in place of parsley and the appropriate substitute ratios.

Best parsley substitute options

Chervil

chervil

Chervil is very similar to parsley, but has fairly mild flavor. It is an excellent substitute for fresh or dried parsley. 

Chervil looks similar to flat-leaf parsley, but because of its milder flavor, you will need to use more chervil than parsley in cooking.

Chervil is often used together with tarragon, parsley, and chives in the fines herbes blend and in other french recipes. Use chervil to replace parsley in any recipe that calls for parsley.

Substitute ratio: 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley = 2 tablespoons fresh chervil

Cilantro

cilantro as a substitute for parsley

Cilantro has a very strong flavor that can clash with certain parsley-based meals.

Dried or fresh cilantro are mostly used as a substitute for parsley in Thai or Mexican meals with strong flavors, and it works great as a garnish as well.

Celery leaves

CELERY LEAVES

Celery leaves can also be used as a parsley substitute, as a garnish, as they resemble flat-leaf parsley in appearance.

Celery leaves have a very delicate flavor and may not be an acceptable substitute for parsley in cooking because of that.

Arugula

ARUGULA

Arugula is another ideal substitute for parsley. Arugula is considered a salad green rather than a herb and it has a bitter, peppery taste which is unlike parsley. 

Because of this, you should use less arugula when you are using this salad green as a substitute for parsley.

Carrot greens

CARROT GREENS

Carrot greens are also another good parsley substitute especially as a garnish. Many people believe that carrot green are inedible, but they are not.

However,  these leaves can be somewhat bitter so they are not great for adding to your cooking.

Basil

BASIL

Basil has a fresh, mint-like taste. When used as a garnish, basil is a fantastic substitute for parsley.

Because of its strong flavor, it can also work as a replacement for parsley in Italian recipes like tomato-based dishes too.

Endive

ENDIVE

Like arugula, endive is another salad green that can be used to substitute for parsley.

Endive looks very similar to curley leaf parsley, and it has a bitter, peppery taste. Use endive to replace parsley as a garnish or in your recipes like salads.

Be sure to use half the amount of endive to replace parsley in a dish.

Tarragon

parsley substitute, tarragon

Another ideal parsley substitute is tarragon. Tarragon has a flavor that is pungent with hints of licorice, therefore, it is unlike parsley in terms of flavor. 

Nonetheless, it can be used as a garnish in place of parsley and Tarragon can also be used to replace parsley in cooking in smaller quantities

Different parsley variations

Besides all the other herbs and salad greens mentioned above, other varieties of parsley also make excellent substitutes for parsley. These include varieties like:

Curly leaf parsley

curly leaf parsley

Curly leaf parsley looks way different than the highly used flat leaf parsley with its bunched, curly leaves, but it is parsley nonetheless. Curly leaf parsley has a very mild flavor, so it is best used as a garnish.

Japanese parsley (Mitsuba)

Japanese parsley (Mitsuba)

If you can find Japanese parsley, this can be another great ingredient to use. Japanese parsley is an herb that looks like Giant Italian parsley with a flavor that can be considered a mixture of celery, parsley and cilantro (or coriander leaves).

Dried parsley

Dried parsley as a substitute for fresh parsley

Dried parsley is an excellent substitute for fresh parsley especially in cooking.

Dried parsley, like many other dried herbs, has a stronger flavor so add less when using as a substitute for fresh.

Also, note that dried parsley works better in cooking rather than as a garnish.

Substitute ratio: 1 tablespoon fresh parsley = 1 teaspoon dried parsley

When it comes to herbs like parsley, they aren’t very hard to replace especially since most of these parsley alternatives can easily work in pestos, soups, stews, sauces, salsas and marinades. 

Today we’ve shared 11 easy ways to substitute for parsley in a pinch and we hope these substitutes help you make the best dishes even though you’re missing one ingredient! 

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Reduce Stress in the kitchen thanks to this convenient printable with 47 Emergency Kitchen Substitutions!

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Reduce Stress in the kitchen thanks to this convenient printable with 47 Emergency Kitchen Substitutions!

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