When it comes to cooking, of course, we all want it to be tasty. This is why investing in spices is highly recommended to add a little bit of personality and touch to any of your food. One of the best, delicious spices you can consider is the tarragon.
"But, what if my guests don't like the flavor it gives?"
"I don't have one in my house."
Well, not to feel bothered! We've come up with the best tarragon substitutes that can create a unique taste to suit all palates, even the most finicky guests!
What is Tarragon?
Quite sure, many of you have already heard about tarragon, primarily when used in turkey or chicken. However, there's more to this unique flavor you need to know!
Artemisia dracunculus, popularly known as Tarragon, is a perennial herb with narrow, glossy-green and flat leaves. Its growing routines are similar to that of grass. It is, in fact, a member of the lettuce family.
When raw, the tender leaves give a quite savory flavor. Tarragon has basically two main types: Russian and French. The latter is generally the most favorite due to the balanced, delicate taste it offers. Russian tarragon, on the other hand, is considerably less pungent and can be harsh in taste.
When it comes to flavor, tarragon has similar taste to anise or licorice. Many love this flavor, but others don't like it to add to a meal. It is important to keep in mind that the taste of dried tarragon is very different to fresh tarragon.
What makes this special perennial herb a must in most kitchen is the many different health benefits it offers. It contains plenty of essential oils and nutrients that our body highly needs. This spice is known for:
Alleviating pain, especially in the tooth or mouth
Improving intestinal function, as well as cardiovascular health
Assisting in the function and overall health of the eyes
Over the years, tarragon is used as a flavoring for soups, sauces, vinegar, meat, pickles, as well as for various dishes such as seafood, eggs, potatoes and tomatoes.
Different Uses of Tarragon
What does tarragon use for?
Sauce – perfect for chicken dishes. You can add tarragon to lemon sauce, pesto, sour cream and any other sauces. Simply use chopped tarragon and blend it with chicken broth, butter and seasoning. Dip it over the chicken or pour it – do whatever pleases you!
Vinegar – makes a more unique flavor to any sauces. You can use this spice as a salad dressing or as a side for your favorite dishes. Just add some leaves to vinegar and leave for a month before using.
Seasoning meat – offers a savory taste with a bit of sweetness. Such a perfect balance to any meal! Also, tarragon or its substitute can be used to add twist to a sweet corn.
11 Best Tarragon Substitutes
Regardless of your reason for not using tarragon, there are tarragon substitutes you can use along with the dishes you are cooking.
If you're looking for a tarragon substitute for your salad dressings or meats, then this herb is a wise option. This ovate-leaved, smooth spice has a citrus, sweet taste, though it is known for being sensitive to the cold. Its sweet nature can be ideal to season soups, stews, dressings and sauces.
You can try the gluten-free, vegan mushroom soup with marjoram recipe.
An annual herb with lean, long limbs and divided, thin leaves that is a member of the celery family. It gives a bitter flavor, a perfect substitute when you're cooking fish or meat. The use of conversion charts is suggested when using the dill for an exact amount measurement needed to a particular dish.
Although a lesser popular herb, chervil is a good tarragon alternative because both share almost the same flavor profile. The mere difference is that it has a mild taste and a bit of anise and licorice flavor. Its leaves can be used for improving the taste of white fish, chicken, salads, eggs, soups, sauces and vegetables.
Another tarragon substitute that appetizingly works both dry and fresh, basil gives a scent and stronger flavor. There are various types of basil you can experiment with, like sweet basil, holy basil, lemon basil and Thai basil, among others. It ideally fits with the tastes of chicken, sauce and cheese.
This popular herb is a part of the mint and oregano families, which gives it an interesting texture and look. You can use it either dried or fresh, but the latter is tangier. It can be used with meats and vegetables.
Anise or aniseed is an appetizing mixture between fennel and tarragon, with a taste similar to licorice. Its sweet flavor is popularly used in cookies and other desserts. Many cultures use the aniseed to treat pain from swelling, hurting in teenagers and catamenial cramps of women.
7. Fennel Seed
This flowering plant is a member of the carrot family that grows with feather-like leaves and yellow flowers. Aside from being used for medicinal purposes, absinthe and natural health care products, fennel seed is also used in soups, desserts and other sweet dishes.
Want to experiment with fennel? Check out this fennel ice cream recipe!
Oregano is known for its intense flavor as compared to major jam and tarragon. Besides using it for flavoring any dishes, oregano offers various health benefits too. Since it has a little stronger flavor, you should add small amounts of it for whipping up a meal.
One of the most favorite herbs, thanks to its mustard-like flavor with a blend of timbered and natural flavors. You can add this special herb in your Italian dishes (e.g. pizza, meatballs). What's more, rosemary has proven to be an excellent, tasty addition to steak or olive oil for dipping bread.
10. Parsley + Cinnamon Powder
Tarragon is recommended to use for Béarnaise sauce. Otherwise, you can experiment your dish with parsley and cinnamon powder. What makes it an alternative to tarragon is the sweet flavor and freshness of parsley combined with the anise-like and scent of cinnamon.
It is a sweet tasting herb used for medicinal purposes as well as in making flavoring alcohol and candies and jams. Similar to tarragon, it angelica boasts a licorice flavor you can use to sweeten any dish you want. You can try the rhubarb and angelica jam recipe to satisfy your craving.
If you are really in dash and don't have tarragon on hand, experiment what these tarragon substitutes can do to add spice to your favorite meal. With a bit planning and creativity, you will find that these substitutions can deliciously season any dish every time!
Watch the video below to have a clearer idea why these spices are a good tarragon substitute:
Some Tips on Using Tarragon Substitutes for Dishes
Use the exact amount of the spices to achieve the flavor you're seeking
Store it in dry and cool places, preferably in airtight jars or containers
Most importantly, follow the given instructions when substituting tarragon. It is much better if you add less and then taste it before assessing the flavor. Add more spices if needed.
Tarragon is indeed a delectable herb that helps elevate any dishes. But if you dislike the taste or it is not available, the abovementioned tarragon substitutes taste equally great.
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