Oregano vs. Thyme

Last Update: May 10, 2024

There’s a secret to cooking restaurant-worthy recipes at home, and we can sum it up with one word: herbs. And while you may have stocked up on rosemary and parsley (or planted your very own herb garden), we’re highlighting two perennial herbs that deserve plenty of recognition. Though they sometimes get confused for one another, thyme and oregano serve up two distinct flavors and can be used in a variety of recipes and cuisines. Looking to shake up your seasoning game? Here’s what we love about these evergreen pantry must-haves.

What Is Thyme?


Whether you know it only as a Simon and Garfunkel lyric or it has earned a rightful spot as one of your go-to seasonings, thyme is a perennial herb with a long history of various uses. Once a symbol of bravery among the Greeks, thyme eventually was used as a healing herb (particularly during the plague), and adopted as a cooking seasoning in Europe, which is how it’s primarily enjoyed today [1][2].

Thyme FAQs

Want to get more familiar with this spice rack staple? Here’s a little rundown on all things thyme.

What does thyme taste like?

Often paired with poultry, meat, eggs, and used in soups, thyme has a subtle minty flavor (it’s part of the mint family) with some lemony brightness and subtle earthiness.

How do you pronounce thyme?

Most Americans pronounce thyme with a silent “h” as in “time.”

What are thyme substitutes?

If you find yourself without thyme and need a substitute, several herbs can provide a similar aromatic and herbaceous quality, such as rosemary, oregano, marjoram, savory, basil, and herbes de Provence.

Adjust the quantity based on the chosen herb, considering its specific flavor intensity. Additionally, take into account the overall flavor profile of your dish and select a substitute that complements the other ingredients.

Is thyme a perennial?

Yes, it can be planted at any time of year and will grow in just about any garden with very little care required.

What’s the best way to chop thyme?

Thyme leaves are often so small, they don’t require chopping. Instead, hold the stem of the sprig at one end while sliding your fingers down it to remove the leaves in one motion.

Stock Your Pantry With Thyme

Make room on your spice rack and load up your pantry with this versatile seasoning.

Thrive Market Organic Thyme

High in quality and mindfully sourced, our organic thyme adds bright, aromatic flavor to poultry, vegetables, stews, and more.

Bare Bones Organic Chicken Bone Broth

Add rich flavor and protein with this certified organic bone broth that’s infused with parsley, bay leaf, garlic and thyme.

Thrive Market Herbs de Provence Seasoning Blend

Take your taste buds on a trip to France with this savory blend of thyme, rosemary, basil, tarragon, and lavender.

Recipes With Thyme

These thyme-honored favorites will be welcome additions to your weekly meal plan.

Cherry-Bramble Mocktail

It may not have any alcohol, but this craft beverage will give you a boost with an energizing mix of dark cherries, honey, Acerola Powder, and a sprig of thyme.

Orange-Thyme Switchel

Switch things up with this feel-good fizzy drink made from apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, orange juice, and thyme.

Peach-Thyme Spa Water

Give ordinary sparkling water a spa treatment with sliced peaches, lemon, and thyme sprigs for a refreshing sip.

Almond Butter Toast With Sea Salt and Thyme

Elevated and deceptively simple, this artisan toast recipe pairs almond butter with honey, thinly sliced apple, Maldon flake salt, and thyme leaves.

Sweet Potato Spanish Omelette

This upgraded omelette is Paleo-friendly and full of flavor thanks to sliced sweet potatoes, onion, parsley, thyme, and some freshly grated nutmeg.

Garlic Roasted Chicken

It make look impressive, but this roast chicken recipe, which calls for fresh lemons, whole heads of garlic, and sprigs of rosemary and thyme, requires very little effort.

Sweet Potato Hand Pies

Need to use up leftovers from a sweet potato casserole? Whip together a sweet and savory filling with casserole, thyme, parmesan, and an egg, and wrap it up in gluten-free pie dough.

Gluten-Free Focaccia Bread

Made with grass-fed beef tallow, almond meal, and a handful of fragrant herbs, this warm loaf pairs perfectly with just about any meal and is ready in 30 minutes.

Slow Cooker Bone Broth

This nourishing broth provides the ideal base for soups, stews, grains, and more with beef bones, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, parsley, rosemary, bay leaves, and thyme.

Open-Faced Tuna Melts

With capers, cornichons, avocado mayo, and gruyère, get ready for a major upgrade on the diner classic.

Mushroom Toast

This warm and comforting bite combines roasted mushrooms, creamy mozzarella, crusty bread, and seasonal herbs.

Paleo Primavera Quiche

It may look almost too pretty to eat, but we promise you’ll want to dig into this green-themed quiche of asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, and peas over an herbed, almond flour crust.

Cassava Flour Drop Biscuits With Herb Compound Butter

Didn’t think you could enjoy biscuits on a Paleo diet? Think again! This grain-free take uses cassava flour, coconut milk, organic ghee, and Himalayan pink salt.

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Leave out the meat and enjoy the same hearty flavors of this traditional favorite with cream of mushroom soup, coconut milk, organic black lentils, russet potatoes, and dried thyme.

Apricot-Thyme Galette

Add unexpected flavor to this free-form, apricot tart with lemon zest and fresh thyme leaves.

Mini Candied Meyer Lemon Cakes

Fit for a party, these dainty cakes are gluten-free thanks to a grain-free cake mix. Top with thyme and sugar-candied lemons for an extra wow factor.

What Is Oregano?


Also part of the mint family, oregano is a dark, leafy perennial herb that can be enjoyed fresh or dry. First used by the Greeks (sometimes as a poison antidote), its name is Greek for “joy of the mountains.” [3]

Today, oregano is incorporated into a variety of cuisines from Greek and Italian to Spanish and Mexican.

Oregano FAQ

What’s so special about this Mediterranean herb? Here’s a closer look at this seasoning staple.

What’s the difference between oregano and oregano oil?

While both are valued for their health-promoting properties, oregano in herb form is traditionally used in a culinary capacity while oregano oil, typically extracted through steam distillation, is often used medicinally to support wellness thanks to its antimicrobial properties.

Can I use dried oregano in any recipe that calls for fresh?

If necessary, you can swap out fresh oregano for dried in most cases so long as you use roughly a third of the amount requested, as dried herbs tend to be more concentrated in flavor.

What does oregano taste like?

Though it has a somewhat bitter or pungent quality, oregano is generally warm, aromatic, and has a slight peppery zing.

What are oregano substitutes?

Often confused for oregano, marjoram is closely related to the herb (though it’s a different species) and can be used as an oregano substitute in most cases. However, marjoram has a slightly sweeter flavor than oregano and is less pungent.

Stock Your Pantry With Oregano

Bring on bold flavor with these oregano go-tos.

Thrive Market Organic Oregano

Perfectly suited to meat dishes or sauces, our oregano is certified organic and sustainably farmed for maximum flavor and minimal impact.

Primal Kitchen Greek Vinaigrette

Perk up your salad with a zesty blend of vinegar, avocado oil, sea salt, organic apple cider vinegar, black pepper, oregano, coriander, and oregano oil.

Thrive Market Organic Brown Gravy Mix

Drizzle your next roast with this rich, savory gravy made with ethically sourced, organic ingredients, including beef, carrot, tomato, herbs, and spices.

Recipes With Oregano

Keep calm and season on with these oregano-spiced recipes.

Italian Baked Chicken With Cherry Tomatoes

This one-pan meal is a weeknight must. Moist, tender chicken breasts are infused with flavor thanks to bright cherry tomatoes, oregano, basil, and of course, garlic.

Greek Salad With Kalamata Vinaigrette

The key to a great Greek salad is the dressing, and this recipe gets it right with Kalamata olives, capers, dijon mustard, dried oregano, and garlic.

Mac and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Jazz up chicken breasts by pairing them with a comfort food classic. This recipe nestles creamy mac and cheese into tender chicken breasts and tops it off with a mixture of panko bread crumbs, butter, parmesan, and oregano.

Extra-Meaty Paleo Chili

This meaty chili is fit for a caveman with a bean-free mix of ground beef, diced tomatoes, beef bone broth, and fiery spices.

No-Boil Baked Penne

Short on time but craving pasta? Skip the boiling and toss tomato sauce with gluten-free noodles, oregano, garlic powder, chicken broth, and of course cheese, and leave to bake until beautifully bubbly.

Portobello Sliders

Have fun(gi) with your burger by swapping in roasted portobello mushroom caps for buns and topping with caramelized onions, goat cheese, sliced avocados, and bacon.

Marinated Mozzarella

Our love of mozzarella runs deep, which is why we can’t help but get ooey and gooey over this simple recipe that plunges bocconcini or ciliegine into an herbed mix of olive oil, thyme, oregano, lemon, and garlic.

Herbs de Provence Ghee

Great for meat or root veggies, this herb-infused compound ghee adds French flavor to a variety of dishes and is a cinch to whip together.

Hot Wing-Spiced Chickpeas

We’re hot for hot wings, which is why we’re digging these protein-packed chickpeas roasted in oregano, cayenne pepper, sea salt, and ghee.

Whole-Roasted Sea Bass with Lentils

Meet your new favorite dinner party meal! This flashy fish dish seasons delicate sea bass with fresh oregano, lemon, Maldon salt, and pepper, and serves it over green lentils and cherry tomatoes.

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Nicole Gulotta

Nicole Gulotta is a writer, author, and tea enthusiast.

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