Bay Leaf Substitute
Need a good substitute for bay leaves? Dried bay leaves have a unique flavor that’s hard to replace. But if you’re in a pinch and need a replacement, here’s the best bay leaf substitutes you can use.
If you’re making a recipe that calls for bay leaves and you don’t have any on hand, there’s a few substitutes for bay leaves that you can use to replace them, though the flavor won’t be exactly the same.
What Are Bay Leaves?
Bay leaves are an aromatic leaf used as an herb in cooking to add a subtle flavor to a dish. There are two common types of bay leaves found in grocery stores, Turkish and California. Turkish bay leaves are considered the best because they have more depth of flavor than the aromatic California bay leaves. Bay leaves were used by the ancient Greeks to flavor dishes. They are commonly used in the Mediterranean regions (especially in France and Italy) as well as in America to add flavor to soups, stews, sauces, meat, seafood and vegetables.
Turkish Bay Leaves vs Bay Leaves
Turkish Bay Leaves come from the Bay laurel tree (Laurus nobilis, Lauraceae) that is grown along the Mediterranean coast. These leaves are aromatic, slightly sweet with a subtle menthol taste. California Bay Leaves come from the California bay tree (Umbellularia californica, Lauraceae) also called the California laurel, which are native to the coastal regions of California. These leaves have a much stronger aroma and a potent eucalyptus and almost medicinal-like taste. It is because of these flavor differences that Turkish bay leaves are most favored for cooking with.
What Can I Substitute For Bay Leaf?
Dried bay leaves are aromatic and have a distinctive yet subtle taste that can be difficult to match, but if you’re in the middle of making a dish that calls for dried bay leaves but you don’t have any on hand, powdered bay leaf, dried oregano, thyme are all good substitutes for dried bay leaves. Your other option is to leave the bay leaf(s) out altogether.
1. Powdered Bay Leaf
Bay leaves are usually sold dried, in whole leaf or powdered form. To substitute whole bay leaves for powdered bay leaf, use 1/4 teaspoon powdered bay leaf for each whole bay leaf.
2. Dried Oregano
Oregano has an earthy flavor that can be used as a substitution for bay leaf in savory recipes like soups and stews. Use 1/4 teaspoon per 1 bay leaf that’s called for in the recipe and adjust to taste.
3. Dried Thyme
Dried thyme has an earthy and slightly minty flavor that can be used as a substitution for bay leaf in soups and stews. Use 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme per 1 bay leaf that’s called for in the recipe and adjust to taste.
Fresh Bay Leaves vs Dried Bay Leaves
Fresh bay leaves have a strong aroma and bitter taste, while dried bay leaves have a more subtle herbal-like flavor that is similar to thyme and oregano. Because of these differences in taste, dry Turkish bay leaves are the best to use for cooking with.
What Are Bay Leaves Used For?
Bay leaves are used in a variety of cuisines around the world. They’re often used to add subtle flavor to soups, stews, fish, meat, vegetable dishes and sauces. When using whole bay leaves, be sure to add them at the start of cooking to give them time to release their flavor and then remove them just before serving the dish.
What Do Bay Leaves Taste Like?
Dried Turkish bay leaves have a subtle herbal flavor similar to thyme and oregano, while dried California bay leaves have a more potent eucalyptus-like flavor.
Can You Eat Bay Leaves?
Whole bay leaves can be used to make tea with, but the leaf itself should not be consumed as they may pose a choking hazard and they may cause harm to the digestive tract.
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- 1/4 teaspoon dried bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- Bay leaves are usually sold dried, in whole leaf or powdered form. To substitute whole bay leaves for powdered bay leaf, use 1/4 teaspoon powdered bay leaf for each whole bay leaf called for in a recipe and adjust to taste.
- Dried Oregano has an earthy flavor that can be used as a substitution for bay leaf in savory recipes like soups and stews. Use 1/4 teaspoon per 1 bay leaf that's called for in a recipe and adjust to taste.
- Dried thyme has an earthy and slightly minty flavor that can be used as a substitution for bay leaf in soups and stews. Use 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme per 1 bay leaf that's called for in a recipe and adjust to taste.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 2Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
theharvestkitchen.com attempts to provide accurate information, however, this nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. The nutritional information provided comes from online sources and calculations. See full disclaimer on About page.