Marjoram (Majorana hortensis) is an herb or spice, frequently confused with its cousin oregano because of their similar appearance; however, oregano has a hot spicy flavor while marjoram has a sweet mild flavor. Marjoram is called for in many recipes, including in jellies, soups, teas and meat marinades. If a recipe calls for marjoram, and you don't have it in your pantry, don’t simply omit the ingredient -- instead, replace it with a spice that has a similar flavor.
Select basil, savory or thyme to replace marjoram, according to Dartmouth College. Use whichever of these three spices you choose in the same way you would use marjoram.
Determine if the spice you plan to use is still good. Unless they get wet, spices don’t go bad, but they do lose flavor. Using spices within one year is a good rule of thumb, but not practical or economical in most homes. Instead, put a pinch of the herb in your hand, smell it and examine its color. If it still smells and appears fresh, go ahead and use it.
Take note of how much marjoram your recipe calls for. Replace the marjoram with an equal amount of the other spice you chose.
- Dartmouth College: Recipe Substitutions
- Jane Spice: Frequently Asked Questions
- Northwestern University; Consumers Look to Spice Up Home Meals in the Recession; Dani Fankhauser et al.; March 2010
- North Carolina State University; Majorana Hortensis; Erv Evans
- Herb Society of America; Oregano & Marjoram; 2005
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