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Substitute for Poultry Seasoning

Among the herbs and spices used in preparing white meat, poultry seasoning is still the most flexible. This mix combines some of the best-tasting and most aromatic ingredients to give you a formula that brings out the mouth-watering effect in poultry meat with every use. It’s such an impressive ingredient; it’s widely used in recipes for every region, season, and occasion.

What Exactly is Poultry Seasoning?

But what exactly is poultry seasoning. Well, it’s a combination of some of the most flavorsome herbs and spices that work best for poultry dishes. And while the ratio for mixing these ingredients may vary, depending on the chef or brand that prepares it, certain elements like sage and thyme are dominant in every formula.Poultry Seasoning Nutrition Facts

Poultry Seasoning Nutrition Facts

Poultry Seasoning in Recipes

Because it’s also commonly called chicken seasoning or chicken rub, many people conclude that poultry seasoning is made specifically for chicken, but the reverse is the case. The mix is also a regular addition to other recipes that involve turkey, goose, duck, and even quail. And poultry seasoning is so versatile; it’s also a popular addition to meats, soups, sauces, burgers, pot pies, and even marinades. And it gives such a unique twist of flavor and alluring aroma; you can add a dash of it to any type of stuffing.

The combination of numerous popular herbs and spices gives poultry seasoning an exotic and powerful taste. And depending on how the ingredients are combined in the mix, you may get a ting of lemony richness in it as well. However, the main expectation from this blend is spicy, with a strong hint of aroma and savory flavors.

This spicy blend is also a rich source of minerals. A recipe gets that extra boost of essential minerals like potassium, magnesium, and iron. This perk makes it a healthy option for people who wish to enhance their veggie diets, making it a stellar addition to vegetable soups and burgers.

Though poultry seasoning seems to be made plainly for white meat, it’s also a great addition in recipes like;

  • Beef casseroles
  • Soups
  • Burgers and sandwiches
  • Chili, stews, and sauces
  • Spicy meatballs
  • Marinades
  • Grilled meat
  • Stuffing
  • Veggie recipes

Poultry Seasoning Substitutes

Though you can find poultry seasoning on almost every shelf at the grocery store, times may come when you need it in your recipe, but you’re all out. In such cases, it’s easy to find substitutes that can comfortably replicate the effects of this powerful ingredient in your cooking. Below are some of the best and easiest options;

Herbs de Provence

McCormick Gourmet, Herbes De Provence

Yes, as the name implies, this mix is made from herbs grown in the region of Provence, France, and though it seems like a distant option, the effects are closely similar in recipes. Herbs de Provence includes commonly used ingredients for poultry like thyme, rosemary, and marjoram, which makes it an ideal close substitute for poultry seasoning in almost any dish, at the same quantity requested.

An added advantage to the mix is lavender, a fragrant, floral herb that adds a touch of classic European flavor to the dish. Do note, of course, that this option doesn’t contain sage, so if your recipe needs its effect, you can add a dash to the mix yourself.

Italian Seasoning

Frontier Seasoning Blends Salt-free Italian Seasoning

Perhaps, the closest substitute for poultry seasoning, Italian seasoning is a ready-made blend of spices that offer similar flavors to what you’re looking for in chicken seasoning. The European mix combines herbs like rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and some formulas, including oregano, basil, and even sage. If you need that traditional flavor only true poultry seasoning can give, you might want to look out for Italian seasoning that contains sage. But if you can’t find one, just add it in yourself, and use the substitute in the same quantity as the recipe calls for.


Za'atar by Z&Z

This substitute is a common ingredient in Arab and Mediterranean recipes and closely mimics poultry seasoning’s flavor and aromatic effects. Za’atar is mainly built from thyme and marjoram, but an extra ingredient, sumac, is also included.

Sumac is a spice derived from the dried and ground berries of the Sumac plant, which is commonly grown in the Middle East. The spice addition gives this seasoning mix a fruity, citrusy profile that may change the flavor and aroma of the recipe. Still, Za’atar is an exquisite and tasty substitute for poultry seasoning that can replace it in any savory recipe.

Sage and Thyme

Litehouse Freeze-Dried Herbs Holiday Trio Thyme, Sage, Poultry

If you’re worried about trying out any other substitute for fear of changing that familiar flavor, you can always get away with a properly combined blend of sage and thyme. Since sage is the primary ingredient that gives poultry seasoning its familiar profile, blending it with thyme will still do the trick in any recipe. All you need to substitute for 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning in any recipe is to combine ¾ teaspoon of sage with ¼ teaspoon of thyme. With this formula, you can easily measure this alternative combo in any recipe that needs poultry seasoning.

Sage and Black Peppercorns

The Spice Lab Peppercorns

You can also substitute 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning with a mix of ¾ teaspoons sage and ¼ teaspoons black peppercorns in any recipe. The latter gives the dish a spicy bite that kicks its flavor up a notch. Combined with sage, you get an extra spicy effect with a rich and woody earthiness that complements pretty much any recipe. This combo is especially ideal for meat-based dishes like burgers, casseroles and also comes out well in chicken marinades.

Making Poultry Seasoning from Scratch

You can also prepare your private batch of poultry seasoning in your kitchen from scratch with the right ingredients. To make ¼ cup of the mix, all you need is 1 tablespoon each of sage, thyme, rosemary, and marjoram. You can also add extra ingredients to the mix to make the flavor more complex. Herbs and spices like celery seeds, ground cloves, black peppercorns, savory bay leaves, parsley, garlic powder, ginger, and even nutmeg and lemon zest can do the trick. Just make sure you mix them in equal amounts with the basic three ingredients, but you can choose to increase or reduce these to see how their taste comes out.

Ensure that the ingredients are ground or rubbed (or finely chopped, as in the case of lemon zest) before mixing. Some blends can also replace marjoram with oregano, but you should use less of the latter, as it is stronger. Also, it’s not a must that every herb and spice listed must be included, so make sure to mix the ones you prefer for a more familiar yet exquisite taste.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use chicken bouillon instead of poultry seasoning?

It’s best to use any of the substitutes above rather than chicken bouillon. While poultry seasoning is a blend of exotic herbs and spices, chicken bouillon is mainly the essence of chicken flavor and salt. You can, however, use it to boost the flavor of poultry seasoning or any of its substitutes, but use it mildly.

Does chicken seasoning contain chicken?

Though the name suggests this, the reverse is the case. Chicken seasoning is made purely from herbs and spices and never from actual chicken. This confusion scares vegetarians from using it in their recipes, but the truth is there isn’t any real chicken in the mix at all!

Are chicken seasoning and chicken flavoring the same?

No. Chicken seasoning is purely made from ground or rubbed herbs and spices. However, chicken flavoring is salt-based, with added ingredients that may include onion, rice flour, garlic, citric acid, paprika, celery seeds, and pepper.


You can always find a substitute for poultry seasoning if you know what to look for. And here, the suggestions given are great alternatives for giving your recipes the same rich aroma and powerful taste. Whichever you choose, be sure to compare the differences so you can find one that best suits your every use.