4 Amazing Substitutes For Tarragon When Cooking

Most people never really think about Tarragon until they come across a recipe that needs one. You also don’t normally see this in the spices aisle of your local grocery store so here are 5 amazing substitutes for tarragon.

But first, if you do not have any idea what Tarragon is, just keep reading.



  • Tarragon is a green herb with long, thin pointy leaves.
  • It is also a low shrub native to Asia with flat, narrow glossy green leaves. It is actually a member of the lettuce family
  • You can find it as a dry spice
  • Also known as (Little Dragon, Estragon, Mugwort, Petit Dragon)

Commonly used on: Sauces, meat, fish and vegetables. One of the signature herbs in French cooking is Tarragon. It works so well with chicken and eggs, fish and cream. It also infuses “tarragon vinegar”.

What does it taste like? It has a sweet tingly taste.

2 Types of Tarragon

There are 2 main types of tarragon: French and Russian

French Tarragon

  • is more common for its delicate, balanced flavor.
  • It is also widely used in classic French cooking.

Russian Tarragon

  • Compared to the French tarragon, doesn’t have that aroma and it doesn’t taste that nice.

Substitutes for Tarragon


A close-up of basil leaves with water drops

The basil is often round pointed leaves of the basil plant that look like peppermint (They are related). The basil’s highly fragrant leaves are used as a seasoning herb for a variety of dishes.

Nutritional Profile 

  • Vitamin K and manganese
  • Good source of copper and vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron, folate, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acid.


  • Its flavor is a little similar to tarragon and it is generally easier to find. You can buy this anywhere since it is a very common.
  • Basil can also be an alternative for tarragon in French and Italian sauces like in seafood and pasta dishes. Even on salads, it's dressings.

Suggested Use:

  • This is the main ingredient of Pesto (Basil, Pine nuts, and parmesan cheese)


Marjoram Via Nutrawiki

This is a great addition to a healthy diet. Even just with two tablespoons, it is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and other nutrients. This is commonly found in the Mediterranean region. It is also used in cosmetics like in skin cream, lotion, and powder.

Nutritional Profile

  • Vitamin A
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron


  • You can replace tarragon with marjoram when cooking an entire fish. Cut the fish and clean its center, stuff it with fresh marjoram and any other herbs you prefer and roast the fish.
  • This herb is best to used when you are about to finish a dish because the flavor fades quickly when it is exposed to high heat.
  • Both tarragon and marjoram are commonly used when cooking fish.

Suggested Use:

  • You can make Marjoram Tea to help digestion
  • Marjoram Essential Oil that soothes cramps, sprains, and toothaches.

ANISE (Best Alternative for Tarragon)

Anise Via stylecraze

Anise is a perennial herbal plant. It bears white flowers and its seeds feature delicately sweet with a distinct licorice flavor. This delicate spice is used as flavoring in soups, sauces, bread and cakes. Anise seed oil obtained from its extraction is the foundation of so many traditional medicines.

Nutritional Profile 

  • Vitamin A and C
  • Calcium and Magnesium
  • Fiber and Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Iron and Zinc


  • Some people often say that tarragon has a mild anise flavor.
  • It is the best alternative for tarragon
  • Ground anise works so good with cheeses, eggs, fish and soups as an aromatic enhancer.
  • When in need of tarragon, just ground some anise and little by little, add it to your dish and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference

Suggested Use:

  • You can use this as a remedy for an upset stomach, intestinal gas, runny nose.
  • Some woman also uses anise to increase their milk supply.
  • Others use this herb for asthma, constipation, and insomnia.


Fennel Via freshharvestga

Fennel is related to parsley and carrots. It has a white or pale green bulb from which closely superimposed stalks are arranged. It is a crunchy and a little sweet. Also very popular in the Mediterranean region, this is commonly used in Italian restaurants for their dishes.

Nutritional Profile

  • Iron and Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin C
  • Fiber and Potassium
  • Copper and Phosphorus
  • Magnesium and Calcium


  • Fennel seeds have a very strong anise flavor which makes it a good substitution for tarragon
  • The fennel seeds taste best when they are toasted or freshly ground.

Suggested Use:

  • You can use raw fennel on salads.
  • You can add these on desserts with some fruits mixed on it.
  • Mix it with tomato soup


Health Benefits of Tarragon Via healthbenefitstimes

  • Tarragon is an anti-bacterial herb and may be applied to external wounds to prevent septic infections
  • This herb has the ability to regulate the menstrual cycle.
  • Tarragon also helps to enhance your eyesight, hair and skin texture.
  • It can also help with the regulation of blood that would lead to the proper distribution of the proper nutrients and oxygen in the body.
  • It also may be used as an antiseptic agent in dentistry.
  • Which leads to another health benefit and that is the ability to cure oral problems.
  • One of the most important benefits of tarragon is it enhances appetite and also stimulates the digestive system. It helps relieve anorexia, constipation, and dyspepsia.
  • It is rich in Vitamin C which helps the immune system
  • The tarragon herb also helps when it comes to reducing the signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Lastly, it helps the skeletal system to improve the bone structure of the body.


  • Too much intake of Tarragon can cause cancer because it contains the chemical called estragole which is cancerous.
  • Also not safe to use by pregnant women who will take this as a medicine.
Lita Watson

Hi there! I’m Lita, and I’m absolutely in love with cooking blogs. I’m a beginner in cooking and i try my best to make it quick and easy. Even though, it’s not always quick and easy to keep up with fancy dinners… so i keep learning and blogging about quick and easy ways to create delicious and yummy foods for my two kids and a wonderful husband.

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