Parsley Alternative: What Can Be the Best Substitute for Parsley?

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Whether you’re cooking up a storm in your kitchen or you’re a professional chef, you’re likely to come across recipes that call for parsley. But what happens when you run out of this popular herb or you just simply don’t like its flavor? Don’t fret – there are plenty of substitutes for parsley. Let’s dive into the world of herbs and spices that can serve as a parsley alternative, and learn how to use them in your cooking to achieve a unique flavor and aroma in your dishes.

Understanding Parsley

Parsley is a common herb used in many cuisines around the world, from Italian dishes to Mediterranean cuisine. It comes in two main types of parsley, curly leaf parsley and flat leaf parsley, also known as Italian parsley. Both have a bright green color, vibrant green leaves, and a mild flavor, but Italian parsley has a stronger flavor compared to the milder taste of curly parsley. And while it’s a versatile herb, sometimes you might want a different taste, which is where parsley substitutes come in.

Best Parsley Substitutes: Fresh Herbs

When it comes to finding a fresh parsley substitute, there are several fresh herbs that can do the trick. Fresh basil, fresh chives, and fresh cilantro are all excellent substitutes, each with its own unique flavor profile. While fresh basil has a sweet taste, fresh chives bring an onion-like flavor, and fresh cilantro offers a citrusy flavor. Keep in mind though, these herbs have a stronger flavor compared to parsley, so it’s best to use them in smaller amounts.

Fresh basil, fresh chives, and fresh cilantro, presented as best parsley substitutes with their own unique flavor profiles

Dried Parsley: A Good Alternative

Dried parsley is a great substitute for fresh parsley. It’s readily available at any grocery store and has a longer shelf life. The flavor of dried parsley is more concentrated, so use it in smaller quantities compared to the real thing. A good rule of thumb is to use one-third of a tablespoon of dried parsley in place of a tablespoon of fresh parsley.

A jar of dried parsley, a good alternative to fresh parsley, with a stronger flavor

Chervil: A French Parsley Alternative

Chervil, often referred to as French parsley, is a wonderful herb that can serve as a parsley alternative. It’s a main ingredient in French cooking, especially in fines herbes, and it offers a mild, anise-like flavor. Chervil leaves are often used in the place of parsley in French cuisine, and they work well in salads and salad dressings, thanks to their milder flavor and slightly peppery taste.

Chervil leaves, a french parsley alternative with a mild and slightly peppery flavor

Cilantro: A Bold Parsley Replacement

Cilantro, also known as coriander, is another parsley alternative with a bold flavor. It’s a common herb in Asian cuisine and has a unique flavor, with citrusy notes and a slightly bitter taste. Cilantro leaves can be used in equal amounts as a parsley replacement, but due to their strong flavor, it’s recommended to start with smaller amounts and adjust to taste.

Cilantro leaves, a parsley alternative with a unique, citrusy flavor and slightly bitter taste

Italian Cuisine’s Parsley Alternative: Basil

Basil is a great herb to use as a parsley alternative, especially in Italian cuisine. The flavors are somewhat similar, with basil offering a sweet, peppery flavor. Basil’s bright green leaves can give your dishes a similar look to parsley, and it’s an excellent substitute when used in smaller quantities due to its stronger flavor.

Basil leaves, a common parsley alternative in Italian cuisine with a sweet, peppery flavor

Carrot Greens: An Unlikely Parsley Substitute

While not as common, carrot greens can be a parsley alternative, particularly for soups and stews. They share a similar flavor profile with parsley, with an earthy flavor and a slightly bitter taste. Carrot tops can be used in place of parsley in equal amounts, and they offer the added bonus of being a zero-waste option if you’re cooking with carrots.

Carrot greens, an unlikely parsley substitute with a similar flavor profile and a zero-waste option

Choosing the Best Parsley Alternative for Your Dish

When choosing a parsley alternative, consider the flavor profiles of the other ingredients in your dish. For a mild taste, herbs like chervil or basil might be your best choice. For a stronger flavor, opt for fresh cilantro or even carrot tops. The key is to experiment with different parsley substitutes and find the one that works best for your palate and the specific dish you’re preparing.


Running out of parsley doesn’t mean you have to run out of flavor. There are plenty of parsley alternatives available, from herbs with similar flavors to others with very different flavor profiles. So the next time you’re in need of a parsley alternative, don’t be afraid to experiment and try something new. You might just discover a new favorite herb!

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