Thyme: 1 Sprig or Dried?

Thyme: 1 Sprig or Dried?

Thyme is a popular herb used for centuries due to its unique and savory taste that complements various dishes. For any cook, it can be confusing to determine whether to use dried thyme or a sprig of fresh thyme when preparing your dish. In this article, we will explore the differences between the two forms of thyme, and their benefits.

What is Thyme?

Thyme is a perennial herb that is widely used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. It is a member of the mint family and has a distinct aroma and flavor that is perfect for seasoning chicken, fish, beef, and vegetables. Thyme is also known for its medicinal properties that include anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, and it is used in some traditional medicines.

Fresh Thyme vs. Dried Thyme

Fresh thyme is readily available in most grocery stores and can be easily grown in the garden. It is sold as a bunch of sprigs that can be easily removed from the stem and added to a dish. On the other hand, dried thyme is readily available in supermarkets and is made by drying fresh thyme leaves.

Advantages of Using Fresh Thyme

Fresh thyme has a more pungent flavor and aroma than dried thyme, which can be beneficial in some dishes. Also, the oils in fresh thyme are preserved better than dried thyme, which can lose some of its essential oils during the drying process. In some cases, fresh thyme may be required in certain dishes to add a fresh herby taste.

Advantages of Using Dried Thyme

Using dried thyme has its advantages too. Dried thyme is more readily available, and you can store it for longer periods as it does not deteriorate quickly like fresh thyme. Also, dried thyme is convenient to use, as you can easily measure the quantity you need without the hassle of stripping the leaves.

How much Dried Thyme Equals 1 Sprig?

One of the frequently asked questions when it comes to using thyme for cooking is how much dried thyme is equivalent to one sprig. Although there is no exact measurement, generally one sprig of fresh thyme is equivalent to ¾ teaspoon of dried thyme. However, it is important to note that this measurement can vary depending on the recipe and the freshness of the thyme used.

How to Use Fresh Thyme

Fresh thyme can be used whole or stripped from the stem. The easiest way to strip fresh thyme is to hold the sprig at the top and run your fingers down the stem, gently separating the leaves from the stem. You can also tie several sprigs together and use them as a bouquet garni to add flavor to soups, stocks, and stews.

How to Use Dried Thyme

Dried thyme can be used as a substitute for fresh thyme in most recipes. You can add dried thyme directly to your dish, and it is best to add it at the beginning of the cooking process to allow the flavor to intensify. Dried thyme is perfect for seasoning meats, soups, and vegetables, and you can also use it in marinades and rubs.

How to Store Thyme

Both fresh and dried thyme should be stored correctly to preserve their flavor and aroma. Fresh thyme should be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel to keep it fresh for up to a week. Dried thyme should be stored in an airtight container away from heat and light, and it can be stored for up to six months.

Cooking Tips

– When using fresh thyme, always strip the leaves from the stem to avoid adding woody, unchewable bits to your dish.
– When using dried thyme, give it a good rub between your fingers before adding it to your dish to help release the essential oils that contribute to its flavor and aroma.
– Thyme pairs well with other herbs like rosemary, sage, and oregano, and you can mix them to enhance the flavor of your dish.


Fresh thyme and dried thyme are both great options for seasoning and flavoring your dishes. It all comes down to personal preference and the recipe’s requirements. Fresh thyme has a more robust flavor, while dried thyme is more convenient and easier to measure. Regardless of the form, the essential oils in thyme make it a flavorful and healthy addition to your pantry.


  • Q. Does thyme have medicinal properties?
  • Yes, thyme has several medicinal properties that include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and natural antimicrobial effects.

  • Q. Can I use fresh thyme instead of dried thyme in a recipe?
  • Yes, fresh thyme can be used as a substitute for dried thyme, but you may have to adjust the quantity as fresh thyme has a stronger flavor than dried thyme.

  • Q. How long does dried thyme last?
  • Dried thyme can last up to six months if stored correctly in an airtight container away from heat and light.


  • Murray, M. T. (1995). The healing power of herbs: the enlightened person’s guide to the wonders of medicinal plants (3rd ed.). Prima Health.
  • “Thymus Vulgaris.” Epic Gardening.
  • “How to Substitute Dried Thyme for Fresh and Tips for Cooking With This Herb.” LoveToKnow Lifestyle.

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