In case you are already feeling bored – having the classic salt and pepper seasoning in your meals, you can try thyme as a palate cleanser.
It not only adds depth and flavor to your food but also helps promote good health. Now, picking the best thyme for cooking that would give you the pronounced and concentrated herbal flavor may feel like a daunting task.
Stress no more!
We have scrutinized every nook and cranny of thyme — its origin, types, flavors, uses, and health benefits so that we can better evaluate the thyme available in the market and present the quality ones to you.
Luckily enough, after hours of extensive research and testing dozens of them we have narrowed down top-7 thymes amongst many and reviewed them thoroughly in our upcoming segment.
So, without stalling further, let’s get into it.
This Table Will Be Very Helpful For Choosing the Product
Benefits of Using Thyme for Cooking
Before you wade through the review, why not have a glance at the benefits of using thyme in your meals?
While some people deem it as an afterthought ingredient, we beg to differ and believe that it’s so much more than just adding flavors.
Now, it has become a culinary staple in almost every household for its hearty undertones and plethora of health benefits. Let’s see how much value it adds to your health when you use it for cooking.
- Being a nutrient-rich herb containing calcium and fiber, it delivers iron, vitamin K and manganese to your body and combats health issues like iron deficiency, poor bone development, low fertility, and different forms of skeletal defects
- Prevents acne through its anti-bacterial effect on Propionibacterium
- Helps to reduce blood pressure
- Thyme prolongs the safety and longevity of cooking oils
- It complements any fish-based cuisine. Mostly the lemon thyme has a zing of citrusy flavor
- Relieves coughing discomfort
- Boosts up your immunity to avenge the outside invaders such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, toxins, etc
- Heightens concentrations of dopamine and serotonin for mental stimulation
- Aids yeast infections
- Helps to curb the possibility of distinct types of cancer
- Promotes bone development and blood clotting
Our Top 7 Best Thyme for Cooking
The flavor, aroma, health benefits, usage, and price depend on how the thyme is sourced, plucked, preserved, and delivered. Thus, despite having similar resemblance, each thyme we have enlisted here makes a significant difference when used for cooking. Let’s see what works out the best for you!
1. HQOExpress | Organic Thyme Leaf
The HQO, aka High-quality organics, is the largest North American supplier that provides non-GMO certified organic herbs, spices, ancient grains, teas, and tons of other things.
Across 6 continents, it has made its way to the kitchen, and for over four decades, its products only evolved (if not deteriorated). One of their greatest and top-selling products is the organic thyme leaf.
It comes in a 7-ounce shaker bottle and originated from different countries like Peru, Egypt, Spain, Turkey, and Morocco. To attain the peak flavor, these thymes were plucked just before blooming, as you do with most other woody-stemmed herbs.
These are cut close to the ground for fresh thymes and hung upside down for dried thymes. It has a very soothing and savory undertone with a zing of refreshing aroma.
For adding a distinct flavor or giving a kick to your food you can use it for numerous culinary applications such as meat dishes, stews, soups, pasta, herb blends, chicken dishes, etc.
While the delectable taste works as an appetite stimulus by helping you to eat more and broaden your food horizon, the therapeutic aroma calms your nerves and gets you in a cheerful mood.
Just mix a spoonful of thyme or just a sprinkle of it in your go-to dishes and see the magic erupting.
- Organic thyme includes thymus Vulgaris and whole leaf
- Effective farming and harvesting techniques for peak flavor and both fresh and dry profiles
- A scrumptious, pleasant, and aromatic flavor
- Comes in a shaker bottle for easy application
- Originated from four different countries
- No GMO-Kosher and free of gluten
- Works best for chicken, pasta, soup, and stews recipe
2. McCormick Culinary Thyme Leaves
Just like you judge a person by their roots and nurture, you should evaluate the flavor of thymes based on their source.
The McCormick acknowledges it very well; thus their farmers are not only skilled in testing the soil where the thyme will grow but also wary of the climate changes and their effects on the harvest.
With 36 years of legacy in providing flavorful spices, herbs, and condiments in over 170 countries, it has won many hearts and to date, almost every household and restaurant kitchen has its products.
Their thyme leaves are famous for their citrusy, earthy notes and minty flavor. Among English, French and German thymes, lemon thymes are the best for their enticing lemon fragrance and mouth-watering taste.
While fresh thymes are suitable for seafood, dried thymes are ideal for all types of cuisines. Since these thyme leaves are dried, they will be more potent and concentrated than the fresh ones.
Also, you need fewer herbs when you are using dried leaves.
From seafood to meats and marinades, the earthy notes of lemons blend perfectly and boast a subtle and distinct flavor.
This is specially crafted for professional chefs who thrive on diverse tastes and want to tailor their signature recipes. It comes in a 6-ounce shaker bottle so that you can easily drizzle your food without removing the cap and add as herbs as you want to your seafood and soup entrees.
- Carefully plucked and prepared for a strong citrusy flavor and minty undertone
- Zesty and fresh notes of spring and summer aroma due to the combination of lemon and mint. Works as a mood pacifier
- Ideal for seafood, marinade, veggies, meats, and soup appetizers
- 6-ounce shaker bottle for effortless usage and enough seasoning
- Vegan herbs with no added MSG kosher
- Golden thyme pairs well with complementary herbs like rosemary, sage, and oregano
3. The Spice Hunter Thyme
The story behind the rise of Spice hunter is very compelling. A biology major, Lucia Cleveland, started experimenting with herbs. In her spare bedroom, she set up a table for the sole purpose of having an intimate understanding of the herbs, and one by one, she developed a collection of 12 spices.
The specialty of Spice Hunter is how they source their herbs from ideal growing regions, and they always feature a recipe on the jar so that the spice enthusiasts can explore new flavors and dishes.
Their organic thyme leaves arrive in a 0.6-ounce jar and don’t require any measuring spoon or anything as the ideal proportion is already configured for you.
It’s suitable for Mediterranean cooking where the herbs are used for amplifying the savory classics. The flavor is warm and earthy with a hint of mint, oregano, and cloves that leave a lingering trace in your mouth.
This is why when you add it to your soup, sauces, stews, marinade rubs, meats, and vegetables it transforms the flavor into something very distinctive. Your guests may struggle to put a spin on the spices as it’s a combination of different herbs; however, they will be busy thinking about it all day.
Another thing is its consistency which is a little grainy, unlike the powdery ones. If you take a liking to large size particles for assuaging your various cooking needs, then this poultry seasoning will get the job done.
- Sourced from California, where the climate is best suited for herbs to grow
- A fresh and delectable flavor that pairs ideally with Mediterranean cooking and for enhancing savory classics
- Increases the taste of any basic marinade, seafood, potatoes, sauces, soups, and veggies by adding a punch of mint, oregano, and cloves
- Smells heavenly
- 0.6-ounce jar, easy to use
- Harmful colors and preservatives free, No health hazards or side effects
4. Amazon Brand – Happy Belly Thyme, Ground, 2 Ounces
If you are looking for ground thyme to add a flavorful depth to your Italian and French cuisine then Happy Belly Thyme might be the one for you as you can use it with a myriad of spices.
Before we get into the details, let me assure you that Happy belly is a prominent brand that renders quality food ranging from coffee, nuts, and dairy to dips, sauces, and spices at an affordable price. You can count on their services, and your satisfaction is their responsibility.
Now the thyme leaves come in a powdery texture where the spices are thinly crushed. It contains a very bold taste that bursts a strong flavor inside your mouth. However, despite the strong flavor, the aroma isn’t as intense as the typical fresh thymes. So that can be a downer for you.
It can be used for cooking tomato-based sauces, marinades, poultry meats, veggies, and different kinds of dressings.
You can use it to season your soup too, but most people prefer the big leafy particles to the ground ones for their soups. So, we will recommend this for sweet and savory dishes like French or Italian cuisines where dozens of other spices are combined.
Also, worth mentioning that you can make thyme tea with this which is very refreshing, packed with antioxidants, and clams the nervous system.
- Features a hearty flavor and bold taste therefore, only a few sprinkles of it is enough for all kinds of seasoning
- Best harmonized with complementary herbs like basil, chives, garlic, bay leaves, parsley, rosemary, oregano, sage, tarragon, etc.
- Suitable for French and Italian food
- Can be used for making tea that helps to relieve ailments like cold, flu, and tonsillitis
- 2-ounce shaker bottle with small holes for easy application
- Packed in the USA
5. Eat Well Premium Foods – Thyme
It has been half a century since Eat Well Premium Foods are catering to the spice industry through manufacturing, marketing, and selling. They have over 20 export areas where the soil is the most fertile and the finest for farming.
They pledge to build an honest and trustworthy relationship with their consumers and not let any concessions occur in terms of quality.
Their dried thyme whole leaves are packed in a 9-ounce shaker bottle with no artificial flavor or harmful elements. This aromatic perennial evergreen herb is sourced from Turkey, where the climate is apt for thyme farming, and the harvesting is done at its peak.
Thyme is a frost-hardy plant that is capable of surviving freezing weather, and being flowering thyme, there are masses of mid-pink flowers during spring (as they go dormant in winter and bloom back in spring).
It has a sharp, almost minty flavor encompassing an earthy, floral undertone that tastes a little bit sweet and a bit peppery.
When added to meat, veggies, sauces, stews, soups, marinades, and herbal teas, it evokes a spicy, aromatic, and surprisingly leathery aroma. The taste is subtle yet everlasting. Despite being dried, it retains a similar taste to fresh thyme and is a suitable alternative to fresh thymes in most cases.
- Dried thymes add a dash of flavor to the meat, poultry, and soup entrees
- Doesn’t come in a ground consistency; thus can be used as a decorative sprinkle on soups for visual interest
- 9 ounce, 100% raw leaves from Turkey, enough for your household and commercial kitchen needs
- Shaker top bottle for easy application and no measurement hassle
- Perfect for preparing thyme tea that cures chronic diseases like obesity, respiratory infection, menstrual cramps, dementia, etc
- Affordable price
6. Simply Organic Thyme Leaf Whole Certified Organic
Here you have the Organic thyme leaf provided by the Simply Organic which has been known for its real and pure spices. They work with their growers with utmost proximity to ensure goodness.
Their spices are the kind that you will remember from the bottom of your heart. Brimming with flavors and life, these certified thyme leaves claim a special place in every kitchen.
It comes in a 0.78-ounce glass bottle filled with dried, extra-fancy grade, French-style organic thymes. The glass jar keeps the thyme fresh and prolongs the shell life; hence you don’t have to worry about the leaves getting stale over time.
These dried thymes can be used for enhancing the flavor of your soups, classic spice blends, sauces, rubs, meats, and dressings. Also, the flavor is less dusty than most of the thymes available in the market.
Therefore, it is ideal for seasoning meatloaf, Italian dishes, or any roasted chicken or meat-based cuisines. It is full of flavor and fresh aroma, something you will love for your culinary adventure.
- French-style, organic dried thyme leaves
- Packed in a 0.78-ounce glass bottle for retaining freshness and increased shelf life
- The sole ingredient used is the thyme itself to ensure the rawest flavor possible
- A kick of strong flavor and relaxing scent to embellish your soups, sauces, and classic spice blends
- Kosher certified
- Packed in the USA
7. Green Garden Organic Freeze-Dried Thyme
Usually, when thymes are dried, the herb’s nutrients are dispelled, and the taste, aroma, and overall quality are compromised. That can be the very reason why people prefer fresh thymes.
However, Green Garden promises you a unique freeze-drying process where the nutrients are preserved so that you get the authentic taste and fragrance of the fresh leaves.
You will feel like they are just plucked from the garden. The type of scent and flavor you expect from the freshly sourced thymes can be found here. This thyme in cooking works best when you are making a chicken dish, olive oil, and garlic rubs.
It adds a great deal of flavor to your customized recipes. Any avid cook who wants to craft his recipe should have this herb in his pantry.
This is a superior addition to chicken dishes and lamb chops for a flavorful kick. The flavor won’t hit right off the bat, however the delectable flavor dances between earthy and minty, savory yet subtly sweet, somewhat woodsy but flowery and has the traces of toned-down rosemary and lavender.
It doesn’t contain any Gluten and comes in a 0.26oz glass bottle for retaining the purity and improving shelf life. Once you use these freeze-dried herbs in your cooking you can’t go back.
- Features a unique-freeze drying process to secure the herbs’ nutrients, taste, looks, and aroma
- Packed in a 0.26-ounce glass jar so it doesn’t lose its integrity and lasts for years to come (if refrigerated)
- Adds a great deal of flavor to your chicken dishes or olive oil and garlic rub
- NON-GMO and Gluten free
- Can be used for garnishing soup entrees
- Reasonable price
Thyme for Cooking Comparison Chart
Package weight and container type
Best Used for
HQOExpress Organic Thyme Leaf
7-ounce plastic shaker jar
Soothing and savory aromatics
Pasta, soup, stews, meat, and chicken recipes
Egypt, Peru, Spain, Turkey, Morocco
McCormick Culinary Thyme Leaves
6-ounce plastic shaker jar
Distinctive taste and aroma with earthy notes of lemon and mint
Veggies, seafood, meats, and marinades
Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Italy, the UK, North Africa, Canada, and the USA
The Spice Hunter Thyme
0.6-Ounce plastic Jar
Warm and earthy with a hint of mint, oregano, and cloves
Stews, sauces, veggies, meats, seafood, potato, grains, and poultry
Amazon Brand - Happy Belly Thyme, Ground, 2 Ounces
2 ounce-plastic shaker jars
Hearty and bold taste with a refreshing aroma
Soups, stews, rubs, tomato-based sauces, thyme tea, and Italian and French dishes
720 days to 1095 days (2-3years)
Eat Well Premium Foods - Thyme
9-ounce plastic shaker jar
Minty flavor with a little bit of sweet and peppery undertone, sharp smell
Meat dishes, roasted chicken, pasta, steak, stews, marinades, and thyme tea
720 days to 1095 days (2-3years)
Simply Organic Thyme
0.78-ounce glass jar
Smoky, piney, and undertones of cloves and mint
Soup, sauces, and classic spice blends
720 days to 1095 days (2-3years)
Green Garden Organic Freeze-Dried Thyme
0.26-ounce glass jar
Subtly sweet yet highly aromatic. Somewhat woodsy but flowery. A hint of toned-down lavender and rosemary
chicken dishes or olive oil and garlic rub
720 days to 1095 days
Things to Consider Before Buying Thyme for Cooking
So, before you get yourself the good thyme for cooking, you must consider some crucial facts. Below we have curated a buying guide where all the must-have features are discussed for determining the ideal cooking thyme for you.
The Thyme Varieties
One of the most important considerations is to choose the right type of thyme that will be used in the cooking. You have two popular thymes mostly available in the market, which are lemon thyme and common thyme. Here the lemon thyme leaves are the most flavorful with their lemony zest flavor.
It’s ideal when you are cooking chicken and fish items. On the other hand, the common thyme contains a strong scent; however, the flavor is not as lemony as the lemon thymes. It has a toned-down citrusy flavor that goes well with stews and stocks.
As we have already mentioned that despite having very similar looks and belonging to the same mint family, their taste and aroma can vary. For example, the French thymes taste and smell completely different than English thymes because of the diversity in climate and harvesting process.
So, depending on the source of the thymes, the taste and aroma will differ. The best kind of thymes is often sourced from southern Europe and northern Africa. Thymes prefer the dry, rocky soils of the Mediterranean.
The Thyme Forms
Another thing that you should take into account while using thyme in cooking is whether it’s dried or fresh.
Here, fresh herbs are exactly how the name implies, freshly plucked, stored, and sold to you. It can take your basic dishes to the next level by adding delicious depth of flavor and aroma. Here it has two categories which are soft and hard herbs.
The soft herbs are similar to basil and parsley, with a subtle flavor. And it’s best savored when you add it to salads for nibbling it raw. On the flip side, hard herbs are too potent to be eaten raw; however, they can be best enjoyed when cooked for a longer time rather than just garnishing.
Now, dried thymes are basically fresh thymes that are voluntarily dried for preserving the flavor and extending the shelf life. They have a stronger flavor; thus, you can use a small amount of it when cooking, and the outcome will be the same as fresh leaves.
When you are cooking something for more than 5-10 minutes with the thymes, then choosing dried ones will be best. In case you intend to add them later when the cooking is already done, then the flavor won’t be as potent as it’s supposed to be.
Most of the thymes come in a plastic shaker jar with some tiny holes for effortless installation. They are good as far as the plastic is BPA-free. Besides, some of the containers are made of glass material, and these work the best as they are better in retaining purity and maintaining longevity.
The standard shelf life for dried thymes is at least 720 days, however, proper refrigeration can extend the shelf life. On the other hand fresh thyme survives for 10-14 days max. Therefore, dried thymes are more useful for household and commercial kitchens both.
Different Types of Thyme
There is a wide range of thymes available worldwide, such as common thyme, golden thyme, French thyme, German thyme, lemon thyme, etc.
The two most popular thymes that are used for culinary purposes are the common and lemon thymes which we have discussed above briefly.
Still for clearing your further confusion, we have outlined some facts about all these types below.
These are widely used in the culinary world and grow well in almost any weather. They have a sharper flavor and refreshing aroma that adds a dash of flavor to your meals. It grows 8-12 inches high and surrounds by white and pale lilac flowers.
These thymes are closely related to the common thymes, although they are less hardy and possess a milder and sweeter taste.
As the name suggests, these thymes have a golden aura to them, and they have an uncanny resemblance to lemon thyme for the most part. This isn’t only ideal for cooking but also for making ornaments.
It’s the cold-hardy equivalent of common thyme. The stems are thin, and the leaves are green and smaller. These have a bold flavor and pair best with meat, rubs, soups, stocks, and other culinary items.
These thymes are lemony, have a citrusy aroma, and are highly recommended for garnishing fish dishes, flavoring creamy sauces, and desserts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I use thyme after or while cooking?
If you just want it for decorating or salad dressing or soup garnishing, then using it after will be ideal. However, if you are using dried thyme leaves and want the earthy notes of mint and lemon with aromatic characteristics, then using it while cooking will be best.
Can I consume thyme leaves raw?
Yes, you can. Like any other herb, you can eat it raw, and since it’s rich in nutrients and antioxidants, it will be a healthy addition to your diet.
How do the lemon thymes taste?
The lemon thymes have a lemony zing and a citrusy aroma.
How do I cook thyme for soothing coughs?
You can make thyme tea for alleviating coughing discomforts.
What are the possible side effects of thymes?
It doesn’t have any side effects unless you consume it excessively. If overconsumption happens then, you may have an upset stomach, dizziness, cramps, and headaches.
Seems like we have come to an end. Truth be told, the best thyme for cooking will be the one that merges all your needs in terms of flavor, aroma, texture, shelf life, and applications.
We will suggest the HQOExpress, Organic Thyme Leaf if you want common thymes. And for the lemony and minty zing, McCormick Culinary Thyme Leaves will be the most appropriate.