Substituting Dried for Fresh Oregano Using a Conversion Ratio
Fresh oregano is a common ingredient in many Mediterranean and Mexican dishes. When dried, this culinary herb retains much of its flavor, which is why dried oregano can be successfully used as a substitute for fresh oregano when fresh sprigs of this wonderful culinary herb are not available. That does not mean, however, that you can just replace the fresh oregano in your recipe with an equal amount of dried oregano leaves. As dried oregano is more concentrated than its fresh counterpart, which still contains plenty of moisture, you will need less of the dried herb.
So how much dried oregano do you need then if your recipe calls for, say, a tablespoon of fresh oregano? To substitute dried oregano for chopped fresh oregano leaves, use the following conversion ratio as a general guideline: 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh oregano equals 1 teaspoon of dried oregano.
Keep in mind that the above conversion ratio is just a rule of thumb. In the end, it is best to let your taste buds decide how much dried oregano you should use in your recipe. Also keep in mind that a packet of dried oregano that has been lying on your shelf for several months provides less flavor than a packet of oregano that you have purchased recently.
Substitutes for Oregano (Fresh or Dried)
The above "fresh to dried oregano" conversion ratio is helpful if you cannot get fresh oregano but you have dried oregano. However, it may happen that you realize you have neither fresh nor dried oregano — but your pizza dough is already rising! In such a case, don't panic. There are several herbs and spices that can be substituted for oregano in many recipes, including pizza. While these herbs and spices of course won't give your dish the original oregano flavor, they will lend their own enticing Mediterranean flavors to your dish.
Marjoram is one of the best substitutes for oregano; however, it is slightly milder so you will want to use more of it (the ideal ratio is two parts of oregano for three parts of marjoram). Other viable substitutes for fresh oregano include fresh basil, mint, thyme and summer savory.