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What Are the Best Tips for Cooking with Dried Oregano?

To maximize flavor, rub dried oregano between your palms before adding it to your dish—this releases its essential oils. Use it sparingly; its concentrated taste can overpower. Pair with acidic ingredients like tomatoes to balance its robustness. Remember, it's best added early in cooking. Curious about transforming your meals with oregano's earthy charm? Let's explore its culinary potential together.
Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus

One of the most important tips for cooking with dried oregano is to remember that since it's more concentrated in flavor than the fresh herb, one-third to one-half as much should be used in a recipe. It's also crucial to store the dried type of oregano in a cool, dark place for a maximum of six months so that its complete flavor is retained. Adding small, rather than large, amounts of oregano in its dried form to a variety of foods, such as pizza, pasta sauces, salad dressings, soups, stews and Mediterranean, egg, tomato or cheese-based meals, can enhance the taste of your cooked dishes. It's usually best though to add dried oregano near the end of the cooking time.

If the oregano is cooked too long, you run the risk of having it become bitter. Similarly, if dried oregano is used in dishes in too large of quantities, it may impart a medicine-like flavor rather than a pleasant herbal taste. When cooking with the dried type of oregano, try to add a small amount near the end of cooking, then check for flavor and use a little more if necessary.

Chicken cacciatore is flavored with oregano, garlic, and basil.
Chicken cacciatore is flavored with oregano, garlic, and basil.

A great tip to use before adding dried oregano to dishes is to roll the herb pieces between your fingers to release the natural oils. Doing this can add even more flavor to your dishes. One good way to experiment with cooking with the dried form of oregano is to slice a fresh tomato and sprinkle the slices with the herb as well as some pepper and Parmesan cheese before placing them under the broiler. This quick side dish may be served alongside casseroles or even a steak dinner.

Adding a little oregano to your standard foods can add interest and you may find the flavor improved. For instance, even simple to make meals such as egg salad or grilled cheese sandwiches can be enhanced with a sprinkle of oregano. Omelets and souffles can be wonderful with a touch of oregano added. Even canned tomato soup may be improved upon by adding a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of dried oregano.

Oregano is an especially important addition to Greek dishes. If you're substituting the dried herb for the fresh version in a Greek or other recipe, remember to reduce the amount by a third to a half or you'll be likely to over-season your dish. It's best to avoid buying more dried oregano that you'll use in six months, as after that, the flavor tends to diminish greatly.

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Discussion Comments


I've heard you can make some kind of therapeutic herbal tea from dried oregano. Is that true? I'd never heard of that before. What's it supposed to do?

I really like to use oregano in chili and tomato sauce. It just adds a little extra flavor.

Has anyone ever used Mexican oregano? What's the difference between it and say, Italian or Greek oregano? Is there a difference? I'd like to try it, but I'd also like to have an idea of what I'm in for if I do try it. I'd like to know what dishes it's best in.


I don't measure dried herbs too often. I just start with a little and then add a little more until the dish tastes like I want it to.

I like oregano, dried or fresh. I've never had it turn bitter on me from cooking too long, but I have used too much and had it taste bitter because of that.

Dried oregano is extremely versatile. You can use it in nearly any savory dish, or with vegetables. It just works well with almost everything. I've used it with beef, pork and chicken, on eggplant, zucchini squash, tomatoes, casseroles – you name it and if it's savory, I've probably used oregano to season it.

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    • Chicken cacciatore is flavored with oregano, garlic, and basil.
      By: Joe Gough
      Chicken cacciatore is flavored with oregano, garlic, and basil.