Which Thyme is Best For Cooking

Which Thyme is Best For Cooking? [5 Must-Have Thymes]

Enjoy having your own kitchen garden? Now you’re considering adding thymes to your list of kitchen plants. There are lots of varieties. So you might be a little confused. 

Curious about which thyme is best for cooking?

The best kind of thyme to use in cooking depends on the type of dish you’re making. English thyme is best with all kinds of smoked and roasted meat dishes. Caraway thyme is the same but with flavors of clover. Orange Balsam and Lemon thymes are added in teas and desserts.

Want to know more about them? Relax! We have prepared a guide just for you! 

Now let’s get to the bottom of it!

Can You Cook All Types of Thyme?

Not all thyme varieties can be cooked. Some are decorative and give off sweet aromas. But most of them aren’t edible or they don’t taste that good.

You can still have them in your small garden. Thymes can aid in strengthening the defenses of your plants against insects. So, you don’t always have to use thyme in your recipes. It’ll help in promoting veggie development in your garden.

I got some of the best thyme seed packets for my garden last month. These are heirloom seeds and very useful to attract pollinators to the garden. Here I’m recommending them so that you can also choose one for your garden-

Here’s a video with lots of tips for growing thyme in your garden. You can watch it for some great advice-

You see, thyme is an aromatic herb. You most probably use thyme for its aroma even more than the flavor it imparts to the recipes.

For foods that need a little kick, sprinkle a spoonful or more of those leaves over them. We may even taste lemon, caraway, orange, or even mint if we use the right variety. It’s among the plants that can be included in a traditional bouquet garni

Now, we’ll have to figure out the best kind of thyme for you. Before that let’s take a look at varieties of thyme. 

Quick Guide to Thyme Varieties For Cooking

There are plenty of kinds available at your local herbalist or even drugstore. However, there are only a few options for people looking for the greatest culinary thymes.

When it comes to both taste and how easy it is to use, choose minimal and shrubby ones. 

We’ve compiled a list of all the culinary ones. Let’s take a look at them-

Type 1: Common “English’’ Thyme

The bright green fragrant leaves with yellow edges are easy to identify. You’ll find that the common English thyme is fragrant. That’s why chefs find it an excellent choice for cooking. 

Are you looking for aromatic herbs for your home? Then English thyme is your best choice! If you place the thyme pot in the sun, it’ll smell really good. 

You know what, I’ve also got English thyme in my garden. And using them in my recipes for quite a long time. So, I can vouch for the following starter plant for your garden-

Despite their diminutive size, English thyme leaves deliver a robust aroma and flavor. It’s one of the savory herbs that are used to make hearty meals taste better.

Bone-warming soups and tangy sauces are also made using them. French Tarragon and Summer Savory, are two other savory herbs that mix well with thyme. Combined it provides a unique flavor profile.

Meaty dishes like smoked turkeys and roasted lamb chops could use the flavor of English thyme. You can infuse the flavor of thyme with oranges and other herbs too.

Type 2: Creeping Thyme

The taste and texture of creeping thyme are similar to those of mint. This herb tastes and smells fantastic when crushed and brewed for teas or potions. 

Aside from using it as a garnish, you may also use Creeping Thyme in your dish. It could be fresh or dried and preserved. 

You’ll find this in your local herbal shops in the middle of spring. However, you can always find the following brands’ caraway seed online-

Most Mexicans use this herb to flavor vinegar, salads (especially green ones), herbed butter, and soups.

Fresh leaves of creeping thyme complement fish and seafood well. This thyme is a great addition to lasagna. 

But you can use this while sautéing or roasting meats. Including hog, chicken, lamb, and beef. Also, if you want to salvage over-smoked meat, use this thyme. 

However, they’re most suited for preparing any type of potato dish you can think of. So if you want mashed potatoes, buy some of this thyme.

Type 3: Orange Balsam Thyme

The aroma and flavor of orange balsam thyme are exquisite. So it can be used in any dish that calls for Thyme. This Thyme, with its pink and blue flowers, thrives in the sun. Plant them early in summer.

However, one simple point should be kept in mind. A third of the Orange Balsam Thyme should be cut back after it blooms. 

If you enjoy a fruity aroma, this thyme will quickly become your favorite. It’s not quite the same as an orange spice, which is commonly used in curries. 

Rather, this thyme with orange-camphor scent is worthy of tea and kitchen experiments!

Toss some of this thyme into a potpourri to make it smell mouthwatering. You can also add it to a salad or while steaming some veggies. Use thyme to flavor cakes and to garnish other delicacies too.

Type 4: Lemon Thyme

This type of thyme is very pretty. With its pink blossoms and strong lemony aroma, it can be a good addition to your afternoon tea.

The leaves are thin and lustrous. Additionally, it is drought and heat-resistant, making it an excellent choice for hotter areas.

Citrus thyme is a fantastic addition to any dish. The thyme leaves should be finely cut before use. Add them at the end of the cooking process. Do this before they end up losing their color and aroma.

Lemon thyme is a versatile herb that can be used to season chicken, stews, seafood, and marinades. Fresh lemon thyme sprigs serve as a lovely garnish.

If you’re not looking for planting this thyme in your garden you can buy the ready-made thyme bottles. Here’s I’m mentioning some lemon thyme that you can purchase easily-

You can also play with vegetables, soups, sauces, and fillings with this thyme. If your chili tastes too much like tomatoes, add this thyme. 

Type 5: Italian Oregano Thyme

This variety of thyme is required while cooking any Italian cuisine. There’s a difference between Italian thyme and regular oreganos. The combination of Italian Oregano Thyme plus Honeyed Lamb Chops is a delicious one. 

For an exquisite dinner, blend zesty oregano thyme with other delicious and aromatic herbs. You can create a variety of seasonings for vegetables and sauces to go with them.

However, if you can’t seem to find this Italian thyme then you can use the ground thyme instead. I’m mentioning some ground thymes that are totally perfect for savory seasoning-

Wanna have a last shot? Then let’s move to the next section to have a final verdict.

Verdict: Which One is the Best? 

The ideal thyme variety for cooking is determined by the application. If you’re going to make meat dishes, we recommend English thyme!

Lemon thymes and orange balsam are great in both savory and sweet meals.

And creeping thymes are a delicious accent to a potato meal. Yet, you can experiment with stews, soups, and vegetables using these.


Can I plant thyme next to other garden herbs?

Yes, you can plant thyme next to other garden herbs. But don’t put thyme near mint. Planting mint with other herbs isn’t a good idea because of its invasive nature. 

Which section of thyme should you use?

There are many ways to add fresh thyme to a recipe. You can add all of it with all the stems. If desired, the leaflets can be plucked from their stems and scattered on top of a dish. 

Can thyme be poisonous?

Yes, thyme could be poisonous. But, it is usually harmless to use following the instructions. Although the thyme essential oil can really be harmful when taken orally. 


We have discussed everything about which thyme is best for cooking

Now, all you have to do is choose your dinner menu. Then select the compatible thyme that’ll go with your dish.

Have a yummy meal!

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