Chicken is one of the most popular sources of protein which can be healthy, tasty, and budget-friendly. It’s great for the BBQ season, meal prep, and family-friendly dinners.
It can be lean or juicy, depending on the type of chicken, and the key to flavor often comes from the seasoning.
For example, chicken breasts will need more seasoning because it’s very lean and can be difficult to make tender. While chicken thighs are naturally tastier, as there’s more fat, which can be enhanced by seasoning.
So, what are the best herbs for chicken? And how can you make it tasty? Whether you plan to cook and eat fresh chicken, or batch cook it for make-ahead meals, we have listed the best herbs that pair well with chicken dishes.
The 10 best herbs for chicken
In no particular order, here are our top 10 picks.
Of course, you can mix herbs together to make a unique blend, but we have listed the best herbs for chicken whether dried or fresh.
Cilantro, or coriander, is often used fresh to garnish all types of chicken dishes which adds plenty of flavors. It also goes well with lime to marinate chicken.
You can also use dried coriander, which has a completely different taste but can be included in a spicy blend for chicken.
Cilantro is an easy herb to use because it is lightweight and doesn’t require it to be cooked long, which is why it’s perfect for marinades and garnishes. It can instantly freshen up any dish and inject much-needed flavor.
What Goes With Cilantro? Cilantro goes perfectly well with lime and is a great marinade for grilled chicken. It also pairs well with parsley, chives, and basil. Dried coriander goes well with Indian dishes and especially in chicken curries.
Rosemary is one of the tastiest herbs for chicken and is a great all-rounder for many types of chicken dishes, especially for roasts and stews.
Fresh rosemary sprigs are often ideal for a whole chicken, which adds flavor whilst cooking and is seasoned to perfection.
In fact, using fresh rosemary sprigs can be a clever way to thread cubes of chicken on the BBQ.
Dried rosemary can also be useful, but it’s best used with a seasoning blend to marinate chicken or to sprinkle on top of cooked chicken.
What Goes With Rosemary? Rosemary pairs perfectly well with garlic and is one of the tastiest chicken marinades for roast chicken. Rosemary will also pair well with thyme, sage, mint, parsley, and oregano.
Basil is a popular herb that pairs well with chicken in Italian and Mediterranean dishes. One popular recipe is pesto chicken made with fresh basil which tastes great with tomatoes or pasta.
Dried basil also works amazingly well to give chicken plenty of flavor. For a healthy meal prep recipe, it can help transform any boring chicken breast dish.
What Goes With Basil? Basil is so good, that it’s enough to use alone with salt and black pepper. However, it pairs best with mint, lemon, and marjoram, if you want to make a delicious seasoning blend for chicken.
Oregano is a popular herb that is best used dried rather than fresh. It pairs well with healthy Italian and Mediterranean chicken dishes.
Dried oregano adds flavor and pairs well with other herbs, and usually helps complements the dish.
Although most herbs are better when fresh, many tend to agree that dried oregano is superior in terms of taste and flavor.
What Goes With Oregano? Oregano goes well with many ingredients and can be a key herb for tasty chicken marinades. For example, lemon, garlic, and olive oil pairs well with oregano.
Thyme is a popular herb in Mediterranean cuisines and can be useful in various ways to add flavor to chicken dishes.
Sprigs of fresh thyme, in particular, can be ideal for roast or slow-cook chicken dishes which helps make it very tasty.
Dried thyme is also great for seasoning blends and can be ideal for grilled chicken recipes on the BBQ.
What Goes With Thyme? If you’re using fresh thyme, it pairs very well with fresh parsley. However, dried thyme pairs well with most herb seasonings, and mostly dried rosemary and dried oregano.
Compared to other herbs, dill is more delicate and should not be overcooked, but it pairs fantastically well with chicken and sauces.
Dried and fresh dill can be useful in many ways for chicken dishes.
If you have fresh dill, it’s more suitable for chicken soups or stews for garnish. While dried dill can be part of a seasoning blend, sauce, or marinade for chicken.
What Goes With Dill? As dill is delicate and mild, it can go well with most herbs in a seasoning blend, or with lemon in a chicken marinade. In particular, dill pairs well with cilantro, parsley, basil, and mint.
Tarragon adds plenty of personality to chicken dishes but it best used when fresh because it brings out all its flavor and has a truly amazing taste.
In fact, its sweet aroma is similar to anise and fennel.
You can also use tarragon sprigs for roast chicken dishes or slow cooking chicken dishes which brings out its aromatic flavor.
What Goes With Tarragon? Fresh tarragon pairs well with fresh parsley for chicken dishes, but it can also go well with dill and basil.
8. Bay Leaves
Bay leaves have a very distinctive flavor and fragrance which can be ideal for slow-cooking chicken recipes like curries, stews, and soups.
You can use fresh or dried bay leaves, but the more common and preferable method is to use dried bay leaves for cooking and remove the leaves before serving the dish.
While they might not add strong flavor or aroma, bay leaves are hugely beneficial to bring a chicken recipe together.
What Goes With Bay Leaves? It’s common to pair bay leaves with other ingredients for chicken dishes. In particular, parsley or oregano goes well with bay leaves.
Sage is popular in Mediterranean cooking and has a strong flavor profile which can be ideal for cooking chicken.
The good news is that sage is great to use, whether dried or fresh because it combines well with other ingredients and can taste amazing with chicken.
If you have already heard of sage and onion seasoning, you will know that these two ingredients are powerful and can truly enhance recipes.
However, it’s important to not use too much sage because it can kill the chicken dish, and always use what measurements that the recipe calls for.
What Goes With Sage? If you’re looking for a tasty seasoning blend, sage pairs well with parsley and thyme.
Marjoram, which is closely related to oregano in Middle Eastern cuisine, is a sweet herb with citrus flavors too.
You can use fresh or dried marjoram for chicken marinades which goes well with chicken roasts and slow-cooking recipes.
What Goes With Marjoram? It goes well with oregano, parsley, and basil. It is sometimes mistaken for oregano too.
Fresh Herbs Vs Dried Herbs For Chicken – which is best?
Certain herbs will taste better fresh or dried which can depend on various factors such as the type of dish and the type of herb.
For chicken recipes, fresh and dried herbs can truly enhance the dish and add plenty of flavors.
Many home cooks may prefer to use fresh herbs which can be perfect for garnish and freshness, but they only stay fresh for a certain period of time.
Dried herbs, on the other hand, have plenty of great uses and can be more budget-friendly because they can be kept in the cupboard for years and used for seasoning blends.
A great example is Herbes de Provence, which is one of the best, if not the best, herb seasoning blend for chicken which consists of a mixture of dried herbs.
However, it’s important to understand the differences and why you would use them, to avoid confusion.
Cooking chicken with fresh herbs
The first thought that comes to mind is garnishing chicken recipes with cilantro or parsley which is great for curries and grilled recipes.
However, fresh herbs can be used in various ways for chicken recipes such as adding fresh sprigs to chicken whilst roasting to bring out the flavors.
Also, certain fresh herbs can be ideal to use earlier in some chicken recipes which releases the flavor and complements the other ingredients.
Ultimately, it does depend on the type of chicken recipe you plan to cook.
Cooking chicken with dried herbs
Dried herbs are stronger and their flavor is far more concentrated compared to fresh herbs which means you should use specific measurements.
The main benefit of dried herbs is that they’re easy and convenient to store all year round, and they are too budget-friendly once stored in your pantry.
Dried herbs can be used to make a seasoning blend, as well as marinating chicken, and they are great for stews, soups, curries and various chicken dishes.
It’s simply a great way to season your chicken recipe to perfection.
Are Dried and Fresh Herbs Interchangeable for chicken recipes?
Can you substitute fresh herbs with dried herbs? It depends on the herb and the type of dish.
It’s important to remember that dried herbs are more powerful because of its concentrated flavor which is why it’s vital to know the measurements.