12 Best Herbs to Flavor Fish and Seafood

Roasted white fish fillet with cream sauce and baby carrots on a plate

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Fish can be described in many ways—from sweet and delicate to strong or muddy—regardless, fish and seafood are anything but boring when you add flavor with one or more of these 12 delicious herbs.

Each of these flavors used alone or in combination can enhance the delicate natural taste of fish or seafood.

Illustration of herbs commonly used with fish and seafood
 The Spruce / Melissa Ling
  • 01 of 12


    Cod and basil
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    Basil is perfect for fish. Be sure to try different varieties of basil, as the taste varies from type to type—sweet basil, holy basil, and Thai basil. Some basil recipes to try:

  • 02 of 12

    Bay Leaf

    Bay leaves
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    Bay leaves are a member of the laurel family. Its unique scent is perfectly paired with delicate-tasting fish, such as cod or tilapia. Bay leaves can also be used to flavor chowders and fish soups. You cannot go wrong with this combination. Some recipes to try include:

  • 03 of 12


    Scallops with chives
    Paul Lecat / Getty Images

    Chives can be used in marinades and sauces, added to compound butters, or sprinkled over the top of white fish during cooking. It adds both a hint of sharp flavor and also color to your seafood dishes. Try the following recipes:

  • 04 of 12


    Salmon and dill
    Jan Bengtsson / Getty Images

    Dill offers the most basic herbal pairing for fish and seafood. Dill is especially good for adding delicate punch in many fish and seafood recipes. Some recipes you can try include:

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Lemon Balm

    Lemon balm
    Wally Eberhart / Getty Images

    Lemon balm is a prolific herb that has a gentle lemony flavor that is just the thing to perk up a fish dish. You can use it for any of the hundreds of recipes that might call for lemon flavoring. You can sprinkle it over prepared fish as a colorful garnish that also adds taste.

  • 06 of 12


    Fish stuffed with marjoram herb
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    Sweet and savory, marjoram is like a milder, less aggressive form of oregano. It is an herb in the mint family. Many say that it has a slight taste of citrus and sweet pine. It grows wild in Mediterranean countries such as Cyprus, Turkey, and Greece.

  • 07 of 12


    Salmon with mint and seasoning
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    Just a touch of mint will really improve any fish recipe. Mint effectively cuts through rich flavors to add a nice tang to any seafood. It should be used carefully, however, or else it can overpower the recipe. One recipe to try includes:

  • 08 of 12


    Riou / Getty Images

    Parsley is a juicy, green-tasting herb that supports the delicate flavors of fish and seafood quite well. Parsley is also easy to grow indoors, so you can have fresh parsley on hand for brightening up seafood dishes all winter long. Parsley makes a great garnish sprinkled over the top of almost any fish, but some specific recipes to try include:

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12


    Potted Tarragon and Two Pebbles on a Wooden Plank
    Sue Wilson / Getty Images

    Tarragon is a staple in French cooking, and many Americans are now discovering how delicious this herb is. It adds a light, delicate flavor to fish dishes. Some dishes to try include:

  • 10 of 12


    Mussels and thyme
    Melina Hammer / Getty Images

    Thyme is perfect for fish and seafood. Go lighthanded with the thyme. As it cooks, the flavor becomes more intense. Some recipes you can try include:

  • 11 of 12


    Grilled fish with rosemary
    wundervisuals / Getty Images

    Beautiful and fragrant, rosemary is a delightful herb for fish and seafood, and it is versatile. It can be used fresh or dry, but fresh rosemary has a bit more citrus flavor. Some recipes using rosemary include:

  • 12 of 12


    Sage, Salvia officinalis, in garden
    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Sage tastes great with fish, lending an aromatic, earthy flavor. Go lightly when seasoning with sage, as it can overpower. Cooking or freezing increases the intensity of this herb. One recipe to try includes: