Difference between Oregano and Marjoram

The Difference between Oregano and Marjoram

I have this love for growing herbs and they truly are one of my favorite plants to have in the garden.

Every spring and sometimes fall I like to incorporate a new herb variety; back in February this began with Marjoram.

This herb was on my inventory sheet for several years but I wasn’t sure because it seemed very similar to oregano.  It didn’t take long to uncover the differences between oregano and marjoram beginning with taste.

Both are members of the mint-family; each one has a distinct scent and flavor that sets them apart.

The Taste of Oregano

The Oregano Taste

I’ve been growing oregano for years, it’s one of those perennial herbs that does well on its own and I normally have access to stems year-round, unless I trim to the base in the fall.

The flavor tends to be a little strong, say almost bitter and spicy at the same time.  It’s not very good by itself but wow does it ever add some amazing flavor to certain meals.

In my opinion oregano is best used as a fresh ingredient with slow cooked meals because those strong flavors penetrate perfectly, especially in tomato sauce.

I also enjoy fresh chopped oregano with cooked vegetables, salad dressings and I really like to incorporate in marinades for beef, chicken, lamb and pork.

Hymn, maybe I should begin sharing some of these recipes?

Taste between Oregano and Marjoram

Oregano and Marjoram Differences

Oregano and marjoram have some distinct differences.

They also have some similarities beginning with their leaves having that same oval flat shape.

The pair are very common among European dishes, considered a traditional ingredient.  I would never substitute one for the other because their taste if very different.

They also bloom circular floral spikes when temperatures are warmer making them both a neat addition to any garden.

At first glance they appear similar, but notice the stem texture and leaf appearance are not identical.

Even though these herbs both belong to the mint family, they differ in taste, appearance and texture.

Marjoram in the Garden

The Marjoram Taste

I fell in love with marjoram right away because its flavor is mild, sweet and delicate.  Which means I knew right away it would be fantastic with seafood and it’s really good fresh with light pasta or tuna salads.

With cooked meals I add it freshly chopped towards the end of a cooking period.

An example would be with grilled or baked salmon, drizzle a melted peppered lemon butter over the top and cook.  Then sprinkle fresh chopped marjoram towards the last couple minutes of cook time and enjoy.

This is so good!

Marjoram is also very easy to grow and for most climates further north it would be an annual.

I transplanted mine in February prior to a cold spell and it did amazing.  So, for gardeners down south you may be able to carry it over from one season to the next.

Don’t hesitate to welcome both oregano and marjoram in the garden because they can make a wonderful entrance in the kitchen through their distinct scent and flavor.

Herbs are wonderful and let's discover the difference between Oregano and Marjoram. #Herbs, #GardenTips


  1. Patti says:

    I used to grow all kinds of herbs but have gotten away from them the last few years. I still have oregano but I forgot all about marjoram. I love the way fresh marjoram smells. Thanks for reminding me about this. I’m putting it on the list!

    1. Carole says:

      I’m loving it and find that my food just taste so much better with fresh herbs. Just another one of those things my grandma taught me.

  2. Christine says:

    Your post couldn’t have come at a better time, Carole! I’ll be stopping off at a few of our local nurseries today to pick some perennials and a few more herbs, guess what I’ll be grabbing first! I’ve never grown marjoram before, but I have used dry in many of my recipes and love it! Thanks for the tips! Have a blessed weekend!

    1. Carole says:

      A little jealious a day just out and about walking through nurseries sounds fantastic. It’s a shame we don’t live closer, Enjoy!

  3. I have plenty of oregano, but no marjoram. I really need to find some and tuck it away here and there. I can’t remember the last time I cooked with it, but I’m sure I have some in the cupboard so I’m going to try it the next time I make fish. Thanks!

    1. Carole says:

      You’re welcome and it’s so much better fresh than dried. Enjoy!

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