What Are the Best Herbs for Cooking Beef, Really? You’ll Be Surprised

best herbs for cooking beef

According to chef Martin, “Fresh thyme, rosemary, and basil complement beef perfectly with their flavors.”

Knowing which herbs pair best with beef can boost its taste to new heights. Fresh thyme, rosemary and basil are top choices – their lively flavors transport meat to heavenly heights while tenderizing in seconds. 

With the right techniques, you’ll wow loved ones with amazingly flavored beef. Keep reading to discover herbs and tricks for incredible results!

Key Takeaways

The best fresh herbs for cooking beef include thyme, rosemary, and basil, as they complement beef perfectly with their flavors. Dried herbs like oregano, thyme, and rosemary also add robust seasoning to beef dishes.

Best Herbs to Make Beef Melt in Your Mouth

When cooking beef dishes, a key factor in achieving melt-in-your-mouth tenderness is using the right seasonings. Both fresh or dried herbs add incredible flavor that truly enhances the juiciness of classic beef. 

This guide explores the top herbs to use for flavoring beef whether you choose fresh varieties like fresh thyme, basil leaves and dried rosemary or reach for dried spices such as garlic powder.

Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs like fresh thyme add bright, vibrant tastes to beef. Their lively flavors come through strongly compared to dried herbs. 

Some top options to consider for flavoring beef include fresh thyme, which complements beef perfectly with its woodsy, earthy taste alongside basil leaves that add a fresh, summery twist…

  • Fresh thyme – A staple herb for beef, the woodsy, earthy flavor of fresh thyme complements beef perfectly. Its natural oils seep into the meat for an intense herbal taste.
  • Basil leaves – For a fresh, summery twist, add chopped basil leaves into ground beef or beef patties. The slightly sweet, peppery taste of fresh basil livens up plain beef.
  • Fresh rosemary – While dried rosemary works well, fresh rosemary adds an extra dimension of piney flavor to steaks, roasts or kebabs. Use a small bundle to grill alongside beef.
HerbFlavor DescriptionBest Used In
Fresh thymeWoodsy, earthyGround beef, stew meat
Basil leavesFresh, peppery, slightly sweetGround beef, patties
Fresh rosemaryPiney, robustSteaks, roasts, kebabs

Dried Herbs

While not as vibrant as fresh herbs, dried herbs like dried rosemary and garlic powder still provide robust seasoning to beef dishes. Some top dried herb choices for flavoring beef are:

  • Dried rosemary – A classic herb for beef, dried rosemary imparts a robust woody taste. Sprinkle into ground beef, patty mixes or over roasted beef.
  • Oregano – Tangy, warm oregano is delicious with Italian-flavored beef dishes like meatballs or meatloaf.
  • Thyme – While fresh thyme is best, dried thyme still packs herbaceous flavor when added to braised beef dishes.
  • Garlic powder – An easy way to add a subtle savory taste without extra prep, garlic powder levels up plain ground beef.
  • Onion powder – Like garlic powder, dried onion powder whisks extra flavor into ground beef without extra work.
HerbDescriptionPairs Well With
Dried rosemaryRobust, woodyGround beef, roasts
OreganoTangy, warmMeatballs, meatloaf
Dried thymeHerbaceousBraised beef
Garlic powderSavoryGround beef
Onion powderSavoryGround beef

Flavor Boosters

Certain ingredients beyond herbs can further amp up the taste of beef. Some top flavor boosters for beef include black pepper, which enhances flavor with its spicy kick…

  • Black pepper – A staple in most beef dishes, black pepper’s spicy kick enhances the flavor of beef. Freshly cracked pepper elevates steaks, roasts or kebabs.
  • Salt – In moderation, salt draws out the beefy flavors and aids browning. Use kosher or sea salt for best results.
  • Worcestershire sauce – A few dashes amps up the umami depth in meatloaf, burgers or beef stews. Its signature flavor blends well.
  • Red wine – A splash of dry red wine, like cabernet or merlot, adds complexity when braising short ribs or chuck roast.
IngredientDescriptionBest Used With
Black pepperSpicy kickSteaks, kebabs, roasts
SaltAmplifies beef flavorAll beef
Worcestershire sauceUmami boostBurgers, meatloaf, stews
Red wineComplex flavorBraised beef
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Credit : Vil and Zoe’s Galley

How to Use Fresh Herbs for Maximum Beef Flavor

When looking to take the taste of beef to new heights, fresh herbs are unparalleled in enhancing flavor. This guide explores the top fresh herb varieties and techniques for truly optimizing beef’s natural taste. 

Different fresh herbs pair beautifully with various types of meat like steak or roast beef. Properly preparing chopped fresh herbs and allowing time for strong flavors to infuse ensures a finished beef dish that is melt-in-your mouth delicious.

best herbs for cooking beef

Choosing Fresh Herbs

Certain fresh herbs taste great with different types of meat…

  • Rosemary – Pairs beautifully with red meat like steak or roast beef thanks to its rustic pine flavor…
  • Thyme – The woodsy taste of thyme works well with ground beef, meatloaf or stew meat…
  • Basil – Imparts a bright, peppery flare that tastes great with burgers or patties.
HerbBest Meat Pairings
RosemarySteak, roast beef
ThymeGround beef, meatloaf, stew meat
BasilBurgers, patties

Preparing Fresh Herbs

Chop or tear fresh herbs into small pieces for best infusion of strong flavors into beef:

  • For kebabs or sautéed beef, add CHOPPED FRESH herbs directly into the meat before cooking.
  • Stuff whole sprigs inside roasts or rolled cuts before tying/securing.
  • Baste steaks or grilled items with an oil-based HERB MARINADE.

Cooking with Fresh Herbs

For maximum fresh herb flavor:

  • Sauté chopped herbs in OLIVE OIL until fragrant, then add browned beef.
  • Make herb butter or HERB COMPOUND BUTTER to top steaks and roasts during the last few minutes of cooking.
  • Infuse steamed veggie or broth side dishes with fresh sprigs simmered for a LONG TIME.

Fresh Herb Pairings

Certain herb blends that have been used for ages taste especially well with beef:

  • Rosemary-thyme pairs beautifully with roast beef.
  • Oregano, basil and garlic complement any Italian-style beef dish.
  • BAY LEAVES are a classic addition to beef stews and braises.

By selecting the right fresh herbs that compliment various types of meat and properly preparing chopped fresh herbs to infuse their strong flavors over a long time, beef’s natural taste is taken to new heights (1). With the right fresh herb approach, melt-in-your mouth beef results are ensured.

Less Common Herbs That Take Beef to New Heights

While herbs like thyme and rosemary are revered beef seasonings, exploring less common varieties unlocks potential for unprecedented beef flavors. 

This guide highlights herbs that deliver bold tastes when incorporated properly into various cooking methods and processes. 

Herbs such as mustard powder, sage and savory impart unique notes that amplify beef to new tastes heights.

Mustard Powder

A sprinkle of mustard powder adds welcome tang without extra moisture, making it a versatile steak seasoning for grilled cuts like pan-seared steak (2).


Although common in poultry dishes, sage’s earthy notes pair beautifully with potroast through its long braising cooking method.


With its peppery-mint quality, savory is a delicious herb for herb-crusted beef tenderloin cooked sous vide or a stuffing under the fat cap of a standing rib roast (3).

HerbDescriptionRecommended Preparation
Mustard powderWelcome tangSteak seasoning, coats
SageEarthy, pairs with braised beefPot roast, braised short ribs
SavoryPeppery-mintHerb crusts, stuffing rib roasts

Herb Preparation

To highlight their UNIQUE flavor in cooking methods like pan-searing, herb them:

  • Mix powdered herbs into SALT AND PEPPER or make a paste with oil.
  • Tuck ROSEMARY SPRIGS or sage leaves under the fat cap of a standing rib roast.

Pairing with Complementary Herbs

Certain seasoning blends that also include rosemary and oregano magnify roast beef’s flavors…

  • Mustard powder with garlic and thyme.
  • Rosemary and oregano for roast beef or kebabs.
  • Sage and savory for chicken-fried or pan-seared steaks.

Exploring lesser-known herbs opens new possibilities for maximum beef flavor based on tailored cooking methods and processes. 

Herbs provide multi-dimensional tastes that elevate steaks and roasts to unprecedented heights when incorporated as part of savvy beef seasonings.

How to Amp Up Beef Flavor with Herb Sauces and Compounds Butters

Beyond basic seasoning, certain herb-infused condiments take beef to new taste heights during and after the cooking process. Here are techniques to layer on extra herbal flavor:

Herb Sauces

  • Beef stroganoff gains depth from a sour cream-based sauce spiked with DRIED HERBS like thyme (4). 
  • Chimichurri is an Argentinian parsley oregano sauce that PAIRS BEAUTIFULLY with grilled steak (5).

Compound Butters

Softened butter mixed with chopped HERBS AND SPICES creates an easy finishing flourish:

  • Garlic-rosemary melts over a tenderloin roast or mashed POTATOES.
  • Lemon-dill transforms pan-seared fish but boosts beef burgers too.
CondimentHerb ProfileCooking Use
Beef stroganoff saucethymeSimmered cut of beef
Chimichurriparsley, oreganoMarinade or topping
Garlic rosemary butterrosemary SPRIGSRoast or sides

Cooking with Herb Butters

Baste steaks or brush onto rolls during the last few minutes of COOKING WITH HERBS to infuse without overpowering the FLAVOR OF THE MEAT.

Herb Oil Finishes

Chimichurri, basil or mixed fresh HERB OIL brings vibrancy to simply prepared beef like skirt steak or carpaccio.

Condiments amplify the natural savoriness of beef by incorporating carefully chosen HERBS AND SPICES. Experimenting enhances the total dining experience far beyond plain SALT AND PEPPER seasoning.


Can ice cube be used in beef stew?

Yes, ice cube can add a nice refreshing element when added to beef stews during the last few minutes of cooking. 

The ice cools down the stew to just below simmering temperature while melting, allowing you to enjoy the stew without having to wait for it to fully cool. Use about 4-6 ice cubes per serving.

Does grass fed beef work well in beef stew?

Grass fed beef works very well in beef stew. The extra omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in grass fed beef lend themselves to slow, long cooking methods like stew. 

The beef will be very tender and flavorful after hours of simmering. Opt for chuck, round or shank cuts of grass fed beef which are best for stews.

What herbs pair well with beef?

Some of the best fresh herbs to pair with beef include rosemary, thyme, oregano and dill weed. Fresh or dried bay leaves also add a wonderful fragrant aroma to beef dishes. For ground beef, parsley is a classic herb that tastes great. 

Dried herbs like basil and marjoram can also be used. When grilling steaks, fresh rosemary and thyme sprigs are delicious when placed right on top of the steak before and during cooking.

Is slow cooker good for cooking beef?

The slow cooker is excellent for cooking beef due to the low and slow cooking method. Cuts like chuck roast, brisket and short ribs become fall-off-the-bone tender when cooked all day in a slow cooker. 

You can make beef stews, chili, soups and more without having to constantly monitor the cooking. All you need is your protein, sauce or liquid and seasonings in the morning, and by dinnertime a delicious meal is ready without using the oven in warmer months.

Which cuts of beef are best for ground beef?

The most common cuts used for ground beef include chuck, round and sirloin. Chuck has more fat marbling which results in juicier burgers and meatloaf. Round is leaner which works well for low-fat recipes. 

Sirloin gives ground beef a beefier flavor. Short ribs can be ground for specialty burgers. Ask your butcher for a mixture of chuck and round for balanced moisture and taste when making ground beef recipes like tacos, meatballs and Casseroles.


Herbs add amazing flavors to beef that make your mouth water. When you use the right fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme, or dried herbs like oregano, your beef will be so tender and taste better than you can imagine. 

Remember to chop your herbs finely so their big flavors get into the beef real good. Try mixing herbs together too – rosemary and garlic is one of my favorites for steaks on the barbecue.

Always aim to make your meals special by picking the best cuts like T-bone steaks, and treating yourself and your family to new tastes. 

Don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen. By exploring different herbs, you’ll impress everyone with beef that’s out of this world delicious. Before you know it, you’ll be an herb master too! I hope these tips help you cook up some truly terrific beef.

Let me know if you have any other questions! Leave a comment below and I’d be happy to help share more of my favorite herb pairings for the most succulent beef.


  1. https://www.thespruceeats.com/culinary-herbs-for-beef-1761805
  2. https://stepawayfromthecarbs.com/mustard-dry-rub/
  3. https://www.recipetineats.com/beef-tenderloin-roast/
  4. https://www.food.com/recipe/beef-stroganov-sauteed-beef-in-sour-cream-sauce-97243
  5. https://smartinthekitchen.com/2018/09/chimichurri/

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