Parsley vs. Basil – What are the Differences

Most recipes in the world will require that you add spices to alter different aspects of the resulting meal. For instance, you can change the color, the flavor, or even the texture depending on the spices you add. The different types of spices allow us to personalize our food the way we want, making each meal unique. Parsley and basil are such herbs that are very popular for altering the flavor and adding some color to dishes, especially European-style dishes.

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Although these herbs are quite similar in certain aspects, they have certain differences. This article aims to shed a light on these differences, allowing you to identify the best herb to use for your meal. Keep reading to learn more.

The Differences?

So, which is which? Basil or parsley? Sweet basil may come to mind when you hear about culinary basil. You can easily recognize sweet basil when it is added to a meal because it has a very intense aroma. It has a nice, spicy mint, as well as some light citrus notes.

Parsley, on the other hand, has two varieties. Have you heard about either of them? The two varieties are the curly leaf parsley and the Italian parsley.

The flavor for Parsley is quite different from basil. The difference is that parsley has a grassy and herbaceous flavor without the other minty or sweet aspects that are inhibited by basil. The Italian parsley has more flavor compared to the curly leaf parsley version.

So, are there more differences? Truth is, there are.

You can dry both these herbs and used them in that state. However, you should only use basil for the flavor quality. The main reason is that basil will retain the aroma that it has as a fresh herb. The parsley herb, however, will have a bit of flavor and aroma when it is dried up.

The appearance is also different in these two herbs. The sweet basil herb has broad leaves, compared to the Italian parsley leaves that are smaller and compound. The parsley leaves are often likened to rosettes.

One great option is to grow the herbs yourself and then use them fresh or dry them with a food dehydrator to be stored for later.

Can you use them in Place of Each Other?

If you are thinking about using one instead of the other, you should consider the flavor profiles. You can use basil to replace parsley so that you can provide your meal with a green color.

Simply rolling and chiffonading the leaves will do the trick. When you consider the sight, most people will not be able to tell the difference just by looking at them. The taste, however, will help you tell them apart.


Since parsley is mild, it will not serve your meal as basil will considering that basil has sharp and more aromatic aspects. You can use parsley in a salad but you will not get the same intensity that basil will provide.


Basil vs. parsley comparison will prove that they can be used in different ways and you can easily use one in place of the other, but only for the color. However, the parsley vs. basil comparison will prove that the tastes are different and you should figure out what you want the food to taste like to figure out which herb to use.

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Feel free to share your observations with me in the comments section!

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