Thyme is an herb whose small leaves grow on clusters of thin stems. Thyme is used to season all kinds of dishes, either by itself or as part of a blend or bouquet garni alongside other common herbs like rosemary, sage, and marjoram. Thyme (pronounced "time") is used in a number of cuisines, including European, British, Mediterranean, African, Latin and Central American, regional American, and the Caribbean.
Common thyme and lemon thyme are the varieties most often used in cooking. Lemon thyme looks similar to common thyme but offers a distinctive lemon aroma and flavor. You may also encounter woolly thyme, creeping thyme, wild thyme, and elfin thyme—all of which are better suited for rock garden filler than culinary use.
While dried thyme possesses a nearly identical flavor profile to its fresh counterpart, it typically needs to be rehydrated—whether on its own or during the cooking process (i.e. adding to a braised dish or bread dough), but use one-third as much dried thyme as you would use fresh.
Fresh thyme has a pronounced, concentrated herbal flavor with sharp grass, wood, and floral notes (like lavender and rosemary). Lemon thyme’s citrus fragrance is the most prominent note in that variety. Forms of thyme include fresh and dried herbs and essential oil. Thymol is one of a naturally occurring class of compounds known as biocides.
Thyme is typically used in savory dishes like braised or roasted meat, vegetables, or fish, as well as in savory baking. It can also be used to add flavor and depth to marinades, soups and stocks, cocktail elements, and teas.