What Does Tarragon Taste Like? The Surprising Answer You Need To Know

tarragon bush

A lot of new cooks ask, what does tarragon taste like? Tarragon is actually a small herb that is typically grown in Russia and in some parts of Asia. But today, it is produced in large quantities in France. Belonging to the sunflower family, this herb, especially the French variety, is very pungent.

Tarragon is typically used for pickles, vinegar, and for sour dishes. But it can also be found in many soups, stews, and other broth-based dishes especially those that contain eggs and tomatoes. Tarragon can add a very distinct flavor and it goes well with mustard, fish, meats, and is suitable for making sauces.

Knowing what tarragon tastes like is important simply because it can be used to elevate your dishes. It can help you create a distinct flavor that will surely keep your family, friends, and even customers wondering and asking for more.

The Traditional Taste And Aroma Of Tarragon

tied tarragon

In many traditional cuisines, tarragon is highly praised simply because it can create a warm sensation on the palate. Its sweet and bitter notes have been highly prized in the Middle East for thousands of years, and its flavor has never been missed by French royalty.

Tarragon is popular for its bittersweet flavor. The Russian variety has more pronounced bitterness, while the French variety has a sweeter flavor. There are also varieties that come from Mexico which is called Marigold mint. Its taste however is not as bitter or as sweet as the other varieties.


Tarragon is actually a newcomer when it comes to cooking. This is because unlike the other herbs, this was actually used as medicine by ancient civilizations. Tarragon’s pungent taste and aroma is highly sought after, it is traditionally used in Persian pickles, French vinegar and Hungarian chicken soup.

In general, the aroma of tarragon is described as being similar to anise. Many native cuisines use tarragon simply because it can create a wonderful scent. You should take note that however, some modern subspecies of Tarragon do not have any scent or aroma.

Tarragon’s Hidden Flavors

fresh tarragon

For many, tarragon is an herb that must be used correctly and sparingly. This is because when used in excess, it can actually create an overpowering flavor and aroma. But did you know that this herb actually has hidden flavors? This is the reason why some people have a love-hate relationship with tarragon.

Tarragon can actually have notes of licorice and vanilla. These two hidden flavors can be pronounced when you used tarragon in excess. Some people will detect it right away, while some will not be able to notice it at all. These flavors are the reason why tarragon is not that versatile in the kitchen.

It is very important for you to give full attention to these hidden flavors simply because these can actually make or break your dish. For example, some people love licorice and vanilla, but not in savory dishes. On the other hand, some cooks can use this to their advantage by creating subtle flavors.

Tarragon: Using It The Right Way

dried tarragon

Tarragon is supposed to be a mild herb, and as such it is intended to provide your dishes with subtle tastes. Tarragon is also quite delicate to the tongue and fragile when cooked. This is why experienced cooks recommend that you avoid using too much and that you put it in during the end of the cooking.

Tarragon should also not be used if you are planning to use it together with strong-tasting herbs and spices. This is why most people who use tarragon will do so when cooking mild dishes that involves light seasoning. When overcooked, tarragon can lose its sweetness and leave behind its bitter taste.

The most popular use of this herb is in the making of Béarnaise sauce. Tarragon is also quite popular when being cooked with fish and healthy salads that are simple, fast, and easy to make. You can use tarragon as a garnish, but try to avoid using dried tarragon as it might not be as flavorful as fresh ones.


tied fresh tarragon

Tarragon is definitely a type of herb that can be used to create amazing dishes and delectable tastes. But new cooks must learn how to use its complexity in the kitchen by doing trial and error first. As a matter of fact, I suggest that you try introducing it little by little to your family’s dishes if you want to use it.

You can do this by pairing tarragon with mild herbs. Tarragon can be added to sauces with vinegar or tomatoes, and you can use it with pickles, or when cooking eggs. This can help you gauge the strength of the herb in terms of its flavor and aroma, and it can also help you know its impact on your dishes better.

Keep in mind that tarragon has a bittersweet taste and an anise-like flavor. So if your family, or customers cannot seem to get their taste buds to like these factors, you might want to skip this herb. But if they do love them, then try to create side dishes with it first before moving on to the main course.

About the Author Emily Taylor

My name is Emily Taylor, gardening is my passion and I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone. I know that there are millions of people out there want their backyard and garden be attractive just like their front yard, so I am here to help you create your own backyard paradise.

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