substitute for lemongrass

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Run out of lemongrass and you only noticed this at the last moment? Can’t find lemongrass anywhere in the grocery store but need it for a recipe? If this is you, then you need to find the best substitute for lemongrass right now and this post will help you do just that!

substitute for lemongrass

Lemongrass is an aromatic herb from the Gramineae family that is native to tropical countries like India, Indonesia, and Guatemala.

This herb has no actual taste, in that is is not sweet, sour, umami, salty or bitter. Therefore, all it does is impart its lovely aroma to dishes. This herb has a flavor that can be considered lemony, grassy or herbal with hints of ginger and mint and its bold and bright flavor works well in recipes like dipping sauces, marinades, soups, stews, curries, meats, teas, and even rice dishes to name a few.

This aromatic herb is usually used in its fresh form, where it is either finely chopped or pounded to release the flavors before it is added to a dish. It is truly amazing in a dish, but you may not always have it.

Therefore, if you’re out of lemongrass or you just can’t find it, below, you will find the best substitute for lemongrass.

What are the best substitutes for lemongrass?

The best substitutes for lemongrass are dried lemongrass leaves, lemongrass powder, lemongrass paste, lemongrass extract, lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemon zest, lime zest and kaffir lime leaves.

It should be noted that while these are good alternatives for lemongrass, they are each different and will change certain aspects of your dish. Therefore, keep reading to see how to use these in place of fresh lemongrass.

Lemongrass substitute options

Dry lemongrass leaves

dry lemongrass leaves

One great substitute for fresh lemongrass is dried lemongrass leaves. These leaves can be used in all the recipes that call for fresh lemongrass including soups, marinades, curries, stews, herbal teas, and even spice rubs.

Substitution: 1 stalk of fresh lemongrass = 1 teaspoon of dried lemongrass leaves

Lemongrass powder

Another great substitute for lemongrass is lemongrass powder. It is made by grinding dried lemongrass leaves until a powder is formed. Lemongrass powder has a strong lemon and mint flavor and can be used in meats, teas, soups, stir-fries, stews, smoothies, and even to make lemongrass paste.

Substitution: 1 stalk of fresh lemongrass = 1 teaspoon of dried lemongrass powder

Lemongrass paste

Lemongrass paste can also be used in place of lemongrass. Lemongrass paste is made with ingredients like lemongrass, vegetable oil, glycerin and a few others. It can be used to replace lemongrass in dishes like soups, stews, curries, meats and more at a 1:1 ratio.

Substitution: 1 stalk of fresh lemongrass = 1 tablespoon of lemongrass paste

Lemongrass extract

Lemongrass extract

Food grade lemongrass extract will also work as an alternative to lemongrass. Lemongrass extract can be used in baking, desserts beverages, soups, sauces, dressings, beer, wine and any other recipe where a lemony-minty flavor is desired.

Lemon balm

Lemon balm

Lemon balm is an aromatic herb from the mint family that makes a perfect replacement for lemongrass. This is so because lemon balm has a citrusy, lemony flavor with hints of mint and some herbal notes which can work in place of lemongrass.

Lemon balm can be used in dishes like seafood, soups, sauces, salads, desserts as well as in teas and more.

Substitution: 1 stalk of fresh lemongrass = 5 lemon balm leaves

Lemon verbena

Lemon verbena

If you can find lemon verbena, then this herb can also be used as a sub for lemongrass. Lemon verbena is another aromatic herb that has a lemon-like aroma and can work well with fish, poultry, sauces, marinades, vegetables, salad dressings, yogurt, puddings, teas and more.

Substitution: 1 lemongrass stalk = 3 lemon verbena leaves

Lemon thyme

Lemon thyme

Lemon thyme is another citrus scented herb from the mint family that can be used in place of lemongrass. This is so because while lemon thyme has the earthy and floral aroma of regular thyme, it also has some minty notes and lemon-like notes that make it worth using in dishes that call for lemongrass in a pinch.

Lemon thyme is ideal for using in poultry, fish, salads, eggs, seafood and many other savory recipes!

Lemon zest

Lemon zest

If you have none of the other herbs listed above, chances are you do have some lemons handy. In case you do, the zest from a lemon can be used as a good replacement for lemongrass.

While lemon zest does have an intense lemon flavor, it lacks the hints of mint, ginger and the herbal notes of lemongrass. 

Nonetheless, in a pinch it does add some of that bright lemon flavor to a dish or recipe.

Substitution: 1 lemongrass stalk = zest of half a lemon

Lime zest

Lime zest

If you have no lemons, but you have limes, then lime zest can be used in the place of lemongrass. It provides the citrus flavor in many dishes even though it lacks that herbal notes. 

Substitution: 1 lemongrass stalk = zest of half a lime

Kaffir lime leaves

Kaffir Lime Leaves

Kaffir lime leaves can also be used as a substitute for lemongrass. These leaves come from the kaffir lime tree and work because they have a strong citrusy flavor that can easily replace lemongrass. The flavor is more pronounced when it is chopped or torn to release those flavors.

Use kaffir lime leaves to infuse that bright citrusy flavor into curries, soups, stir-fries and more.

There you have it! 10 amazing lemongrass alternatives that are easy to come by. So, if you’re ever out of fresh lemongrass, this list of alternatives will definitely come in handy for you. Especially since the list contains some lemongrass replacements that are super easy to access!

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