9 Best Kaffir Lime Leaves Substitutes

If you’ve ever cooked Thai food before, you know that Kaffir lime leaves are one of the main flavors in many dishes.

There are a lot of great reasons to add kaffir lime leaves to your cooking. They add a fantastic citrusy flavor, and they’re said to have some amazing health benefits, too.

But what if you can’t find kaffir lime leaves?

You’re in luck! In this article, I’m sharing nine great kaffir lime leaves substitutes, so you can enjoy the flavor of this popular herb no matter what.

Here are a few different substitutes that work well in place of kaffir lime leaves.

9 Best Kaffir Lime Leaves Substitutes

The best substitutes for kaffir lime leaves are bay leaves and lime or lemon zest. You can also use lemon thyme, lemongrass, and Persian limes as kaffir lime leaves substitute in most recipes.

Whether you’re looking for a substitution for a recipe or just to get your fix, these kaffir lime leaves substitutes will do the trick.

1. Bay Leaves

Bay Leaf Substitutes

What are bay leaves? Bay leaves are a type of aromatic leaf that’s often used in cooking. You don’t actually consume bay leaves; rather, they’re only used for flavoring a meal and then thrown away before serving.

They have a slightly bitter, astringent flavor and can be used to add flavor to soups, stews, and braises.

If you’re looking for a substitute for kaffir lime leaves in soup or curry, try bay leaves. Bay leaves have a similar citrusy flavor, and they’ll add a nice depth of flavor to your dish.

When substituting, use one bay leaf for every kaffir lime leaf called for in the recipe.

2. Lime or Lemon Zest

Lemon Zest

Lime zest is the outermost peel of the lime, and it’s a great way to add flavor to a dish without using the juice. It has a strong citrusy flavor and aroma, similar to kaffir lime leaves.

If you’re looking for kaffir lime leaves substitute in a recipe, try using lime or lemon zest. You can use a Microplane to grate the zest directly into your dish.

Kaffir lime leaves can also be replaced with lemon zest. However, lemon zest has a touch of sweetness to it in addition to the sourness of citrus.

Start with a small amount and add more to taste. When substituting, use one and a half teaspoons of zest for every kaffir lime leaf called for in the recipe.

You may use a combination of lemon zest and lime zest rather than just lime to add more depth to the citrus flavor.

3. Lemon Thyme

Lemon thyme is a type of thyme that has a strong lemon flavor. It’s often used to flavor fish, chicken, and vegetables. They can be used whole or chopped in all kinds of dishes.

If you’re looking for kaffir lime leaves replacement in a dish, go with lemon thyme. The taste is similar, though not identical. The lemon thyme is less harsh than normal thyme, allowing you to use more of it according to your preferences.

When substituting, use one teaspoon of lemon thyme for every kaffir lime leaf called for in the recipe.

4. Lemongrass

Lemongrass is a type of grass that has a strong lemon flavor. It’s used in Asian cuisine to flavor curries, soups, and stir-fries. You can find fresh lemongrass at most Asian markets.

If you’re in need of a substitute for kaffir lime leaves, consider lemongrass. Lemongrass has a similar citrusy flavor and can be used in the same way as kaffir lime leaves.

Lemongrass is a wonderful culinary spice, but it’s hard to chew; therefore, before serving, remove big pieces or finely grate them if you want to keep the ingredient in.

When substituting, use one and a half or two tablespoons of minced lemongrass for every kaffir lime leaf called for in the recipe.

5. Persian Limes

Persian limes are a type of lime that’s small and round with a thin skin. They’re very juicy and have a strong sour flavor.

It’s frequently known as Tahiti lime, and it’s the most popular kind in the United States. You can find them fresh or bottled at most grocery stores.

Persian limes may be used to replace kaffir lime leaves in certain dishes. The taste is similar, though not identical. You’ll get the sourness of citrus without the bitterness of kaffir lime leaves.

Persian limes are generally seedless, so you don’t need to worry before using them. When substituting, use one tablespoon of lime juice for every kaffir lime leaf called for in the recipe.

6. Lime Juice

Lime Juice Substitutes

Lime juice is a tart, acidic liquid that’s extracted from limes. It has a sour, tangy flavor and is used to add flavor to food or as a drink mixer. You can find lime juice bottled or fresh at most grocery stores.

Freshly squeezed lime juice is preferable since it has a greater flavor and is more authentic than the bottled variety.

Lime juice will provide a sour, citrusy flavor to your dish without the bitterness of kaffir lime leaves. It is an excellent alternative when making Thai curry pastes or brothy dishes like soups and stews, and also works well in marinades.

When substituting, use one tablespoon of lime juice for every kaffir lime leaf called for in the recipe. You can even add more until you’re happy with the taste.

7. Curry leaves

Curry leaves are decorative, aromatic leaves that are frequently used in Indian cuisine. They have a strong, peppery flavor and are used to add flavor to curries, lentils, and rice. You can find them fresh or dried at most Indian grocery stores.

Curry leaves are a good substitute for kaffir lime leaves. They have a similar flavor to kaffir lime leaves and can be used in the same way.

Curry leaves are also quite fragrant and will add an aromatic dimension to your dish. When substituting, use about 1-2 fresh or dried curry leaves for every kaffir lime leaf called for in the recipe.

8. Thai Basil

If you’re looking for a substitute for kaffir lime leaves, Thai basil is a great option. It has a similar flavor to kaffir lime leaves and can be used in the same way.

Thai basil is an aromatic herb that has a strong, minty flavor. It’s used in Thai cuisine to flavor curries, stir-fries, and soups. It’s readily accessible in most Thai supermarkets, either fresh or dry.

Thai basil is also quite fragrant and will add an aromatic dimension to your dish. It’s used in many different dishes such as curries, noodles, or some summer rolls.

9. Other Citrus Leaves

If you can’t find any of the substitutes listed above, you can also use other citrus leaves. This includes leaves from oranges, lemons, or grapefruits.

It’s preferable to use fresh leaves, which are highly fragrant, rather than dried ones, which are usually quite harsh. These leaves won’t have the same flavor as kaffir lime leaves, but they will provide a tart citrus flavor to your dish.

You may use 1.5 of the citrus leaves to replace kaffir leaves, although this is not necessary. You may always increase the amount according to your personal preference.

What are Kaffir Lime Leaves?

Kaffir lime leaves are a common ingredient in Thai cuisine. They have a strong, citrusy flavor and aroma, and they’re used to add flavor to soups, curries, and stir-fries.

The leaves are also used in traditional medicine, and they’re said to have many health benefits.

Kaffir lime leaves are usually sold fresh, frozen, or dried. If you can’t find them at your local grocery store, you may be able to find them at an Asian market.

Related Questions:

What does kaffir lime leaves taste like?

These leaves have a very sour and acidic taste that is great for adding flavor to many different dishes. If you don’t have them growing in your own garden, you can find them at most Asian grocery stores.

What is the difference between kaffir lime and lime?

The kaffir lime is different than the more common lime that is found in grocery stores. The skin of the kaffir lime is bumpy and the leaves are much more fragrant. They are also a bit smaller than limes.

Can I use lemon leaves instead of kaffir lime leaves?

Lemon leaves are a good substitute for kaffir lime leaves. They have a similar flavor and can be used in many of the same dishes.

Are kaffir lime leaves fresh or dried?

The leaves can be either fresh or dried, but they are more commonly found dried. When using dried leaves, you’ll need to reconstitute them by soaking them in water for about 10 minutes.

Final Words

So, if you can’t find kaffir lime leaves and are looking for a good kaffir lime leaves substitute, any of the options above should work well.

Just keep in mind that the flavor will be slightly different depending on which one you choose.

Have you tried using any of these substitutes for kaffir lime leaves before?

Give them a try the next time you’re whipping up your favorite Thai recipe! Let us know in the comments below!

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

Leave a Comment