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The 5 Best Substitutes for Lemongrass

If you’re a fan of Southeast Asian cuisine, you’re likely familiar with lemongrass—a fragrant stalk that’s often used as a flavoring in curries and soups.

The crisp, refreshing flavor of lemongrass is a perfect addition to any dish.

It’s not too strong or overpowering like other spices and can be used in small amounts for added aroma without overwhelming your food taste- buds.

But what do you do if you can’t find lemongrass or don’t have time to run to the store? Don’t worry.

There are plenty of substitutes for lemongrass that will give your dish the same bright flavor.

In this post, we’ll talk about what lemongrass tastes like and suggest substitutes that will bring the same delicious taste to your table.

So whether you’re whipping up a quick weeknight dinner or putting together a more complex dish for guests, we’ve got you covered.

What is Lemongrass?

what is lemongrass

Lemongrass is a gentle, lime-bearing herb that grows in the wild and can be found with other herbs such as basil.

The oils it produces have strong culinary uses and help maintain stomach acidity levels which are important for digestion.

This herb is used to make a tea that helps with digestion and can be found pre-packaged at most health food stores.

Lemongrass essential oil can also be rubbed on the stomach or added to baths to help with relaxation and stress relief.

In terms of taste, lemongrass is citrusy and tangy with a slightly sweet flavor.

It is often used in Asian cuisine, particularly Thai dishes.

Lemongrass can be used fresh, frozen, or dried.

When using fresh lemongrass, the bottom white part of the stalk should be removed as it is tough and fibrous.

It’s important to note that a little goes a long way with this herb as it is quite potent.

Lemongrass is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different dishes.

It pairs well with fish, chicken, and other seafood. Lemongrass can also be used in soups, curries, and stir-fries.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Lemongrass

Lemongrass is unique citrus that has been used for centuries in Thai cuisine.

The problem? It’s not easy to find.

But fear not, because we’ve found five substitutes you can use instead–all with their interesting flavors and properties galore.

1 – Galangal

galangal

First and foremost, galangal is a root. It’s a plant that’s in the same family as ginger.

You can find it fresh or powdered. This ingredient is quite popular in Thai cuisine.

Galangal has a rather earthy taste with citrus undertones.

It’s worth mentioning that galangal is an excellent lemongrass substitute because it has a similar flavor.

The main difference is that galangal is more pungent.

When substituting galangal for lemongrass, use the same amount.

You can also use this ingredient in curries, soups, and stir-fries.

Remember that galangal goes well with fish, poultry, and beef.

2 – Kaffir Lime Leaves

kaffir lime leaves

The next best lemongrass substitute on our list is kaffir lime leaves.

These leaves come from a citrus tree that’s native to Southeast Asia.

The tree is also known as makrut lime or Mauritius papeda.

Kaffir lime leaves have a strong citrus flavor with a hint of mint.

You can find them fresh, frozen, or dried.

When using fresh leaves, make sure to remove the central vein.

In terms of flavor, kaffir lime leaves are quite similar to lemongrass.

The main difference is that kaffir lime leaves are more citrusy.

When substituting kaffir lime leaves for lemongrass, use two leaves for each stalk of lemongrass.

There are several dishes that you can make with kaffir lime leaves.

Our favorites include tom yum soup, green curry, and Massaman curry.

3 – Lemongrass Paste

lemongrass paste

If you can’t find lemongrass or galangal, lemongrass paste is a great alternative.

This ingredient is made from ground lemongrass, garlic, and salt.

It’s available in most supermarkets or online.

Lemongrass paste has a strong citrus flavor that’s slightly sweet.

You can use the paste in curries, soups, and stir-fries.

When substituting lemongrass paste for fresh lemongrass, use one teaspoon for every two stalks.

Keep in mind that lemongrass paste is quite concentrated.

Therefore, you don’t need to use a lot of it.

A little goes a long way.

4 – Lemon Zest

lemon zest

Lemon zest is a great substitute for lemongrass for a milder citrus flavor.

Zesting a lemon is easy–use a Microplane or fine grater.

Lemon zest has a bright, refreshing taste perfect for desserts and cocktails.

You can also use it in savory dishes like chicken or fish.

In terms of flavor, lemon zest is similar to lemongrass.

The main difference is that it’s not as intense.

When substituting lemon zest for lemongrass, use one teaspoon for every two stalks.

You can use lemon zest in various dishes, both sweet and savory.

Some of our favorites include:

  • Lemon bars.
  • Lemon meringue pie.
  • Lemon poppyseed muffins.
  • Citrus salad.
  • Chicken piccata.
  • Fish tacos.

5 – Lemon Verbena

lemon verbena

Another great lemongrass substitute is lemon verbena.

This herb has a strong lemon flavor with minty undertones.

It’s also quite fragrant. Lemon verbena goes well in both sweet and savory dishes.

You can use it to make syrups, jams, jellies, and ice cream.

It’s also great in savory dishes like chicken and fish.

When substituting lemon verbena for lemongrass, use one teaspoon of leaves for each stalk of lemongrass.

You can also use this ingredient in curries, soups, and stir-fries.

You can find lemon verbena fresh, dried, or powdered.

If you can’t find it at your local grocery store, try an herb or specialty food store.

Conclusion

Lemongrass is a delicious and fragrant herb that can be used in many dishes.

However, if you don’t have access to lemongrass or want to try something different, these five substitutes will give your dish the perfect flavor profile.

Each of these substitutes has a similar taste and can be used in many of the same dishes.

So, go ahead and experiment with different flavors to find your perfect match.

Do you have a favorite lemongrass substitute? Let us know in the comments below.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Lemongrass

The 5 Best Substitutes for Lemongrass
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • Galangal
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • Lemongrass Paste
  • Lemon Zest
  • Lemon Verbena

Instructions

  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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