Lemongrass Substitute: 8 Best Replacements

Lemongrass is found in many Asian courses, which are delicious, mostly due to the flavor of it.

But, what if you don’t have the lemongrass needed? Can you use something else? Of course, you can; you can use one of the 8 different lemongrass substitutes that will do the trick!

Every once in a while I get so worked up on a certain recipe that I forget to buy a certain ingredient I need, and I already get half of the work done. And sometimes some ingredient is not even available to me that is crucial to the flavor of the meal.

Luckily I like to keep my kitchen hacking abilities sharp, and I’m eager to find the best replacement. I already had different solutions for these types of problems like a substitute for sage spice for example.

But, this time I’m presenting you some quality lemongrass substitutes. 🙂

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Eight Best Replacements For Lemongrass

1. Dried Lemongrass

When the plants are dried, the flavors are more concentrated. Dried lemongrass is naturally a great substitute for the fresh one, but be careful how much you used it for your dish. Adding it too much can make it dominate strongly over other flavors of the dish.

It has a significantly stronger citrusy and herbal flavor. It goes very well with meat dishes and poultry, and it’s a great match for sauces.

Add just a little bit of dried lemongrass, then give it a taste, if the flavor is not dominating over other ones, or it’s not noticeable at all, add a bit more.

For every 1 stalk of lemongrass in the recipe, add 1 teaspoon of dried lemongrass.

2. Kreung – Lemongrass Paste

Originating from Cambodia, Kreung is a lemongrass paste that is an excellent replacement for lemongrass in any dish. Along with lemongrass it also contains galangal and shallots. You can find the lemongrass paste in Asian stores or online.

It should be also available in grocery stores. It’s usually found in a tube (like many other pastes), which allows you to store it for a long time.

Just as it’s the case with dried lemongrass, use 1 tablespoon of lemongrass paste for each fresh lemongrass in the recipe. Since it contains other ingredients as well, it will have slightly different taste, but it’s a great substitute overall.

3. Kaffir Lime Leaves

Since lemongrass has a citrusy aroma, kaffir lime leaves can make a great replacement when you don’t have lemongrass on hand. Kaffir lime lives don’t have the same taste, but the aroma is very similar. Tear the leaves before adding them, and if you want to enhance the aroma you can add a bit of lime juice, that will do the trick.

Especially if you wanted to make soup, the combination of kaffir lime leaves and lime juice would be a great addition. Before serving, remove the leaf. Usually, it’s not meant to be eaten; it’s there just for the aroma.

Use one leaf for every one stalk of lemongrass in the recipe.

4. Lemon Zest

Lemon zest is possibly the best substitute for lemongrass, for a couple of different reasons. It’s easy to find, and it will bring that citrusy flavor to the dish. This substitute was recommended to me by a friend that I met online, and boy was she right.

It’s simple, accessible and easy. The dish tasted good, the replacement was ok, and it didn’t have the same taste, but it did the trick.

You can try it yourself, use one teaspoon instead of one lemongrass stalk, and give it a taste.

5. Arugula and Lemon Zest

Lemon zest only adds the citrus flavor to the dish, but the lemongrass has that and the herbal flavor as well. If you wish to have that herbal aroma too, then you can combine lemon zest with some herb, arugula for example.

With the combination of lemon zest and arugula, you will have both herbal and citrus flavor in your dish.

For every one stalk of lemongrass in the recipe, use one teaspoon of lemon zest. And if you want to achieve that herbal flavor as well, just add one arugula leaf with that teaspoon of lemon zest.

6. Lemon Verbena

Lemon verbena is very aromatic herb, just like lemongrass.

It has a citrusy flavor, but its herby flavor is more pronounced. It’s best used chopped and fresh. It should be pretty easy to get one of these, and you can buy them in a pot, and put them in your kitchen for future use.

You can even use it to give your drinks and tea some flavor! When you want to use it as a lemongrass substitute, be careful not to use too much at once. Throw one leaf in the dish, then taste it, then you can add more according to your taste.

Usually, one to two leaves would be enough to substitute for one stalk of lemongrass.

7. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm has such good mint flavors that it is a strong contender along with the lemon zest for the best lemongrass substitute. Just like other herbs, use lemon balm fresh, and chop the leaves before adding them to the dish to maximize the flavor.

It has both citrus and herbal flavors the lemongrass has, and it’s very healthy! It can help with many digestive problems, cramps, and headaches.

Usually, you won’t need more than three leaves of lemon balm for each stalk of lemongrass in the recipe, but give the meal a taste and add some more if you like.

8. Preserved Lemon

With dishes that include seafood, preserved lemon would be the best match for them and the best substitute for lemongrass. It will add the citrus flavor, but it won’t dominate over other flavors of the dish. You can use both pulp and the peel of the preserved lemon in the meal.

Since the fresh lemongrass has a bit more powerful flavor than the preserved lemon, you should use one half of it instead of one stalk of lemongrass. It will completely replace the citrus flavor of the lemongrass needed, but it will lack the herby one.

But, as I said, if you were to use it for seafood, it will go with it great!

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Conclusion

You can use any of the substitutes mentioned, but most of the chefs would argue that the best lemongrass substitute is lemon zest, but I would say that it’s handy to have lemon verbena in the kitchen. I love the spices that can fit in the pot and can be used fresh in the dish.

And also it has that herby flavor that lemon zest does not. But, for the first aid, any of these might work well!

Give them a try, and let me know how it went. 🙂

Barbara Whitney
 

For the last 20 years, I’ve been cooking, preparing, researching, and gathering recipes, tools, and knowledge about food and the way we prepare it. Raising two lively boys and spoiling one great husband later, it’s safe to say that I’ve optimized my kitchen to deliver the best possible meal, no matter the occasion.

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