A plant that is very common on the tropical islands and is commonly used in southern Asian cuisine is lemongrass. It has many purposes all over the world.
Lemongrass has a citrus flavor which gives a nice complement to the dishes coming from the Asian cuisines. It has a very specific mixture of herbal and lemon flavors which is hardly replaceable.
Typically it is used in dishes like stir-fries, soups other dishes, and tea.
Lemongrass has many health benefits, so it is used as a natural diuretic and it has a lot of healthy nutrients and essential minerals.
However, as we mentioned, lemongrass has a unique taste that is hard to replace, so in case you don’t have any at reach, is there a way to replace it?
Can I substitute lemongrass? Yes. Actually, lemongrass can be replaced regardless of its unique taste. There are 10 other ingredients that can provide very similar results in your cooking. As we mentioned it may be difficult to imitate the smell and taste of lemongrass, but these ingredients will help you to save your dish.
You can use Dried lemongrass, Lemon Zest, Kaffir Lime Leaves, Lemon Balm, Arugula and Lemon Zest, Kreung, Lemon Juice, Coriander, and Ginger, Lemon Verbena, and Preserved Lemon instead of lemongrass.
So, make sure to go thoroughly through each product, read how to use them, and find the most suitable replacement for your recipe.
Substitutes for Lemongrass
As we previously mentioned lemongrass is a plant from which the leaves and the oils are used. Actually, lemongrass is not only used in cooking but in medicine as well.
It has its very own taste, even though people tend to confuse it with the taste of lemon. It has a combination of citrusy and herby flavors which are not very overpowering.
If you have trouble finding lemongrass, no need to worry we have the perfect solutions for you. On our list, you’ll find the best substitutes that will help in your cooking and save you time and effort. Scroll down to find the best match for your recipe.
1. Dried lemongrass
If the herb has a dried and fresh variant then you use the usual swap. Lemongrass has that advantage so when you don’t have a fresh one you can always use dried lemongrass.
They are actually quite the same except for the taste. If you are out of fresh you can always use the dried version and vice versa. You should know and always keep in mind that the dried one has a stronger taste.
Meaning the mixture of herbal and citrus can be more noticeable in your meals. Make sure not to overuse and add the proper amount in your cooking. Use it in recipes that have meat, sauces, or some poultry dishes.
2. Lemon Zest
An easy substitute for lemongrass is lemon zest. It’s easy to find and easy to use. All you need is a lemon. You can always find it in your local store and use it in most of the recipes that call for lemongrass.
Even though you may not have the herbal taste, the lemon zest will fit perfectly with the other ingredients. You can add some other ingredient along with the lemon zest to completely imitate the taste. When cooking use a ratio of 1:1, for every leaf use a teaspoon of zest or adapt based on your taste.
3. Kaffir Lime Leaves
Something that could serve you well in your recipes as a way to replace lemongrass is by using kaffir lime leaves. It has a citrusy aroma and a fresh lime taste. It is very close to the taste of lemongrass and it will mix all together with the other ingredients in your recipe.
Make sure to use the fresh leaves and also remove them before consuming, since they are not edible. They’ll provide a nice fresh aroma to your meal. Use it to make curries or soups and add equal amounts or adapt based on your taste.
4. Lemon Balm
Another herb that’s a great substitute for lemongrass with a minty flavor is lemon balm. You can easily chop off the leaves from which you’ll get a stronger aroma with citrusy elements.
You can use three lemon balm leaves to replace one stalk of lemongrass. You can use it to replace lemongrass in most recipes.
5. Arugula and Lemon Zest
A mix of arugula and lemon zest will be the perfect combination to replace lemongrass in your cooking. By using arugula you’ll add an additional layer of spiciness and when mixed with a lemon zest you’ll get the perfect blend for your recipe.
It will give you the same herbal flavors and the citrusy aroma of lemongrass. When making the swap in your recipe, use one leaf of arugula leaf and a teaspoon of lemon zest for one stalk of fresh lemongrass.
Kreung or also known as Lemongrass paste originates from Cambodia. Therefore, it’s the perfect replacement for lemongrass.
You can use a tablespoon of kreung to replace fresh lemongrass in your cooking. Keep in mind that the paste has a stronger taste so don’t overuse. You can add it in soups, stews, or any other savory dish that required lemongrass.
7. Lemon Juice
Lemongrass can be easily replaced with lemon, i.e the juice from the lemon. We all have lemons in our fridges most of the time, so when you don’t have lemongrass at reach, the juice from the lemon will be a suitable replacement.
The lemon will give your meal a citrusy flavor and traces of acidity. Use in small amounts or adapt to your taste, since it may be more acidic than you might think.
8. Coriander and Ginger
Another combo that can be of great use is the mix of ginger and coriander. This combination will be very suitable for replacing lemongrass in your cooking.
Just use 2 teaspoons of coriander and 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger root to replace a stalk of lemongrass. This way you’ll imitate the flavor and aroma of the lemongrass.
You’ll get a combination of sweet and pungent traces very similar to lemongrass. Use in soups, broths, or any other recipe.
9. Lemon Verbena
A very aromatic herb that is almost the same as lemongrass is lemon verbena. This is a very suitable replacement in your cooking and almost every recipe that calls for lemon verbena.
The citrusy taste of the lemongrass can be imitated as well as the traces of herbs that can be added to your cooking. Also, when making the swap make sure to use a suitable amount in order to get the perfect combination of flavors that you are looking for. You can easily chop off the leaves and also make sure to remove them before consuming them.
10. Preserved Lemon
Last but not least on our list of substitutes we have the preserved lemon. Well, this is something that can also replace lemongrass in most recipes.
Actually, almost every lemon-based product could be a replacement based on the similar taste they have. By using preserved lemon, you’ll add the citrus and herby flavors and it won’t dominate the other ingredients so no need to worry.
Add a half teaspoon of preserved lemon to replace fresh lemongrass. You can make a lot of recipes that call for lemongrass and replace them with preserved lemon.
Does lemongrass taste like lemon?
Lemongrass has its own profile and taste. Thus, that it does not necessarily have to taste like lemon even though the name suggests so. It has a citrusy lemon taste with a mixture of lemon and lemon mint. It has a light flavor and won’t cause any effects on the taste of your dishes if you add too much.
What flavor is lemongrass?
Lemongrass has a very distinctive taste. The citrusy lemon herb is unique and contains hints of mint which make it harder to replace in cooking.
When you are in a store you can easily recognize lemongrass by its pale yellow-green stalks and the scent of citrus which is very nice.
Is Lemongrass the same as lemon balm?
No, Lemongrass is different from lemon balm. They have a few differences, one of which is that lemongrass is grass, and lemon balm is different.
Also, it is important to know that they have a different taste as well. However, you should know that they can serve as a substitute for each other.
How do I substitute dried lemongrass for fresh?
You can always make the swap fresh for dried. However, keep in mind that the concentration of the herbal and citrus mix is higher in the dried lemongrass. Therefore, when you make the swap, don’t use too much dry lemongrass since it may affect the tastes of the dish.