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7 Lemongrass Substitutes you need to know

Last Updated on October 11, 2023

The Best 7 Lemongrass Substitutes you need to know If you need lemongrass and can’t seem to find any, here are seven foolproof lemongrass substitutes for you to try instead.

substitutes for lemongrass

Lemongrass Substitutes You Need To Know

Lemongrass is a herb plant used in stews, broths, soups, and herbal teas. It’s native to Asia and is an important part of Southeast Asian cuisine.

As a herb, fresh lemongrass compliments coconut-based dishes such like Vegan Lemongrass Coconut Pumpkin Soup, Thai Tofu Green Curry, or Lemongrass Thai Dipping Sauce. Fresh lemongrass is also used in aromatic bath blends for its soothing qualities.

Lemongrass has a citrus flavor and works well in lemon-based recipes like lemon balm and lemon juice. It also works well with lime-flavored items since lime is a part of the citrus family! Here, lemongrass pairs well with lime juice, lime zest, and mint recipes.

Lemongrass and ginger tea also aid in digestive and insomnia problems

For medical purposes, there are many antioxidants in lemongrass, which are good for your skin and hair.

Lemongrass also aids in digestive and sleep problems, due in large part to its therapeutic and aromatic qualities. Lemongrass can help promote sleep and relax the body (reference from rxlist.com).

How Do You Prepare Lemongrass

Usually, we only need the white and light green parts of the stem at the base of the plant for cooking. 

Using your knife, make several superficial cuts along the stalk’s length. Afterward, bend the lemongrass several times or smash it with a knife to “bruise” it and release its aroma. 

Lemongrass Substitutes? What to Look For?

looking for substitute for lemongrass

When looking for great lemongrass substitutes start with taste, texture, and smell.

🌱 Citrus flavor – Lemongrass has a citrus flavor so a good flavor substitute is lemon zest!

Lemon zest is the freshly shaved scrapes from the skin of an orange. Lemon zest is the perfect substitute for baked goods and meals that require garnish or toppings.

🌱 Tough exterior – For texture, lemongrass has a tough texture and closely resembles coriander stalks.

So if you’re looking for a lemongrass replacement for aesthetic purposes, say asparagus would be the best choice for holiday decorations or fun drink additions.

🌱 Sweet tangy aroma – Lastly, the sweet tangy aroma of lemongrass can be replaced with the beautiful Kaffir Lime Leaves.

The smell of a Kaffir Lime Leaf is undeniably lime scented with a heady aroma that can easily replace lemongrass in mint flavor recipes, spiced drinks, and desserts.

Mixed with Lemon Verbena Leaves and Lemon Balm Leaves you can create a refreshing mint tea or ice cream as all three pair beautifully together.

7 Best Substitutes for Lemongrass

If you’re out of lemongrass and desperate to make that Thai curry or Tom Yum soup, never fear!

There are several substitutes that will work in a pinch. Here are the top 7 alternatives to lemongrass to use in baking, cooking, and making herbal teas interchangeably.

✳️ Limes

Limes are the most common substitute for lemongrass. You can use the zest and juice of one lime to replace the zest and juice of one lemongrass stalk.

If you have lime leaves on hand, you can also use those – just two or three lime leaves will do the trick.

✳️ Lemon Zest

Zest of Lemons

The closest sub for lemongrass is lemon zest. In addition to the citrusy tang, it possesses the freshness and zing that lemongrass offers.

When using, don’t grate the white pith of the lemon since this will give the lemongrass a bitter taste. You can sub one lemon’s zest for one stalk of lemongrass.

✳️ Lemon Juice

Fresh Lemon Juice

Lemon juice won’t have the same intensity as lemon zest, but it will give your dish some scent, so it’s a better option than going without the lemongrass. 

✳️ Kaffir Lime Leaves

Kaffir Lime Leaves

Kaffir lime leaves are aromatic leaves from Kaffir lime trees, a very common ingredient in South Eastern Asian cuisine.

Their unique spiced-citrus flavor is much lighter and zestier than lemongrass, making it a fantastic candidate. In order to maximize the flavor, the leaves must be finely shredded or made into a paste. Suitable for coconut-based soups or curries.

✳️ Coriander (Cilantro) and Ginger

Coriander and Ginger

Cooking with coriander and ginger is tricky, but once the master is a wonderful duo and an excellent substitute for lemongrass stalks.

Coriander stalk and fresh ginger root juice blended give off the flavor of lemongrass, they are a great combo to replace lemongrass when used together.

✳️ Lemon balm leaves

Lemon balm leaves

It is an aromatic member of the mint family with a bright, citrusy taste that combines subtle hints of mint with the acidity of lemon.

The fresh leaves and stems of lemon balm have a subtly sweet flavor, making it an excellent substitute for lemongrass.

✳️ Lemon Verbena

Lemon verbena is a perennial herb that grows in tropical climates. It has a strong lemon scent and flavor and is used to add flavor to food or as a fragrance. Where To Buy Lemongrass

You can find fresh lemongrass at most grocery stores or Asian markets. Pick the ones that are light green and slightly soft near the bulbs.

You don’t have to worry about the dry tops as we won’t be using them. Alternatively, if you can’t find fresh lemongrass in your supermarket, you can use these lemongrass substitutes. 

Do you find these lemongrass substitutes helpful? If you want to know more about ingredient substitutions, please leave a comment down below.

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Q: What is lemongrass?

Lemongrass is a versatile ingredient that can be used in sweet or savory dishes. When used fresh, lemongrass has a delicate flavor that is perfect for adding to soups and curries.

Dried lemongrass has a stronger flavor and is often used in stir-fries and marinades. Lemongrass oil has the strongest flavor and is typically used sparingly as a finishing touch for dishes.

Q: How do I use lemongrass substitutes?

Add one teaspoon of substitute ingredients at a time for every tablespoon of lemongrass called for in the recipe. Until it reaches your desired flavor.

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substitutes for lemongrass

7 Lemongrass Substitutes

The Best 7 Lemongrass substitutes you need to know If you need lemongrass and can’t seem to find any, here are five foolproof substitutes to try instead.
5 from 4 votes
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Author: SHU-CHUN


  • Limes Zest and juice
  •  Lemon Zest
  • Lemon Juice
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • Coriander (Cilantro) and Ginger
  • Lemon balm leaves 
  •  Lemon Verbena


  • Add one teaspoon of substitute ingredients at a time for every tablespoon of lemongrass called for in the recipe. Until it reaches your desired flavor.

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