Kaffir Lime Leaves Substitute You Need To Have In The Kitchen

What’s a good kaffir lime leaves substitute when you can’t find one in your kitchen? This article is geared towards helping you find the right alternatives.

You will come to a point wherein your recipe requires a particular ingredient that could be hard to find. One example of this is the use of kaffir lime leaves. Before, you were left with no choice but to say goodbye to the recipes which required kaffir leaves, but these days, there could be kaffir lime leaves substitute you can always turn to in your kitchen. But, what are these substitutes?


What Are Kaffir Lime Leaves?

Via naturalremedies.org

Kaffir limes, also referred as makrut limes, belong to the citrus family and the leaves contribute to the distinctive and robust citrus flavor found in most Thai cuisines. For many Thai dishes, this herbaceous notes and unique citrus are crucial as they are responsible for a much authentic Thai’s cooking unique taste.

Kaffir is an Arabic word so you have to be wary as you say it while on a Thai market since you might be misunderstood. Though kaffir lime leaves might be a bit difficult to find, particularly if you are in the US, you probably need an alternative once planning to come up with an authentic-tasting Thai dish.

You must not be mistaken since the flavor of these leaves is a bit complicated and hard to replicate. But, you might create a facsimile only with the right substitutes. Most kaffir lime leaves substitutes are known to be common and easy to find as well.

Kaffir Lime leaf

Via thespruce.com

Some important notes you need to take note when it comes to kaffir lime leaves include the following:

  • If ever you need to choose between fresh or frozen, it is advised to buy the new ones once you are lucky enough to see one.
  • For those who have bought too much fresh of these Kaffir leaves, you might always keep them in the fridge, and they could be okay for six months.
  • Though fresh leaves are the best, frozen ones are great options too. After all, new kaffir leaves aren’t always available in the market. With that, you need to be flexible when it comes to cooking

In connection to that, kaffir lime leaves are commonly used in most Thai cuisine for certain dishes such as tom yum. It could also be used in the base of the paste known as “kreung” that is mainly made by the Cambodians. Meanwhile, the Vietnamese would use kaffir lime leaves to minimize the odor once steaming nails. And also, these leaves are used in Balinese or Javanese foods such as Soto Ayam in Indonesia.

Best Kaffir Lime Leaves Substitute To Choose From

Again, kaffir lime leaves have a very complex flavor. In fact, it might be hard to replace it with only an ingredient. So, it is advised that you consider a certain combination of some herbs to replace the flavoring the same as the Kaffir lime leaves. You might find the best kaffir lime leaves substitute below:

1. Lemon Thyme, Lime Zest and Bay Leaf

The combination of these herbs is known to be the best bet when it comes to replacing kaffir lime leaves. The leaves of the bay laurel tree will provide a strong herbal flavor along with slightly bitter clove-like notes and floral notes.

Also, lime zest will provide a clear and sharp citrus flavor together with the lemon thyme that adds a softer herbal note being combined with its citrus spark. And once combined, these herbs offer the effect that you want from a kaffir lime leaf.

But take note that if you use this combination as a substitute, there is a need for you to balance the constituent flavors carefully. Only use half of a small bay leaf then combined it with a ¼ teaspoon each of the bay laurel as well as the lime zest.

2. Persian Lime

Also referred as Tahiti limes, this alternative could be easily found and could offer many of the desired flavor notes. You only need to cut the limes in half then add them to your dishes such as tom yum soup and just remove them before serving.

Via olivethat.ca

​Persian limes are known to be seedless, so you will not have to hunt for as well as eliminate those seeds before you serve. Primarily cultivated in Mexico, Persian limes provide a high income for the natives of the said place.

3. Other Options To Consider

lemon leaves

You might also use the leaves of some citrusy fruits such as lemons and oranges. However, with these options, you might not get as many fragrances from these leaves as you would get out of using Kaffir lime leaves. To compensate, just add more citrusy leaves to the recipe.

Say, for instance, your recipe might need four thinly sliced leaves of kaffir lime, you might use six citrus leaves instead. Or, you might still add more if needed.

Via specialtyproduce.com

Curry leaves might as well offer the citrus notes needed, but since they are different from lime leaves, they must not be eaten. You need to remove them before serving.

If you want to cook a certain recipe that calls for kaffir lime leaves, but you can’t easily find one, the substitutes mentioned above should be present in your kitchen.

How To Buy Fresh Kaffir Lime Leaves?

Via drhealthbenefits.com

In most cases, kaffir lime leaves, either dried or frozen, could usually be found in Thai specialty market or some other Asian markets, I believe it will help if you will be familiar with how to buy fresh ones. Yes, fresh kaffir leaves could sometimes be available as well.

In most cases, many would consider ordering fresh leaves of kaffir lime online, but this could be a hit or miss. Once there are delays regarding shipping, the leaves might be wilted and might begin to rot as you get them. However, this is still considered as the best option for you to have fresh kaffir lime leaves.

Via realfood.tesco.com

And once you have the fresh leaves, stock them and freeze once you do not yet use them. Prior to placing the leaves in a freezer-safe plastic bag, thoroughly clean and dry them first. And these leaves will last for a very long time wherein you could use once you need them in the near future.​

Final Thoughts

So, in case kaffir lime leaves are out of stock, worry not since there are best alternatives to choose from. The ones mentioned above could definitely back you up when a recipe calls for kaffir lime leaves, but you don’t have one at all. This kaffir lime leaves substitute will give you the opportunity to enjoy your dish with the same taste and flavor. So, aside from looking for kaffir leaves, have these options in your kitchen as well.

Feel free to share your thoughts with us! Drop by your comments, suggestions or questions below! Thank you!

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Hi there! My name is Cindy Mari and cooking is definitely my passion. I love looking for interesting topics about cooking and share them with everyone. Aside from being passionate about cooking, I am also a foodie at heart.

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