Substitute for Kaffir Lime Leaves

Finding a Substitute for Kaffir Lime Leaves

Kieffer, Markut, or Hystrix; all are names used for the Thai kaffir lime leaves. Have you ever tasted a homemade curry dish and thought “something’s missing.” Well, it most likely was kaffir leaves. Kaffir leaves can give curry that spice punch you’ve been looking for. 

The thing with kaffir leaves is that they can be quite expensive if you’re not harvesting them yourself. They’re hand-picked in Thailand from long, thorny stems and shipped all over the world.

If you’re trying to find a substitute for kaffir lime leaves, you’re in luck! Keep reading to find the best substitute for you.

Ingredient substitution is part art, part science, and experimentation, see how to substitute for pinenuts and great ideas for Fenugreek leaf substitutes plus alternatives for Quince Paste.

What do Kaffir Lime Leaves Taste Like?

Kaffir leaves have an intense citrus taste that’s best described as a mixture of lime, mandarin, and lemons. Fresh leaves can also have a slight floral undertone with a bay-like texture. 

If you’re using kaffirs right, even one leaf can give an entire pot a powerful aroma. Keep in mind: moderation is key. Especially if you’re not used to high spice levels.

Finding a Kaffir Lime leaf Substitute
Finding a Kaffir Lime leaf Substitute

Substituting Kaffir Lime Leaves: 7 Easy Ingredients

Did you know that kaffir lime leaves are used to substitute curry leaves? But if you’re wondering what you can use when you don’t have kaffir leaves at hand, check out some alternatives!

Lime Zest

Using lime zest is probably the easiest way to replace kaffir leaves in a recipe. Just keep in mind, both limes and lemons are considered mild in taste and scent when compared to kaffirs. Add a teaspoon of lime zest for every kaffir double leaf.

Lemongrass Stalks

Half a stalk of lemongrass can substitute a double-leaf of markut. Expect a bit of minty flavor to go with your recipe. See also lemongrass alternatives.

Rangpur Lime Zest

Using rangpur limes as a substitute for kaffir lime leaves will give you a very close mandarin taste. On the downside, it’s sour and lacks that floral punch. They’re also relatively hard to find. If you decide to go with rangpur, use a teaspoon of zest for every kaffir double leaf.

Persian Lime Zest

Persian or Tahiti limes are seedless and less acidic than regular limes. They’ll give your dish a slightly sweet taste. Persian limes (zest or juice) can work as a substitute for kaffir lime leaves with similar ratios to regular lime zest.

Markut leaves are in a lot of Thai food recipes, don’t let one missing ingredient keep you away from a mouth-watering dish!

Can you substitute kaffir lime leaves for curry leaves?
Can you substitute kaffir lime leaves for curry leaves?

Combination Substitute for Kaffir Lime – Try Cilantro with a touch of mint and Basil

These herbs all have similar but also different flavors to kaffir lime leaves, but none quite as intense. So you’ll need to experiment with how much of them you want to substitute depending on your taste. My suggestion is for basil, mint or coriander try using half the amount of leaves called for in the original recipe.

Also,what does basil Pesto tastes like


Ginger can also provide you recipe with a unique taste and is a popular alternative. However, the taste is quite different and I would suggest that this is more of an alternative than a substitute.

When adding ginger to a dish, you’re going to want to add more than just a pinch. A tablespoon or two should do the trick. Ginger has a strong spicy flavor which goes well with many dishes. It’s also great for digestion and helps fight off colds.

Can I Substitute Curry Leaf for Kaffir Lime Leaf?

Curry Leaf can be substituted for Kaffir Lime Leaf because it does have a similar flavor profile. Curry leaves are used in curries and other Indian dishes.

Wrapping Up

Kaffir leaves are simply a must-have for many Thai dishes; they add the perfect level of spice and aroma. No wonder they’re in high demand!

Thankfully, it isn’t hard to find a substitute for kaffir lime leaves. Lime zest is the most common substitute for kaffir leaves. However, you can pick from a wide variation of limes and other citrus fruits.

Remember, that combos work best. So, try to use a substitute with a little bit of basil, mint, and coriander to get as close as possible to the kaffir leaves’ authentic taste.