Lemongrass Substitute: 10 Best Alternatives

Trying to cook Asian cuisine but found out the recipe requires Lemongrass which you don’t have? You are in the right place to find out the Lemongrass substitute you can use for a meal full of lemony flavor.

The Lemongrass is a common tropical island plant from the grass family. It is mostly used for cooking foods in southern Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, etc.

Lemongrass grass provides a lemon or citrus flavor that compliments the Asian cuisines.

Not only the Asian countries use the lemongrass only but also African use it to spice up tea and other drinks. Every continent has different uses for lemongrass for cooking purposes.

The lemon substitute used also provides a close citrus flavor and distinct aroma to pair your recipe almost like the fresh lemongrass.

Benefits of Lemongrass

Besides the aroma and flavor complimenting the food, lemongrass is full of healthy nutrients and essential minerals.

It consists of Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorus, Manganese. Also, it provides Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, and Folates.

Lemongrass Substitute To Use

Although Lemongrass has a complex flavor and aroma that provides uniqueness on the Asian cuisine, there are other capable and available substitutes to use in place of Lemongrass.

The Lemongrass substitute won’t provide the exact flavor but they bring a close flavor as the lemongrass.

1. Lemon Zest

Lemongrass Substitute


This is the best lemongrass substitute because it is easily available in the local store. To use it in the recipe, you have to grate the lemon zest (outer part of lemon) and mix it according to the amount of food inside to have a balanced flavor.

For proper measurements, one medium-sized lemon is equal to 2 small stalks of lemongrass. Depending on the amount of food, you can equate the required lemongrass with the right amount of lemon zest.

2. Kreung a.k.a Lemongrass Paste

Lemongrass Substitute

The paste from lemongrass is made from Cambodia and its mixed with other ingredients to provide extra flavor besides lemongrass. It consists of galangal and shallots.

You can use the lemongrass paste 1 tablespoon as a substitute for a tablespoon of chopped fresh lemongrass.

3. Keffir Lime Leaves

Lemongrass Substitute

Another great lemongrass substitute than adds a citrus aroma close to the fresh lemongrass. The Keffir lime leaves can be combined with other ingredients like lime zest and lime juice to enhance the flavor.

One stalk of lemongrass = two tablespoons of lemon juice + one Kaffir lime leaf + one tablespoon of lime zest

Ensure to remove the midrib of the keffir lime leaf to only use the fresh leaves. Also, the Keffir leaves are hardly eaten thus it’s better to remove the leave before eating the food. Its purpose is to provide flavor and aroma.

4. Dried Lemongrass

Lemongrass Substitute

Lemongrass is usually dried for later use and it is a great substitute for fresh lemongrass in recipes. When dried, the lemongrass has a strong herbal and citrusy flavor therefore the right amount should be added.

One tablespoon of dried lemongrass = one stalk of fresh lemongrass

Too much of the dried lemongrass can overpower the whole meal because it has a higher concentration. For greater results, the dried lemongrass is best for meat dishes and sauces.

5. Coriander & Ginger

A combination of ginger and coriander can be used as a lemongrass substitute. Crush and mince 2 teaspoons of coriander stalks and 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger root to substitute one stalk of lemongrass.

This combination of ginger that is sweet and pungent with coriander stalks that intense flavor provides a close flavor to lemongrass.

6. Lemon Balm

Lemongrass Substitute

Lemon balm is an herb that has a mint flavor that makes one of the best lemongrass substitutes just like lemon zest. You can chop the leaves or cut half and maximize the fragrant as well as the citrus flavor elements.

Three lemon balm leaves can substitute one stalk of lemongrass.

Apart from being a lemongrass substitute, it has great benefits to the body like to help get rid of digestive problems, headaches, and cramps.

7. Arugula and Lemon Zest

Lemongrass Substitute

A combination of the two ingredients provides a great substitute for lemongrass. The Arugula adds an extra layer of spice that lacks when you use lemon zest independently.

For every one stalk of fresh lemongrass required in the recipe, it can be replaced with one arugula leaf and one teaspoon of lemon zest.

This combo brings out the citrus and herbal flavor the lemongrass provides to dishes.

8. Lemon Verbena

Lemongrass Substitute

The Lemon Verbena is a very aromatic herb similar to lemongrass used to substitute lemongrass to provide a citrus flavor and a herby flavor.

To use in the dishes, add the leaves accordingly while monitoring the taste until it riches your prefered levels. In most cases, one to two lemon verbena leaves is enough to equate one stalk of lemongrass.

You can chop the leaves or insert them whole and make sure to remove the leaves before eating the food.

9. Preserved Lemon

Lemongrass Substitute

Most of the lemon aspects are great choices for lemongrass substitute and the preserved lemon is no exception. It adds a citrus flavor to compliment your dishes without dominating.

Use one and a half teaspoons of the preserved lemon to substitute one teaspoon of fresh lemongrass. Its best for cooking seafood.

10. Japanese Yuzu

If you can find it, Japanese yuzu has a citrus, floral fragrance and close flavor as the lemongrass. It belongs to the citrus family.

Japanese yuzu is used in traditional savory and sweet dishes to go with curry and seafood recipes.

This is a capable substitute for lemongrass if you have it to provide powerful flavor to the dish.


There you have it! When you find yourself without lemongrass or want to diversify your cooking process, use the above ingredients.

One substitute can work for some people and others may not because we have different preferences.

Most professionals recommend lemon zest to be the best lemongrass substitute.

Try all of the available substitutes to you to find your preferred lemongrass substitute.