If You are Unable to Find Lemongrass, Try These Substitutes

Lemongrass Substitutes
Lemongrass has quite a distinct flavor and aroma and it is difficult to replicate the exact flavor with another herb or vegetable. But if you are unable to find fresh lemongrass or are out of it, then you can use some substitutes instead.
If you are fond of Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, then you must be familiar with lemongrass. It is actually a kind of aromatic grass that has a sharp and intense lemony and herbal flavor. Lemongrass is used as a flavoring agent in many Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese dishes.

If you want to cook oriental dishes, then fresh lemongrass is an important herb that you should stock in your refrigerator. If you are preparing a classic Thai or Vietnamese dish which calls for lemongrass and you don't have it, then there are some viable substitutes that you can use instead.
Preserved Lemon
Preserved Lemon
✜ 1 Stalk = ½ a preserved lemon

Keep in Mind:
  • Preserved lemon will give the dish the desired citrus tang, without completely overpowering the dish.
  • Use both the peel as well as the pulp of the preserved lemon in the dish.
  • This substitute works best in recipes that has prawns or other seafood in it.
Arugula and Lemon Zest
Arugula and Lemon zest
✜ 1 Stalk = 1 arugula leaf + 1 teaspoon of lemon zest

Keep in Mind:
  • Arugula has a very sharp peppery taste, so make sure that you do not overuse it.
  • Always use fresh lemon zest for this substitution.
  • This substitution works well in broths and fish stews.
Fresh Ginger and Coriander Stalks
Ginger and coriander
✜ 1 Stalk = 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger + 2 teaspoons of coriander stalks

Keep in Mind:
  • Coriander stalks have more flavor and should be used instead of the leaves.
  • This substitute is best used in soups and broths.
Dried Lemongrass
Dried Lemongrass
✜ 1 Stalk = 1 teaspoon of dried lemongrass

Keep in Mind:
  • Since drying a herb or plant concentrates the flavors of the herb, you need to use only a little amount of dried lemongrass in your dish.
  • Dried lemongrass has a more pronounced herbal and citrusy flavor, so you need to be careful with the quantity you add to your dish. Too much of it can completely overpower the dish.
  • This substitute is best used in poultry and meat dishes which has a sauce base.
Lemon Juice, Lime Zest, and Kaffir Lime Leaf
Lemon Juice and zest and lime leaf
✜ 1 Stalk = 2 tablespoons of lemon juice + 1 tablespoons of lime zest + 1 Kaffir Lime leaf

Keep in Mind:
  • Make sure that you tear the Kaffir lime leaves before adding it to the soup.
  • When using lemon juice, use freshly squeezed lemon juice instead of the bottled variety.
  • This substitution is best used in curries and soups.
Lemon Balm
Lemon balm
✜ 1 Stalk = 4 lemon balm leaves

Keep in Mind:
  • Lemon balm has a delicate citrus fragrance and flavor, so it should be added towards the end of the cooking process.
  • Lemon balm should ideally be chopped and then added to a dish.
  • It is best used in desserts.
Lemon Verbena
Lemon Verbena
✜ 1 Stalk = 2 Lemon Verbena Leaves

Keep in Mind:
  • Since lemon verbena has quite an intense flavor and fragrance, use only a small amount as substitute in your dishes.
  • For using lemon verbena, tear or chop the leaves and add to your dish.
  • This substitute can be used in curries, sauces, and savory cakes.
It might be a good idea to grow a lemongrass plant in a small pot in your home. They grow well in all types of soil and requires very little care. You can also stock up on fresh lemongrass whenever you find it and freeze it for future use.