What can I substitute for lemongrass?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “What can I substitute for lemongrass?”, with an in-depth analysis of lemongrass, some substitutes of lemongrass with their benefits and disadvantages. 

What can I substitute for lemongrass?

Lemongrass can have many substitutes such as lemon verbena, kaffir lime leaves, cilantro and ginger, lemon, lemon balm, lime zest or orange zest.

What is lemongrass? 

Lemongrass is a fragrant tropical grass. Lemongrass produces oil that has the smell of lemon. It has many uses like it is used as an ingredient in Asian cooking and perfumery and medicine. 

Possible substitutes of lemongrass

Lemon Verbena

Lemon verbena is one of the best alternatives to lemongrass. The reason behind this is because the citrus flavour of lemon verbena is not bitter as compared to other substitutes of lemongrass. The leaves of lemon verbena contain a high amount of oil. 

Lemon verbena can be used both in kitchens and for medical purposes. Lemon verbena is also very useful to be used for digestive disorders like diarrhoea and bloating. They can also be used to add flavour to vegetable marinades, fish, etc.

Lemon verbena also has some disadvantages like it can cause skin irritation if taken in high quantities. So it is advised not to eat lemon verbena during pregnancy. Kidney diseases like kidney stones are also associated with a high intake of lemon verbena.

Kaffir lime leaves

Kaffir lime leaves have distinctive hourglass shapes. These kaffir lime leaves are used as an ingredient in many recipes like chicken curry with kaffir lime leaves. 

Kaffir lime leaves have many health benefits like it is very healthy to maintain oral hygiene. It also promotes skin health by shedding older skin. It also enhances the functions of the immune system. It also helps to relieve stress. It is also very beneficial for hair growth.

It also has some disadvantages like eating kaffir lime leaves can lead to digestive disorders. It can also lead to heartburn. Eating kaffir lime leaves in high quantities can lead to some uncomfortable situations like nausea, vomiting, and hives, etc.

Cilantro and ginger

Cilantro and ginger are the best combos. Ginger is one of the most popular spices. Cilantro is also a famous herb. In the case of cilantro, an entire plant can be used. The taste of cilantro also depends on the gene which is not present in everyone.

Ginger has gingerol which is effective for medicinal purposes. Ginger also helps to lose weight. Osteoarthritis can also be treated with ginger. Cilantro helps to protect our bodies from various kinds of illnesses. 

One of the disadvantages of using ginger is that consuming ginger can lead to abdominal discomfort. Other common side effects of consuming ginger are diarrhoea, heartburn, dermatitis, and throat irritation. While side effects of consuming cilantro include a high risk of bleeding and stomach disorders.

Lemon balm

The alternative name of lemon balm is balm mint. By look, lemon balm is much attractive and has a pleasant smell.

The advantage of using lemon balm is that it helps to relieve stress, boosts cognitive functions, treats nausea, and helps to treat insomnia and other sleeping disorders.

There are also some shortcomings of using lemon balm. Like consuming lemon balm can lead to an increase in appetite, diarrhoea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.


The shape of the lemon is round and it is a slightly elongated fruit. The skin of the lemon is compact. It shows an intense yellow colour once it ripes. It has a distinctive aroma. Lemons have a strong taste and it resembles a bitter, sour, harsh flavour. 

Lemon is not typically eaten by itself, it is meant to enhance the flavour of other foods. When lemon is added to foods, it adds a pungent, tart flavour that can be both refreshing and light.

There are many advantages of using lemon like it is very helpful to lose weight. A high amount of vitamin C is present in lemons. Apart from this, lemons are also high in fibre and contain some plant compounds.

Some disadvantages of consuming lemon are that they are damaging for our teeth and sometimes can lead to stomach issues. Lemons sometimes also act as a host for some unpleasant germs. 

Lime zest or Orange zest

Lime zest or orange zest both can be good substitutes for lemon zest. These can turn the taste of these recipes towards their taste. 

As lemon is a citrus fruit that consists of citric acid, so in those cases where substitutes of lemon zest are required, we can use citric acid juice on one-to-one replacement. 

These substitutes can be used in all recipes but these are best especially in baking products’ recipes and also in those recipes where the texture of recipes matters. 


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “What can I substitute for lemongrass?”, with an in-depth analysis of lemongrass, some substitutes of lemongrass with their benefits and disadvantages. 




Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.