What can I substitute for Kaffir Lime Leaves?

  • Kaffir Lime Leaves seem to be a common ingredient in Thai food, particularly coconut based dishes. I have never seen them in Atlanta, and I've looked (farmers market, whole foods, normal grocery, but not an Asian grocery store). What is the flavor profile of these leaves? Is there a good substitute?

    Is there a reason you haven't looked at the Asian grocery? I find in the UK at least they have what I'm looking for and also stock tonnes of other things I didn't know I was looking for, until I saw them!

    @vwiggins, The asian grocery stores in Atlanta are 45 mins drive from my house in an area of town I never visit.

    an intriguing comment, from a sociological perspective...

    @doug, Ha. Another way of putting it would be that I live downtown and the asian grocery stores are in the suburbs. I don't go *anywhere* 45 mins from my house.

    I have seen Kaffir Lime leaves in the fresh herbs and spices section of Whole Foods, I don't know if that is more or less convenient than the Asian market for you though!

    There is an asian grocery store over by the Dekalb farmer's market. You might also try the Indian stores just south of North Dekalb Mall. As far as living downtown and not going to the Atlanta suburb, I strongly concur. I only cross 285 in a plane.

    Substitues - 0 Sources in atlanta - 2 : Buford HWY farmers market . I have purchased from there twice, but its hit or miss , they sell out as fast as they can stock them . The neighborhood has seen a shift from primarily mexican to a more vietnamese/korean/mexican mix , so if you check on the right day , you can score . I have left many times with no leaves tho. The Asian Market just west of Dekalb Farmers Market , next to pinups. They have them frozen , in the season also fresh, and all the year in planters.

  • hobodave

    hobodave Correct answer

    10 years ago

    I wouldn't attempt to substitute. I've read somewhere that you can use regular lime leaves, but I've never seen those anywhere. Even Googling for lime leaf turns up kaffir lime leaves.

    They can be found easily enough online: ImportFood.com. They freeze well for months in just a zip-lock bag.

    The flavor profile is best described as a bright floral aromatic. It's similar in function, not taste, to a bay leaf. Thai cuisine uses kaffir lime leaves much as we do bay leaves.


    If you decide buying online isn't worth the hassle, then Kitchen Savvy suggests the following substitute:

    • 1/2 a small bay leaf
    • 1/4 tsp of lime zest
    • 1/8 tsp of fresh lemon thyme

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM