The 5 Best Substitutes for Pandan (Pandanus Leaf)

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Have you ever used Pandan in your cooking? If not, youre missing out on a delicious and aromatic flavor that is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine.

Pandan is a long, slender plant with blades that resemble those of a palm tree.

The leaves are often used to flavor dishes such as curries, rice, and desserts.

They can also be used to wrap food before cooking, infusing it with their distinctive flavor.

While Pandan is not widely available outside of Asia, there are several substitutes that can be used in its place.

Continue reading to learn more about cooking with Pandan, as well as the five best substitutes for Pandan.

What is Pandan (Pandanus Leaf)?

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pandan (Pandanus Leaf)

Pandan, also known as screwpine, is a tropical plant that grows in Southeast Asia.

The leaves are long and thin, and they have a distinctive green color.

When cooked, pandan leaves release a natural fragrance thats similar to vanilla or almonds.

As for the taste, its often described as sweet and nutty with hints of floral sweetness.

They are used to add flavor and aroma to food.

Pandan leaves are often used to flavor rice dishes, curries, and desserts.

They can be wrapped around chicken or fish before cooking or added to soups and stews.

Pandan leaves can also be used to make extracts and oils, which are used in baking and other recipes.

To use pandan leaves, simply wash the leaves and then tie them into a knot.

The leaves may then be used as desired in recipes.

If possible, use fresh pandan leaves for the greatest effects.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pandan (Pandanus Leaf)

The 5 Best Substitutes for Pandan (Pandanus Leaf)

If you cant find pandan leaf, or if youre looking for a substitution for another dish, here are the five best substitutes for pandan.

1 – Matcha Tea

If youre looking for a unique, delicious way to enjoy tea, matcha is a great option.

Made from finely ground green tea leaves, matcha has a distinctively rich flavor and bold color.

The texture is also slightly different from traditional teas, as the powder dissolves completely in water.

One of the great things about matcha is that it can be used in a variety of ways.

Its traditionally enjoyed as a hot tea, but you can also add it to smoothies or use it to make matcha lattes.

If youre baking, you can substitute matcha for pandan extract to give your desserts a beautiful green color and a subtle flavor boost.

2 – Celery Leaves

If you take a close look at celery, youll notice that the stalks are not the only edible part the leaves are also edible and offer a tasty, crunchy addition to salads and other dishes.

While they have a slightly bitter taste, they also have a refreshing aroma that makes them a great addition to many different recipes.

In terms of texture, celery leaves are similar to kale or collard greens.

They can be enjoyed raw or cooked and make a delicious addition to soups, stir-fries, and even smoothies.

Celery leaves can also be used as a substitute for pandan leaves in Southeast Asian cooking.

If you cant find pandan leaves at your local market, simply tie together a few celery leaves with some string and use them in the same way.

Youll get the same flavor and aroma without having to track down those elusive pandan leaves.

3 – Vanilla Beans

Vanilla beans are a type of orchid.

The plant produces a long, green seedpod that is used to flavor various food and beverage products.

The pods contain tiny seeds that are responsible for the characteristic flavor and aroma of vanilla.

Vanilla beans have a sweet, mellow flavor with hints of floral and woodsy notes.

The texture of the beans is slightly chewy, with a slightly oily feel.

When used as a flavoring ingredient, vanilla beans are usually chopped or ground into small pieces.

If you cant find pandan leaves to make your favorite dish, dont worry.

Vanilla beans can be used as a substitute.

Just scrape out the seeds from the bean and add them to your recipe.

Youll get the same delicious flavor without having to search for hard-to-find ingredients.

4 – Banana Leaves

If youve ever been to a Southeast Asian grocery store, you may have noticed giant leaves stacked high near the produce section.

These are banana leaves, and theyre used in a variety of cuisines across Asia.

While the taste of banana leaves is fairly neutral, they have a slightly sweet flavor and a slightly grassy aroma.

The texture is similar to that of corn husks slightly papery and pliable.

Banana leaves are often used as wrappers for steamed or grilled dishes.

They add a subtle flavor to the food and help to keep it moist.

Additionally, the leaves can be used as plates or bowls simply fold them into the desired shape and serve your meal on top.

When substituting for pandan leaves, banana leaves will provide a similar flavor profile, though they will be slightly sweeter.

Whether youre wrapping up some delicious dumplings or serving up a hearty stew, banana leaves are a versatile addition to your kitchen pantry.

5 – Pandanus Extract

Pandanus extract is made from the juice of the pandanus fruit.

It has a similar taste and aroma to pandan leaves, making it ideal for use in traditional recipes.

The extract is also a popular flavor for ice cream, cakes, and other desserts.

To use pandanus extract as a substitute for pandan leaves, simply add a few drops to your recipe.

Keep in mind that the extract is very concentrated, so you may need to adjust the amount depending on your desired flavor.


In conclusion, these are the five best substitutes for pandan.

While some of these ingredients may be difficult to find, theyll all provide a similar flavor and aroma to pandan leaves.

You can use them in the same way whether youre wrapping up some dumplings or serving up a hearty stew.

So next time you cant find pandan leaves, dont worry.

These substitutes will do the trick.


What is a good substitute for pandan leaf?

Vanilla bean. Pods, paste, or extract from vanilla beans may lend somewhat similar sweet and floral notes.
Collard greens. For savory dishes, chop and boil these leafy greens as you would pandan leaves, per your particular recipe.
Matcha tea.

Can I use vanilla extract instead of pandan leaves?

A 1:1 substitute of pandan extract or paste for vanilla extract is usually appropriate, but when using pandan for the first time you may want to halve the amount of pandan to test the color and flavor that results.

Is banana leaf same as pandan?

Pandan leaves often get compared to and confused with banana leaves. While the two are similar, and pandan leaves can certainly be used in place of banana leaves for wrapping and presenting food; the key differences are that pandan leaves are thinner in width and slightly more delicate than banana leaves.

What is the difference between pandan and Pandanus?

; Malay: [ˈpandan]). It has fragrant leaves which are used widely for flavouring in the cuisines of Southeast Asia and South Asia.ˈpaendənPandanus amaryllifolius is a tropical plant in the Pandanus (screwpine) genus, which is commonly known as pandan (

What do we call pandan leaves in English?

What is Pandan’s English name? Pandan is often called fragrant screwpine or vanilla grass in English.

Is lemongrass same as pandan leaves?

1 Lemongrass has a lemony scent. Pandan smells like grassy vanilla. Lemongrass takes its name from what it smells like: grassy and lemony. It’s a powerful aroma that is commonly used in dishes to give it a citrus taste such as in the tinanglarang manok without using lemons or even calamansi.

Why do we need pandan leaves?

Pandan is an excellent source of vitamins and antioxidants known to help boost the immune system and prevent conditions like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Some of the vitamins and antioxidants in pandan include: Beta-carotene. C vitamin.

Does pandan taste like vanilla?

Pandan leaves have a sweet and mild vanilla-like flavor with a subtle undertone of rose and almond. Its taste has a tropical feel to it, with hints of white rice, coconut, and a grassy, floral aroma. The pandan leaf should not be eaten raw as it has no taste and is fibrous.

Is pandan flavoring the same as extract?

Pandan paste is different from regular extract due to being boiled down to produce a more concentrated pandan flavor.

Can I grow pandan leaves from supermarket?

Its leaves are often used to wrap meats like Pandan Chicken, or boiled and juiced to add fragrance to cakes and traditional ‘kueh’. Here’s a hack – after buying pandan leaves for your dishes from the local supermarket, don’t throw the stem away! Dip it in water to continue growing your own pandan at home.

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