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Pandan Leaf Substitute

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Because of its putative health advantages and culinary characteristics, pandan leaf is well-known and commonly utilized in South and Southeast Asian cuisines. Furthermore, Western interest in the plant is increasing.

Pandan (Pandanus) is a fragrant plant prized for its sweet floral fragrance and adaptability. It is a tropical plant with spiky leaves that grow in fan-shaped clusters. Some types also produce red-orange pinecone-like fruits.

Continue reading to discover more about Pandan leaf, its applications, and advantages. Furthermore, I’ve highlighted several outstanding Pandan leaf replacements for your convenience if you can’t locate any Pandan leaf nearby.


What Is Pandan Leaf 

Pandan Leaf Substitute

Pandan is a tropical herbaceous plant that thrives in Southeast Asia. In Chinese, it is regarded as a fragrant plant because to its characteristic, sweet aroma.

The cultivated plant, which resembles a palm, has long, thin, spiky, upright, vivid green leaves. For their taste, the leaves are used in a variety of Thai and Southeast Asian dishes. Pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius) may also be purchased as a paste, extract, or powder for use in confections.

Furthermore, pandan leaves have a lovely aroma and a naturally sweet taste with traces of rose, almond, vanilla, and coconut tint. Because pandan and basmati rice share an aroma component, some chefs may flavor regular rice to save money.

Pandan leaves are utilized in Southeast Asia to provide various tastes and smells to sweets, beverages, and savory dishes. Pandan leaves, which are available fresh, frozen, and dried, may be used to wrap savory foods such as chicken or sticky rice.

The leaves lend a pleasant taste as well as aesthetic appeal to various dishes. The paste, extract, and powder all taste and color the components green.

Pandan Leaf Uses in Recipes

Pandan paste and extract are used to flavor dishes in the same way as vanilla flavoring is in the West, and the powder is utilized in baked goods and tea. All of these components contribute to the dish’s green color.

Pandan, also known as screw pine, may be used for a variety of applications depending on the form it is in, such as leaves, paste, extract, or powder. Pandan leaves are wrapped in whole before steaming or frying dishes.

Here are some fascinating recipes that you may make using Pandan Leaf:

  • Pandan Leaf Water Extract
  • Chicken warped in Pandan Leaves
  • Pork in Pandan Leaves
  • Thai Pandan Rice Cake
  • Pandan Sweet Rice Layer Cake
  • Nasi Lemak
  • Thai Pandan Leaf Chicken
  • Pandan Juice
  • Pandan Chiffon Cake
  • Deep-Fried Minced Seafood in Pandan Leaf
  • Spicy Pandan Leaf Chicken Wings
  • Pandan Fashioned Cocktail
  • Pandan Custard Cake
  • Pandan Muffins
  • Pandan Leaf Mini Steamed Buns

Pandan Leaf Substitutes

Pandan leaves are typically used to flavor rice, but they may also be found in puddings and other sweets, and they are also used for pigment since they offer color to the dish.

Is there an alternative if you don’t have access to Pandan leaves? You very definitely can. Pandan leaves are harder to replace, but they are not irreplaceable.

Vanilla Beans

Vanilla is a well-known taste all around the globe. The beans are used to provide true vanilla taste to sauces, frostings, syrups, ice cream, drinks, and other delights.

A vanilla bean, not a bean, is the fruit of orchids of the genus Vanilla. Vanilla orchids are grown in just a tiny section of the globe, with Madagascar accounting for 80 percent of worldwide output.

Like the wine, the leaves may be substituted with pods that grow on vanilla orchids. Because vanilla beans are pricey, vanilla extract may be used as a replacement.

Vanilla has a similar taste and aroma to pandan leaves. If you have vanilla paste on hand, you may use that instead.

Collard Greens

Collard greens are a common ingredient in southern cuisine and may be used in place of pandan leaves.

These greens are members of the cabbage family. Before using them in your cookery, be sure to remove the tough stems. Collard greens have a cabbage-like taste and are very nutritious. In almost any savory cuisine, these greens may be used in lieu of pandan leaves.

Furthermore, since their leaves are green, another likeness may be employed to replicate pandan leaves and provide a corresponding taste.

Collards are a vegetable with large green leaves and stiff stems that must be removed before eating. Collard greens are the leafy parts of cabbage that humans eat.

They are related to cabbage, kale, and mustard greens and are prepared in the same manner.


Ginger may also be substituted for pandan leaves. Fresh ginger with sweet and spicy scents may readily replace the leaves in most recipes.

you create a similar taste, be sure you use fresh, young ginger.

Ginger grows mellower when cooked, and if burned, it may turn bitter, so make sure you heat it to the proper temperature. In almost every recipe, replace and alter the quantity.

Ginger, in particular, has antioxidants that preserve your body’s DNA from stress and damage. Furthermore, this substance may help to avoid chronic illnesses including high blood pressure, heart disease, and lung ailments, as well as promote healthy aging.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is there a difference between pandan and lemongrass?

Pandan smells like green vanilla. Lemongrass derives its name from its grassy and lemony fragrance. Pandan is also known as Asian vanilla since its scent is as popular in this area as vanilla is in the West.

What is the flavor of pandan?

Typically, pandan leaves are pulverized into an emerald-green extract. The deeper the color and the richer the taste of the leaf as it grows. Pandan leaf powder is often used to enhance the flavor of both savory and sweet foods. It has a grassy vanilla taste with a hint of coconut, according to the description.

With what does pandan pair well?

Pandan pairs well with sticky rice, lemongrass, milk, brown sugar, and turmeric, to name a few ingredients. It’s used in sticky rice delicacies, jellies, chiffon cake, mochi, coconut beverages, ice cream, and more.


Pandan may be tough to find depending on your location. While there are no ideal alternatives for pandan, there are a few choices.

There’s no need to be concerned if you can’t locate pandan leaves. Consider the Pandan leaf alternatives mentioned in this article.


Can I use vanilla extract instead of pandan leaves?

A 1:1 substitution of pandan extract or paste for vanilla extract is normally fine, but if you’re using pandan for the first time, you may want to decrease the quantity to test the color and taste that results.

Is lemongrass same as pandan leaves?

3 Pandan is often used in sweets, while lemongrass is typically used in savory foods. This does not exclude the use of pandan in savory recipes and lemongrass in sweets! Pandan is primarily recognized as a dessert scent, but it may also be used to enhance the fragrance of savory meals.

What is pandan in baking?

Pandan extract is made by extracting and blending the juice from pandan leaves (also known as screwpine or pandanus) with water. It’s used in a variety of Southeast Asian foods, particularly sweets. Pandan, which is often deep green in color, has a scent that is comparable to vanilla essence but a bit earthier.

Why does pandan taste so good?

The powerful power of the pandan is buried in its leaves. Pandan’s scent is produced when a yellow pigment in the leaves degrades, releasing the fragrant chemical 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline (2AP). The chemical may also be found in fragrant rice types like basmati and jasmine, as well as the aromas of popcorn and crabmeat.

What flavor is similar to pandan?

Pandan has the same fragrance component as basmati rice, so you may simply flavor ordinary rice with pandan if you’re cooking on a budget.

What do we call pandan leaves in English?

What is Pandan’s English name? In English, pandan is also known as aromatic screwpine or vanilla grass.

Where can pandan leaves be found?

The origins of Pandan leaves are uncertain, although it is thought to be native to Southeast Asia, where it is still commonly farmed. Pandan leaves are now available fresh and frozen at specialist grocers in South India, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and West New Guinea.

Is pandan leaves the same as extract?

When you combine pandan leaves with water, you obtain pandan juice. Pandan extract is the sediment that forms at the bottom of a jar of pandan juice after it has been left for 18-20 hours. The sediment is essentially the chlorophyll pigment that gives pandan its green hue.

Is pandan and vanilla the same?

It’s also known as “Asian vanilla,” and although pandan is as prevalent in this part of the globe as vanilla is elsewhere, the similarities between the two stop there. Vanilla has a creamy, musky, caramel scent, but pandan smells like freshly cooked rice and freshly mowed grass.

What does pandan leaves taste like?

Pandan leaves have a naturally sweet flavor and a delicate scent. It has a robust taste that has been characterized as green with overtones of rose, almond, and vanilla, bordering on coconut. Pandan and basmati rice share an aroma component, thus some chefs who want to save money may flavor ordinary rice with pandan.

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