4 Amazing Curry Leaves Substitute

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Finding a curry leaves substitute is quite easy, and since they aren’t the most common ingredient in your spice shelf, an alternative might be necessary.

Curry Leaves Substitute

The best curry leaves substitutes to be added include the following:


Although the flavor isn’t exactly the same, there are a number of similar flavor notes in basil, which can help provide your meals with a floral zest or bite. Many chefs recommend an equal 1:1 replacement ratio for basil leaves to curry leaves. Dried basil in powdered form can also be used, but the flavor effect may not be as noticeable. [1]

A wooden bowl of green leaves placed on a wooden table

A bowl of bay leaves. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Bay Leaf

Curry leaves are unique as they have both sweet and savory notes, which is why the meals prepared with them have such an original and memorable flavor. Bay leaves provide a potent and concentrated flavor when included in soups, stews, and curries, and is widely considered a great curry leaf substitute. [2]

Lemon Balm

While lemon balm leans toward the sweet and acidic, some chefs enjoy the light notes of lemon balm as a replacement for curry leaves. The aroma of lemon balm is quite similar to curry leaves, although the taste is slightly different. [3]

Lime Zest

Perhaps the best substitute for curry leaves, lime zest can be scraped off the outer edge of the fruit and added to many different dishes to provide the same bite and flavor as a few curry leaves in your dish. [4]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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