Spotlight on Spice: 10 Easy Recipe Ideas for Kaffir Lime Leaves

homemade lemonade with kaffir lime leaves

What are you supposed to do with kaffir lime leaves?

Search "recipes with kaffir lime leaves" and endless Thai and Malaysian dishes pop up, including a few from Season with Spice.  But if you don’t cook Southeast Asian food, then you’re probably convinced never to use the aromatic spice.

That stereotype needs to change, because there's nothing worse in the kitchen than labeling a spice.

trail mix with kaffir lime leaves

Kaffir lime leaves are an integral part of Southeast Asian cuisine.  Why?  Because the herb is widely available, it has numerous health benefits, and the flavor and aroma enhances a variety of dishes.

As kaffir lime leaves become more available in grocery stores in the US – and as more people realize how easy it is to grow the small kaffir lime tree in a pot – it is only a matter of time until the herb is used daily in the American kitchen to bring new life to many familiar foods and drinks.

best chunky guacamole recipe with spices and herbs

Try any of these 10 Fun & Easy ways to use Kaffir Lime Leaves:

1. Crush a leaf in your hand and add it to your favorite drink.  Try it in soft drinks, beers, cocktails, or simply add it to a glass of ice water or soda water.
2. Pound or finely grind a leaf, and mix it into guacamole.
3. Add a few leaves to hot water for an invigorating kaffir lime leaf tea.
4. Slice the leaf thinly and add the shreds to trail mix or roasted nuts.
5. Use it like a bay leaf, and add it to roasts or stews.
6. Slice the herb thinly and add the shreds into salads.
7. Make a kaffir lime leaf lemonade.
8. Toss it into vegetable soups to put a new spin on minestrone.
9. Wrap a shrimp or scallop in a whole leaf, secure it with a toothpick, and pan-fry it or barbeque it.  Or slice the leaf thinly and use the shreds to garnish seafood dishes.
10. Slice the herb thinly and add the shreds to tacos or fajitas.

That’s only in the kitchen.  Outside the kitchen, the warm fragrance of kaffir lime leaves can be used as a perfume, as an essential oil for aromatic baths or massage, as a mosquito repellent, and as an ingredient in potpourri.

how to make tea with kaffir lime leaves