Bay leaves are aromatic and generally used in cooking to bring out the flavor and cut through the richness in a dish. Bay leaves come from the laurel tree and are prominent in many different cuisines from all over the world from India to the Caribbean and East Asia, whole leaves are added to dishes, usually slow cooking sauces or stews and then removed before serving.
Substitute for Bay Leaf
Although it’s widely debated whether or not bay leaves add significant flavor to dishes or if they’re mostly unnecessary, there are a few substitutes you can use if you want to help to bring out the flavors of your favorite dish. Using one of the substitutes below will give you a hint of complexity that is similar to adding bay leaf to your sauce or stew. Use ¼ teaspoon of either of these substitutes for 1 bay leaf.
Considering the debate as to what a bay leaf contributes to dishes, you also have the option to just leave the bay leaf out of the recipe altogether.
Substitute for Ground Bay Leaf
Ground bay leaves can be used similarly to whole bay leaves, without the need to remove before serving. Ground bay leaf can also be used for rubs for meat with some salt and pepper. Ground bay leaf helps build flavor opposed to offering a strong, signature flavor. Bay leaves compliment acids and also emphasize the umami flavors in chilis, sauces, and stews. If you don’t have whole or ground bay leaves, you can use dried Greek oregano or dried thyme in its place.
Common Bay Leaf Questions
What Are Some Common Bay Leaf Recipes?
How Much Ground Bay Leaf Equals 1 Bay Leaf?
Between ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon equals 1 bay leaf. This is the same conversion you should use if you’re substituting dried oregano or dried thyme for a bay leaf.
What Are Some Benefits of Bay Leaves?
Bay leaves emphasize the existing flavors and compliment the other spices in each dish. Bay leaves are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and have even been proven to help treat migraines. Bay leaves can also help with digestion. These benefits make a good case to use bay leaves or ground bay leaves in your favorite dish!