Authentic Thai Recipe Ingredient: Kaffir lime leaves

Photo of Kaffir lime leaves and How it is Used in Authentic Thai Recipes.

Kaffir lime leaves

ใบมะกรูด (Bai makrut)
Citrus hystrix, Rutaceae, is commonly known in English as kaffir lime. It's a fruit native to Indochinese and Malesian ecoregions in India, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, and adjacent countries. It is used in Southeast Asian cuisine, and most importantly for our purposes, in many of the Thai dishes that we'll be teaching you about.


Citrus hystrix is a thorny bush, 5-10m tall, with aromatic and distinctively shaped "double" leaves. The kaffir lime is a rough, bumpy green fruit. The green lime fruit is distinguished by its bumpy exterior and its small size (approx. 4 cm (2 in) wide).

The leaves can be used fresh or dried, and can be stored frozen. Its hourglass-shaped leaves (comprising the leaf blade plus a flattened, leaf-like leaf-stalk or petiole) are widely used in Thai and Lao cuisine for dishes such as tom yum.


Citrus hystrix is grown worldwide in suitable climates as a garden shrub for home fruit production. It is well suited to container gardens and large garden pots on patios, terraces, and in conservatories.

Browse Ingredients by Category: