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Shiso Leaves Substitute (Here’s 7 Green & Red Shiso Alternatives)

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Shiso Leaves

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Japanese-styled cooking calls for shiso leaves that are not easy to get all time. So, here is a list containing the best shiso leaves substitute that you can use in your cocktails, beverages, sweet and savory treats. So, continue your cooking without losing the authentic flavor of the dish.

Shiso is a culinary herb of the mint family and is often mistakenly perceived as perilla leaves.

Shiso leaves are larger and broader than mint with a mild refreshing and citrusy flavor reminiscent of mint and cilantro. They are excellent for wrapping food, adding to recipes, garnishing desserts, and tossing to cocktails.

However, Shiso leaves are not so easy to find everywhere and they are quite expensive too. So, whenever you find shiso leaves out of reach, carry out your continental cooking with suitable shiso leaves alternatives given below. Let’s read.

Shiso Leaves Substitute

Shiso leaves are distinctively broader and pointy towards the ends with ruffled and serrated edges. They are more versatile and handier to use than you may ever think.

They are used in a variety of sweet and savory recipes during or after cooking. When fresh, Shiso leaves are delicious to eat raw, cook in long-simmering recipes, serve seafood, and wrap wasabi.

When dried, Shiso leaves are perfect for seasoning desserts, sauces, noodles, and pasta dishes. They are even versatile enough to be used fresh in your signature cocktail recipes and drinks.

In short, you can use them in tons of different ways every time to get a floral aroma and refreshing shiso flavor.

Try the following shiso substitutes to carry out things as intended.

1. Mint Leaves

Mint Leaves

Mint leaves are closer to shiso leaves as they both are members of the same family, the Lamiaceae. It’s the potent flavor and intense floral aroma that makes mint leaves a good substitute for shiso.

Mint leaves are rich in subtly sweet and peppery flavor notes with a mild hint of underlying bitterness.

The other common varieties of mint leaves including peppermint, spearmint, curly mint, or licorice mint, are also good to go alternatives for shiso leaves.

Mint leaves are not broader as shiso, so you cannot use them to wrap food. However, they are good to add to your cocktails for a fresh cooling sensation triggered by the menthol present in leaves.

You can add them to cooking recipes as a finishing ingredient or garnish your desserts.

In terms of relatable flavor and appearance, mint leaves are the best choice to go with instead of shiso leaves.

2. Korean Perilla Leaves

Korean Perilla Leaves

Korean perilla is another exotic option to go with instead of shiso leaves. It also belongs to the mint family native to southeast Asia and India, yet popularly grown in the United States, Korea, China, and Japan.

Although it’s tricky to find Korean perilla leaves locally, they can perfectly replace shiso if you have them on hand.

The sturdy, broad, and ruffled leaf texture of Korean perilla will never make feel you out of shiso.

The best thing is the flavor of Korean perilla that it lends to the recipes. On the whole, Korean perilla leaves are rich in mild, grassy, and minty taste hints with a zing of basil and anise.

They are perfect for wrapping food, tossing to cocktails, soups, stews, desserts, and salads.

3. Basil


Basil is another variant of the mint family with a comparable shiso flavor and leaf color.

Similar to mint leaves, shiso has a number of different varieties that are popular in southeast and Asian cuisines. However, Thai basil, sweet basil, and lemon basil are some kinds that can substitute shiso leaves in terms of flavor and similar leaf color.

Each variety has its own flavor, yet on the whole, basil has a complex blend of citrusy, peppery, and sweet notes with a hint of mint, anise, and licorice.

Any of the basil kinds can be your best bet in place of shiso leaves, depending on your recipe.

The best thing is that basil leaves are quite easy to find unlike shiso, and give a similar greenish pop to your sweet and savory treats.

4. Cilantro


As long as you need a shiso substitute for garnishing desserts or soups, cilantro can save you. Cilantro is a well-known culinary herb popularly used in routine recipes around the globe.

The best thing is that it has a leafy texture and appearance closely related to shiso leaves.

The leaves are much smaller, delicate, and thinner rather than shiso with a mild peppery and grassy flavor, and provide a robust floral aroma to food dishes.

For their small leaves and delicate texture, you cannot use them for wrapping, yet you can garnish soups, stews, stir-fries, and desserts using cilantro leaves.

The best thing about cilantro is its hassle-free availability. You can easily get fresh cilantro leaves from your local markets or vendors.

5. Grape Leaves

Grape Leaves

Even though grape leaves are larger than shiso leaves, they still have a similar appearance and flavor.

Grape leaves are quite large, greenish, and sturdy with similar serrated and ruffled edges, like shiso. And if you are looking for a candidate to substitute shiso leaves for wrapping wasabi, minced meat, or rice, grape leaves will work great for you.

Besides wrapping, you can garnish your recipes with shredded grape leaves. They are great for tossing to salads and cocktails.

The only thing that can make you annoy is the stocky and sturdy texture of grape leaves. For that sense, they are not ideal for cooking dishes. However, if you want them in your soups or curries, you need to cook them longer.

Red Shiso Leaves Substitute

Red shiso leaves are simply another variant of green shiso leaves with a sparkling appearance and potent flavor.

They are used in slow-cooking recipes, beverages, cocktails, and frozen desserts for their stunning reddish color pop.

And the best thing is that you can also substitute red shiso in your recipes without letting the recipe flavor off.

But keep in mind, red shiso and green shiso leaves are not interchangeable as they vary greatly in terms of leaf color and flavor.

6. Black Peppermint

Black Peppermint

Black peppermint is a cultivar of green peppermint with a leaf texture and appearance similar to red shiso leaves.

The leaves are dark purplish and brown with a rough leafy texture and saw-toothed edges. When used as a substitute for red shiso leaves, black peppermint brings that deep and fresh flavor reminiscent of bitter mint and menthol.

The deep sour and minty aroma of black peppermint transforms ordinary cocktails, beverages, and desserts into a refreshingly appealing treat.

They are excellent for wrapping grilled meat, rice, and wasabi. Add them to soups, stews, and curries as a natural coloring and flavoring to get a decent purplish hue.

7. Bergamot Mint

Bergamot Mint
Bergamot Mint

Bergamot mint has nothing to do with bergamot fruit rather it is a perennial herb of the mint family.

The oval dark green and brownish leaves with a tender texture and minty mouthfeel can easily replace red shiso leaves.

Bergamot mint leaves work great in cocktails and tropical drinks rather than in cooking dishes.

Their citrusy, minty, and a slightly smoky-bitter flavor pairs well with a variety of liquors and beverages.

Besides culinary importance, bergamot leaves are equally important for their medicinal usage.

Bergamot mint teas and detox drinks help reduce headaches, digestive problems, stress, anxiety, and many more.

Pick Up The Best Shiso Leaves Substitute

Shiso leaves make everyday cooking flavorful and aromatic with their delicate mouthfeel and unique palate tingling hints. And if you are going to replace this sensation owing to the shortage of shiso leaves, how would you choose the one for your coming recipe?

It sounds challenging, right? But wait, it’s not so tricky.

You just need to put the following factors in consideration before picking up the best alternative to shiso.

Appearance: Shiso leaves are broad, heart-shaped, flat, and spiny toward the edges. They impart a beautiful dark green pop to drinks, desserts, salads, and cooked dishes.

So, you need to opt for a candidate with a similar leafy texture and color so that your recipes look appealing and palatable.

Flavor: Shiso leaf has a bright citrusy and peppery flavor reminiscent of anise, mint, basil, and cilantro with a robust lemony scent.

On the whole, shiso leaves blend a refreshing hint of sweet and sour flavor without overpowering the recipe mouthfeel. So, you need to go with an ingredient with that similar herbal flavor and floral aroma.

Availability: Shiso is a culinary herb native to China. Therefore, Chinese recipes always contain this versatile workhorse for extra flavor and zing. Besides, it’s equally popular in American and Japanese cuisines.

However, shiso leaves are not distributed all around the globe and there are chances that your local grocery stores may not carry this herb. That said, go for a shiso substitute that is easy to locate in your region.

Freshness: Fresh shiso leaves are great for wrapping and tossing to cooking dishes, cocktails, desserts, and salads.

But there are also dried and preserved versions of shiso that are more common as a condiment and seasoning or garnishing spice. So, the substitution will greatly depend on your recipe needs.

22250cookie-checkShiso Leaves Substitute (Here’s 7 Green & Red Shiso Alternatives)


Hey, I’m Ayesha Khalid, the main writer of Substitutesfor.com. I love to write about food ingredients, cooking guides, and helping tips and tricks to upgrade your cooking experience. The aim of writing is to provide you with a collection of substitutions and novel ideas to try so that you can find all the needed information at once. Here, you can get ideas according to your diet restrictions, taste preferences, and health conditions.

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