Pandanas (Pandan) Leaves

pandan leaves
photo credit: gourmetsleuth


The aromatic leaves of the pandanus plant are used in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia to dye sweet foods green as well as to flavor rice. The leaves may be used to wrap rice just as you would a banana leaf then the packet is steamed or grilled. Alternately you can simply knot a foot long length of the leaf and add it to the rice (or other foods) so the leaves impart a perfume flavor to the foods they contact.


You can store fresh leaves in a plastic bag in the vegetable section of your refrigerator for up to four days.  For longer storage,  place leaves in flat layers on baking sheets and freeze.  Place frozen leaves in freezer storage bags and store up to 6 months.

hawaiian pandanNon-Culinary Uses

A family member, Pandanus tectorius is commonly found in Hawaii where the leaves are used for making mats, hats, mats, bowls and other garments. The sections of the fruits are sometimes made into leis (although it is bad luck to wear it for important occasions). 

Where To Find

The edible pandanas leaves are available in Southeast Asian grocery stores fresh or frozen. Plants will grow in the more temperate parts of California as well as in Florida

Fun Fact about Pandanas (Pandan) Leaves

Pandan Essence


pandan essecense
This Thai flavoring is made from the leaves of the Pandan plant is used cakes and other desserts. If you live in a region where you have access to the pandan leaves then you can make your own extract by steeping leaves in hot water. If not, then this little bottle will do the trick. The essence is used in South East Asian cooking, primarily for desserts. A tropical nutty aroma with a hint of coconut.  These product are all artificial, not natural flavorings.

Sources And Credits

University of Hawaii, Botany Department

Hot Sour Salty Sweet - Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid


Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.