What Does Pandan Taste Like? A Detailed Answer

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You  recently heard about pandan leaves and their versatility. You wish to try it out and enjoy its benefits, as claimed by nutrition experts. Deep down, do you have this question, “What does pandan taste like?”. You are at the right place as I will talk about that. 

Pandan Leaf

Pandan leaves have a unique, tropical taste and sweet aroma. It has a strong, grassy flavor with rose, almond, and vanilla undertones. A subtle hint of coconut flavor is also noticeable. Pandan leaves have a flavor similar to that of basmati rice. 

Pandan leaves are available in various forms and have incredible health benefits. So, ready to hop on a journey that tells you all about pandan, its taste, best pairings, culinary uses, and many more!

What Is Pandan?

Pandanus amaryllifolius, frequently known as pandan, is a tropical plant. It is referred to as a ‘fragrant plant’ in China. Screwpine It looks similar to a palm tree and has long, slender, and spiky leaves. Its fragrant leaves are its highlight – these are used as flavoring agents.

Pandan is a prominent ingredient used in Southeast Asian and South cuisine. Pandan is available as fresh, frozen, dried leaves, paste, extract, and powder. Like banana leaves, palm leaves are used to wrap before steaming or frying foods. 

Explore The Taste Of Other Foods We’ve Covered

What Does Pandan Taste Like?


Coming to the most important part of the article – what does pandan taste like? Let us look at what pandan has to offer our taste buds.

Pandan has a complex flavor profile. It has a distinctive tropical flavor with a sweet, floral, grassy taste similar to vanilla. It has a characteristic smell similar to that of white bread, jasmine rice, and basmati rice. Pandan also has subtle tasty notes of rose, almond, and coconut.

Does Pandan Taste Good?

Pandan has a complex taste that you are now familiar with. So, is it any good, or is it worth considering giving it a try? Let us see.

Raw pandan leaves have a grassy flavor. Mixed with other ingredients and used in cooking renders a unique sweet flavor and taste. If you are a fan of mild, sweet flavors similar to that of vanilla, then pandan would incredibly taste good for you. Also, the tropical taste of pandan is unmissable. The fragrant notes of almonds, rose, and coconut gives pandan a unique and lovely taste. 

Does Pandan Taste Like Vanilla?

Pandan is also known as the ‘vanilla of Southeast Asian cooking.’ Since the pandan leaves have a flavor similar to vanilla, it is natural to think if pandan tastes like vanilla. Shall we find out?

Pandan doesn’t taste like vanilla, to start with. Vanilla has a sweet, sugary taste similar to that of a marshmallow. Pandan can be replaced with vanilla since it has a dessert-like taste but not because it tastes exactly like vanilla. Pandan has a subtle hint of vanilla, along with that of rose and almonds. 

What Does Pandan Cake Taste Like?

Heard of pandan cake? It is a soft, delicious cake that is extremely popular in several countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Netherlands, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. What makes it popular, and what about its taste?

Pandan cake comprises flour, eggs, butter or margarine, pandan leaves, and sugar. It also goes by the name pandan chiffon cake. Pandan cake has a sweet, refreshing, aromatic taste that has a moist, fluffy texture. The use of pandan leaves gives pandan cake a distinctive greenish hue. 

Is Pandan Like Matcha?

If you are familiar with matcha, I don’t need to tell you about it. But I guess it is my job to tell and your job is to listen!

Matcha is a powder made from processed, high-quality green leaves. It has a mild, naturally sweet, nutty flavor with a savory, bitter ending. Pandan and matcha are both used for flavoring and coloring purposes. Pandan and matcha do not have a similar taste, but they can be used together for a delicious, flavorsome treat.

What Flavors Pair Well With Pandan?

Pandan has a sweet, tropical flavor that is quite mild in nature. Wondering which flavors that pair well with pandan? 

Pandan pairs well with glutinous rice, lemongrass, milk, brown sugar, and turmeric. The pandan flavor is great to blend with glutinous rice-based desserts, jellies, chiffon cake, mochi, coconut drinks, ice cream, and more.

Apart from these, pandan also pairs amazingly well with Macadamia, ginger, vanilla, banana, almond, lychee, rambutan, star anise, coriander, and watermelon.

Why Is My Pandan Juice Bitter?

Pandan juice is prepared by blending pandan leaves with water. It is a good source of vitamins and antioxidants, which are essential for the proper functioning of our bodies. So, why does pandan juice taste bitter?

Pandan juice, obtained from matured and crushed pandan leaves, tastes bitter if it is quite concentrated. Also, if the white base at the end of these leaves is not cut, it can contribute to the bitter taste in pandan juice. 

What Does Pandan Leaf Taste Like?

Pandan is a tropical plant that is well-known for its fragrant leaves. Pandan is incredibly versatile, and its leaves are a good source of anti-inflammatory agents. The taste of pandan leaves is what we are going to talk about now.

Pandan leaves have a natural sweet taste and a mild, soft aroma. The pandan leaves have a grassy flavor with subtle hints of rose, almond, and vanilla close to coconut. Pandan leaves have a fragrant aroma that is comparable to basmati rice. 

What Does Buko Pandan Taste Like?

Ever been to the Philippines or a Filipino restaurant where you heard of buko pandan? Allow me to introduce you to a dessert named buko pandan. Buko pandan, a young coconut pandan salad, is a cold Filipino dessert prepared using young coconut, pandan leaves, and sago pearls. 

Most of the recipes include boiled pandan leaves to extract their flavor. Pandan flavoring can also be used instead of pandan leaves. Buko pandan has a sweet, creamy, and delicious taste that has a refreshing flavor. You can experience the fresh aroma of pandan leaves prominently.

What Does Pandan Jelly Taste Like?

Who doesn’t love jellies? These desserts, which are much loved by all, are made using gelatin. What about pandan jelly and its taste? It is time to find out!

Pandan jelly is made of mung bean starch, rice flour, sugar, salt, and pandan paste. It is served with crushed ice, palm sugar syrup, and coconut sauce. Pandan jelly is usually served as a soup but can also be enjoyed as a cool drink. It has a sweet, refreshing taste with an adorable chewy, slippery texture. 

What Does Pandan Fruit Taste Like?

Pandan fruit goes by several names – Hala fruit, beach pandan, screw pine, Pandang, pandanas, and Hala tree. It has another moniker, too – stink nut – because it emanates a strong odor once it is overripe. What does pandan fruit taste like? Time to get the answer.

Pandan fruit has a mild, sweet, tropical taste with a flavor that is not overwhelming or overpowering. It has a taste that can be deemed as a cross between pineapple and banana and has a subtle banana flavor. Although it has a sweet, refreshing flavor when ripe, it emits a pungent aroma once overripe. 

What Does Pandan Essence Taste Like?

As much as pandan leaves, pandan essence is also a prominent ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine. Ready to know about pandan essence and its taste?

Pandan essence is also known as pandanus extract or screwpine paste. It is made by extracting the greenish essence of pandan leaves boiled in water. The essence is a natural food coloring agent with a nutty aroma similar to basmati rice. Pandan essence has a mild, sweet taste and a slightly nutty aroma. 

Culinary Uses of Pandan

You now have a fair idea about pandan and its flavor profile. Isn’t it necessary to know the culinary uses of pandan as well? Let us look into those.

Pandan leaves are usually added for their sweet tropical taste and fragrant flavor. They add a refreshing flavor to dishes, desserts, and drinks, and a vibrant greenish hue. These leaves are sold either dried or frozen apart from fresh leaves. 

Pandan leaves are used as wrappers for steaming or frying foods, similar to banana leaves. The fruits of the pandan plant can be eaten raw or relished in a dessert or a marmalade. The paste of pandan or pandan paste is used as a flavoring agent in many recipes. Pandan paste or pandan powder is used in drinks and desserts.

Different Pandan Recipes That You Should Try

Now is the time to find out the names of the amazing recipes you can try with pandan. Pandan recipes are a flavorful treat for sure, and they can be enjoyed at any time of the day!

  • Pandan coconut jelly
  • Pandan agar agar milk
  • Pandan leaf soup
  • Pandan crepes
  • Pandan coconut rice
  • Talam Pandan
  • Coconut pandan waffles
  • Pandan Coconut Milk Bread
  • Pandan Chiffon Cake
  • Pandan Honeycomb Cake
  • Pandan-scented Chicken Curry
  • Pandan-scented Steamed Rice
  • Pandan coconut jam
  • Mango with lime and Pandan syrup
  • Pandan pancakes
  • Pandan Iced Tea
  • Pandan Lamingtons

How To Tell If Pandan Is Fresh?

Although pandan leaves are sold dried or frozen, you can get lucky if you find a batch of fresh pandan leaves. In such an instance, you should be able to identify if pandan is fresh or not. 

Fresh pandan leaves are bright green. They are hydrated well with no spots, patches, or blemishes. There should be no discoloration or signs of shriveling in the leaves. They also have a strong fragrance absent in pandan leaves that are not fresh. 

How To Store Pandan Properly?

You have the ‘fragrant leaves’ in your hand, and are you doubtful of how to store them? Not to worry. The following tips will be your guide in storing pandan properly:

  • Pandan leaves are stored after washing them cleanly and drying them. 
  • The leaves can be refrigerated and stored after wrapping them in paper towels. They have to be stored in an airtight container.
  • You can also keep them at room temperature by avoiding sunlight.
  • Pandan leaves can also be stored by making an extract out of them. Pandan extract can be stored in an airtight container and stay the same for six months. 
  • For long-term storage, pandan leaves can be dried, but there might be a change in their aroma and flavor. Dried pandan leaves can be stored without refrigeration and away from sunlight.

Health Benefits Of Pandan

Pandan is not all about taste or fragrance, let me tell you. It is a kind of superfood that has incredible health benefits. Care to look in detail?

  • Pandan leaves are a rich source of significant sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
  • They are a rich source of vitamin A that is beneficial for supporting eye health.
  • They help treat arthritis and joint pain relief. 
  • They boost respiratory functions and manage the symptoms associated with diabetes.
  • They have antifungal properties that can help in curing itchy scalp. 
  • They manage blood sugar levels and treat high blood pressure.
  • They are an excellent cure for the treatment of gout.
  • They have anti-carcinogenic properties.

Nutritional Content Of Pandan

In a 100 g of pandan paste, the following nutritional values are observed: 

Calories321 Kcal
Protein2.2 g
Calcium134 mg
Phosphorous108 mg
Iron5.7 mg
Thiamin0.04 mg
Vitamin C2 mg

Final Word

That was all about pandan and its taste. I hope the article gave you a clear idea of what to expect when you try pandan next time. To sum it up, pandan leaves have a sweet, tropical taste with a grassy flavor with hints of vanilla, almonds, and coconut. They work as flavoring and coloring agents and have other culinary uses. On top of all these, they have many health benefits to offer us as well.

So, what stops you now from relishing pandan leaves or pandan essence? Try them out, and let me know what you think of them. Make sure to use the comments section generously, and I will see you soon with another article!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does pandan taste like banana?

Pandan has a sweet, tropical flavor with fruity undertones that are similar to that of a banana. 

Is pandan like Matcha?

Pandan is a type of leaf that is known for its rich fragrance, and vibrant green color. It is not like matcha, which is a kind of tea produced using high quality green leaves. 

What is the English name of pandan?

Pandan is known as fragrant screwpine or vanilla grass in English.

Does pandan have caffeine?

No, pandan is devoid of caffeine.

Are pandan and Lemongrass the same?

Pandan and lemongrass are not the same. Pandan has a grassy vanilla flavor wile lemongrass has a grassy lemony flavor.

What is pandan similar to?

Pandan is similar to vanilla beans. 

What can I substitute for pandan?

Pandan can be substituted with vanilla beans, collard greens and matcha tea.

What are the side effects of pandan leaves?

There aren’t any side effects that come with the consumption of pandan leaves. That said, it can cause nausea, indigestion and affect renal function in people with kidney problems.

How do you extract the flavor from pandan leaves?

Pandan leaves are washed and stripped into pieces. They are added to water and blended until the leaves are reduced to fine particles. The extract is then extracted out of the mixture by using a strainer or a cheesecloth.

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