Best Shiso/Perilla Leaves Substitute – A Detailed Guide

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We all know that vegetables are an important part of everyone’s diet. However, did you know that there are leaves that are only used for their appearance and aroma? In the same manner, people will use herbs to improve the overall flavor of a certain recipe. Perilla leaves are some of the herbs used for that purpose.

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Unfortunately, even though Perilla leaves are commonly used, they are not always easy to find. If you find yourself in such a situation, the next logical step would be to find a Perilla leaves substitute.

Perilla leaves are also known by other names such as Shiso and Chinese basil. It is very commonly used in Asian cuisines for its size and flavor. Mostly, it is used to wrap food. But if you cannot find some Shiso for your cuisine, you can any shiso leaves substitute we will list below.

Mint Leaves

Mint leaves

Mint is the best bet you have as a substitute for perilla leaves. It belongs to the same family as Shiso leaves. The reason why this is a perfect choice is the strong fragrance and intense flavor provided by Mint. You can find different varieties of this substitute, all of which are perfect as perilla substitutes.

Some varieties include purple mint and perilla mint. Their sweetness and aroma will replicate the fragrance and taste of shiso easily.

Grape Leaves

Grape Leaves

You can also go for grape leaves as substitutes for perilla leaves. These leaves are mainly common in Mediterranean cuisines. The reason why this would be perfect as a perilla substitute is that they have large leaves. They can therefore be used to wrap foods easily.

You need to know that grape leaves can be somewhat sturdy. For that reason, they need to be cooked longer. Brined grape leaves have a very tangy flavor and are readily available.

Thai Basil

Thai Basil

Being a mint family member, Thai basil is used in Asian cuisines widely. It adds some anise flavor to recipes and your flavor will be spicy. This shiso leaves substitute has a distinct purple color and is mainly used in stir-fries. The purple color helps to replicate the perilla effects on a recipe. You will be able to replicate the color and flavor.


Unfortunately, these leaves are smaller, which makes it harder for you to wrap food with them. They are also strong, which means that you have to use a smaller amount.

Sweet Basil

sweet, basil

Sweet basil, just like Thai basil, is a perfect perilla leaves substitute. The aroma is sweet and pungent at the same time. You can have different varieties. It is easy to identify this substitute because it looks like a bush and has small seeds that can also be used, and is dark brown.

You can choose anything from a rough, smooth, or crinkled option. The aroma is spicy and the taste is similar to clove. You can use it in fresh, frozen, or dried form.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are perilla leaves the same as sesame leaves?

Korean translation of perilla leaves is sesame leaves but they are not related to sesame plants.

  1. Where can I buy perilla leaves?

You can find perilla leaves in different online stores such as Amazon and Walmart. However, they might be hard to find.


Perilla leaves are a great choice for your recipe. Even if you do not have some perilla leaves, you will find substitutes that will be a great substitute for shiso. They provide almost the same aroma and color. They might even be better than shiso leaves.


Feel free to share your observations with me in the comments section!

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