Featuring hearty soups, pasta, and seafood favorites, create this list of 33 recipes that use bay leaves, all packed with rich, savory, and herbaceous flavor.
Whether fresh or dried, bay leaves help add a layer of complex flavor to different kinds of dishes.
We created this Easy Adobo Sauce recipe, and our Filipino friends just commended it!
Although bay leaves are not as widely used as other herbs and spices, they are a subtle but powerful spice that enhances the flavor of recipes, especially stews, soups, and sauces.
Bay leaves have a distinct flavor and aroma that can be hard to come across using other spices, so imagine just how special this is.
If you want your dish to stand out, it may need a bay leaf.
These 33 recipes that use bay leaves are all you need and more to understand just how much even a couple of bay leaves can transform a whole dish.
These recipes will give you a brand new appreciation for this spice.
Don’t fret if you’ve never used bay leaves before because they’re very straightforward to use in recipes.
The Bay Leaf Bundt Cake and Caramelized Onion Arugula Burger are two out-of-this-world recipes that will surely make their mark on you.
If you want to explore new food for your taste buds, there’s nothing more to look for.
However, if you want an irresistible dish without getting too complicated, do not sleep on #31!
Let’s get started.
1. Bay Leaf Tea
One recipe that’s the easiest to make when you have some bay leaves on hand is bay leaf tea.
This recipe is also the best way to fully appreciate the taste and aroma of bay leaves.
Pro tip: If you plan to add more ingredients to your tea, boil the bay leaves for at least 3 minutes.
Chicken adobo is a popular Filipino comfort food that requires bay leaves.
This recipe renders a sweet and flavorful chicken with a great blend of tangy, sweet, and savory tastes.
The bay leaf in the recipe helps make the overall flavor of the dish richer.
No bay leaves? Substitute the spice with these subs!
This Bay Leaf Rice Pilaf is a great recipe to pair with almost any main dish.
It has a subtle flavor that can take you by surprise.
The bay leaf taste does not overpower but adds great appeal to the rice.
If you want a recipe that’s oozing with different rich flavors, this recipe is just the right one for you.
There’s one word for it: loaded.
With chicken, rice, and lots of veggies, you’ll never feel less than full after serving this.
Hearty and comforting, there’s nothing better on a cold or rainy day than this Chickpea Noodle Soup.
Although this recipe requires many ingredients, it’s easy to prepare.
The vegetable broth helps give flavor and thickness to the soup, but the bay leaves are sure to enhance all the flavors in this dish.
You must know the ratatouille recipe from the famous movie of the same name, but did you know that there’s a version that involves bay leaves?
This classic French ratatouille is the veggie goodness that will fill you up and make you want more.
Even if you prefer a lot of meat in your dishes, you will be surprised at how much this can grab your attention.
Daal is probably one of the easiest Indian dishes to cook.
With a beautiful mix of bay leaves with other spices and seasonings, you will be consumed with your love for this dish.
It’s flavorful and filling–exactly what you should look for in a dish.
9. Pickled Pork
You’ve heard a lot of pickled vegetables, but Pickled Pork is something you should try at least once.
The mixture of all the ingredients to flavor the pork is superb.
You will need a handful of bay leaves for this, which means that once you try the pork, you will get a good taste of the flavor profile of the bay leaves.
Juicy and tender – if that’s what you enjoy in your meat, don’t let this recipe pass up.
The bay leaves are used in this recipe twice: to add flavor and a charming look.
Pro tip: There’s no need to worry about scorched spots on the meat, but if you want to avoid this, you can line the tin with foil before roasting.
This Chicken Cacciatore recipe will require many ingredients and effort from you.
Still, because of the complex preparation and cooking that goes into it, it also has a complex flavor that makes it irresistible.
This is a versatile recipe because there are two ways to make it, so the recipe adjusts to you!
13. Spanish Paella
Paella is one of the most well-loved Spanish dishes, and you can make one for yourself.
It’s not complicated, so even if you’re new, you can whip up a beautiful batch.
Pro tip: It’s best not to substitute Spanish rice, but if you have no other option, then medium-grain rice is a good choice.
Your regular chicken curry is spicy, but this Filipino take on the famous dish is creamier!
Instead of only turmeric powder, this recipe uses coconut cream, which changes the overall flavor of the dish, but doesn’t take away from the deliciousness.
Many of us think that bay leaves only work for sauces and soups, but you’ll be surprised to find out that it works great in your dessert.
For this recipe, you’ll have to grind the bay leaves to incorporate them into the recipe.
What you’ll be able to create are sweet and tart cookies perfect for any holiday gathering.
They make you feel warm inside!
17. Potato Gratin
This side dish that’s best made in big batches will surely wow all your guests!
Keep in mind that if you wish to whip up this recipe, it’s best to make it ahead because it will take a lot of time.
It’s all worth it, though, because it’s packed with flavor that you don’t have to worry about there being any leftovers.
Bay leaves are a versatile spice, so they work well even infused with your cake’s icing.
This bundt cake recipe takes advantage of bay leaf’s subtle and unique flavor to turn your usual cakes into ones you will remember.
The key to making this recipe stand out is ensuring that the bay leaves give their flavor to the icing, so you will have to simmer them in the cream.
Bay leaves also work amazingly in drinks.
This hard lemonade is aromatic and intense in all the right places.
If you want to take your bay leaf journey up a notch, don’t miss out on this one.
20. Fisherman’s Stew
This dish, also known as Cioppino, is an Italian and American fusion of spices and flavors.
If you’re a seafood lover, you will truly appreciate everything happening in this dish.
You need a lot here, both in ingredients, time, and preparation, but it’s all well worth it once you get even one sip of the soup.
It’s truly unique–its rich flavor is unlike many other soups.
A salmon dish is delicious, but it becomes harder to avoid when it’s as moist and flavor-packed as this one.
The salmon is wrapped in bay leaves and lemons here, which bring out so much flavor but do not overwhelm the dish’s star.
You can never go wrong with a simple salad.
If you’re not feeling up for all the effort of cooking recipes with bay leaves, then this straightforward salad will give you the taste of a bay leaf’s subtle but bold flavor.
The ingredients combine beautifully to create a salad that impeccably absorbs all the flavors.
All this mouthwatering goodness in under an hour?
Hard to believe that this burger is effortless to make when you take a bite, and it’s so tender, juicy, and oozing with all the right flavors.
Scallops are tasty, but bake them in a sauce overflowing with different but complementary flavors, and you will devour them without you knowing it.
Not to mention that this dish has a texture that makes it more appetizing and appealing.
You’ll never get enough of this.
Flavored with various spices and seasonings, this baked fish is a light and scrumptious dish that can easily be made, especially when you don’t have much time on your hands.
The sauce of this dish is what makes this stand out among other baked fish!
26. Beef Stroganoff
The star of this dish is the savory sauce made more delicious by a flawless blend of spices, including bay leaves.
Juicy and melt-in-your-mouth beef strips taste better when smothered with a sour cream sauce that elevates the whole dish.
Change up your usual beef stroganoff for this one, and be prepared to be blown away.
27. Egg Curry
We usually eat curry with chicken, but this exceptional Egg Curry might just be your new go-to curry.
Pro tip: Puree the onions, but if you want your curry to come up chunky, then opt for chopped onions.
Ropa vieja is a classic and famous Cuban dish with a twist on your regular beef stew.
Hearty and intense, you’ll never look back once you get a taste of this classic.
Pro tip: For a more flavor-packed ropa vieja, first sear the flank steak before adding it to the slow cooker.
29. Cuban Roast Pork
Cubans are known for using many spices in their dishes, so it’s not surprising to see that even simple Cuban roast pork uses bay leaves to enhance the flavor.
If you want to achieve the fall-apart tenderness of this pork, then be prepared to set aside plenty of time for this dish.
30. Beef Pares
This popular Filipino braised beef dish has an umami and slightly sweet taste that you will surely never get tired of.
Some varieties of this dish do not use bay leaves, but because of the subtle enhancement of bay leaves, this specific recipe is richer in flavor.
It’s surprising that even creamy mushroom soup can include bay leaves.
This recipe uses bay leaves, and because of that, the taste of the dish is heightened.
The flavors will feel like a party in your mouth because of their abundance.
The tender beef with mushroom as its perfect pair is a comforting and hearty dish that can fill you up in the most satisfying way.
This classic dish is a feast for your stomach and your eyes.
It’s beautiful, appealing, appetizing, and above all, extremely easy to make!
33. Liquore Alloro
Here’s a fun twist to your classic limoncello: this is made with bay leaves instead of lemon!
The bay leaves used here should be young, soft, and light green (which is why the drink looks almost yellowish).
You’ll have to wait over a month to enjoy this drink, but one sip and you’ll understand why you made all the effort!
The bottom line
Bay leaves deserve all the recognition, especially with how well they enhance any dish.
Whether you want soup, stew, dessert, or drink, you know that bay leaves won’t let you down.
Even if you’re unfamiliar with them, this is the sign to get a pack of this subtly remarkable spice!
- Bay Leaf Tea
- Instant Pot Chicken Adobo
- Bay Leaf Rice Pilaf
- Lemony Chicken & Rice Soup
- Chickpea Noodle Soup
- French Ratatouille
- Red Lentil Daal
- Pickled Pork
- Vegetable Soup
- Butterflied Leg Of Lamb
- Chicken Cacciatore
- Spanish Paella
- Filipino-Style Chicken Curry
- Bay Leaf Lemon Shortbread
- Chipotle Spaghetti
- Potato Gratin
- Bay Leaf Bundt Cake
- Roasted Lemon & Bay Leaf Hard Lemonade
- Fisherman’s Stew
- Bay Leaf Wrapped Salmon
- Shrimp, Kale & Potato Salad
- Caramelized Onion Arugula Burger
- Bechamel Baked Scallops
- Mediterranean Baked Fish
- Beef Stroganoff
- Egg Curry
- Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja
- Cuban Roast Pork
- Beef Pares
- Creamy Mushroom Cheddar Soup
- Beef & Mushroom Bolognese
- Liquore Alloro
- Skim through our Recipes That Use Bay Leaves list.
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- Prep the ingredients as instructed.
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