Daily Cooking Quest

Home / All Recipes / Indonesian / Pandan Extract

Pandan Extract

Learn how to make homemade pandan extract from fresh or frozen pandan leaves. Pandan extract is very common in Indonesian (and Southeast Asian) desserts.
Pandan Extract
Pandan Extract

If you want to start your foray into making traditional Indonesian desserts, it is safe to say that you won’t go far before the recipes start calling for pandan leaves.

Some recipes would just use the leaves for their taste (we love the taste of pandan in everything, as ubiquitous as vanilla in western desserts :D), some recipes would specify using pandan extract for both the taste AND the color.

Nowadays pandan extract can be bought from almost every grocery store, baking supply, and even traditional market, so why should you bother make your own extract?

I’ll tell you why. Because the real deal is a million times better than even the most expensive artificial pandan extract your money can buy, so if you have access to fresh (or even frozen) pandan leaves, try making your own extract. It is super easy, and your desserts are gonna taste and look super awesome. ♥

1. Carefully wash the pandan leaves.
1. Carefully wash the pandan leaves.

Obtain some fresh or frozen pandan leaves

Start making your pandan extract by acquiring some really fresh pandan leaves and carefully clean them under running water to remove dirt and sometimes even mud. Try to choose the ones with brightest green color with as little blemish as possible. If you grow your own pandan like my Mom, this will not be a problem at all. :)

You can use frozen pandan leaves too, though the flavor and color usually can’t be compared to fresh leaves.

Please don’t use dried pandan leaves to make pandan extract. The color will be completely off. You can still use the leaves if all you need is to flavor your dishes.

2. Use a pair of scissors to cut the leaves into strips.
2. Use a pair of scissors to cut the leaves into strips.

How to make homemade pandan extract

Cut pandan leaves into thin strips with a pair of scissors to fill a 6-cup blender. I use 18 fresh leaves, but you may need anywhere between 15-25 leaves dependin on the leaf size.

Add 1/2 a cup of drinking water to your blender and process until the leaves are all pulverize. Strain with a strainer (or a cheese cloth) to get the bright deep green extract.

You will get 1/2 cup worth of pandan extract. Depending on what you need the extract for, this amount should be enough for 2-4 pandan treats.

You can start using the pandan extract for your desserts, and the extra can be stored in a glass jar and will be fine for up to 1 week. Don’t throw away the pulverized leaves since this is still useful to lend the pandan taste to your dishes or for making homemade coco pandan syrup :)

3. Fill a 6 cup capacity blender loosely with strips of pandan leaves and 1/2 cup of water.
3. Fill a 6 cup capacity blender loosely with strips of pandan leaves and 1/2 cup of water.

Make pandan treats

Some pandan treats that you may want to try:

Pandan Extract

5.0 from 9 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson



Prep Time: 15 mins

Total Time: 15 mins

Serves: 1/2 cup

Print Recipe


  • 18 fresh (or frozen) pandan leaves
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Carefully wash the leaves to remove dirt.
  2. Use a pair of scissors to cut the leaves into strips.
  3. Loosely fill a 6 cup capacity blender with the leaves.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of water to the blender and process until the leaves are completely pulverized.
  5. Use a strainer (or cheese cloth) to strain the pandan extract. Transfer the extract into a clean glass jar. Store in refrigerator and use within 1 week.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • Ridwan Ridwan says:

    What a great idea, I never find daun pandan here, but if I do I will make it this homemade pandan extract, I bet it smell really good !

    • Anita Anita says:

      Yup, it does smell so good, so is my kitchen and my entire apartment. If I make this everyday, I won't have to ever use artificial room freshener anymore.♥

  • Hoa Young Hoa Young says:

    If you freeze the extract I bet you can keep it longer. Just an idea.

  • Charlie Charlie says:

    Can you freeze it?

    • Anita Anita says:

      I never freeze it, I usually store in the fridge and try to use within 1-2 week.

  • J'Marinde J'Marinde says:

    Can I freeze this tohold it longer? thank you.

    • Anita Anita says:

      I haven't tried it myself, but based on other people experience, I have heard that it's a really bad idea to freeze pandan extract.

      • Toni Crepin Toni Crepin says:

        If you can freeze the leaves maybe you can freeze the extract. Try it

    • Toni Crepin Toni Crepin says:

      Try freezing. If no good don’t do it again

  • Susan Bucasas Susan Bucasas says:

    If I have a recipe that calls for a few drops of Pandan essence would I use just a few drops if this extract? Is it the same strength as I would buy? The recipe is for a pandan coconut jam.

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Susan, in that case, what I do is I let the homemade pandan extract sits undisturbed in the fridge in a clear glass for 24 hours. Once 24 hours elapsed, you should see a very distinct two layers: a clear/very light green top liquid on top, and a thick dark green pandan layer sitting at the bottom. Carefully tip the glass to discard the top layer, then the bottom layer should be the about the same strength as the one sold commercially. I hope this helps.

  • Jenn Jenn says:

    Fascinating! I LOVE the vibrant color of this and I had no idea this is how it was made. Thanks for sharing!

  • Yoyo Yoyo says:

    What can I do with the leftover pulverised pandan?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Yoyo, you can try making homemade coco pandan syrup. You can use it like you would a simple syrup. It will be very fragrant.

  • Anggie Anggie says:

    Can I use dried pandan leaves?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Anggie, I don't think pandan extract from dried pandan leaves will produce the desired bright green color that we want. They are okay if you use them to flavor dishes or steamed rice, but won't be great to color food. For best result, try using fresh or even frozen pandan leaves.

  • Amy Zamora Amy Zamora says:

    Thank you Ms. Anita for sharing this recipe. I been using pandan leaves for a long time. Pandan extract is one of my favorite ingredient to use in the desserts and use the leaves as fragrance enhancer for cooking my rice.

  • Kathy Kathy says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I see you live in USA. Where did you find fresh Pandan leaf or plant?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Kathy, the photos were taken when I was still living in Jakarta. That said, I have seen fresh pandan leaves and fresh banana leaves in the produce section in my local Asian market in the Portland area. They started showing up since last year (2019). Before that, I could only buy frozen pandan leaves and frozen banana leaves. :)

  • Ronda Ronda says:

    Thanks so much for this tutorial! I did this for a friends wedding party and it worked jolly good. It lasts the whole evening ;-)

  • Ford Ford says:

    Fascinating! I LOVE the vibrant color of this and I had no idea this is how it was made. Thanks for sharing!

  • Janelle Janelle says:

    I like it! Now I'm going to find fresh Pandan leaf. Thank you for sharing!

  • Becky Becky says:

    My friend is presently taking her masteral. She teaches at a local university here in the Philippines and her research is on a comparison of chiffon cake using real pandan leave extract vs. the synthetic pandan extract. I saw your article and thought I better write a comment about it. I think your article will be helpful, not only for my friend but also for others who wanted to know more about pandan.

  • Chelle Thompson Chelle Thompson says:

    I love all the pandan-related desserts above apart from the one with tapioca! You have just given me an idea to make pandan sticky rice as in the first picture.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe: