When You're In A Pinch, Cardamon Works In Place Of Ground Ginger

We've all been there: You're following a recipe and you're sure you have all the ingredients in your pantry when suddenly you get to a step and make the horrifying realization that you're actually missing a key ingredient. Luckily, in situations like these, you can often make an easy substitute that won't greatly impact the flavor or texture of your dish. One great example of this is cardamom and ginger. Cardamom is a surprisingly good substitution for ground ginger in a recipe. Like ginger, cardamom has a unique, peppery flavor profile to it.

Both spices are incredibly aromatic, packing a powerful flavor punch in your dishes. Plus, in many recipes, such as pumpkin pie, you might find cardamom and ginger used together anyway. Another unique aspect of these spices is their fresh, citrus-tasting notes. Both cardamom and ginger have a light, citrusy taste. That said, ginger leans more lemony, and cardamom has more of a general citrus flavor. And of course, both spices have that unique warming quality that gives dishes a subtle spice. Part of the reason these spices may have such a similar flavor profile is because they may have similar origins. Ginger is believed to grow naturally in many places, particularly in China and India. Cardamom is native to regions of southern India. Their geographic proximity could partly explain why they work so well together.

Other spice substitutions for ground ginger

If you find that you don't have ginger or cardamom in your pantry, there are still a few other substitutions you could try instead. Allspice is a common spice found in many pantries and it works as a great substitute for ground ginger as well. Allspice, which comes from a dried berry, is a flavorful spice that tastes like a unique blend of clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg. This potent flavor blend captures several of the same tasting notes you get from ginger. However, you may not get that same level of citrusy flavor with allspice, which is something to keep in mind if you do choose to use it as a substitute.

Another easy spice substitute is mace. Mace is derived from the outer layer of nutmeg seeds and is commonly called nutmeg's little sister. Mace is a little spicy and earthy and brings to dishes the kind of warming effect you'd typically get from ginger. Mace is a more favorable alternative than nutmeg because it doesn't have nutmeg's subtle sweetness. And so you won't have to worry about the spice making your dishes sweeter than you intended.