15+ Good Ginger Substitutes
You were making that fresh batch of lemonade and wanted to grate some fresh ginger in it. Maybe you were going to prepare a soothing ginger tea. Or you were cooking your famous stir-fry or fried rice but discovered there’s no ginger in sight.
What can I use instead of ginger, you’re asking? We have plenty of ginger substitutes. Some are more surprising than others.
It flavors gingerbread, doh! It’s found in ginger beer, doh again! And it’s a staple ingredient in Asian, African, Caribbean, and even European cuisine.
It’s quite the medicine, they say. But we’re not going to focus on its antibacterial or anti-inflammatory properties. We are going to find you the alternative to ginger you’re looking for to prep that meal. What can you replace ginger with? We have some spices and herbs lined up! But first…
Ginger’s flavor profile
Added to both sweet and savory recipes, ginger is a complex spice, completing your dish. It can transform any meal with a burst of flavors due to its fragrant taste and sprinkling spiciness. Before we dive into the wonderful world of spices we found to replace ginger, we should focus a little on this ingredient’s flavor profile. Maybe you can find more swaps or mixes to make, to create your signature ginger replacement.
- Ginger is spicy, with a pungent kick of zing, which you’ll feel in your tongue.
- Ginger has a warming effect.
- Ginger has an intense, sharp, pungent burst of flavor. It’s quite mouth-watering!
- Ginger has peppery undertones.
- Ginger has a slightly earthy, woody aroma.
- Ginger is fragrant, having a kind of floral touch.
At first, you’ll feel the tart, tangy, spicy kick. Then you’ll get that warm, tingling sensation. Then you’ll notice the sweetness and floral, exotic feel. After that, ginger’s lingering aroma will remain in your mouth for quite some time. Will you be able to replicate this ooze of flavor and sensations? Well, even though you might think you’re done with no ginger around, we found plenty of alternatives. Here are no more and no less than 17 ginger substitutes!
You’ll be surprised by these 17 fragrant ginger substitutes!
Ginger. You either love it or you hate it. If you hate it, you want to discover some alternatives. If you love it and don’t have it around, well, you guessed it: you also need a replacement. Here is how to substitute ginger with other spices or herbs.
Keep in mind that some substitutes work on a dish that doesn’t have a ginger signature on it. For instance, gingerbread or gingery spice cake won’t be the same with nutmeg or cinnamon. They won’t be bad, but they won’t have that aroma everyone is waiting for. After all, when you bite into gingerbread, you know you want to feel that oomph! Just like apple pie is expected to have cinnamon! But fret not, for other dishes there are plenty of alternatives. These might do the trick.
1. Ground Ginger
The dehydrated version of the ginger root is less spicy and doesn’t have a pronounced flavor. It’s actually quite mild in terms of pungent kick.
But its flavor is more concentrated and it spreads out evenly in sauces or batter, so make sure to use less of it. You’d need a ¼ ratio. The other way around, if you’re here looking for a ground ginger substitute, the fresh ingredient doesn’t work so well. It’s a one-way street!
2. Candied Ginger/Crystallized Ginger
Why would you look for a candied ginger substitute? Who can guess? Probably because you’ve munched on the sweet treat until it’s done. It could happen! :D.
All jokes aside, fresh ginger can be a good substitute for crystallized ginger. And the other way around. But, there’s one thing to remember: crystallized ginger is root ginger cooked in sugar syrup and then covered in granulated sugar. At a pinch, you can use crystallized ginger as an alternative but expect a sweet kick. Use about 1:3 ratio.
3. Ginger Paste
Ginger paste, aka puréed ginger, can also be a good substitute. Since it’s preserved with oil, make sure to adapt this alternative to your recipe. Use about one teaspoon of ginger paste for every inch of ginger the recipe mentions.
4. Minced Ginger
Looking for a minced ginger substitute? The fresh one will do. Do you have minced ginger and are wondering whether you can use it instead of the fresh ingredient? This also works.
However: minced ginger is usually prepared with oil, sugar, or salt. Sometimes it can be diluted, even milder than the paste, so you’d have to add more to your dish. Start with a 1:1 ratio and go from there for that extra kick!
5. Frozen Ginger
This is a good substitute for fresh ginger. If you have it around, that is! If you’re a fan of this spice, make sure to peel, grate, and stack your fridge with it. It can be used in a 1:1 ratio.
6. Pickled Ginger
If you’re a fan of sushi, odds are you have this ingredient to hand. While it’s not one of the most similar ginger substitutes, it will do, at a pinch.
7. Grated Ginger
Are you already at the grocery store looking for ginger root? No luck? If you see grated ginger, pick it up and take it home. Grated ginger and minced ginger are similar. They do, however, have a different texture.
Grated ginger also has other ingredients that preserve it. It’s often made with sugar and vinegar so that the ginger flavor you’re looking for won’t be as pure and unaltered as you’d expect it to be. It will do though!
8. Ginger Juice
The juice is one of the best ginger alternatives, especially for soups, teas, marinades, and sauces. You can also add it to baked goods, just like you’d use apple sauce, for instance.
9. Turmeric & Cardamom
Turmeric and cardamom are great alternatives for ginger, separate and together since they are both from the ginger family.
They combine earthy, nutty, spicy, bitter, sharp, and citrusy notes, with a touch of bitterness. While they are different from ginger, they will spice up your plate. And your palate. So we recommend a 1:2 ratio (1:4 of each).
What can you use instead of ginger? For a warm, fragrant, and slightly sweet aroma, mace is a good variant. It works with cakes and cookies (after all it’s a part of nutmeg!), but also with fatty foods, such as sausages, meats, and cheeses. A 1:4 ratio is recommended.
Allspice is a good substitute for ginger powder. With a peppery, slightly spicy flavor, a sweet undertone, and a minty aftertaste, allspice resemble gingers, especially in dishes with fatty meats and stews. A 1:2 ratio will do.
12. Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pumpkin pie spice is a good substitute for ginger root. This blend of spices contains ginger and other spicy ingredients, so remember it will affect the flavor of the dish. Besides ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg are added to this mix. A 1:1 ratio will do.
If you’re looking for that warm mouthful of comforting yet wake-me-up effect, cinnamon is the best ginger substitute.
With a nutty, warm, sweet, peppery, and almost piney aroma, cinnamon can replace ginger, especially if you use it in baked goods, meats, fried rice, curries, desserts. A 1:4 ratio is safe.
Nutmeg is a potent spice, that’s for sure. You don’t need much of it. But so is ginger. If you’re looking for good substitutes for ginger, nutmeg could do. Rather sweet, spicy, nutty, and earthy, nutmeg can be added to both sweet and savory foods. We recommend you use a 1:1 ratio.
Ginger is a good galangal substitute and the other way around. When it comes to flavor, galangal will remind you of turmeric and ginger combined. It will have some citrusy and piney notes that you won’t find in ginger, rather like lemongrass. Galangal is milder than ginger root, but a 1:1 ratio is ideal.
Here is another root that is specific to Asian cuisine, just like ginger and galangal. Ginseng is a good ginger replacement, and they even look alike. In terms of aroma, ginseng is sweeter and bitter. Add it to soups, fried rice, curry, stir-fried dishes, and salads. You can use a 1:1 ratio.
Lemongrass is our last suggestion on the list of ginger substitutes. With an intense lemony, citrusy aroma, a peppery, pungent taste, and a hint of minty freshness, lemongrass can replace ginger. A 1:2 ratio will do since lemongrass is quite fragrant.
Be honest! When we started this journey you wouldn’t have thought there were so many ways in which you can replace ginger. Ginger is quite intimidating, when it comes to flavor. And that’s why many people stop searching for a replacement. They just abandon the recipe. Not us! We hope you enjoyed our suggestions and see you next time!