Ginger is such a delicious and healthy spice that many of us keep it at home at all times. Whether it is grated, fresh, or ground ginger, there are plenty of recipes out there that require you to use it.
If you don’t have any ginger at all, other choices can give your dishes a similar spice and flavor.
What Is Ginger?
This flowering plant original to Southeast Asia is a close relative to turmeric. Ginger’s root is the edible part that also has medicinal properties. The inside of the root can either be yellow, red, or white depending on the variety.
You can eat ginger fresh, dried, in liquid extract, or powder form. This root also has many vitamins and minerals, antioxidant compounds, and anti-inflammatory qualities. Ginger has been part of Indian, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian food for many centuries.
Some of the most common uses for ginger include curries, pad thai, soups, salad dressings, and beverages like tea.
What Can I Replace Ginger With?
If you are getting ready to cook and this food is nowhere to be found, try one of these substitutes for fresh and ground ginger that work in various recipes:
Best For Cooking Curry, Stir-Fry, Teriyaki Sauce, and Orange Chicken
This root is also a native to Southeast Asia and has very similar flavors and properties to ginger. However, this root is not very common, so obtaining it may be hard unless you have an Asian or Indian store nearby.
If you do find it, add ¼ more than the recipe indicates, as this root is less potent.
Galangal usually comes in root form, but it can work well in replacing fresh, powdered, or minced ginger. If you happen to find ground galangal, you can use it too, following the same guidelines. This root is great for cooking curry, stews, teriyaki and other sauces, and stir-fry.
This pale green and yellow stalky vegetable has a strong aromatic citrus scent and a bit of minty and peppery flavor.
You can find fresh and minced lemongrass in many grocery stores, but you may have better luck at an organic market or Asian store. If you buy fresh lemongrass, use the bottom part only and add it to the cooking process about midway.
You can also use minced lemongrass easily as a replacement for ginger, simply add about half as this choice is highly aromatic. Use lemongrass in making curry paste, stir-fry, teriyaki sauce, orange chicken, and even beverages.
See More: Lemongrass Substitutes
#3. Candied Ginger
While you may not consider using candy ginger when cooking, this is a great solution for cooking meals like curry, stir-fry, stews, and even orange chicken.
You can melt the candy first and use it while cooking, or add it to the process so it reduces and releases the flavors. If you want to use this option, add about ½ cup of candied ginger for every one teaspoon of ginger.
Candied ginger is readily available in any grocery, health, or organic stores. This choice is also great if you are baking, as it already contains sugar in it.
Ginger is very closely related to the turmeric root, so in some instances, the flavors can replace each other. This bright yellow and orange spice has a sharp and spicy taste that is best when used in curry paste, some stir-fries, sauces, and meat dishes.
You can buy ground turmeric in any grocery store, but if you want the root, you may need to search organic stores.
Use ground turmeric in the same way that you would ground ginger. If you find the root, use ¼ teaspoon of grated turmeric, as the flavor is too strong.
Best For Baking, Gingerbread, Pumpkin Pie, Cookies, and Making Tea
Allspice is essential in the Caribbean and Indian foods, but unlike what people think, this is the dried unripe berry of a plant and not a mix of spices. This spice is a bit sweet and peppery, but can also remind you of ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
You can find allspice in any grocery store, as it is a common ingredient in baking.
You can use allspice in baking gingerbread, cookies, pumpkin pie, and in making teas. To substitute for ginger powder, add ½ teaspoon for every one teaspoon of ginger. You can also mix allspice with other spices to more closely resemble ginger.
See More: Allspice Alternatives
This spice is known for its sweetness and warmth, and it can mimic ginger in certain dishes. You can use grated or ground nutmeg in baking all sorts of dishes, including gingerbread, pumpkin pie, cookies, muffins, and also in making beverages.
Nutmeg can also make part of savory meat dishes, like sausage, lamb, and beef.
You can find nutmeg in any grocery or organic store, usually by the spice rack or baking section. Use ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg in place of every one teaspoon of ginger. If you want more flavor, consider mixing it with allspice and cinnamon.
See More: Nutmeg Replacements
Mace is the outer shell of the nutmeg seed, so the flavor is somewhat similar. This spice has notes of pepper, cinnamon, and warmth, so it goes well in baked goods like cookies, bread, muffins, and pumpkin pie.
You can find ground mace in some grocery stores, but you may have better luck in an organic supermarket.
To substitute for ground ginger, consider adding the same amount that the recipe indicates. If you need to replace fresh or minced ginger, use ¼ teaspoon for every teaspoon of ginger.
When cooking a stir-fry, the best option is to use lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, or candied ginger. You can use any of the choices in this list, but consider tasting the flavors first.
You can use crystallized ginger in place of fresh ginger, but you will need to melt it first. You will also probably need about double the amount, but consider that this option usually has added sugar.
Substituting ginger for cinnamon works great in baked goods, such as gingerbread, cookies, muffins, and tea. Cinnamon has a strong spice to it, particularly in powder form, so consider this when adding it to your recipes. For more flavor, you can mix cinnamon with allspice, nutmeg, or mace.
Using ginger is such a common thing for most of us, especially if it comes to cooking Indian, Middle Eastern, or Asian dishes. However, if ginger is nowhere to be found, you can use other spices to create similar flavors.
These substitutions work wonders in cooking and baking, so make sure to try them.