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How To Replace Fresh Ginger In Recipes

Sometimes I am missing the key ingredient to a recipe, we have all been there and will do again in the future. So here are some tried and tested ways to replace fresh ginger in your cooking.

The best replacement for fresh ginger is to use ground ginger in the ratio 1/4 teaspoon ground to 1 tablespoon of fresh. Alternatively you can replace fresh ginger with stem ginger that you rinse in cold water to reduce the sweetness from the sugar.

This will ensure the fiery taste of ginger with a longer shelf life, but there are even more options if you don’t have these in stock.

substitutes, replacements and alternatives to ginger

How To Replace Fresh Ginger In Recipes

When you are replacing ginger you have a few options. Fresh ginger needs to be replaced with both flavor and texture.

Stem Ginger

If you only use a little fresh ginger at a time, you can make your own stem ginger from the leftovers, click here for a how to guide.

Stem ginger makes a good replacement for fresh ginger and retains much of that punchy flavor and the health benefits. This is a handy form of ginger to have in your store cupboard as it will last a longer time than fresh ginger. However make sure to rinse as much of the syrup from your stem ginger.

You can grate stem ginger or mash it depending on the recipe and you have the added bonus of it replicating the texture and moisture given by fresh ginger. This is important if you are using ginger in baking, but not so key if it is an ingredient in a ‘wet’ dish like curry.

Ground Ginger

Always good to keep a well stocked herb and spice cupboard and ground ginger is a good basic ingredient.

If you are intending to replace fresh ginger with ground ginger be aware that the drying process will concentrate the flavor. The best suggestion for ratio is 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger to 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger. However fresh will always vary and use the ground sparingly at first and then taste.

TOP TIP – To store ground ginger for longer use an airtight container and place in a cool dark cupboard. A spice rack will look the part and be a great way to see your spices quickly, however a dark cupboard will help to retain flavor. Ground ginger will keep it’s potency for around a year, after that point you may need to increase your quantities used.

If you are using ground ginger in a cake recipe that has called for fresh ginger or even stem ginger, then you may wish to add a quantity of soaked raisins. This will give you the moisture that you are missing from fresh or stem ginger.

Ginger Paste

Ginger paste does make a good replacement for fresh ginger. Use in a like for like ratio 1 teaspoon fresh ginger = 1 teaspoon ginger paste. If you are replacing ground ginger with ginger paste go for 1 tablespoon of ginger paste = 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger. This works in reverse as well to replace ginger paste.

Ideal in curries and a good substitute in cakes as it also has that moisture required. However if you are using ginger paste instead of ground ginger in a recipe be careful to add with the other liquid ingredients and make sure to add a teaspoon of flour for every teaspoon of paste.

Ground Allspice

Ground allspice tastes like a blend of cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. It is a close relative to cloves and the berries are dried and ground to make this potent spice.

Ground allspice will make an acceptable replacement for ground ginger in so much as it provides a depth of flavor and an interesting contrast in dishes that may otherwise be quite bland. It will miss the zing of ginger but provide a level of warmth that is very pleasant.

If you are intending as a replacement for fresh ginger you may wish to add dried apricots or raisins that have been soaked overnight to allow for a plump texture. This is ideal for cakes that call for fresh or stem ginger, but savory dishes like curries may not need this addition.

Ground Cinnamon

Ground cinnamon has a woody, earthy flavor with a citrus zing that will make a good replacement for the kick of ground ginger. Cinnamon will also provide a clove like intensity which is great for lifting a dish. Use the ratio of 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon = 1 tablespoon fresh ginger.

It is best to use in conjunction with other spices such as nutmeg and allspice.

Ground Mace

Ground mace is sort of a peppery cinnamon flavor with a sweet, woody but pungent kick that will work well as a substitute for ground ginger. Used best in with a little cinnamon or mace as well to really draw out the flavor. Use in a like for like ratio. 1 teaspoon of ground ginger = 1 teaspoon ground mace.

Ground Nutmeg

Ground nutmeg has the warmth of ginger but with a little nuttiness as well. This makes it great as a substitute when used with cinnamon and allpsice as well. If those other ingredients are not available use the ratio 1 teaspoon nutmeg = 1 teaspoon ground ginger, or 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg = 1 tablespoon fresh ginger.

replacements and substitutes for ginger
Clockwise from top righthand corner; nutmeg, turmeric root and powder and cinnamon stick and ground cinnamon.

Turmeric & Cardamom

If you had been planning on using fresh ginger to make a herbal tea for health benefits, then a good replacement would be it’s close relatives turmeric or cardamom. All from the Zingiberaceae family.

Taste wise turmeric offers a slightly bitter flavor with a woody note, whereas cardamom is sweet, pungent and citrusy. Use the two together to develop a warmth similar to ginger.

Pickled Ginger

Pickled ginger is a great substitute for fresh ginger in recipes like a stir fry. A dish where the extra level of vinegar acid like flavor can be an extra layer to a dish. Pickled ginger also works very well in sushi dishes. To limit the vinegary flavor you can rinse or soak the strips a little first. This does take the kick out of the ginger somewhat though.

Not suitable as a substitute for ground ginger in cake recipes and it will really not be great in a herbal tea either! But there is a lot to be said for pickled ginger, it may just surprise you!

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