Realized you’re all out of ginger or can’t find it at the store? Here’s the best ginger substitute for both the fresh root and the dried ground spice.
Making a recipe that calls for ginger and don’t have it? Ginger is the root of a flowering plant that comes from Southeast Asia. It’s used in recipes both as the fresh grated root and as a dried, ground spice. The fresh root is very common in Asian cuisine and the dried version is common in baking. Ginger adds peppery, pungent flavor to recipes both sweet and savory.
Realized you’re all out, or can’t find any at the store? Here’s the best ginger substitute for your conundrum.
Keep in mind: some recipes require fresh ginger
Cooking a recipe with the word “ginger” in the title, like Ginger Tea, Ginger Lime Hummus or a Ginger Martini? Or even Gingerbread Pancakes? If so, try to find the real thing if at all possible! For these types of recipes, it’s worth waiting for when you’re able to find it. But if you must: keep reading for the best ginger substitutes.
Best ginger substitute
1. For fresh ginger root = ground ginger.
The best ginger substitute when it’s used as the fresh root? Ground ginger. It’s not perfect, but it’s really the best option. Here’s the substitution ratio: substitute 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger for every 1 tablespoon grated ginger. This works as a substitute in fried rice or stir fry recipes.
Note: Some sources recommend galangal as a substitute for fresh ginger root, which is in the same plant family. You can certainly do so, but typically in the US you can only find galangal at a specialty international grocery store…where you could also likely find ginger root.
2. Allspice (baking only).
The best ginger substitute in baking? Allspice! This warm spice mimics the peppery notes of ginger and adds a complexity. You can use this as a 1:1 substitute with ginger. Again, make sure you’re not doing this in a stir fry: only attempt this in baking when ginger is used as a cozy spice.
3. Cinnamon + nutmeg (baking only).
The next best substitute for ginger in baking is cinnamon and nutmeg used together. Cinnamon balances out the strong bite of the nutmeg, making this combo a bit closer to the flavor of ginger. Because ground ginger is often used with cinnamon and nutmeg, it naturally evokes the vibe of this spice. Again, only do this in sweet baked goods.
Here are some recipes where you could use this ginger substitute:
- Ginger Tea
- Shrimp Fried Rice
- Broccoli Ginger Stir Fry
- Easy Apple Crumble
- Ginger Simple Syrup
- Easy Chickpea Curry
- Curried Butternut Squash Soup
- Curry Lentil Soup
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.