Flavorful Fresh and Ground Ginger Substitute to Use in a Pinch

Fresh out of ginger? Try one of these easy ginger substitutes, which bring in all the spiced, warming notes without an extra trip to the store.

Many of us think of ginger as the golden-hued powder that gets pushed to the back of the spice cabinet until we need it for a baking recipe, such as gingersnaps or ginger-blueberry muffins. But this spicy, aromatic ingredient, which has been used in its fresh form for ages in classic Asian dishes, like stir-fries and soups, as well as Indian curries, has great potential beyond sweet treats. Its pungent, almost-peppery flavor can warm meats and vegetables in a flash or make an excellent addition to marinades and sauces. If you don't have any ground or fresh ginger on hand, here are some ideas for when you need a ginger substitute, stat.

sliced ginger on cutting board
Con Poulos

The Best Substitutes for Ginger

You can easily swap other ingredients in your spice cabinet for ginger without losing flavor. Here are our best substitutions for ginger, both fresh and ground. These ginger substitutions will help you make a recipe without an extra trip to the store!

Fresh or Dried Ginger

You can use fresh ginger if you don't have any ground ginger. Converting fresh ginger to ground ginger and vice versa is easy. You'll just need to use more because ground ginger is more concentrated. For every 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger, use 1 tablespoon of fresh-grated ginger in recipes. This works in the opposite direction as well. If you don't have any fresh ginger, you can substitute dried ground ginger using the same ratio.

Dried Spices

While these spices won't be an exact match for ground ginger, they will add earthy, complementary flavor to dishes. Each listed here is a 1:1 substitution for ground ginger.

  • Ground Allspice is often mistaken as a blended spice because it packs so may flavors. We find it tastes like cloves, nutmeg, black pepper, cinnamon, fennel, and anise.
  • Ground Cinnamon is a wonderful way to add sweetness to a dish. Use it ground to add spicy, woodsy flavor to both sweet and savory recipes.
  • Ground Mace can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. It has a subtler flavor than nutmeg.
  • Ground Nutmeg has a strong flavor and is a key ingredient in eggnog, cider, and mulled wine.
  • Ground Cardamom is a sweet spice known for its delicate, almost citrus-like flavor. Some may even find it has peppery notes. Try it in baked goods and warm drinks.
  • Ground Tumeric adds an earthy flavor and yellow color to whatever you're making. We like its warm, subtle flavor best in savory dishes.

Crystallized Ginger

Crystallized or candied ginger is made by cooking fresh ginger in sugar syrup. Sometimes it's also rolled in granulated sugar after cooking. Crystallized ginger is a great replacement in baked goods or sweets and will add texture to the finished dish. You'll need to add more than fresh or dried to achieve the same flavor. We recommended 1/3-1/2 cup for every tablespoon.


Galangal is a root often used in Southeast Asian cooking. Its flavor is similar to ginger but with a fresh, citrusy punch. It's less spicy than fresh ginger. Use the same measurements as you would ginger. Look for it in your local Asian market or grocery store.

Ways to Use Ginger When Cooking

The flavor of ginger pairs well with fruits like bananas and apples. Try adding a few dashes of ground ginger or a pinch of fresh-grated ginger to your favorite banana bread, banana muffins, or apple crisp. And don't forget about ginger when making savory dishes. It pairs remarkably well with Asian-inspired Thai pork burgers or tasty sweet potato wontons. Adding fresh or dried ginger to sweet and savory dishes is a great way to add bold flavor.

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