Cardamom is used in so many savory and sweet dishes alike, and is a must-have ingredient in Indian cuisine! This fragrant spice has a complex flavor and rather than skipping it all together when not available, you can try one of the several great alternatives and substitutes for cardamom. At the bottom of the post, you can find my personal recipe for a cardamom substitute - a simple mix of cinnamon, mace powder, and ground ginger.
- What is the Best Substitute for Cardamom?
- List of 9 Best Cardamom Substitutes
- 1. Cinnamon, Mace, and Ginger
- 2. Cinnamon and Nutmeg
- 3. Cinnamon and Anise Seeds
- 4. Cinnamon and Allspice
- 5. Ground Cinnamon and Coriander Powder
- 6. Garam Masala
- 7. Fennel Powder and Ground Ginger
- 8. Ground Cloves and Nutmeg Powder
- 9. Ground Cumin and Ground Fenugreek
- People Also Ask [FAQs]
- Wrap up: Cardamom Substitute
What is the Best Substitute for Cardamom?
Cardamom is one of those special ingredients that can be expensive or difficult to find in some regions. However, there are common spices that work well as substitutes for cardamom.
The best substitute for cardamom I found to be a combination of cinnamon, mace, and ginger, as these spices work together beautifully to create a similar flavor profile to cardamom.
It's important to note that this combination won't replicate the exact taste of cardamom, but it will give you a flavor that's warm, spicy, and slightly sweet, which are the three main characteristics of this spice.
List of 9 Best Cardamom Substitutes
1. Cinnamon, Mace, and Ginger
This spice blend produces a warm, nutty flavor, that is comparable to cardamom's depth.
The cinnamon provides a sweet, woody aroma while the mace adds a floral flavor with a negligible hint of bitterness that the ginger masks with spiciness.
To substitute one teaspoon of ground cardamom powder, mix half a teaspoon of powdered cinnamon, a quarter teaspoon of mace powder, and a quarter teaspoon of ground ginger. This blend works well in baked goods and desserts but also in savory dishes like curries or stews.
As promised above, the full detailed recipe can be found below.
2. Cinnamon and Nutmeg
Nutmeg is a conventional spice that is often paired with cinnamon, especially in winter holiday dishes served during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The combination of these two spices resembles the cardamom aroma, but nutmeg provides a more distinct, aromatic spiciness than the floral elements of cardamom.
When used in dishes such as stews or marinades, the combination of cinnamon and nutmeg creates a warm, savory flavor that can be great in baking as well.
It is essential to use an equal amount of cinnamon and nutmeg to substitute a teaspoon of cardamom.
3. Cinnamon and Anise Seeds
Anise seeds are renowned for providing anise's licorice flavor, which makes it an excellent alternative if you want to omit cardamom's floral notes.
This blend creates a combination of sweet and spicy flavors, giving a more robust, savory profile to your dish.
The mix of cinnamon and anise seeds works great in sweet dishes that call for cardamom, like pastries.
When using this blend, use an equal amount of cinnamon and anise seeds for every teaspoon of cardamom.
4. Cinnamon and Allspice
If you want a substitute that replicates the fragrance of cardamom, then cinnamon and allspice are an excellent blend.
The abundant clove-like aroma of allspice provides a distinctive flavor that elevates dishes like pies or cakes. However, it can be added to different blends such as curries, meat dishes, and soups to create sweet-savory flavor notes with a gentle warming effect.
To replace cardamom with cinnamon and allspice, mix equal parts of cinnamon and allspice in a 1:1 ratio.
5. Ground Cinnamon and Coriander Powder
If you want a blend that is both sweet and spicy, cinnamon and coriander make a great substitute for cardamom.
Cinnamon provides a warm, slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with the slightly citrusy taste of coriander.
To substitute one teaspoon of cardamom, you can use equal parts cinnamon and coriander.
If you don't have coriander powder ready, you can make it using coriander seeds.
In addition to baking items like cookies, cakes, and muffins, this combination tastes excellent in Middle Eastern and Indian foods like biryani and couscous.
6. Garam Masala
Garam masala is a blend of spices commonly used in Indian cuisine, which typically includes cinnamon, coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg.
Given cardamom is already included in the blend, garam masala can be a perfect substitute for it. Although not the exact replacement but this spice mix works well in soups, stews, and curries.
For one teaspoon of cardamom, use one teaspoon of garam masala instead.
7. Fennel Powder and Ground Ginger
For a slightly sweet, licorice-like flavor, a blend of fennel powder and ground ginger should work well.
Fennel is a common ingredient in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine and is often used in curry blends.
To substitute one teaspoon of cardamom, you can use equal parts fennel powder and ground ginger.
This combination works well in baked goods like muffins and bread as well as in curries, stews, and grilled meats.
8. Ground Cloves and Nutmeg Powder
Combining ground cloves with nutmeg powder is the ideal option for cardamom if you're seeking a warm, spicy alternative.
These spices provide a rich, slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with meat and vegetables. The combination works well in savory dishes, such as roasted meats, stews, and casseroles.
To substitute one teaspoon of cardamom, use half a teaspoon of ground cloves and half a teaspoon of nutmeg powder.
9. Ground Cumin and Ground Fenugreek
If you like the slightly bitter and earthy cardamom taste, a mixture of ground cumin and fenugreek can be a great substitute.
Fenugreek adds a slightly sweet and nutty taste, while cumin provides a warm and slightly spicy flavor. This combination is great in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes, and it pairs well with vegetables and lentils.
Use half a teaspoon of ground cumin and half a teaspoon of ground fenugreek to replace one teaspoon of cardamom.
People Also Ask [FAQs]
The best substitute for cardamom in chai is a combination of ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, and allspice, as these spices help to mimic the unique flavor that cardamom brings.
Yes, you can substitute ground cardamom for green cardamom pods; one cardamom pod is equal to ⅙ teaspoon of ground cardamom.
Yes, black cardamom can be used in chai tea as it has a smoky flavor which adds an extra dimension to traditional spiced tea. Additionally, black cardamom may offer some health benefits such as aiding digestion and relieving nausea.
A single cardamom pod typically contains around 8 to 10 seeds, and the seeds are the part used to impart a distinct flavor and aroma to dishes.
Wrap up: Cardamom Substitute
- Cardamom can be substituted with a variety of spices and spice blends including cinnamon and allspice, ground cinnamon, coriander powder, garam masala, fennel powder, ground ginger, ground cloves, and nutmeg powder as well as ground cumin and fenugreek.
- Each blend provides its own unique flavor profile to enhance the taste of your dish. Therefore, choose the one that best works with the dish you are preparing.
- The perfect cardamom substitute for baking is a combination of ground cinnamon, mace, and ginger.
- Cardamom and its substitutes can be used in both sweet and savory dishes to add flavor and aroma without overpowering the dish.
Three Ingredients Cardamom Substitute for Baking
- 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground mace
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
Step 1: Mix the Ingredients
- To create the perfect cardamom substitute, gather your ingredients - ground cinnamon, mace, and ground ginger. Mix these three spices together in a small bowl.
Step 2: Use the substitute in your dish
- To use your substitute, simply add it to your dish as you would with cardamom.
- It's best to start small and add more as needed, as the substitute is more potent than actual cardamom.
- This substitute goes well in desserts like cakes, cookies, and pies, and also works well in savory dishes with ginger and cinnamon flavor profiles.
- Store your spice mix in an airtight container in a cool, dry place to keep it fresh for longer.
- Check your spice cabinet and make sure you are using fresh spices, as their flavor weakens the longer they are open.
- Use freshly ground cinnamon and ginger for the best flavor.
- Remember that this substitute is more potent than actual cardamom, so add a little at a time.
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