Ginger powder is a versatile spice used in both sweet and savory dishes. Its warming, slightly spicy flavor adds depth and dimension to baked goods, curries, stir fries, and more.
But what do you do when a recipe calls for ginger powder and you're fresh out? Thankfully, there are several suitable ginger powder substitutes to choose from.
One of the closest substitutes for ginger powder is frozen ginger root. Freezing fresh ginger allows you to keep it on hand for longer. When you're ready to use it, simply thaw and grate, mince, or chop as the recipe directs.
Frozen ginger can typically be swapped 1:1 for fresh ginger called for in a recipe. The freezing process doesn't significantly alter ginger's flavor or potency. Just make sure to account for any thawed liquid released when measuring frozen ginger.
For example, if a recipe calls for:
- 1 tablespoon ginger powder
- Substitute with 1 tablespoon freshly grated frozen ginger
Frozen ginger works well in stir fries, curry pastes, and other dishes where you would normally use fresh ginger root. It provides that fresh, bright, peppery ginger kick.
Crystallized or candied ginger is another ginger powder substitute made from fresh ginger root. The process of cooking ginger in a sugar syrup transforms and concentrates its flavor. Crystallized ginger emerges much sweeter than fresh with a softer, almost floral aroma.
Use about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of finely chopped crystallized ginger for every 1 tablespoon of ginger powder. The exact amount will depend on the sweetness of the crystallized ginger and your own taste preferences. Add it along with other dry ingredients like flour and spices to evenly distribute throughout batters and doughs.
The minced crystallized ginger pieces add lovely flavor and chewy texture to baked goods like:
- Ginger cookies
- Carrot cake
- Pumpkin pie
Tip: If crystallized ginger is in larger chunks vs. finely minced, reduce the amount to 2-3 tablespoons per tablespoon of ginger powder. The larger pieces pack a stronger ginger punch.
Dried Spice Substitutes
Several dried spices make suitable ginger powder substitutes, especially in baked goods. Although they won't mimic ginger's exact flavor, these spices have complementary tasting notes. Replace ginger powder measure for measure with:
Cinnamon is a popular substitute thanks to its warmth and sweetness. It shares ginger's affinity for classic baking spices like nutmeg, clove, and allspice.
Cardamom has an intriguingly complex flavor profile with hints of citrus and eucalyptus. Its unique taste works well in place of ginger powder in spice cake, cookies, and quick breads.
Allspice features a balanced peppery-sweet flavor resembling clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Use it to replace ginger powder in gingerbread, gingersnaps, and pumpkin pie spice mixes.
Nutmeg brings a distinctly nutty, bittersweet taste. It excels in eggnog, custards, milk-based desserts, and fruit-filled baked goods.
Mace is made from the lacy reddish covering surrounding nutmeg seeds. Its mild, sweet flavor is slightly more delicate than nutmeg. Mace makes a great ginger powder understudy in cakes, muffins, and other baked treats.
When using these dried spices in place of ginger powder, add them directly along with the ginger powder called for. Then, taste and tweak amounts as needed. The flavor won't be exactly the same as ginger powder, but these substitutes add their own interest and complexity.
Ground Turmeric or Galangal
For a more ginger-like flavor in savory cooking, turn to ground turmeric or galangal powder. Turmeric has an earthy, bitter taste and vivid golden color. It works well in lieu of ginger powder in curries, stir fries, and other Asian dishes.
Galangal is a root with piney, citrusy notes resembling ginger's brightness. Find ground galangal at specialty markets or online. Use it in equal amounts to ginger powder in soups, curries, marinades, and stir fries.
Both turmeric and galangal originate from the same region as ginger and complement similar ingredients and cuisine styles. Keep in mind that turmeric and galangal will impart their own distinct taste. Start by using a 1:1 substitution ratio with ginger powder, then tweak amounts to suit your preferences.
Ginger Powder Substitution Ratio
Here is a quick reference for how much of each ginger powder substitute equals 1 tablespoon fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger:
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated frozen ginger = 1 tablespoon fresh ginger OR 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2-3 tablespoons finely minced crystallized ginger = 1 tablespoon fresh ginger OR 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, or mace = 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric or galangal = 1 teaspoon ground ginger
Assess the intensity of flavor needed for your recipe when deciding amounts. It may take some trial and error to find the ideal substitute ratio. Start with less and add more if needed. With baked goods, wait until after baking to do a final taste adjustment if necessary.
Substitute Based on Use
Another approach is choosing a ginger powder substitute based on how it will be used in a recipe:
For cookies, cakes, muffins, and breads, use cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, mace, or crystallized ginger.
In curries, stir fries, marinades, and dressings, go with frozen ginger, crystallized ginger, turmeric, or galangal.
For ginger ale, ginger tea, and ginger-infused drinks, try frozen ginger, crystallized ginger, or cinnamon.
Think about the overall flavor profile and ingredients in the recipe. Pick a substitute that will complement and enhance the other components. Baking spices work well in sweet baked goods, while frozen ginger or galangal is ideal for Asian noodle and rice recipes.
Make Your Own Ginger Powder
You can also make DIY ginger powder using fresh ginger root:
- Peel and thinly slice unpeeled ginger
- Dehydrate slices in oven at lowest temperature (around 150°F) for 4-6 hours
- Cool and grind slices into a fine powder using a spice grinder, blender, or mortar and pestle
- Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months
When making your own ginger powder, adjustments may be needed compared to store-bought brands. Homemade versions tend to be more potent due to the shorter time between grinding and use. Start with 3/4 of the powder amount in recipes, adding more to taste.
Key Takeaway: For homemade ginger powder, use about 3/4 of the amount called for in recipes then adjust as needed.
Tips for Storing and Freezing Ginger
- Store fresh unpeeled ginger in a resealable plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the fridge. It will keep for 3-4 weeks.
- Freeze extra fresh ginger for longer storage. It grates just as easily while frozen.
- Pat dry fresh ginger and wrap tightly before freezing. It keeps 3-4 months.
- Use frozen ginger root within 6 months for the best flavor.
- Store ground ginger powder in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Use within 4-8 months.
Having a stash of fresh ginger in the freezer means you probably won't run out. But when you do need a quick ginger powder substitute, use one of the options above based on the recipe requirements and ingredients on hand. With a few tweaks, you can still achieve the warmth, vibrancy, and subtle spice ginger powder provides.
Is ground allspice a good substitute for ginger powder?
Yes, ground allspice makes a suitable ginger powder substitute thanks to its peppery and slightly sweet flavor. Use an equal amount of allspice in place of ginger powder. Allspice works well in gingerbread, pumpkin pie spice, and other baked goods.
Can I use cinnamon instead of ginger powder?
Absolutely! Cinnamon is one of the best substitutes for ginger powder in sweet baked recipes. It provides warmth and sweetness that complements ginger's role in dishes like cookies, cakes, and muffins. Replace ginger powder measure for measure with cinnamon.
What's a good ginger powder substitute for stir fries?
For stir fries and other savory dishes, opt for frozen grated ginger, ginger paste, or galangal powder. Frozen ginger adds that fresh, bright flavor and subtle heat. Ginger paste provides instant flavor without prep. Galangal powder mimics ginger's peppery, citrusy notes. Use frozen ginger in a 1:1 ratio or taste and adjust galangal amounts as needed.
Is ground turmeric a good substitute for ginger powder?
Ground turmeric works well as a ginger powder substitute in curries, stir fries, and other savory dishes thanks to its earthy, warming flavor. Turmeric tastes quite different from ginger, so adjust amounts to taste and expect a change in flavor profile. But it adds vibrancy and pairs nicely with traditional ginger ingredient partners.
Can I substitute crystallized ginger for ground ginger?
Yes, crystallized ginger can replace ground ginger, especially in baked goods and sweets. Because it's less pungent, use about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of finely minced crystallized ginger for every 1 tablespoon of ground ginger powder. The minced ginger pieces add texture and chewy, floral sweetness.
Ginger powder's sweet warmth and subtle kick are hard to duplicate precisely. But don't let a lack of ginger powder spoil your recipes.
With frozen ginger, crystallized ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, and other spice cabinet staples, you can still achieve delicious results.