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12 Outstanding Substitutes With Nutritional Value For Cardamom

Cardamom is a spice that has become ubiquitous across Indian cuisine.

The aroma of cardamom is unmistakable, and its flavor is often described as being similar to cinnamon or nutmeg.

This is a versatile spice that can be added to soups, stews, curries, chutneys, breads, cakes, cookies, ice cream, beverages, and even desserts – but what are the best cardamom substitutes when your store cupboard is running low?

To help ensure that you are always prepared, we have put together some of the best cardamom substitutes on the market, as well as everything you need to know about this spice.

12 Cardamom Substitutes

What Is Cardamom?

Cardamom is a tropical evergreen shrub native to India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, China, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and Hawaii.

The whole plant grows up to 3 meters tall and produces small green pods containing tiny seeds. These pods contain an essential oil that gives the spice its distinct flavor.

The pods are dried in the sun, then ground into a powder for use. They are used whole or crushed into smaller pieces for cooking.

Nutritional Value (Per 1 Tablespoon Serving)

Amount Present
Calories18
Total Fat0.4g
Carbohydrates4.0g
Fiber 1.6g
Protein0.6g
Potassium64.9mg
Calcium22.2mg
Iron0.81mg
Magnesium13.3mg
Phosphorous10.3mg

How To Use Cardamom

The most common way to use cardamom is by adding it to food while cooking. You can add it to rice dishes, meat dishes, vegetable dishes, and dessert recipes.

In addition to using it fresh, you can also dry-roast the pods before grinding them into a fine powder.

You can also buy powdered cardamom, which is convenient if you want to make large batches of curry at once.

It is available in both regular and extra strong varieties.

When buying cardamom, look for pods with smooth surfaces and bright yellow coloration.

Avoid any that show signs of mold or decay. Store the pods in airtight containers away from heat and moisture.

What Are Some Substitutes For Cardamom?

There are many different spices that can be substituted for cardamom. Here are some of our favorites:

1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon Cardamom Substitutes

Cinnamon is a rich, delicious spice with a distinctive, instantly identifiable aroma. It comes from the inner bark of trees in the genus Cinnamomum and is commonly used to enhance savory

dishes like meats, vegetables, and desserts.

When using cinnamon in cooking, remember that it will impart a slightly sweet taste to whatever dish you’re making.

If you prefer a more subtle flavor, try substituting 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon for each tablespoon of cardamom that you would have used.

In addition to a delicious taste, cinnamon also offers a number of health benefits – the spice is filled with a number of key antioxidants, such as polyphenols, which are known to protect the body from some of the worst oxidative damages that can be caused by free radicals.

They also have anti-inflammatory properties, helping to repair tissue damage, and increasing the ability of the body to fight off infection and illness.

Cinnamon has also been credited with a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease, as well as reducing your blood sugar levels.

How To Substitute

Cinnamon can be used in many different dishes, and it is usually sold as sticks or powder. One of the most common ways to use cinnamon is to add it to baked goods like bread, or as a tea or coffee substitute. You can also add cinnamon to many different foods like fruit or even coffee.

2. Coriander Seeds

Coriander Seeds Cardamom Substitutes

Coriander seeds are another great substitute for cardamom.

They have a similar flavor profile, but they tend to be less pungent than cardamom, making them a perfect choice for anyone looking for a slightly less strong, intense flavor.

Coriander seeds are often used in Indian cuisine, where they are added to curries and other dishes.

They are also quite versatile, so you can use them in place of cardamom in just about anything.

Try sprinkling coriander seeds on top of salads, soups, stews, and even breads to enjoy the nutty, spicy flavor.

For best results, make sure that you purchase the seeds as actual seeds, rather than powder – this will ensure that you get all of their wonderful flavors intact, as you can toast and grind them yourself just before you use them.

Just like cinnamon, there are also health benefits to coriander seeds, including antioxidant activity, antibacterial properties, and an ability to reduce cholesterol.

They have also been credited with maintaining blood glucose levels, which makes them useful for diabetics who need to keep their sugar levels under control and can boost the digestive system, reducing bowel irritation and issues.

Issues such as arthritis, rheumatism, anemia, and skin complaints can all also be alleviated by adding coriander seeds to your diet.

How To Substitute

Coriander seeds are a warm and spicy addition to baked goods, soups, curries, and many other dishes. They are often used in place of cardamom and is an efficient way to enhance the taste of recipes.

3. Cloves

Cloves Cardamom Substitutes

Cloves are one of the most popular spices in the world, and they are used extensively throughout Asia.

Clove oil is an essential ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, and cloves are widely used in perfumes, cosmetics, and foods.

Cloves are very aromatic, and they lend themselves perfectly to being used in baked goods or sweets.

The clove’s distinct flavor is often described as “hot” or “spicy”, although its true flavor is actually much subtler than these descriptions might suggest.

You’ll find that cloves work particularly well when combined with other spices, especially those that are milder in flavor.

You can add cloves to any dish that calls for cinnamon, cumin, ginger, or turmeric, and it can also be used effectively as a substitute for cardamom.

The health benefits of cloves include their ability to improve digestion, relieve stomach pain, and help prevent tooth decay thanks to their antibacterial properties.

They are also thought to be beneficial for treating respiratory conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis, and may help to lower high blood pressure, and are high in antioxidants that can be very effective in ridding the body of free radicals.

How To Substitute

Cloves can be used in place of Cardamom as a substitute. Giving similar fragrance and flavor, they are being used with a slightly different taste in the recipe. It is the best replacement of the spices to be used.

4. Nutmeg

Nutmeg Cardamom Substitutes

Nutmeg is another favorite spice among chefs around the globe.

It is native to Indonesia and was originally cultivated in China. Its distinctive aroma comes from the tiny brown seed inside the fruit pod, which contains the spice.

Nutmeg is usually ground into a fine powder, and it is used primarily in baking and cooking.

It lends itself nicely to desserts, cakes, and pastries, and is commonly paired with chocolate.

Nutmeg is also incredibly versatile, and can be used in many different ways.

It can be added to savory dishes, such as meatloaf, and it can also enhance the flavor of vegetables, fruits, and grains.

Nutmeg has long been known for its medicinal properties, and it is believed to promote good circulation, ease muscle spasms, and aid in digestion.

It is also said to be helpful for relieving cold symptoms, and it is sometimes recommended for people suffering from arthritis.

When substituting nutmeg in place of cardamom, you will still be able to enjoy a touch of sweetness that is similar to the latter.

The earthy, fruity tone is also very similar to cardamom, and you will be able to switch like for like in terms of the amount needed – there is no need to worry about adding more or less to balance the flavors.

How To Substitute

Nutmeg is a widely recommended substitute to be used in place of cardamom. It is the most popular replacement and is also inexpensive. With the same aroma and fragrance, it gives a similar flavor profile with nutty and herb fragrance.

5. Allspice

Allspice

Also known as myrtle pepper, allspice is a type of berry that grows on trees native to Jamaica.

It is related to both pepper and vanilla, and it is typically sold whole or ground up.

It is not uncommon to see allspice listed under the name pimento, but this is technically incorrect; pimento refers to a specific variety of pepper, while allspice is a generic term referring to several types of berries that have a slightly sweet taste.

Allspice is most commonly found in Caribbean cuisine, where it is used to make jerk seasoning.

It is also frequently used in marinades, stews, soups, and sauces.

The overall taste is complex and distinctive, making it a great replacement for cardamom if required.

Allspice can also be substituted for black peppercorns, but it does tend to impart a stronger flavor than regular peppercorns.

This means that if you use too much, your food might end up tasting overly spicy.

If you want to avoid this problem, try using half the amount of allspice that you would normally use.

There are a number of health benefits to allspice, and these include its ability to reduce inflammation, fight cancer, and boost immunity.

It is also said that allspice helps to clear congestion, and it can even be used to treat diarrhea.

How To Substitute

It is a great substitute for cardamom to be used in recipes. With closely replicated spices, the blend of different spices gives flavorful taste to the recipe enhancing the warm and spicy flavor.

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6. Ginger

Ginger

Ginger is a very popular spice that is often used in Asian cuisines. It is available fresh, dried, powdered, and candied.

Fresh ginger is generally peeled before being chopped, and it is then either grated or minced.

Fresh ginger is best when it is just picked because it tends to lose some of its flavor once it is stored.

Dried ginger is made by drying slices of fresh ginger root, and it is then ground into a powder.

It is widely used in Chinese and Indian cuisine, and it is often combined with other spices to create unique blends.

Dried ginger is also an excellent substitute for cinnamon, which is why it is so common in Chinese recipes.

However, it should be noted that ginger and cinnamon do not tend to complement each other well, so you may find that you need to add extra amounts of one or the other.

When using ginger as a substitute for cardamom, you can expect to get a similar flavor profile.

Both spices are warm, earthy, and slightly bitter, and they work together to give foods a distinctively aromatic flavor.

For best results, reduce the amount of ginger compared to the cardamom called for; ginger tends to be stronger and more pungent in flavor, and you don’t want to overpower the dish.

Some of the main health benefits of ginger include its ability to help prevent heart disease, improve digestion, and ease motion sickness and other types of nausea – including morning sickness in pregnant women.

In addition, it has been shown to lower cholesterol levels, and it can even protect against certain cancers.

How To Substitute

A mix of cinnamon and ginger gives a perfect balance to the taste of cardamom. Ginger is a great spice that has a mild, earthy taste. It can be used to create a lot of different dishes, including curries, soups, and desserts. It can also be used to make your own delicious iced tea.

7. Cumin

Cumin

Another popular substitute for cardamom is cumin.

Like cardamom, cumin is a member of the Zingiberaceae family, making one an excellent replacement for the other, and it has a strong, peppery aroma.

Cumin is most commonly used in Mexican and Middle Eastern dishes, and it is often added to rice, beans, lentils, and vegetables.

It is also used in curry powders, and it is sometimes mixed with coriander seeds to produce a blend known as garam masala.

Cumin is also a key ingredient in many Indian pickles, such as kachumber (a cucumber relish), and it is used to season curries and meat dishes.

In fact, it is so important to Indian cooking that it is considered a holy spice.

There are a number of health benefits associated with cumin, and these include its ability to relieve nausea, aid digestion – cumin is often touted as one of the most popular indigestion remedies – and promote healthy skin.

It is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, and it can help to regulate blood sugar levels.

How To Substitute

Cumin is a spice used in many dishes, but it can be difficult to find, as it’s not often used in a large variety of dishes. It’s easy to substitute with cardamom. Cumin has a slightly different flavor than cardamom, but it’s easy to use in place of the spice.

8. Apple Pie Spices

Apple Pie Spices

Apple pie spices are another great alternative to cardamom.

They are usually found in combination with nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon, but they can also be purchased individually.

Like cardamom, apple pie spices are popular in Indian cuisine, where they were first cultivated over 3,000 years ago.

They offer a sweet, spicy flavor that compliments apples very nicely, and they are often used to make pies and cakes.

The health benefits of apple pie spices include their ability to boost energy levels, fight cancer, and support healthy bones and teeth.

They are also said to stimulate the appetite, and they can even help to alleviate depression.

You can also use apple pie spices as a substitute for cardamom; however, if you choose this option, you will probably need to increase the amount of apple pie spices by about 50 percent.

This is because apple pie spices are much sweeter than cardamom, and they can overwhelm the delicate flavors of your food.

How To Substitute

The perfect substitute of apple pie spices gives an aromatic and flavorful alternative to cardamom. It gives a flavorful taste to enhance the recipe taste. The spices will give your baked goods a more robust flavor, but not too overpowering.

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9. Ginger + Nutmeg

Ginger + Nutmeg

In addition to using the spices outlined above individually, you can also replace the taste, texture, and kick of cardamom by creating combinations of these spices.

Ginger and nutmeg is one such example; this will give you a similar result, while also allowing you to customize and alter the end result according to your exact tastes.

The primary reason why ginger and nutmeg work well together is that they both contain warming properties, which makes them perfect substitutes for each other, and for the cardamom spice.

For best results and greater control, opt for the powdered version of each spice.

How To Substitute

Cardamon gives a distinct flavor to the recipe. It helps enhance the taste of the recipe and gives the best flavor as a key ingredient to the recipe. This recipe is a tasty alternative to the traditional cardamom in most recipes.

10. Nutmeg + Cloves

Nutmeg + Cloves

Nutmeg and clove are two more spices that complement each other perfectly.

Both spices have a warm, slightly bitter flavor, and they are often combined to create a unique and delicious mix that is perfect for emulating the taste and sensation of cardamom.

This is largely thanks to their similarities in aroma, and the similarities in their key properties.

How To Substitute

Nutmeg and cloves can be substituted in place of Cardamom and gives a classic recipe taste. In a careful and deliberate way, the spices releases its fragrance and flavor into the recipe mix giving aromatic taste to the recipe.

11. Cinnamon + Allspice

Cinnamon + Allspice

As we mentioned, allspice offers an experience that is often described as a cross between black pepper and nutmeg, and it has an earthy, woodsy flavor that works particularly well when paired with cinnamon.

The two spices are often used together to add warmth and depth to savory dishes, and they are especially good at enhancing the flavors of meat, poultry, and fish.

If you are looking to replace cardamom in a recipe, then blending these two spices can provide a similar effect.

Cinnamon and allspice are also known for their ability to improve memory and concentration, and they can help to reduce stress and anxiety.

These qualities make them ideal replacements for cardamom, and you can easily combine them to achieve the same effect.

How To Substitute

These spices have a sweet, warm, and spicy flavor that is perfect for baking and cooking. These spices can be used in baking, in cooking, and as a sugar substitute.

12. Cumin + Coriander

Cumin + Coriander

These two spices are often used in combination to create a rich, complex blend that is great for adding depth to curries and stews.

They are also commonly used to enhance the flavors of rice and lentils, and they can be added to breads and desserts to bring out their natural sweetness.

Both cumin and coriander are known for their ability to relieve pain, promote digestion, and strengthen the immune system.

If you want to replicate the effects of cardamom, then combining these two spices may be just what you are looking for.

How To Substitute

Cumin and coriander has a light, citrusy flavor with a warm, sweet, and spicy undertone. Cumin and coriander is also known for its potent aroma. Cumin and coriander are interchangeable in recipes. They have different flavors, but can be used in many of the same dishes.

Types Of Cardamom

There are five main types of cardamom: green cardamom, cardamom seed, black cardamom, and white cardamom.

Each type has its own distinct flavor profile, and they are used differently depending on the dish or meal that you are making.

Green Cardamom

This is the most common kind of cardamom, and it is usually found ground into powder form.

It is typically used in Indian food, but it can also be used in Middle Eastern cuisine.

Green cardamom is very aromatic, and it contains a lot of essential oils.

Its strong scent means that it is often used to mask unpleasant odors, and it can be used in many different ways.

Cardamom Seed

The seeds from this variety of cardamom are smaller than those from the green variety, and they are often sold whole rather than ground.

They are less pungent than the green variety, and so they are better suited for use in sweet dishes such as cakes and cookies.

Black Cardamom

This type of cardamom is dark brown in color, and it is sometimes referred to as “Indian bay” because of its resemblance to the leaves of the bay tree.

Black cardamom is generally only available in powdered form, and it is used primarily in Indian cuisine.

It is one of the strongest varieties of cardamom, which makes it perfect for flavoring chai tea.

White Cardamom

This variety of cardamom is pale yellow in color, and it is often confused with ginger.

White cardamom is not actually related to ginger, and it is more closely related to clove.

However, like ginger, white cardamom is high in volatile oil content, and it is often used to impart fragrance to foods.

Final Thoughts

Cardamom is an incredibly versatile spice, and there are many ways to incorporate it into your cooking.

The good news is that there are plenty of substitutes that will allow you to enjoy the benefits of cardamom, and the options that we have suggested here should give you plenty of inspiration to ensure that you can create your dream recipes, even if you don’t have access.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Benefit Of Cardamom?

Cardamom is a spice with a complex flavor that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. The seeds are typically used in curries and other spicy dishes. Spice is used in baked goods as well.

What Does Cardamom Taste Like?

Cardamom tastes like a slightly sweet and woody flavor with hints of citrus. In addition, cardamom has a mild, earthy flavor. It is a member of the ginger family and has been used in cooking for centuries.

What Is Cardamom Commonly Used In?

Cardamom is a common spice used in a variety of different cuisines. It can flavor coffee, tea, and other beverages and flavor desserts, baked goods, and meat dishes.

12 Cardamom Substitutes

5 from 5 votes
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

0

minutes
Total time

5

minutes

Cardamom is a delicious spice, but what happens when you run out of it? We have the top 12 substitutions to get you back on track in no time.

Ingredients

  • Cinnamon

  • Coriander Seeds

  • Cloves

  • Nutmeg

  • Allspice

  • Ginger

  • Cumin

  • Apple Pie Spices

  • Ginger + Nutmeg

  • Nutmeg + Cloves

  • Cinnamon + Allspice

  • Cumin + Coriander

Directions

  • Choose your favorite substitute from the list given above
  • Follow the directions given in the recipe after having substituted the ingredient in the correct ratio

Recipe Video

Jess Smith