Out of cardamom, or hesitant to buy it because of the price? While Cardamom has a flavor and fragrance all it's own, there are other spices that you can use as a substitute. Either one of these alternatives should blend nicely with the other flavors in the dish that you're preparing.
- Nutmeg, ginger or ground cloves
Mix together equal parts ground cinnamon and nutmeg, and use in place of the cardamom called for in your recipe.
Out of nutmeg? Then, try equal parts cinnamon and ginger, or equal parts cinnamon and ground cloves instead.
What Does Cardamom Taste Like?
Cardamom has a complex flavor. It's citrusy, minty, spicy and herbal all at the same time, and it's highly fragrant, too. Because of this, it's widely used in all sorts of dishes.
You'll find it featured in sweet foods and savory foods, paired with meats, fruits, legumes and grains, incorporated into cookies, pastries and other baked goods and even used as a flavoring in coffee, tea and alcohol. It is a nice compliment to cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves and ginger (which it's related to), so you'll often see it used in conjunction with these spices.
Just be careful not to use too much. If you aren't working off of a recipe, start with one pod, and add more until you're satisfied with the taste. If you're working with another strongly--flavored spice, you should take extra care not to over do it.
It's easy to overwhelm a dish with cardamom.
Buy Cardamom for Less
Cardamom is one of the most expensive spices in the world, but a little goes a long way. If you want to use the real deal, instead of a substitute, buy cardamom from an international grocery store.
It's used heavily in Indian cuisine, so you should be able to get a great deal on it at an Indian grocery store.
If you don't have an Indian grocery store near by, try the bulk bins at your local grocery store. You'll be able to buy just what you need and nothing more (even if that's a single pod). Ordering online is still another option.
Ground cardamom loses its flavor quickly, so it's best to buy cardamom pods and grind your own. You'll save money if you do this because the pods also happen to be cheaper. To grind cardamom, just remove the seeds from the pods; toss the seeds in a coffee/spice grinder; and give them a quick whirl. There's nothing to it.
One cardamom pod is the equivalent of 1/6 teaspoon of ground cardamom. That means you'll need to buy six pods for every teaspoon of ground cardamom that your recipe calls for.
More Ingredient Substitutions
If you found this substitute helpful, be sure to bookmark or pin my complete list of ingredient substitutions before you go. It'll help you get dinner on the table, whether you're out of an ingredient, or trying to work around a picky eater or a food allergy.