Konnichi wa / Great Outdoors


Cardamom is a spice with an intense flavor that can be used in many different types of cooking. Most people use it as part of their Indian dishes, but it also works well in desserts and other dishes. If you don't have cardamom on hand in the spice cabinet, here are some cardamom substitutes to help you avoid missing out on the taste when the recipe calls for it.

Watch this video on the cardamom!

What is cardamom?

Cardamom is a versatile spice that comes from the seeds of an herb in the ginger family. The cardamom pods are harvested when they're fully ripe, then dried as whole pods and ground into cardamom powder. There can be either black cardamom, brown cardamom, white cardamom, or green cardamom.

Cardamom can be used to add unique flavor to many dishes including soups, meat dishes, seafood dishes, curries, and chai tea. It's also a key ingredient in flavoring the Scandinavian pastry, cardamom bun.

Cardamom is an expensive spice that can be hard to find and purchase in a grocery store outside of regions where it grows naturally. In some recipes you may need to replace this Cardamom's flavor with another type of aromatic herb or spice. Luckily cardamon isn't required for many dishes - if there are other flavors such as cinnamon, clove or ginger present then most people won't even notice!

What to substitute for cardamom?

If you have a dish which calls for cardamom and you don't want to substitute it, one option is to reduce the amount called for in the recipe. Another option is adding some other spices like cloves or cinnamon sticks so that there's still complexity of flavor without any single spice dominating your dish with its stronger flavor!

Ground ginger

One of the most common substitutes and quite possibly the perfect cardamom substitute is ground ginger. It has a spicy, hot flavor and pairs well with other spices such as nutmeg or cinnamon which can also be used to replace cardamom in recipes.


Cloves are another one of those spices that you'll find often mentioned as the best substitute for cardamom. Cloves have a pungent taste that's very similar to the fragrant spice we're looking at substituting - not too sweet but still beautifully aromatic. They work really well when paired up with cumin or black pepper!


Nutmeg is a spice that has an aroma reminiscent of cardamom with some citrus notes. It's widely used in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking, but it also works as a nice substitute for those recipes which call for ground ginger!


Allspice is another one of those spices that has a similar flavor to cardamom, but with some differences. It's often used in Jamaican cooking and tends to be more peppery than the other spice mentioned here!

Cinnamon sticks

Cinnamon sticks make a good substitute for cardamom because they share many similarities in both appearance and taste. Cinnamon typically contains about 12% more oil than whole cloves do, so it's a little less potent than cardamom but still has just the right amount of spice.

Cinnamon and nutmeg

Cinnamon and nutmeg are also both good substitutes for cardamom. Both spices have notes of sweetness that come through in their tastes which can be very nice to pair with other complex flavors like cloves or black pepper (or even coffee, if you're looking for something). Nutmeg is actually quite similar to whole cloves because they share many commonalities when it comes to flavor profile!

Fennel seeds

Fennel seeds are a great substitute for cardamom seeds because they're similarly aromatic with an anise flavor. They also have some sweetness to them and can be very nice when paired up with other flavors such as black pepper or cloves!

What does cardamom taste like?

Cardamom is an aromatic spice that has a sweet, floral taste with hints of lemon and ginger. Ground cardamom is often used in Indian cuisine to flavor a sweet dish or a savory dish such as dal, lamb curry, and chai tea; it can also be found in Scandinavian dishes for meatballs, cookies, cakes, breads or anything else you might want to add some spiciness to.

Final thoughts on cardamom

Hope you enjoyed this article on cardamom!

Looking for more on Cardamom and other similar content? Try these:

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Konnichi wa / Great Outdoors

August 09, 2021 — Konnichi wa