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Ginger Substitute: 5 Best Options To Use In A Pinch

Ginger Substitute: 5 Best Options To Use In A Pinch

Looking for the best substitute for ginger? Look no further! I’ve compiled a list of possible and nearly identical substitutes for the popular spice.

One of the wonder spices out there, ginger is a must-have for every kitchen. 

The common spice originates in Southeast Asia and is famous for its distinct flavor and versatility. 

Ginger comes in different forms—fresh and ground form. 

You can use them in both savory and sweet dishes. 

Some tea and lemonade recipes feature ginger to enhance the flavor of the beverages. 

Whether you try to mimic the flavor, color or probably get the best of both in your recipes, here are the 8 terrific ginger substitutions. 

Don’t miss our #2—It’s an ideal switch for ginger as the aromatic swap has a similar flavor to the ingredient!

SubstituteSuggested Ratio (Substitute:Ginger)Application Notes
Turmeric Powder2 teaspoons turmeric: 1 teaspoon gingerEarthy taste, vibrant yellow color, suitable for ground ginger.
Mace1:1 for ground ginger; 1/4 teaspoon mace: 1 tablespoon fresh gingerPungent, warm, peppery, sweet, and spicy flavor.
Ground Nutmeg1:1Earthy and deep flavor, considered a sweet seasoning.
Crystallized Ginger3 tablespoons: 3 teaspoons fresh ginger; 1/2 cup: 1 teaspoon ground gingerVery sweet, used for both ground and fresh ginger replacement.
GalangalStart with equal amounts and adjustSharp, citrusy, almost piney flavor profile.
A bunch of ginger sits on top of some green leaves, on a pink background.

Ginger Substitutes And How To Use Them

Before you start substituting, it’s important to know that some of these replacements don’t imitate the exact flavor of ginger, yet the taste is partly related. 

Also, other garlic substitutes have noticeable colors that probably won’t fit in the recipe you’re currently working on.

For Ground Ginger

1. Turmeric powder

Instructions: Replace 1 t of ground ginger with 2 t of turmeric powder. 

Turmeric powder can also make an adequate ground ginger substitute when you’re in a pinch. 

Turmeric belongs to the ginger family, meaning they have a similar pungent and earthy taste. 

The only downside when using the dry spice as a substitute is its vibrant yellow color. 

However, if the color doesn’t concern you, then consider using 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder for every teaspoon of ground ginger.

2. Mace

Instructions: You can substitute mace for ground ginger in a 1:1 ratio. 

Another good substitute for ground ginger is mace. 

To those who haven’t known mace, it’s a sister spice of nutmeg. 

Nutmeg spice comes from the actual seeds of the nutmeg tree, while mace is the protective coating of the nutmeg seeds. 

This underrated spice is more pungent than nutmeg, with a warm, peppery, sweet, and spicy flavor close to powdered ginger. 

As a substitute, use the same quality of it as ground ginger in any recipe, meaning if your recipe calls for a tablespoon of ground ginger. 

You can replace it with a tablespoon of mace instead. 

You can also use mace in place of ginger (fresh) too! Simply substitute every tablespoon of fresh ginger with 1/4 teaspoon of mace.

3. Ground nutmeg

Instructions: Substitute ground nutmeg for ground ginger in a 1:1 ratio. 

Ground nutmeg is another great replacement for ground ginger powder even though that ginger has a spicier and less sweet flavor than nutmeg. 

But the good thing is this ground nutmeg has an earthy and deep flavor which is akin to ginger. 

Remember that it’s considered a sweet seasoning and used to add depth of flavor to cakes, pastries, pies, and cookies. 

As a replacement, use ground nutmeg in equal parts to the requirement for ground ginger powder.

For Fresh Ginger

4. Crystallized Ginger

Instructions: Use 3 tablespoons of candied ginger for 3 teaspoons of fresh ginger

Though crystallized ginger isn’t the most ideal fresh ginger substitute, it’s sure to be your savior especially when you only have them in the kitchen.

Also dubbed as candied ginger, it’s made by fresh ginger root that’s being peeled, cut up, boiled in sugar water then undergone a drying process. 

Keep in mind that it’s very sweet and you might need plenty of them to imitate the flavor of your ground and fresh ginger. 

To use it as a ground ginger substitute, replace 1 teaspoon of ground ginger with 1/2 cup of crystallized ginger. 

For fresh ginger, use 3 tablespoons of candied ginger for 3 teaspoons of fresh ginger in your recipe.

5. Galangal

Instructions: Start with equal amounts and work your way up 

Another great substitute for fresh ginger is galangal. It’s a spice that’s closely related to ginger and known for its sharp citrusy and almost piney flavor profile. 

You might have a hard time finding this ingredient in your area, but the best place to get galangal is at the Asian grocery store or you can order some online

To substitute fresh ginger, start with equal amounts and work your way up if you want to bolder flavor in your recipe.

The flavor of ginger

If you’re unfamiliar with ginger and haven’t tried to include the spice in your recipes, the taste of ginger is slightly peppery and zesty with nuances of warm and sweet flavor. 

And raw ginger is very intense, and has a spicy taste, so it’s advisable to use a dash of it to liven up any recipe. 

Similar to garlic and onion, the ingredient turns bitter if burned. 

Meanwhile, the flavor of ground ginger is milder than raw or fresh ginger, which is suitable for baked goods, sauces, and curries. 

The spice blends with aromatic herbs and spices such as red pepper, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg seeds, parsley, basil, and garlic.

How ginger is often used

Ginger is an integral ingredient of Asian cooking and it’s traditionally included in recipes like noodle bowls, stir fry, and meat dishes. 

Apart from these foods, here are some great ways on how to use your ginger:

The bottom line

Ginger adds spicy, warm, sharp taste and slightly sweet and peppery flavor to baked goods and savory dishes. 

In case you’re in a pinch, it’s best to know what are the possible alternatives of the ingredient. 

Galangal and turmeric come from the same ginger family, which makes them a suitable substitute for ginger. 

However, each of them has its unique flavor, aroma, and appearance that might not be suitable for the recipe you’re making. 

Although none of these ingredients will completely replicate ginger in a recipe, they’re great alternatives when you don’t have any ginger on hand.

What Is Ginger? (Tips On How To Use This Spice)

Ginger Substitute: Galangal

Ginger Substitute: Galangal

Ginger is a vital ingredient in a range of dishes. In case you don't have it on hand, learn how to substitute ginger using galangal.


  • Galangal


  1. Start with equal amounts and work your way up if you want bolder flavor in your recipe. 

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