Rated as one of the most expensive spices in the world, cardamom holds a special place in our spice cabinet known for its unique flavor and aroma. So, if you don’t have this spice at home, here are the best substitutes for green cardamom that’ll give a similar flavor replication.
Different forms of green cardamom can undoubtedly substitute for each other. This means ground cardamom can be used instead of whole cardamom and vice versa. In addition to this, cinnamon is considered the other individual element to have the closest flavor replication for this spice. Cinnamon is usually combined with cloves or nutmeg to have a comparable effect.
There are several other possible alternatives already in your spice rack that could contribute in place of cardamom. Let’s check them out and learn how to use them.
The Best Substitute For Green Cardamom
1 – Cinnamon
Cinnamon can be the best stand-alone substitute to work in place of cardamom if you’re out of Cardamom at home, do not like the taste, or are rarely allergic to it. Cinnamon can replicate our topic leader’s flavor in both sweet and savory dishes. It comes as quills and powdered cinnamon making it more versatile to substitute in the dishes you want.
Why is Cinnamon the Best Substitute?
- Cinnamon has a characteristic of woody, zesty, and sweetness that can be independently stand in place of cardamom.
- Although it is not as fragrant as cardamom, it still holds an aroma close enough to complement cooking, baking, or even beverage applications.
How To Use Cinnamon In Place Of Cardamom?
- As mentioned above, cinnamon can act on its own in sweet and savory dishes. However, most cooking experts suggest combining ground cinnamon with 1:1 ground cloves or ground nutmeg can offer an excellent flavor replication to cardamom. For example, if you take half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, you should combine either half a teaspoon of cloves or nutmeg.
- Nevertheless, you should remember that using these mixtures of cinnamon alone can be a little more intense than the taste of cardamom alone. Therefore, you should start with half the amount that you usually use cardamom, and then work your way up as you build the flavor of the recipe.
- Using equal amounts of whole cinnamon with whole nutmeg or cloves can camouflage the absence of cardamom in dishes with larger quantities. These dishes include curries, rice dishes, meat dishes, etc.
- As another decent choice, you can also substitute ground cinnamon and powdered ginger in a 1:1 ratio. This is not as effective as mixing cinnamon with nutmeg or cloves. But still, it is good to go especially with sweet dishes.
The Flavorful Output!
Using cinnamon alone or combined with other spices will effectively give a similar flavor with a decent aroma replication. Thus, you will hardly feel the absence of cardamom in those recipes, even in the ones that require a robust cardamom flavor or fragrance.
Pros of Using Cinnamon as a Substitute for Cardamom
- Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger- all these spices are easy to find and often readily available in home pantries.
- Masks the absence of cardamom in recipes making a full-bodied flavor and aroma profile.
- Inexpensive compared to cardamom itself and easy to use as they already come in ground forms.
Cons of Using Cinnamon as a Substitute for Cardamom
- Cinnamon alone or mixed with other spices can offer more, intense spiciness than cardamom alone.
- Might not work for the recipes that specifically call for cardamom as a key ingredient.
- Mixing and preparing ratios might count for extra time and effort than using cardamom alone.
Other Recommended Substitutes For Cardamom
2 – Cloves
Known for its exceptional warmth, cloves also have a subtle sweetness and an astringency that can be compared to the potency of cardamom. This pantry staple also makes a lovely marriage with cinnamon which makes it one of the best substitutes for green cardamom.
Depending on your cooking method or the dish you prepare, you may use this whole or powdered mixture. However, it is important to remember that cloves are very robust so starting with a small amount is the best. You can finally get a great aroma and potent flavor replication by using this spice as an alternative.
3 – Nutmeg
Nutmeg holds a distinctive nutty element with a nuanced sweetness and spiciness. It is also characteristically aromatic which can be compared to the effect of cardamom. Nutmeg might not be the ideal substitute for dishes that require cardamom as a primary ingredient.
But still, it’ll work in a pinch to create a well-rounded effect in recipes that call for cardamom as a secondary element. Mixing with cinnamon can give a great replacement. However, as a rule of thumb, start by using a small amount of nutmeg and increase the quantity as the flavor develops.
4 – Allspice
Existing up to its name, allspice is a spice that has a complex flavor profile described as cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon with a hint of pepperiness. Therefore, this alternative can be used instead of our topic leader for a similar flavor and warmth.
Allspice is best used in savory dishes but a pinch in sweet dishes will not disappoint you. Ground allspice has a more concentrated flavor so using it in powdered form would be more effective. Depending on the dish, you may start with a small amount and build up the flavor. This will make Allspice one of the greatest substitutes for green cardamom.
5 – Cardamom Syrup in Sweet Dishes and Beverages
If a certain sweet recipe or a beverage calls for whole or powdered cardamom, you can try using cardamom syrup if you don’t have the spice at home. Cardamom syrup is usually a combination of a sweetener with real cardamom and a few other spices and flavorings.
However, this ingredient will have a well-concentrated cardamom flavor to work well in your recipe. We always advise working in moderation with this syrup since it contains other ingredients. As the taste builds up, you can adjust the quantity as required. This alternative can disguise the absence of cardamom, creating a richer flavor profile and be one of the easiest substitutes for green cardamom.
6 – Vanilla
Vanilla is a great alternative for cardamom regarding sweet cooking applications and beverages. This replacement has a heavenly aroma to mask the absence of cardamom in most dishes, Moreover, it also has a unique taste that will rather replace the effect of our topic leader than work as a substitute.
Using vanilla is mostly dependent on each recipe. However, you may use vanilla beans, extract, or even artificial vanilla extract as required. You’ll never regret the decision to replace cardamom with vanilla since it is a spice that compliments most sweeteners in desserts and liquids in beverages.
How To Use Ground Cardamom In Place Of Whole Cardamom Pods and Vice Versa?
Using ground cardamom instead of whole cardamom pods is feasible in most instances. You need one teaspoon of ground cardamom to replace around ten whole cardamom pods and vice versa. Some ground cardamom contains whole pods including seeds and husks while others only contain the seeds.
In this case, ground cardamom that only contains the seeds could be more concentrated in flavor including both seeds and husk. In cooking applications, ground cardamom is always replaceable with whole cardamom pods.
But this situation changes when it comes to baking and sweet dishes since most call only for ground cardamom. Therefore, the instance varies depending on the application you wish to replace.
Did you know that cardamom is a wonderful spice that could complement many of the pantry staples to make your favorite dishes? Click on this link and we will teach you some great ways to use this spice in daily cooking!
Is It Possible To Replace Black Or White Cardamom With Green Cardamom?
White cardamom is a bleached version of green cardamom. Therefore, you may use it in any form to use instead of green cardamom.
But things change when it comes to black cardamom since black cardamom has a whole different flavor profile. In most Indian recipes, we see black and green cardamom together due to their contrasting flavor profiles.
Black cardamom offers a much smoky overtone and is great in savory dishes. However, it cannot be used in sweet preparations, baking, or beverages. So, we can see that black cardamom is not a favorable replacement for green cardamom although they belong to the same family.
Summing Up The Best Substitutes For Green Cardamom
As you see, cinnamon is your best choice to use independently or with nutmeg, cloves, or ginger to create a similar substitute for cardamom. At the same time, you may also make use of allspice, vanilla, and cardamom bi-products like cardamom syrup whenever you run out of this flavorful spice in your kitchen!