8 of The Best Cardamom Substitutes
Jun 07, 2021, Updated Aug 09, 2021
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Cardamom is a spice that is used while cooking and baking, it’s great for sweet dishes and savory dishes. However, it is very expensive, so what can you use instead?
A mix of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and coriander all can be used as a substitute for cardamom. However, while these spices have very similar flavors to cardamom, they do not have exactly the same flavors, so the item being made may taste slightly different than expected.
Have a recipe that calls for cardamom? There are a variety of cardamom substitutes that will work when you don’t have the real thing on hand.
Cinnamon is a fantastic substitute for cardamom. It can be used alone as a substitute for cardamom, or it can be paired with other spices to create a more complex flavor that is more similar to cardamom.
It is also more likely that you will have cinnamon in your cabinets than cardamom, depending on what foods you typically make. Using cinnamon instead of cardamom may also appeal to the pallets of picky eaters better than cardamom would.
For every teaspoon of cardamom the recipe requires, substitute 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
2. Cinnamon and Allspice
A mix of cinnamon and allspice is another great substitute for cardamom. It is very likely that you have both of these spices in your cabinets, and both are relatively cheap compared to cardamom. Although the resulting flavors are not as complex, cinnamon and allspice will work if you are in a pinch.
For every teaspoon of cardamom that a recipe requires, use 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon allspice.
3. Cinnamon and Ginger
A mix of cinnamon and ginger is also a great substitute for cardamom. They are very commonly found spices, so you are very likely to have them in your cupboard, and both are much cheaper than cardamom.
The ginger in the mix brings out the spicy nuances of cardamom, so this mixture of spices will get you very close to the actual flavor of cardamom, without having to hunt it down at the supermarket. However, the flavors will not be quite as deep or complex as cardamom.
For every teaspoon of cardamom a recipe requires, use ½ teaspoon cinnamon and ½ teaspoon ginger.
4. Cinnamon and Nutmeg
A mix of cinnamon and nutmeg can be a good cardamom replacement. Nutmeg can also be used as a substitute by itself, without being mixed with cinnamon. However, using a mixture of these spices will make the flavors more complex and get you closer to the actual flavor of cardamom than each of the spices used alone will.
For every teaspoon of cardamom a recipe requires, use 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg.
5. Cinnamon and Cloves
A mix of cinnamon and cloves can also work as a cardamom substitute. It is very likely that you will find both of these spices in your cupboards, and both of them are cheaper than cardamom. You can find ground or whole cloves and cinnamon sticks if you prefer to freshly grind your spices yourself. Using a mixture of these spices is great for any baked goods that require cardamom.
For every teaspoon of cardamom a recipe requires, use 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of cloves.
6. Cloves and Nutmeg
A mix of cloves and nutmeg is a great substitute for cardamom, especially when they are used in baked goods. The flavor combination of these spices is less complex than cardamom, but they will work if you are baking an item that requires cardamom, but you do not have any at the moment.
For every teaspoon of cardamom that a recipe requires, use 1/2 teaspoon of cloves and 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg.
7. Cumin and Coriander
A mixture of cumin and coriander is a great substitute for cardamom. Cumin and coriander are both used in spicy foods, so they will give the food they are put into the spicy kick that is found in cardamom. The flavors that cumin and coriander produce will not be as complex as cardamom, but they will work as a substitute if you do not have access to the original spice.
For every teaspoon of cardamom a recipe requires, use ½ teaspoon cumin and 1 teaspoon of coriander.
Allspice powder is another potential substitute for cardamom. You can find it in pellets or ground up, so you can decide which form you want to have in your cabinets before using it. It is slightly more expensive than other spices on this list, but it is still cheaper than cardamom.
For every teaspoon of cardamom a recipe requires, use 1 teaspoon of allspice.
Why Should I Use Cardamom Substitutes?
Cost of Cardamom
Cardamom is one of the most expensive spices on the market today. Today, ground cardamom is selling for $6-$10 per ounce, while many spices are $1-$5 for a 3-ounce container. One of the main reasons why cardamom is so expensive is because it has to be harvested by hand, while many other spices can be harvested by machine. Cardamom also has many health benefits that it gives to those who frequently eat food that is flavored with this spice.
Another reason why it is so expensive is that the favor does not last for a very long time, so it has to be used while it is fresh. It is best for people to purchase cardamom pods rather than ground cardamom because if you purchase the pods, then you can grind what you need, save the rest, and have freshly-ground cardamom rather than having to worry about whether or not the cardamom still has its flavor.
If you use a cardamom substitute rather than the real thing, you will save a lot of money in the long run.
Strength of Cardamom Flavor
Cardamom has a very strong flavor, so a little bit goes a long way. Cardamom is a spicy-sweet spice that is used in many Indian and Scandinavian dishes. It has a fruity, piney, and methanol-like flavor that can become slightly astringent when too much is used.
If you use a substitute for cardamom rather than using the real thing, then you can avoid the astringent flavor and just enjoy the food that you made.