The Best Cardamom Substitute For Your Recipes

Do you want to make your curry at home? Then you cannot miss the soul of this dish, which is the cardamom. Without this element, your curry is sure to be bland and unavailing.

Which ingredients can you use as a cardamom substitute?

Let’s refer to this article to get a detailed answer!

What Is Cardamom? 

Cardamom may be a strange spice to some people as it comes from India. If you haven’t tried Indian cuisine, you must have never heard of this ingredient. What is cardamom?

It is a plant that is the relative of turmeric and ginger in the Zingiberaceae family in the South India and Guatemala regions.

Nowadays, this plant also spreads and grows in other areas over the world like China, Vietnam, or Laos.

The seed comes in spindle-shaped bunches taken from the triangle-formed pods of this plant. You can use it whole or with a pureed powder form.

This spice is commonly used in savoury and sweet courses in several cuisines like India or the Middle East.

What does it taste like? It comes with a combined aroma. You can feel a fruity, piney-like, and menthol-like taste when enjoying dishes with this spice.

If you misuse it too much, it can bring a flavor of astringent. So, it is better to add moderation to your foods because just a little cardamom is enough to make your dish authentic Indian.

What’s more, This condiment has two principal divisions, including the black sort and the green one. Sometimes, you can see some white ones, but they are not the variety of this plant. They are just the bleached form of the green type.

The green seed is the most popular because it offers a richer flavor and more versatile application, which can season for sweet and savory foods.

What is cardamom?

What Is the Best Cardamom Substitute? 

If cardamom is not available in your kitchen basket, what can be the best replacement for cardamom? The list below will be helpful if you are seeking something similar to this ingredient. Let’s take a closer look!


Among cardamom substitute options, allspice, also called pimento, is one of the easiest ingredients to find and has the most similar taste. You can easily purchase it from any supermarket in the world.

Moreover, it also has nearly the same colour as cardamom with warm, smoky tones. You can add it to diverse dishes in whole or milled power.


Black cardamom seeds

Another great alternative you can turn over your mind is cardamom seeds. As mentioned earlier, it is a variety of this plant and has nearly the same flavor as green.

However, this replacement is perfect for savoury dishes but not suitable for sweet ones like desserts.

Black cardamom
Black cardamom

Ginger and cinnamon

As shared earlier, cardamom is one of the relatives of the ginger family. So it’s not surprising that you can apply ginger in place of cardamom in some recipes.

For instance, you may use it in spicy, warm, and savoury dishes like black bean burgers.

The important thing here is that you must use powdered ginger, not fresh ginger. Furthermore, ginger sorely cannot provide the same taste as cardamom. That’s why you should combine it with cinnamon powder.

Ginger and cinnamon
Ginger and cinnamon

Cloves and cinnamon 

The appearance of the cloves does not resemble cardamom at all. Strangely, their seeds taste the same with a light woody and naturally sweet flavoring as well as a mint tone.

For a little extra warming spice, combine this spice with cinnamon powder. This perfect combination offers a wide range of applications in many recipes, not only for food, desserts but also for drinks.

Cloves and cinnamon
Cloves and cinnamon

Coriander and cumin 

Coriander will impress you with its woodiness and somewhat spicy taste, while cumin’s notes are warm and earthy.

Are you looking for a substitute in spicy dishes such as chicken biryani, curries, and Indian meat? The combination of cumin and coriander may satisfy your mouth.

However, you should remember that this alternative is not ideal for sweet dishes.

Also, its flavoring is slightly more intense and bitter than cardamom. Therefore, when cooking, pay attention to decrease not to lose the original savour of the dish.

Coriander and cumin
Coriander and cumin

Nutmeg and cinnamon 

Nutmeg essentially has a taste similar to cardamom. Its nutty note makes it a good replacement in sweet dishes or beverages like porridges or tea.

Besides, cinnamon brings a warm and slightly spicy flavor. When you mix these two in whole or ground form, you will feel like the smell of cardamom wafts around.

This option is the best to replace cardamom in several courses.

Nutmeg and cinnamon
Nutmeg and cinnamon

Apple pie spice

The last alternative in this list is apple pie spice. You can easily find and purchase this condiment in most grocery stores.

It contains featured ingredients like cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. The perfect mixture is ideal for replacing cardamom in numerous recipes, both in sweet and savoury dishes.

Apple pie spice
Apple pie spice


What does cardamom smell like?

It brings an extremely aromatic, fresh, and slightly camphoraceous smell. You can even feel a rosemary and eucalyptus effect with the scent of lemon and pepper.

What kind of spice is cardamom?

It is a pod spice in the Zingiberaceae family, along with ginger. This condiment also comes in different forms, such as whole pods or podded whole seeds, but most commonly milled powder.

What can I substitute for cardamom in a cake recipe?

Among these alternative suggestions above, the combination of allspice and cinnamon is the best for the cake recipe.

To get a spoon of cardamom, you only need to mix ½ spoon of allspice and ½ spoon of cinnamon.

In A Nutshell 

We have shared with you the best cardamom substitute options. Of course, these ingredients can not be 100% similar to cardamom, but they still bring nutty, warm, and spicy flavor to your dishes.

Most importantly, not all of the replacements are suitable for all food or drink recipes. Hence, think carefully before selecting the best-suited one!

Staff Writer At Saved By The Max

Jeremy was responsible for initial staffing and daily management of bar, kitchen, and service. Branding and all marketing activities were part of his responsibilities as well.

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