Looking for an alternative to Cardamom? You’re in the right place! Keep reading for my favourite simple Cardamom substitutes.
What is Cardamom?
Cardamom Pods are a spice native to India and Sri Lanka traditonally used in curries and sweets. It can be used as either the whole pods, whole seeds or ground seeds. There are two different forms the more commonly used small green pods or the larger brown or black pods.
The green pods have a unique strong slightly eucalyptus flavour that works well in both sweet and savory dishes.
The brown or black pods are stronger and more smoky / musky in flavour and only used in savoury dishes.
Simple Green Cardamom Substitutes
While green cardamom has a different flavour profile to cinnamon, there are some similarities and so can work well for a different spice experience in your dish. Cinnamon is milder and sweeter so you may need to use more cinnamon in your dish. Whole cinnamon quills are the best substitute for whole cardamom pods. Ground cinnamon is best for recipes using ground cardamom.
2. All Spice
Ground All Spice will take your flavour profile in a different direction but not necessarily an unpleasant detour. It tends to be slightly stronger and than cardamom so start with less. Use whole allspice berries to sub for whole cardamom and ground allspice for ground cardamom.
3. Star Anise
Star anise actually has a background sweetness that can work in place of cardamom but I’d only use it in savoury dishes because it will probably overpower a sweet dish.
4. Cumin Seeds
Cumin won’t work for sweet dishes but for savoury the rounded earthy flavour of cumin can make a lovely substitute.
5. Vanilla Extract
For sweet dishes, vanilla is completely different in flavour to cardamom but it will add a beautiful sweet aroma and will complement the same types of ingredients as cardamom. You won’t get any complaints!
6. Brown or Black Cardamom
For savoury dishes I would use them interchangeably with 2-3 small green pods subbing for 1 large brown or black pod – knowing that there will be a difference in the flavour.
For sweet dishes don’t use the brown / black pods – you’ll be better off with one of the options above.
How to Store Cardamom
In an airtight jar in your pantry.
Cardamom Flavour Pairings
- Apple & Cardamom
- Custard & Cardamom
- Pistachio & Cardamom
- Cranberry & Cardamom
- Chocolate & Cardamom
More Articles Similar to Cardamom Substitutes
- The Ultimate Guide to Vegetable Substitutes
- Miso Paste
- Oyster Sauce
- My 3 Favourite Spice Blends (and their substitutes)
Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.
Have fun in the kitchen!