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What is Cardamom Best Used For

Slofoodgroup Team May 21, 2022

What is Cardamom Best Used For

Cardamom is most commonly associated with Indian and Swedish cuisine but its uses go far beyond chai, curries, mulled wine, and cardamom buns. This is especially true when you are using  green cardamom, which is commonly known by the alias, “true cardamom”. There really is no “best” use for this fragrant spice but an infinite list of applications. 

How to Use Green Cardamom, Elettaria Cardamomum

If you are new to using cardamom in your recipes, you might be tempted to buy the pre-ground cardamom powder, but we highly recommend considering buying whole cardamom pods and either, using them whole, by steeping them in your cooking liquid and removing them prior to consumption or grinding your own and stirring in with the other ingredients. Let’s look at the ways in which you can flavor foods with whole cardamom pods.

Include Cardamom in a Sachet for Slow-Cooked Foods

One of our favorite ways to incorporate loads of flavor into slow-cooked foods while maintaining a smooth consistency is by using whole spices. However, locating these ingredients to  pull them out prior to serving can be tricky if you throw them in haphazardly (and nobody wants to chomp down  on a  large bite of cardamom, clove, cinnamon, or many other spices for that matter). We recommend creating a spice sachet using cheese cloth and tying it off with a large strand of cooking twine. Drape the end of the twine over the edge of pot so that it can be easily located and pulled out once prior to stirring.

Infuse Liquid with Cardamom Prior to Adding it to Your Recipe

Give your whole cardamom pods a gentle  smash with a mallet or the side of a knife to slightly expose the seeds and drop the whole pods into cooking liquid. This works extremely well for teas, broths, and cream-based applications such as ice cream. Try adding it alongside the vanilla beans in this no-churn ice cream recipe

Grind Whole Cardamom into a Fine Powder

Finally, there is no reason not to use ground cardamom. We just don’t recommend buying the pre-ground powders because so much flavor is left behind. The cardamom essence  begins to dissipate once ground, so it’s just better to grind your own as you need it. Additionally, much of the store-bought, pre-ground cardamom has been bleached to produce “white” cardamom—yuck! For grinding your own, use a spice grinder, mortar and pestle, or even by placing it in a bag and using a mallet. 

Ideas for Using Cardamom 

Let’s take a look at some ways you can use cardamom in your culinary endeavors.

Use Cardamom In Place of (or Alongside) Cinnamom

Cardamom and cinnamon are both considered warming spices with similar flavor notes, but while cinnamon possesses a sharp, spicy, and somewhat woodsy flavor, cardamom contributes a citrusy zest. Both spices incorporate depth of flavor into the recipes they are used in.  Though not identical in flavor and aroma, cardamom makes a great stand-in for cinnamon and may be just the flavor twist you need to break up the monotony. 

Add a Dash of Cardamom to Sweet and Savory Baked Goods

If you’ve never used fresh-ground cardamom in your baked goods, your world is about to change. Just a teaspoon of this spice adds an element of warmth to cookies, breads, and cakes. The delicate level of spiciness contributes depth that compliments sweetness beautifully.

Infuse Soups, Stews, and Braises with Green Cardamom

Cardamom is a common ingredient in curries for good reason. Warming spices are so delicious in comfort foods! Try adding a pinch of fresh-ground cardamom in your next batch of chili, placing a few whole cardamom pods in a sachet for flavoring stews, tossing whole pods into braising liquids, or simmering it into broths to use as a base for soups. 

Add Cardamom to Your Dry Rubs for Grilled Meats

Fresh grind your whole green cardamom pods and mix them with other grilling herbs and species for a dry rub to season meats before throwing them on the grill or smoker. Those dining on one of your summertime feasts will be begging you to reveal your secret ingredient. 


Continue pursuing our blog for some additional cardamom recipes to add to your repertoire. 

Looking for high-quality, whole green cardamom? Look no further. We’ve got sustainabliy-sourced green cardamom right here!