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What Foods Does Cardamom Compliment?

Slofoodgroup Team mayo 10, 2023

Cardamom is a unique ingredient that spans the realms of both sweet and savory. It is complex in nature, providing a balancing warmth and vibrancy to many types of dishes. This fragrant spice's complex blend of traits positions it as versatile ingredient that compliments a wide range of foods—from breads, desserts, and beverages to vegetables, starches, and meats.

Cardamom is quite often associated with Indian, Middle Eastern, and Scandinavian cuisines but is becoming more prevalent in fusion cooking worldwide. We've put together a list of our favorite uses for cardamom and the flavors and ingredients it compliments, so you will be prepared to incorporate more cardamom into your culinary ventures. Just follow the links from within the article for some great recipes. Enjoy!

Recipes and Flavors That Work Well With Cardamom

Fresh-Ground Cardamom is Commonly Found in Baked Goods

Though not quite as common as vanilla or cinnamon, cardamom is found on the ingredient list for many baked goods recipes. It is a regular addition to everything from croissants, rolls, and buns to cakes, tortes, and cookies. Some of our favorite baked goods to use cardamom in include spiced fig and coffee cake, simple doughnuts, and these gluten free cream cheese cardamom cookies. We also can’t deny that cardamom and citrus may have been made to exist side-by-side in various recipes. This saffron cardamom chiffon pie with hints of lime is definitely one you should add to your recipe repertoire.   

Scandanavian baking is known for the frequent use of this sultry spice. In Sweden, for instance, it baked goods, many of which contain cardamom are enjoyed alongside of coffee in the daily (sometime twice daily) ritual of Fika, which serves the purpose of simply taking a break. Two of the most popular Fika treats are Kardemummakaka, or Swedish cardamom cake, and yeasty cardamom buns. Here’s our take on saffron cardamom sticky buns.

Cardamom Can Balance Many Types of Beverages

It is not uncommon to hear of cardamom in coffee drinks, teas, and tisanes and of course, everyone knows of its use in mulled wines and ciders, but there is no reason to stop there, and the mixers of crafted cocktails and mocktails are catching on.

For non-alcoholic cardamom drinks, your mind will likely drift to thoughts of spiced chai and fruit ciders, but you should definitely expand your beverage horizons and try this comforting cardamom milk. If you need a little kick by way of alcohol in your potations, we can’t get enough of this spiked saffron milk with maple, cinnamon, and cardamom or this vanilla bean and cardamom Pisco sour.

Cardamom is a Wonderfully Fragrant Addition to Rice and Vegetable Dishes

Cardamom is known for its warmth, so it might come as a surprise to hear that it can also enliven many dishes. Among these, are rice dishes like biryani and pilaf and many types of vegetables. Currently, we are obsessed with this cauliflower “popcorn” with the cardamom containing spice blend, ras al hanout. Another great spice blend that is perfect for sprinkling on vegetables is garam masala and it’s super easy to make your own.

Cardamom is Fantastic in Soups, Stews, and Meat Dishes

Cardamom is commonly found in soups (like pho) and stews (like tagines), and less known for the ways in which it can compliment other meat dishes. We especially love cardamom as an addition to smoked and grilled meats, like these ribs with vanilla, cardamom, and rum barbecue sauce and this cinnamon-spiced smoked duck.