green cardamom pods


Popular in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine cardamom has an intensely fragrant aroma. Considered a warming spice it’s perceived to help generate internal body heat and is valued in cooler climates. In the West, cardamom is most often associated with Scandinavian baked goods.

Oh, but there is so much more. I’ve always maintained that cardamom is the new cinnamon. Sweet, spicy, or savory–its flavor pairing capabilites are extensive. I scoured the web, cookbooks, and spice sources to put together a list to help you use that bottle of little green pods and black seeds to their full capacity.

As you flex your creative cooking muscle use this list as a cardamom flavor pairing guide. For example, if you have a recipe that calls for apricots or walnuts consider adding cardamom if there isn’t already a dominant use of spices. I expanded on a few suggestions here and there but most are pretty straightforward. If you haven’t added cardamom to your spice shelf, consider doing it now. With so many possibilities, cardamom has become a spice shelf staple.

  1. Cinnamon
  2. Coffee. Brew it with the coffee beans for a twist on classic black.
  3. Lemon. I always thought cardamom would be a nice addition to a lemonade.
  4. Orange.
  5. Apricots.
  6. Pistachios.
  7. Tea. Enjoy a traditional chai?
  8. Walnut.
  9. Chocolate. Here’s a recipe for chocolate cardamom cake. (Scroll down to “Try It.”) Or go here for Evil Shenanigan’s cupcake version.
  10. Cream. Blend a pinch into whipped cream.
  11. Vanilla Bean. Try sprinkling some fresh ground cardamom on vanilla ice cream. 
  12. Plum. My blatent plug for an amazing chocolate bar. Dark chocolate with dried plums, walnuts and cardamom by Vosges. It’s worthy. Just writing about it sparks a let’s move on.
  13. Squash. As part of a garam masala spice blend, saute it with a little olive oil until warm and fragrant, then add your squash or squash-based soup ingredients (e.g. pumpkin or butternut).
  14. Rice. It’s good when added to savory dishes like rice pilaf or for sweet desserts such as rice pudding.
  15. Curries.
  16. Almond.
  17. Baked Goods.
  18. Sugar. Scandinavians will mix cardamom with sugar and use it like we use cinnamon and sugar.
  19. Apples. Try putting some in your apple pie or applesauce.
  20. Carrots.  Here’s a recipe for perfect chai carrot cake.

I can pretty much guarantee this is not an exhaustive list.  So please share, how have you used your cardamom?


Photo Attribution: LexnGer