What Is Cardamom?

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Cardamom can add an irresistible flavor to so many recipes! So what is cardamom, and how can you use it as a home cook?

How familiar are you with the spices in your spice cabinet? It’s easy to reach for salt and pepper by default, but getting experienced with more spices can help expand the flavors in your meals.

Today, let's talk about cardamom, a versatile spice used in sweet dishes and savory meals. It’s sometimes known as the “Queen of Spices.” Learning more about this exciting spice can open new doors in your home cooking!

Where Does Cardamom Come From?

Some spices grow from plants, some come from roots, and others from seeds. Cardamom is a spice in the ginger family that comes from seed pods in various plants. These cardamom pods contain cardamom seeds inside. Ultimately, you can use both whole cardamom pods and ground cardamom for your recipes!

Cardamom is popular in the Middle East, and it's often a popular element in Nordic, Arabic, Swedish, and Indian cooking. This warm spice is an essential part of the garam masala spice mixture, and people often use it in masala chai, too.

What Are the Different Types of Cardamom?

There are two main types of this spice –– green cardamom and black cardamom. Another variation is white cardamom, which is technically green cardamom that has been bleached. Regardless of the type you use, you can choose whole pods, seeds, or ground cardamom. 

The most common cardamom variety is green cardamom, known as Elettaria cardamomum. This variety is the kind you'll most often find at the grocery store when looking for it. Although it highlights sweet dishes well, you can also use these green pods for savory dishes. 

Black cardamom is the variety known as Amomum subulatum. This kind has larger, dark brown pods and a savory, smoky flavor. Still, many in India use this variety for sweet dishes.

Pro Tip: Although white cardamom and green cardamom are similar, white cardamom tends to have a less saturated flavor.

How Many Uses Are There for Cardamom?

Cardamom has nearly endless uses! You can use cardamom for hot drinks, ice cream, savory dishes, and sweet dishes. It's very versatile, and it can enhance various flavors to make them more warm and earthy.

You can use cardamom powder in many ways. Since every part of this spice can enhance flavor in one way or another, it's an excellent option to keep in your kitchen pantry or spice cabinet. Although it's one of the more expensive spices, adding a unique flavor to your dishes is worth it.

Are There Health Benefits of Cardamom?

This spice is excellent for adding an earth spice to your beverages and meals, and it also possesses several potential health benefits! Some people use cardamom supplements or essential oils to experience its effects. 

Here's a quick look at the health benefits cardamom may offer:

What Does Cardamom Taste Like?

Cardamom's flavor is somewhat intense. That may be why it's the primary ingredient in many chai spice blends. 

Green cardamom also has touches of lemon and mint while offering a sweet undertone. Black cardamom tends to be the smoky variety with hints of cooling mint.

How To Enhance the Flavor of Cardamom

Cardamom is already an intense spice, but you might find that you'd like its flavor to be more pronounced. If you want to bolden the intensity of cardamom in savory dishes, adding a little bit of pepper can do the trick!

How To Cook With Cardamom Spice

By now, you may be excited to jump into using this spice in your recipes. If you're wondering how to use this spice in your cooking, it's essential to understand the foods this spice pairs well with. Here is a quick overview of foods that cardamom can compliment:

Remember that cardamom pairs well with warm spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, and turmeric. Blending cardamom with one of these spices may help take your dish's flavoring to new levels.

How To Store Cardamom

Cardamom spice is good for around a year when stored correctly. Keep this spice tightly sealed in a cool, dark area to preserve its flavor. 

More Spices That Are Good for You

If you don't have cardamom on hand, you might be wondering if there are any cardamom substitutes. Here are a few things you can try if you're in a pinch but want to add some spice to your dish:

Our Top Cardamom Recipes

Are you ready to experience this spice for yourself? We know trying unfamiliar recipes can sometimes feel overwhelming, so we've compiled a couple of our favorite cardamom recipes that are simple and easy to follow.

Shrimp Biryani

This rich, Indian-inspired dish offers a tasty blend of flavors and filling ingredients. Our Shrimp Biryani recipe includes cardamom and curry powder to create a delicious warm dish that can spice up your weekly meals. 

You won't have to spend much time preparing it either! This dish is ready in just over twenty minutes. It's perfect for a solo dinner or hosting a meal with friends.

Golden Latte

Sometimes, a pick-me-up drink is in order in the middle of the day. This delightful warm beverage is super tasty, and the cardamom and turmeric spices also offer potential health benefits. You can play barista and enjoy this Golden Latte in five minutes.

More Delightfully Spiced Meals

If you're in the mood for more dishes with mouth-watering spices, you can get inspired with the list below! 

Lemon-Turmeric Salmon With Broccoli

This meal is nutritious and quick! You won't believe how quickly you can put lunch or dinner on the table with our Lemon-Turmeric Salmon With Broccoli

Coconut Cauliflower Soup

In the mood for a hot soup to warm you up? Our Coconut Cauliflower Soup includes mouth-watering onion and turmeric for a spicy flavor that's perfect for cool weather. It only requires a few ingredients, and you'll love how easy it is to prepare!

Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry

Want to expand your palate and try new dishes? This colorful Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry is full of flavor and vegan-friendly.

Golden Veggie Soup

If you're a fan of turmeric, you'll love this dish. Our Golden Veggie Soup provides a perfect way to get nutritious vegetables into your meals with little effort. Try it for yourself and savor the flavor combination of turmeric, onion, garlic, ginger, and lime. 

Shopping for Groceries Is Easy With Us

Trying new spices in your kitchen can be exciting. You never know what amazing dishes lie just around the corner until you try out new recipes. When you plan your meals with us at Jow, you'll be able to experience just how manageable grocery shopping and cooking can be.


Benefits of Turmeric | University of Utah Health

Cardamom Roasted Cauliflower | The Nutrition Source | Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health

Blood pressure lowering, fibrinolysis enhancing and antioxidant activities of cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)