How to Jazz Up Your Menu With Ginger

Ginger is a common kitchen staple, one we love to use for both sweet and savory dishes.

This versatile ingredient can be prepared in so many different ways. Popular to use fresh, it is also available as a dried and ground spice that brings its warming flavors and aromas to cookery.

Not only is this rhizome widely used as a flavoring component, it is also a common choice for medicinal reasons. When I think of soothing an upset stomach, my first course of action is to grab the ginger!

Vertical image of fresh and ground ginger on a slate surface, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

It has been proven to be a natural remedy for treating nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite due to illness, morning sickness, surgery, and motion sickness.

Whether eaten fresh and fiery, preserved and crystallized, dried and blended with other spices, or brewed into a tea or tonic, people throughout the world have used this root for centuries to cure small ailments and delight the culinary senses.

We provide a full guide on how to buy, store, clean, and prepare fresh ginger, so we won’t go into those details here. But when you’re ready to start cooking and need some fresh inspiration, this is your stop!

Vertical image of a bowlful of ground ginger next to the fresh root on a blue surface.

The following ideas gather together to create a compilation of the tastiest ways to use ginger in all its formats – you’ll also find a fun lineup of Foodal’s recipes that feature and celebrate one of our favorite rhizomes.

Let’s go to the kitchen!

1. Amplify Meats and Seafood

Using finely minced or grated fresh ginger as you are cooking adds a unique layer of zippy spiciness and citrusy undertone to a savory main course with meat or seafood.

And it’s easy to do!

Horizontal image of a black bowl filled with a steak, veggie, and noodle dish with chopsticks and a blue towel.
Photo credit: Meghan Yager

Beef and Pepper Lo Mein – Get the Recipe Now

Update quick stovetop dishes like sausage fried rice and meaty lo mein recipes by sauteeing ginger in oil to release its volatile compounds, creating an aromatic paradise for the other ingredients.

Our easy beef and pepper lo mein will always beat takeout! You won’t need to worry about spending too much time making this simple and straightforward recipe.

And for a perfect fish dinner that leaves blandness way behind, marinating fillets in a concentrated, flavorful liquid is our impressively easy trick.

Horizontal image of two white plates with green beans, rice, and fish fillets topped with green onions and sesame seeds.
Photo credit: Meghan Yager

Honey Ginger Salmon – Get the Recipe Now

In our recipe for honey ginger salmon, we marinate salmon fillets in a mix of soy sauce, honey, white wine vinegar, garlic, and freshly grated ginger.

The marinade not only infuses flavor into the fish itself, but it also serves as the sauce that you reduce on the stovetop to create a glaze.

That’s a double dose of big flavor!

2. Bring Boldness to Your Bakes

Bars, breads, cakes, cookies, muffins, pastries, pies, scones… baking with dried and ground ginger is boundless!

You can’t have pumpkin pie spice without ground ginger – that alone goes to show how essential the spice is in your favorite fall-themed bakes.

Vertical image of a hand picking up on pastry on a white plate next to honey.
Photo credit: Felicia Lim

Pumpkin Scones – Get the Recipe Now

Classic pumpkin pie, pumpkin scones, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin muffins wouldn’t be the same without it!

And though we’re comfy and cozy in the pumpkin recipe realm, the spice provides its warming, enticing flavors and aromas in so many more baked goods.

Ginger cookies are the most obvious way to honor the ingredient, and we have a few different versions to bake: our big and soft cookies are a larger-than-life sweet to sink your teeth into, while our thin buckwheat cookies and soft, fluffy cookies are two gluten-free options to make for worry-free baking.

And you can always rely on our gingerbread men cut-outs and chocolate gingerbread bars during the winter holiday celebrations!

Horizontal image of light brown cookies scattered on a white board next to cinnamon sticks and a whisk.
Photo credit: Nikki Cervone

Big and Soft Ginger Cookies – Get the Recipe Now

And for a summery interpretation, sprinkle some gingery sunshine in recipes like fruit crisps, cobblers, and crumbles – you’ll love a hint of spice in recipes like our big-crumb rhubarb coffee cake and our strawberry blueberry almond crisp.

A little will go a long way – so if you’re experimenting with your bakes or using new and unfamiliar recipes, start off with 1/8 teaspoon of the ground spice for your first round, then increase from there after taste-testing if you want a stronger flavor.

3. Create Cool Condiments

Ginger is a dynamic ingredient for use in different styles of condiments.

Homemade spice blends, like our pumpkin pie spice blend as well as our Moroccan spice blend ras el hanout both use sharp and perfectly pungent dried and ground ginger in their mixes.

Horizontal image of a gray bowl filled with a deep orange powdery mixture on a wooden table next to spoons with spices, a plate of fresh ginger, and a bowl with whole peppercorns.
Photo credit: Fanny Slater

Ras El Hanout Moroccan Blend – Get the Recipe Now

Ras el hanout can be used as a dry rub for chicken and pork, and can also be added to a marinade for grilled lamb kebabs. You can also sprinkle it into soups, stews, and meatballs.

And if you happen to be searching for a way to keep those dried spices organized, read Foodal’s review of the best spice racks!

Vertical image of a jar of chunky fruit spread surrounded by items on a cheese board.
Photo credit: Fanny Slater

Cranberry Chutney – Get the Recipe Now

Both the dried and fresh versions of the rhizome do well in homemade chutneys. Sweet and tangy, this fruity condiment does wonders on a meat and cheese board.

Use the ground spice in our cranberry chutney, and grate it fresh for our mango chutney.

4. Go Vegetarian for Dinner

Meat-free meals can be fresh and inspiring, all thanks to a strategic combination of exciting textures as well as flavorful ingredients and aromatics…

Including ginger!

Three white ceramic bowls, two large and one small. The former are filled with kale, farro, beets, and goat cheese. The latter contains roasted beets. on a white tile surface with a green and white napkin with a floral pattern.
Photo credit: Raquel Smith

Coconut Ginger Roasted Kale – Get the Recipe Now

Find ways to introduce the rhizome in multiple areas of the same dish to take advantage of its versatility.

A fun spin on tacos, our flavor-packed vegetarian handhelds are absolutely loaded with layers of sauteed vegetables, an avocado mash, and a spicy slaw – freshly grated ginger plays a role in both the veggie mix and the crunchy slaw.

And here’s a kale dish that will make you finally appreciate eating your daily greens: we roast kale in coconut oil and ginger, and add tender beets, chewy farro, and creamy goat cheese for a comforting and hearty vegetarian meal.

Colorful and healthy soba noodle salad. |
Photo credit: Felicia Lim

Soba Noodle Salad – Get the Recipe Now

It’s the perfect choice to enjoy on a chilly fall or winter night spent cozying up indoors!

But when the weather gets warmer, and the craving for chilled, lighter dishes grows stronger, you’ll want to make this soba noodle salad next!

A bright and gingery vinaigrette coats soba noodles and crunchy raw veggies, all brought together in just thirty minutes.

5. Mix into Drinks

Among the cold smoothies, bubbly tonics, and comforting teas, there’s a ginger-focused drink for everyone!

Refreshing and creamy, a smoothie is a smart beverage to boost your daily intake of nutrients by easily whizzing together a medley of healthy and tasty superfoods.

Horizontal image of glasses filled with a light beverage with straws garnished with lime, herbs, and flowers on a wooden board next to citrus and a colorful towel.
Photo credit: Fanny Slater

Mint Lime Ginger Splash – Get the Recipe Now

As long as you have a powerful blender, you can quickly process whole pieces of the rhizome without the inconvenience of chewing on any unpleasantly fibrous strands.

When you’re rushing out the door in the morning, make our on-the-go orange sunshine smoothie, or this papaya smoothie.

When you have some time on your hands, consider an at-home project by brewing your own ginger-flavored kombucha. We explain every step of the way in our tutorial for making homemade kombucha. If you’re a fan of fizz, you’ll love this naturally effervescent, gut-healthy beverage!

For an equally pleasing fizzy drink – without the time commitment – our summery mint lime splash is a sprightly sipper with bright hits of acidity and herbs.

Vertical image of two mugs filled with a foamy hot drink on a wooden cutting board next to tan towels and sliced yellow roots.
Photo credit: Nikki Cervone

Maple Ginger Tea Latte – Get the Recipe Now

If soothing warmth is more your style, ditch the fizz and embrace a hot tea beverage. Our warm and foamy maple ginger tea latte is a quick and simple infusion sweetened with maple syrup and topped with frothed whole milk.

With a multitude of options to craft, you can absolutely personalize your favorite refreshment at home!

6. Munch on Snacks and Candies

When a snack attack strikes, send in the heavy artillery with munchable ammo: a stash of homemade sweets and treats!

Made-from-scratch candied ginger can be enjoyed as a sugary snack on its own, or even added to your favorite recipes.

It’s particularly delicious sprinkled as a garnish on top of a bowl of pumpkin soup, baked into a similarly fall-themed apple pear pie, or added to your favorite fall dishes with other similar aromatics of its genre.

Vertical image of a spoon resting over a white bowl filled with toasted pecans and seeds next to a bowl of maple syrup.
Photo credit: Fanny Slater

Maple-Spiced Nuts and Seeds – Get the Recipe Now

Prefer some salt and crunch? Make our maple-spiced nuts and seeds.

Sweet maple syrup and powerful ground ginger are the perfect pair for flavoring a mix of assorted nuts and seeds. Coated in butter and baked low and slow until golden brown, this is the best snack to add to your collection of crunchy favorites.

7. Impress with Delectable Desserts

Do you want to go a step above comforting and casual baked goods?

Serve delectable desserts at a dinner party featuring the unique flavors of ginger!

A glass parfait dish slightly right of center of the frame holds two scoops of pears sorbet and a cookie garnish, on a marble surface with a gathered green and white striped cloth, whole fruit, a white plate of cookies, and a spoon.
Photo credit: Carol Sullivan

Pear Sorbet – Get the Recipe Now

For a special sweet treat that won’t weigh you down at the end of a large meal, our pear sorbet pairs ripe fruit with warming ginger, rich maple syrup, and a touch of syrup.

It’s vegan and gluten free – the ideal dessert to present to your guests with a range of dietary restrictions.

Is dairy not a problem among your company? We have something for you…

Featuring a medley of warming spices, our homemade winter squash pudding is a creamy and comforting autumnal version of the classic stovetop dessert.

Horizontal top-down image of four glasses filled with a spiced creamy dessert on a wooden tray next to cinnamon sticks and orange towels.
Photo credit: Nikki Cervone

Stovetop Squash Pudding – Get the Recipe Now

It’s so easy to prepare, and yields a thick, rich dessert when chilled. Top each individual serving with freshly whipped cream and crunchy crumbled graham cracker cookies!

Raving Over Rhizomes

Used alone as the main star in a recipe, or paired with other spices and flavoring agents, ginger has the unique ability to be used as a very versatile ingredient:

You can brighten up meaty mains or veggie-forward dishes, add spice to cookies and drinks, and raise the heat on snacks, desserts, condiments, and more.

With so many options and recipe ideas, it will be easy for you to make it a key addition in your own kitchen!

Horizontal image of fresh and ground ginger on a slate surface.

What will be the first thing you want to make from our suggestions? Or maybe you have your own tried-and-true recipe you want to share? Leave a comment below!

Did you love what you just read? We have other helpful guides on different herbs and spices you’ll enjoy just as much! Learn how to buy, store, prep, and cook the following ingredients:

Photos by Meghan Yager, Felicia Lim, Nikki Cervone, Fanny Slater, Raquel Smith, and Carol Sullivan, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published March 14, 2015 by Jennifer Swartvagher. Last updated January 3, 2024.

About Nikki Cervone

Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

23 thoughts on “How to Jazz Up Your Menu With Ginger”

  1. I just love ginger. It is so helpful for me when I have motion sickness or any nausea. I buy these hard ginger candies to carry in my purse for travel. I just bought some fresh ginger at the local produce store the other day. This article came just in the nick of time. I can’t wait to try some new things with my fresh ginger. Now I know that I can prolong it’s life by putting it in the fridge or even the freezer if I’m not going to be using quickly enough. Thanks for the informative article..

  2. I usually serve my own very special blend of Ginger tea when I’m making dinner for the family. It’s a very pleasant and healthy drink. the kids love it, and I would rather they drink ginger tea than sodas to be honest. Lately I’ve been wanting to try and experiment with making a ginger iced tea. I wonder how it will turn out?

  3. Fresh ginger root is inespensive in my country so I like to use it wherever possible. Besides brewing tea and adding to curries, I like to make a traditional Yorkshire ginger cake called Parkin. It’s a delicious sticky treat which improves with a few days in the pantry.

  4. We recently visited a small family run hotel in the lakes and they baked their own shortbread with ginger. It was lovely! I use ginger quite a lot in a lot of my cooking, it tastes gorgeous! Probably one of the main dishes I love cooked is lemon and ginger penne pasta, a lovely dish and you can use it in salads or as a main!

  5. I try to sneak ginger in as much as humanly possible. I’ve used every type mentioned here except crystallized ginger. I think the sugar content might be keeping me away. Although, I still use pickled ginger & that definitely has a certain amount of sugar to it. Might give it a go. We’ll see.

  6. I like a small amount of ginger when I make a stir fry or when cooking vegetables to add flavor. I didn’t know there was powdered ginger would be useful when making sauces as I like a small kick, but find it hard to chop ginger really finely, so powder may be a better idea to try.

  7. That’s new, i never knew ginger could be crystallized, but i have sure missed its aroma in my cup of tea, next trip to the grocer’s and am getting myself ginger powder and some masala powder too…for my tea, especially since the rainy season has started, soothing my nerves with such aromas in my tea…is next to heaven 🙂

  8. Ginger continues to heal my digestive woes and brings me so much relief. I have also used it successfully for motion sickness. I like it in vegetable rice. I did not know it brightens stews, so I will have to check that out. I like it in ginger snaps and spice cake.

    I have never heard of pickled ginger. Hopefully, it is as simple as is presented here, because I would like to explore it.

  9. Ginger is a wonderful thing indeed. I sprinkle a bit in my spiced oatmeal every morning and it adds a certain zing that helps wake me up. And pickled ginger is one of my favorite things about visiting sushi bars. I’ve used ginger/honey tea to help soothe sore throats, but it’s nice to know it helps aid digestion as well. Viva ginger!

  10. I never cared much for ginger growing up, other than in crystallized form, which I still love, but I recently learned about the health benefits, such as stomach ailments, as you mentioned, as well antibiotic and anti-bacterial benefits. I was sick recently, and a friend mentioned I should include some ginger into my hot toddy. What a difference it made, and I continue to share it with others. I’m glad you mentioned wrapping it, because I wasn’t aware of that, but will do it in the future.

  11. My history with ginger is a matter of one recipe and way too much ginger. It kind of scared me off, and I just haven’t tried it again yet. Finding out about the medicinal properties has me convinced I need to have a jar in my spice cabinet. I always go with home remedies out its an option, before I’ll try store bought medicines.

  12. I love ginger in my tea. I can’t get enough of using it in most of my soups as well. It helps keep away colds and coughs. I never lack fresh ginger in my kitchen.

  13. I have always been fond of the sharp, spicy taste of ginger. I have always enjoyed it in my Asian style stir-fries. I am currently looking for new creative recipes using ginger. I was recently introduced to turmeric, which if I’m not mistaken is in the same family as ginger. I read about a turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper and honey tea that I would love to try.

  14. Yes, I love ginger. I grow my own outside, and am trying to find a way to grow it inside when it gets too cold. Which would be right about now since winter started a couple of days ago. I love the sweetish burn you get when you bite into a piece, and I love how candy like crystallized ginger tastes. My mom actually used to give it to me instead of candy when I was little and I never knew the difference until I got way older. The powdered variety would have to be my least favorite since a lot of time it just tastes like brown flour. It really doesn’t keep well for long periods of time. I find myself adding more and more of it to my dishes in hope it imparts some flavor only to mess up the consistency of the dish because I’ve added too much. I’ve never tried freezing it before, I usually use it before there is a need to store it for the long haul but if I even have too much I’ll look into doing that.

  15. Like many other people said, I love to use ginger medicinally. I have a sensitive digestive tract and ginger seems to be the perfect cure-all. My favorite way to enjoy it is in tea. I would love to make my own, but for now, I use Yogi’s Ginger tea. Does anyone have experience growing ginger?

  16. This is one of my favourite spices, I use it all the time in baking and savory cooking 🙂 It goes really well with Asian flavors so I always grate some fresh to put in dishes like stir fries and lettuce wraps. It also adds a really nice touch to desserts like pumpkin pie, and it compliments apples really well too.

    There’s a restaurant near my apartments that makes ice cream with chopped crystallized ginger in a vanilla base and it’s delicious, one of my favourite treats for sure! It really lends itself well to a lot of different dishes.

  17. I think the majority of people today would do well to make ginger a staple part of their diet. It’s a great digestive aid and a good anti bacterial that helps to cleanse raw salads. When partnered with cayenne, garlic or tumeric it becomes part of a solid, natural immune builder and stomach healer.

  18. My favorite thing to do with ginger is to make ginger and tumeric morning shots. You just juice some ginger, add in some tumeric, mineral water, lemon juice and chlorophyll — take a shot of it just after waking up, and you’ll be SO alert and energized. It tastes terrible, but it’s much better for you than coffee. Tumeric is a good anti-inflammatory agent and you already know all the benefits of ginger, lol. Lemon juice helps with digestion, too. Go ginger!!

  19. Fresh ginger root can be a bit dangerous for people who are not used to working with it. Maybe more than any spice, the strength of the taste can very drastically from root to root and it is very easy to over-power your meal by using the recommended amounts of a root that is very strong. You really do have to taste a bit of the root each time you purchase it so you get an idea of how strong it is. There are certain herbs that are the same way, but ginger is probably the most diverse as far as strength.

  20. I’ve learned to like it more than I used to and yes, there are many health benefits. I recently read that it’s also helpful for lymphedema. It’s said that using the tea will aid with this issue. There are so many different things that can benefit from it. I definitely need to use more of it. Thanks for the tips.

  21. Ginger is so useful! It’s great for upset stomachs. I never thought about putting it into pumpkin soup, but that sounds delicious, especially with fall around the corner. I mostly use pieces of the fresh root put into hot water and made into tea. There is also ginger paste, which combines the convenience of powder with the strength of the fresh root. I used to put some on buttered bread when I wasn’t feeling well, and it helped settle my stomach right down. Ginger ale is a popular cure-all in Michigan; I wonder if it can be made at home?

  22. I use it a lot when making salad dressings. Olive oil, viniger, soy sauce and ginger and you have the start of a very interesting flavor for salads. I usually add some fresh orange juice, lemon juice and diced onions. The same sauce can be used for white fish also, which is great because you can make a nice batch of it and use it in multiple ways.

  23. Ginger is definitely one of the best medicines for our digestive system, it has helped me a lot since I’ve always suffered of that sort of thing. I generally add ginger powder to all my meals. I really like the flavor that it gives the food, for real.


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