13 Ways to Take Cardamom from Dawn till Dusk

March 18, 2015

It's difficult to describe the taste of cardamom. Floral? Crisp? Zesty? You've probably tasted hints of it before, in chai or Indian food or Scandinavian baked goods. There are actually two types of cardamom that are differentiated by the color of their pods: green and black. You can find these pods in specialty groceries, but ground cardamom is often on your local store's shelves. Intensely aromatic, you can use the whole pods or the ground powder to scent your culinary creations.

Now that you've been introduced to cardamom, you can start getting friendly with it. Cardamom shouldn't be confined to special occasions or to cuisines from different continents -- no, now is the time to bring cardamom into your home and your heart. Sure, cinnamon's a pantry staple, but cardamom is the new cinnamon.

Here are 13 ways -- sweet and savory, breakfast and dinner -- to let cardamom do it all:

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Blueberry Cardamom Chia Seed Pudding by Gena Hamshaw


Cardamom Doughnuts by Amanda Hesser


Maple-Cardamom Glazed Salmon by alasully


Roasted Butterflied Chicken with Cardamom and Yogurt by TasteFood


Magical Marvelous Memorable Cookies by drbabs


Carrot Cake with Cardamom by hollyshaner


Saffron Semifreddo with Cherry-Cardamom Syrup and Salted Honey-Hazelnuts by Brenna


Smoky Cardamom Ginger-Molasses Cookies by Carey Nershi


Cardamom Crumb Cake by Dorie Greenspan


Banana Cardamom Milkshake by Merrill Stubbs


Cardamom Currant Snickerdoodles by fiveandspice


Pistachio Cake with Lemon, Cardamom, and Rosewater by Sarah Jampel 


Clementine Pound Cake by SavvyJulie

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Terry McKenzie
    Terry McKenzie
  • Jennifer Spencer
    Jennifer Spencer
  • Katherine Hernandez
    Katherine Hernandez
  • katieDidnt
  • Nancy
Jenny Xu

Written by: Jenny Xu

Dorm baker and connoisseur of digestive biscuits.


Terry M. September 23, 2016
Or the Finnish yeasted, braided sweet bread. In the upper peninsula of Michigan it is called Nisua bread. Everywhere else I see it referred to as pulla. It is so, so, good.
Jennifer S. September 23, 2016
You might like to try the "butter eye" roll from Finland. Tons of cardamom in a sweet yeast bread with a dab of butter in the center.
Katherine H. May 15, 2016
This is such a great post! Cardamom is an ingredient rarely used in kitchens. It is usually only used most during winter and Christmas, but I like to use cardamom all year round. It is also one of the most expensive spices you can find at your local food market.

katieDidnt March 20, 2015
Agree with Terry McKenzie about black cardamon. Black cardamon is also used in some african dishes. It tastes exactly how Terry described it... smoky menthol... nothing at all like green (or white) cardamon.
Jenny X. March 24, 2015
Do you have any examples of African dishes that they're used in? I'd love to learn more.
Terry M. March 19, 2015
Actually, not correct that what you find ground in most spice racks is black cardamom. What you find ground and what is used in Scandinavian baked goods, puddings, and in many Indian dishes are the tiny black seeds you find inside when you break open green cardamom pods. Black cardamom is an entirely different seed pod. It's a very large, wrinkled dark brown pod with an entirely different flavor--a mixture of smoke and menthol. The pods are dried over open flames. It's used sometimes in Indian cooking in small quantities and in even smaller quantities as part of spice mixes in Chinese--especially Sichuan- cooking. It is also often used as one of many spices to flavor Vietnamese pho. Most westerners will never, ever encounter that particular spice or flavor. It is never used in sweets.
Jenny X. March 24, 2015
That's so good to know, thank you! (I'm clearly still pretty new to the cardamom game.)
Nancy March 19, 2015
Also good in coffee, alone or blended with cinnamon, ginger, anise and/or cloves. Add some to the grounds when you brew, or dust foamed-milk or whipped-cream with it. Blend is called hawaidj (various spellings) in Middle East. In a pinch (or when too lazy to make my own), I use Tea Masala, which is very close in composition.
Jenny X. March 24, 2015
Mmm I love anise as well...will have to try this!