35 Ways to Cook with Ginger in Dishes, Drinks, and Sweets

This warming, refreshing root—often used in desserts—has savory benefits in cuisines and dishes worldwide

If you've baked a pumpkin pie in the last decade, chances are you have a jar of ground ginger lying around in your spice cabinet. And, if you're caught up on your trendy wellness reading (ginger is said to have anti-inflammatory properties, and aid with motion sickness, upset stomachs, and low energy), you may even have a few roots of the fresh stuff lying around in your crisper drawer. The warming, pungent flavor packed within this nubby root has many powers in the kitchen—for sweets and savory dishes and drinks alike.

Ginger shouldn't be sequestered to holiday baking, gingerbread house making, and gingersnap crusts. It's star ingredient in many main courses, and even a headlining backnote in some culture's cuisines. It's long been valued in China, India, Japan, and apparently was used historically for its medicinal properties in parts of Greece. You've no doubt seen it pickled, as an accompaniment to sushi, but the fresh sliced stuff can is also classically stewed with other spices and chickpeas in the classic Indian dishes chana masala or chicken tikka masala. It can be infused into homemade ginger oils, or simmered into syrups to make ginger beer, ginger ale, and (cocktails.

Cooking with ginger doesn't have to stop at dinner and drinks. You can use it in hot breakfast cereals or rice porridges, lunch soups, and refreshing salad dressings for added kick. These 35 creative uses will leave your taste buds dancing a spicy ginger jig.

Rice Porridge with Chicken and Ginger (Arroz Caldo)

Arroz Caldo
The dish may be from China and have a Spanish name, but to Filipinos, few things taste more like home than arroz caldo. Based on Chinese congee, this rice porridge relies on an easy, flavorful stock that is melded with rice until creamy and rich. Get the recipe for Rice Porridge with Chicken and Ginger (Arroz Caldo) »William Hereford

Soba Salad with Lemon-Miso Vinaigrette

Soba Salad with Lemon-Miso Vinaigrette
This refreshing salad of soba noodles tossed with winter greens and mixed vegetables is brought together by a tart dressing of miso, ginger juice, and lemon. Get the recipe for Soba Salad with Lemon-Miso Vinaigrette »Dylan + Jeni

Ginger and Cocoa Nib Cannoli

Ginger and Cocoa Nib Cannoli
Two days resting in the fridge helps cannoli dough become light and bubbly. Get the recipe for Ginger and Cocoa Nib Cannoli »Eva Kolenko

Sho' Nuff Noodles

Marcus Samuelsson's Sho' Nuff Noodles
We first fell in love with these lightly spicy lo mein noodles when chef Marcus Samuelsson dropped by our kitchen to test drive some recipes for his Harlem restaurant, Streetbird Rotisserie. Laced with oyster sauce, ginger, and yuzu kosho and tossed with pickled mustard greens, the dish is a medley of sweet, tangy, spicy, and sour. Get the recipe for Sho' Nuff Noodles »Farideh Sadeghin
Sesame Noodles

Sesame Noodles

A garnish of chopped peanuts and slivered cucumber and carrot add crunch to the silky, savory Chinese-American noodle dish. Get the recipe for Sesame Noodles »Maxime Iattoni

Grilled Lamb Chops with Ginger Sauce

Grilled Lamb Chops with Ginger Sauce
A fragrant mix of oyster sauce, cilantro, and ginger pulls double duty here as both a marinade and dipping sauce for lamb rib chops. Get the recipe for Grilled Lamb Chops with Ginger Sauce »Christopher Wise

Carrot Soup with Leeks and Ginger

Carrot Soup with Leeks and Ginger
This spicy carrot ginger soup is an easy winter weeknight meal. Get the recipe for Carrot Soup with Leeks and Ginger »Katherine Whittaker

Double Chocolate and Candied-Ginger Cookies

Double Chocolate and Candied-Ginger Cookies
A signature cookie from a cafe in Paris with bittersweet chocolate, sea salt, and spicy crystalized ginger. Get the recipe for Double Chocolate and Candied-Ginger Cookies »Joann Pai

Kombu and Squid Steamed Rice

Kombu and Squid Steamed Rice
This one-pot sticky rice dish from chef Tadashi Ono combines sweet squid, spicy ginger, and shredded seaweed. It makes for a surprisingly satisfying, simple meal thanks to the complex layering of savory, spicy, and subtly sweet flavor. Get the recipe for Kombu and Squid Steamed Rice »Andre Baranowski

Sweet and Spicy Kabocha Pie

Sweet and Spicy Kabocha Pie
Kabocha, Japanese pumpkin, makes a lighter pie with a vivid orange color. This pie trades in usual expected flavors for a slightly spicy dose of ginger and black pepper. Get the recipe for Sweet and Spicy Kabocha Pie »Farideh Sadeghin

Razor Clams Fantasia

Razor Clams in White Wine Sauce
Colatura, an Italian fish sauce, brings an umami note to this simple appetizer of meaty razor clams. Get the recipe for Razor Clams Fantasia »Michael Turek

Fonio-Crusted Crab Cakes

Fonio-Crusted Crab Cakes
Fonio, a variety of millet, gives Pierre Thiam's West-African-inspired crab cakes a satisfyingly crisp crust. Get the recipe for Fonio-Crusted Crab Cakes »Matt Taylor-Gross

Braised Pork Belly with Leeks and Ginger

Braised Pork Belly with Leeks and Ginger
Awamori, a lightly sweet rice distillate, is used to blanch and cook—as well as coat—tender pork belly, resulting in a sticky, umami-rich sauce. Get the recipe for Braised Pork Belly with Leeks and Ginger »Matt Taylor-Gross

Chocolate Ginger Chess Pie

Chocolate Ginger Chess Pie
A decadent mix of chocolates and ginger ups the ante on a classic Southern pie. Get the recipe for Chocolate Ginger Chess Pie »Andrew Ingalls

Chinese Spicy Garlic Eggplant (Yu Xiang Qie Zi)

Vegetarian Chinese Spicy Garlic Eggplant (Yu Xiang Qie Zi)
Steaming eggplant, as opposed to deep-frying it, lightens this fragrant stir-fry adapted from a recipe in Grace Young and Alan Richardson's The Breath of a Wok (Simon & Schuster, 2004). Get the recipe for Chinese Spicy Garlic Eggplant (Yu Xiang Qie Zi) »SAVEUR

Ginger Curry Candied Almonds

Ginger Curry Candied Almonds
Sweet, salty and just a little spicy, these glazed almonds are a popular addition to gift baskets and party spreads. Always make more than you think you'll need as it's hard to resist snacking on them when they're still warm. Get the recipe for Ginger Curry Candied Almonds »Nicole Franzen

Fresh Ginger Beer

Ginger Beer
Ginger root is peeled, cubed, and then juiced in an electric juicer to create the spicy, intense base to which lime juice, simple syrup, and soda water are added. Get the recipe for Fresh Ginger Beer »SAVEUR

Seared Scallops with Wasabi-Ginger Butter

Seared Scallops with Wasabi-Ginger Butter
After discovering that fresh whole wasabi plants were available in the United States, Adrian J.S. Hale found all kinds of innovative uses for them, such as this butter-rich sauce in which the pungent heat of the wasabi root, or rhizome, is balanced by the delicate earthiness of the leaves for a mild heat and slight bitterness that accentuate the sweet flavor of plump pan-seared scallops. Get the recipe for Seared Scallops with Wasabi-Ginger Butter »Helen Rosner

Chana Masala

Chana Masala
Chana Masala is a simple chickpea stew with many variations, eaten by a multitude of people across India. Get the recipe for Chana Masala »Penny De Los Santos

Pear and Ginger Pie with Streusel Topping

Pear and Ginger Pie with Streusel Topping
Fresh ginger gives the filling of this pear pie a warming kick of spice, balanced by the buttery crumble of sweet streusel. Get the recipe for Pear and Ginger Pie with Streusel Topping »Ariana Lindquist

Gluten-Free Ginger Molasses Cookies

Gluten-Free Ginger Molasses Cookies
This recipe, from Gluten Free Girl & The Chef blogger Shauna Ahern, appeared in our 2012 Cookie Advent Calendar. Shauna says: "Every year when my mother made her pillow-soft molasses cookies, I just sighed with happiness at the holidays. But by the time she was ready to hand over the baking, I could no longer eat gluten, and she couldn't find that recipe. So I fiddled and baked until I came up with these." Get the recipe for Gluten-Free Ginger Molasses Cookies »Noah Fecks

Dark 'N Stormy

Dark 'N Stormy
By trademark, this Bermudan combination of rum and ginger beer requires Gosling's Black Seal Rum; similar drinks with names like dark 'n foggy or light 'n stormy use other rums. Get the recipe for Dark 'N Stormy »Ingalls Photography

Poulet Grillé au Gingembre

Poulet Grillé au Gingembre
Thyme, bay leaf, and garlic add aromatic flourish to this simple yet elegant grilled chicken recipe. Get the recipe for Poulet Grillé au Gingembre »Helen Rosner

Spiced Buttermilk Oatmeal with Dried Fruit and Pecans

Spiced Buttermilk Oatmeal
Spices including cardamom, star anise, and ginger jazz up a morning oatmeal. Mix the dry ingredients ahead of time for an easier camp-side breakfast. Get the recipe for Spiced Buttermilk Oatmeal with Dried Fruit and Pecans »Andre Baranowski

Japanese-Style Chicken Wings

Japanese Fried Chicken
Sansho, the Japanese equivalent of Sichuan pepper, adds kick to these sake-and-mirin-marinated wings. A fresh squeeze of lemon brightens them up for serving. Get the recipe for Japanese-Style Chicken Wings »Nicole Franzen

Carrot Ginger Dressing

Carrot Ginger Dressing
This vibrantly orange dressing was made famous by Japanese-American steak houses. It gets its incomparably clean flavor from puréed carrot and fresh ginger. Get the recipe for Carrot Ginger Dressing »Maxime Iattoni

Masala Chai

Masala chai
This extravagantly spiced black chai tea, infused with ginger, clove, cardamom, cinnamon, and black pepper, is a staple in Northeast India. It is often served on city streets by vendors, who hawk the hot steaming beverage from makeshift metal trays. Get the recipe for Masala Chai »Ingalls Photography

Ginger Syrup

Ginger Syrup
Infused with ginger and black pepper, this syrup makes a great homemade ginger beer: Just mix one part syrup to three parts soda water. Get the recipe for Ginger Syrup »Ingalls Photography

Singaporean Black Pepper Crab Legs

Singaporean Black Pepper Crab Legs
An abundant amount of freshly ground coarse black pepper mixed with fragrant garlic, turmeric, and ginger spices up sweet crab legs. Get the recipe for Singaporean Black Pepper Crab Legs »Penny De Los Santos

Pumpkin Cheesecake Tart with Gingersnap Crust

Pumpkin Cheesecake Tart with Gingersnap Crust
Creamy pumpkin filling over a ginger cookie crust provides a comforting balance of sweetness and spice. Get the recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake Tart with Gingersnap Crust »Helen Rosner

Pimm's Cup #21

Pimm's Cup 21
Inspired by our list of Friday cocktails, bartender Michael Neff noticed that bitter flavors were prominent, as were fizzy drinks made with fresh fruit and herbs. To that end, he created a modified Pimm's Cup, using Cynar to add a bit more bitter tang and ginger beer for spice. Fresh fruit and herbs round out the (almost) traditional summer refresher. Get the recipe for Pimm's Cup #21 »Matt Taylor-Gross

Cool Confusion

Cool Confusion
A refreshing marriage between a Tom Collins and a Dark n' Stormy, this lime and ginger beer-spiked gin cocktail has an intriguing herbal undertone thanks to Amaro Abano, a zesty Italian digestif with notes of bitter orange, cardamom, and white pepper. Get the recipe for Cool Confusion »Farideh Sadeghin

Indonesian Coffee with Ginger (Kopi Jahe)

Indonesian Coffee with Ginger (Kopi Jahe)
In Indonesia, coffee drinkers partake in a heady infusion of fresh ginger, cloves, and other spices brewed with sugar and ground coffee to produce kopi jahe. Get the recipe for Indonesian Coffee with Ginger (Kopi Jahe) »Michael Kraus

Sweet Brown Rice Pudding with Rhubarb-Ginger Compote

Sweet Brown Rice Pudding with Rhubarb-Ginger Compote
This vegan rice pudding uses coconut milk in lieu of eggs and cream creates to create richness. Get the recipe for Sweet Brown Rice Pudding with Rhubarb-Ginger Compote »Maxime Iattoni