What goes with Cardamom
Category Ingredients that Pair with Cardamom
Fruits Orange, Apple, Mango
Vegetables Carrot, Onion
Proteins Chicken, Lamb
Breads & Grains Rice, Baked goods, Bread
Dairy & Alternatives Milk, Yogurt, Cream
Drinks Coffee, Chai tea, Spiced cider

If you’re a food enthusiast looking to elevate your cooking, cardamom is a spice you need to explore. With its unique flavor profile, it pairs well with a wide range of ingredients to create delightful culinary creations that are sure to impress.

From sweet to savory and everything in between, cardamom can add a touch of exoticness to your dishes. But what goes with cardamom? In this guide, we’ll explore the perfect pairings to bring out the best of this aromatic spice.

  • Cardamom is a versatile spice that can elevate both sweet and savory dishes.
  • Pair cardamom with ingredients that complement its sweet and spicy notes.
  • Explore international cuisines to discover how cardamom is used in different culinary traditions.
  • Cardamom can be infused into drinks and cocktails to add a unique twist.
  • Follow cooking tips and tricks to maximize the flavor potential of cardamom.

Understanding Cardamom’s Flavor Profile

Before diving into pairings, it’s important to understand the flavor profile of cardamom. This aromatic spice brings a delightful blend of sweet and spicy notes to dishes, adding depth and complexity.

Considered one of the most expensive spices, cardamom is a member of the ginger family and originates from India. It’s now grown in various countries, including Guatemala, Tanzania and Sri Lanka.

The green pods or seeds of the plant are the most commonly used parts. The pods have a fresh, woody aroma, while the seeds provide a more pungent flavor. However, both parts offer complex flavor notes that make cardamom an excellent addition to any dish.

Cardamom’s flavor profile has a unique sweet and spicy character. It boasts a citrusy, minty and herbal fragrance with a slightly sweet and warming taste. The spiciness is not overwhelmingly hot like chilli, but rather a delicate and fragrant warmth to the taste buds.

The aromatic spice can be used in both sweet and savory cooking, making it a versatile ingredient to work with.

cardamom pods and seeds

Cardamom’s flavor profile makes it especially popular in Middle Eastern, Indian and Scandinavian cuisine, where it is often used in desserts, savoury dishes and drinks.

Cardamom’s Sweet and Spicy Notes

Cardamom’s sweet and spicy notes can be described in more detail. The sweetness in cardamom comes from the presence of cineole, which gives it a refreshing, minty taste. The spiciness, on the other hand, comes from the presence of alpha-terpinyl acetate, which gives it a mild, woody flavour.

The complex flavor profile of cardamom is what makes it a sought-after spice in the culinary world.

Sweet Pairings with Cardamom

Cardamom is a versatile spice that adds a unique touch to sweet dishes. Its aromatic and slightly sweet notes make it an excellent choice for desserts and baked goods. Here are some sweet cardamom combinations that will bring out the best in this flavorful spice.

Cardamom-infused Desserts

Cardamom is a popular ingredient in sweet Middle Eastern and Indian desserts. It pairs perfectly with saffron, rosewater, and pistachios. Try adding cardamom to rice pudding, kulfi, or phirni for a delicious twist.

desserts with cardamom

Cardamom can transform simple cakes and cookies into exotic treats. Add ground cardamom to your cake batter or cookie dough to create a deliciously aromatic dessert. Cardamom also pairs well with orange and lemon flavors, adding a refreshing twist to your baked goods.

Cardamom in Baking

Cardamom is a versatile spice that can be used in a variety of baking dishes. Add cardamom to your bread, muffins, or scones for a unique and aromatic twist. You can also sprinkle cardamom sugar on top of your pastries or use it as a filling in your danishes.

Try these sweet cardamom combinations to add a touch of exoticness to your baking creations.

Savory Pairings with Cardamom

Cardamom is not just for sweet dishes; it can also enhance savory creations. Its aromatic properties pair well with a variety of ingredients, making it a versatile spice for cooking.

One of the most popular ways to use cardamom in savory dishes is in curries. Its warm, sweet and spicy notes complement the complex flavors found in many curry recipes. Cardamom is also a key ingredient in Middle Eastern recipes such as chicken or lamb tagine, adding depth and richness to the dish.

Another way to use cardamom in savory cooking is by adding it to stews. Its unique flavor profile adds a layer of complexity to the dish, with its warm notes perfectly accompanied by hearty meats and vegetables.

Using cardamom in rice dishes is also a popular option. It works particularly well in biryanis, where the spice is often paired with other aromatic spices such as cinnamon and cloves.

When marinating meats, adding cardamom can give a unique twist to the flavor profile. Its sweet and spicy notes bring balance to savory ingredients, making it a perfect addition to your marinade recipe.

Overall, cardamom is a versatile spice that can transform a savory dish into a flavorful masterpiece. The next time you experiment with cardamom in your cooking, try combining it with other aromatic spices to create a symphony of flavors in your dish.


Cardamom is not just limited to culinary dishes; it can also be an excellent addition to beverages, adding a unique twist to your drinks. Whether you are a tea lover or a cocktail enthusiast, incorporating cardamom into your drinks can bring a delightful twist to your favorite beverages.

For a refreshing and aromatic drink, try infusing cardamom into your tea. Simply add a few cardamom pods to your tea leaves while steeping, or use ground cardamom to enhance the flavor of your brew. In addition to tea, cardamom can also add a lovely touch to coffee. Consider adding a pinch of cardamom to your coffee grounds before brewing for a rich and flavorful cup.

cardamom-infused beverages

If you fancy alcoholic drinks, cardamom cocktails are worth exploring. The aromatic and slightly sweet notes of cardamom add depth and complexity to classic cocktails like gin and tonic or vodka martini. You can also try unique cardamom-based cocktails, like a cardamom-infused Old Fashioned or a cardamom-spiced pear cocktail.

For non-alcoholic options, cardamom mocktails are sure to impress. Mix up a refreshing cardamom lemonade or a cardamom-infused sparkling water for a sophisticated and flavorful drink.

With the versatility of cardamom, the possibilities are endless. Try experimenting and incorporating cardamom into your favorite beverages to explore a whole new realm of flavor and aroma.

Cardamom in International Cuisines

Cardamom is a beloved and versatile spice that adds unique flavors and aromas to a variety of dishes, particularly in international cuisines. Its prominence in dishes from Indian, Middle Eastern, and Scandinavian cuisines makes it a staple in many households worldwide.

Cardamom in Indian Cuisine

In Indian cuisine, cardamom is a ubiquitous spice, particularly in sweet dishes. It is used to add depth and complexity to classic desserts like kheer, a rice pudding, and gulab jamun, sweet balls soaked in syrup. In savory dishes, green cardamom is often used in curries and biryanis, while black cardamom is used in spicy meat dishes.

Global Cuisine Pairings with Cardamom

The Middle Eastern cuisine also heavily relies on cardamom, particularly in sweet dishes. Saudi Arabia, for example, is known for using cardamom in its coffee, while in Lebanon, cardamom is used in desserts like baklava and ma’amoul. In savory dishes, cardamom adds a unique depth of flavor to dishes like lamb and chicken stews.

Scandinavian Treats

In Scandinavian countries, cardamom is a popular spice used in holiday treats like gingerbread cookies and Finnish pulla bread. It adds a warm and cozy aroma to baked goods, especially when paired with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Exploring cardamom’s role in international cuisines can significantly enhance your cooking by adding new and exciting flavors to dishes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with cardamom and try it out in dishes from various cultures.

Cooking Tips and Tricks with Cardamom

Cardamom’s unique flavor profile makes it a wonderful ingredient to work with, but it’s important to understand how to use it correctly in your cooking to bring out the best flavours. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of this versatile spice:

Buy Fresh, Whole Cardamom Pods

When possible, always use freshly ground cardamom from whole pods. This is because the pods keep the seeds fresh, preventing them from losing their flavour. Ground cardamom loses its potency quickly, so if you must use pre-ground or powdered cardamom, make sure it is recently packaged and stored in an airtight container.

Crush the Pods before Grinding

Before grinding the cardamom pods, crush them with a mortar and pestle. This helps to release the seeds from the pods and allows for a more even grind.

Use Cardamom Sparingly

Cardamom is a very potent spice, so it’s always best to use it sparingly. Start with a small amount and add more as needed, tasting your dish as you go along. Too much cardamom can overpower the other flavours in your dish.

Pair Cardamom with Complementary Spices

Cardamom pairs well with other warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Try combining these spices in your dishes to create complex, aromatic flavors.

Add Cardamom Early in the Cooking Process

If you’re adding cardamom to a dish, it’s best to do so early on in the cooking process. This will allow the spice to infuse into your dish and create a deeper flavor. However, if you’re using cardamom to top a dish or dessert, sprinkle it on just before serving.

Store Cardamom Properly

To keep your cardamom fresh and flavorful, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. This will help to prevent it from losing its potency.

By following these simple cardamom spice tips and best practices, you can create dishes that are bursting with flavor and aroma. Experiment with different combinations and techniques to become a cardamom pro in no time.

cooking with cardamom

Cardamom is a highly versatile spice that can bring wonderful depth of flavour to a wide range of sweet and savoury dishes. By following our guide to culinary pairings with cardamom, you can unlock a whole realm of exciting new possibilities in your cooking. Experiment with the different combinations and let the aromatic properties of this spice bring a touch of intrigue to your culinary creations.

Remember to familiarise yourself with the nuances of cardamom’s flavour profile before diving into your pairings. Whether you’re simmering it in a savoury stew or infusing it into a sweet dessert, there are various ways to maximise the potential of this aromatic spice.

If you’re looking to try your hand at international cuisines, cardamom plays a significant role in Indian, Middle Eastern and Scandinavian cooking. Incorporating it authentically into your recipes can bring a unique twist to traditional dishes and elevate their flavour. Don’t forget to observe best practices when cooking with cardamom to ensure you make the most out of this spice.

Overall, cardamom is a valuable ingredient to have in your pantry, and with our guide, you can confidently unleash its full flavour potential.

By Mat Stuckey

Ex professional chef with a passion for cooking and unique flavours.

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