In cooking, ginger refers to the flavorful, aromatic root of the ginger plant (Zingiber officinale). Ginger is commonly used as an herbal tea and included in baked sweets and savory Chinese dishes. In addition to providing a zesty flavor, ginger is thought to offer many health benefits.
Fresh Ginger & Other Types of Ginger Root
Ginger root can be bought and used in many forms, including fresh ginger root, dried ginger root, powdered ginger and crystallized / candied ginger.
Compare the appearances of powdered, crystallized and fresh ginger with this image.
Fresh ginger root tends to provide the most flavor and is commonly used for ginger "tea" and other ginger drinks, as well as in many Chinese dishes. If you're new to using fresh ginger for cooking, check out these guides to how to select and store fresh ginger root and how to store and use fresh ginger. You can also freeze fresh ginger to save time in the kitchen.
For more information on forms of ginger, check out this handy chart on types of ginger and how to cook with them. It includes information on fresh ginger root vs. mature ginger root, crystallized / candied ginger, and more.
Ginger Health Benefits
Many people are drawn to ginger not only for its pungent flavor but also for its health benefits. Historically, ginger has been used for various ailments, especially gastrointestinal issues. Here's more information on specific health benefits and medicinal uses of ginger:
- Ginger as Alternative Medicine
- Ginger for Nausea
- How Ginger Benefits Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- How Ginger Benefits Arthritis
- Ginger for Morning Sickness
Ginger "Tea" Recipes
These are some favorite recipes for homemade ginger tea:
- Homemade Ginger Tea Recipe: This healing ginger tea recipe comes from a raw food and natural health retreat center in Thailand.
- Lemongrass-Ginger Iced Tea Recipe: This is a ginger and lemongrass pairing combined with the earthy taste of black tea.
More Ginger Drink Recipes
Beyond ginger tea, popular ginger drinks include ginger ale, ginger beer, ginger juice and ginger cocktails. Below, you'll find some of the top ginger drink recipes. Unless otherwise notes, these recipes are made with fresh ginger root.
- How to Make Ginger Juice: In addition to marinades, ginger juice is also used to lend flavor to sauces.
- Macrobiotic Ginger Drink Recipe: This drink recipe is a variation on African ginger beer.
- Qishr / Ginger Coffee Recipe: Qishr is a traditional Yemeni hot drink customarily made with spiced coffee husks, ginger, and sometimes cinnamon.
- Iced Ginger Yerba Mate Recipe: This iced lemon drink is made with cold-brewed yerba mate, lemon juice, and honey.
- Lemon-Ginger Drink: This concentrate makes a tasty, thirst-quenching drink.
- Spicy Ginger Lemonade Recipe: Use this to whip up a quick pitcher of lemonade, flavor cocktails or iced tea, or to drizzle over cakes or fresh fruit.
- Homemade Fresh Ginger Ale Recipe: Homemade ginger simple syrup is mixed with club soda to make fresh ginger ale.
- Ginger Beer Fizz Recipe: Made with ginger beer and fresh ginger, as well as actual beer.
- Hennessey Ginger Tea Cocktail Recipe: The tea is an inviting mix of some good Cognac, fresh green tea, mint, and ginger.
- Ginger Snap Martini Recipe: Grey Goose La Poire Vodka is paired with molasses, fresh ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice.
- Jameson & Ginger Cocktail Recipe: A fine Irish whiskey is mixed with ginger ale to create a tall, refreshing drink.
- Ginger Mist Cocktail: Made with ginger preserves and sugared ginger.
- Lemongrass-Ginger Tequila Recipe: A Tequini with a twist.
- Ginger-Coffee Cocktail Recipe: This spicy, strong masala chai vodka makes a terrific base for creamy cocktails.
Sweet Ginger Recipes
From ginger snap cookies to ginger ice cream to ginger simple syrup, there are many ways ginger can be incorporated into sweet foods and sauces.
- Vanilla-Ginger Simple Syrup Recipe: This is a fantastic flavor-infused simple syrup and can be added to cocktails.
- Candied Ginger Recipe: Crystallized or candied ginger is easy to make at home.
- Pomegranate-Ginger Sauce Recipe: This versatile pomegranate ginger sauce recipe is an excellent addition to roasted poultry and grilled seafood dishes.
- Ginger Ice Cream Recipe: A growing favorite at western Chinese restaurants.
- Chocolate-Ginger Cookies: Decorate these traditional cookies with colored sugar, sprinkles or icing.
- Lemon-Ginger Cookies Recipe: A vintage recipe for molasses cookies with cinnamon and ginger and cloves.
- Gingerbread Recipe: Made with crystallized ginger.
Savory Ginger Recipes
While ginger is delicious in sweets, it also shines in traditional and contemporary savory dishes. These ginger recipes cross cultures and culinary preferences to showcase the unique flavor of ginger:
- Ginger-Scallion Oil Recipe: A nice accompaniment to cold poached chicken or many types of fish.
- Chinese Ginger Sauce: A nice dipping sauce for shrimp balls or potstickers.
- Ginger Beef Recipe: Here's your Chinese take-out staple.
- Coconut-Ginger Mussels Recipe: Fresh mussels are steamed in white wine and simmered in a basil-coconut sauce.
- Ginger Shrimp Recipe: Shrimp are marinated in a puree of onion and ginger before grilling or broiling.
- Sesame-Ginger Baked Tofu Recipe: Inspired by the flavors of Asia.
- Carrot-Ginger Soup Recipe: Almonds add as much flavor and texture to this soup.
- Gari / Pickled Ginger Recipe: While pickled ginger tastes fairly sweet, it is usually used to accompany savory sushi and sashimi dishes.