How to Cook With Fresh Ginger

5 from 1 vote

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Removing the peel from a knob is ginger is so safe and easy — and then you can explore dozens of recipes (drinks, salsas, marinades, stir-fries!) for using fresh ginger.

Fresh ginger root on green table.

Fresh ginger is one of the greatest ingredients in our cooking arsenals. Spicy, bracing, zesty, assertive, uplifting. I use it in almost every stir-fry, in cocktails, in baked goods, in marinades. It’s one of the easiest ways to add bang-for-your-buck flavor to so many dishes. And wait til you see this easy hack for peeling ginger!

Fresh ginger can be sliced, chopped, or minced. Then you are on your way to amazing dishes like Ginger, Mint, and Lime Marinade, Honey Ginger Salmon, and Butter Chicken. But keep scrolling — there are many original recipes below that feature the inimitable taste of fresh ginger!

Woman holding fresh ginger root.

How to Peel Ginger With a Spoon

While peeling ginger with a traditional vegetable peeler can absolutely be done, the lumps and bumps of ginger make it a little hard to navigate. Luckily, there is an easier way — a plain old teaspoon is a great tool for the task of peeling ginger. And it’s so simple and safe that even little kids can do it!

The skin of ginger root is very thin, so just scrape over it with the edge of a teaspoon, with the convex side of the spoon towards you, pulling towards you. In no time, you’ll have peeled ginger ready for chopping, slicing, or mincing.

Use the edge of the spoon to scrape up and over all of the little knobs.

Look closely at the photo below — you can even see little flecks of ginger juice coming off the bulb as it’s being scraped! That’s some fresh ginger!

Woman peeling ginger root with spoon.

And there’s more good news — even little kids can help with this. If you give a willing child a knob of ginger and a teaspoon, you will give them something to keep them busy for quite a chunk of time and allow them to feel like a great kitchen helper as well. Make sure they (and you!) wash their hands thoroughly after, as ginger is spicy, so if they touch their eyes after, it could smart.

Removing the peel from a knob is ginger is so safe and easy – and then you can explore dozens of recipes (drinks, salsas, marinades, stir fries!) for using fresh ginger.

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Do You Need to Peel Ginger?

If the ginger is going to be added to something you are eating and the ginger is on the larger, more mature side, then you should peel it. Also, cut off any woody bumps that may not feel as fresh and juicy. If the ginger is being used to add flavor to a drink or marinade and then is going to be strained out, you can skip the peeling unless the skin looks very thick or rugged.

If the ginger is small and very young, with a super thin skin, then you don’t have to peel it.

How to Mince or Grate Fresh Ginger

Fresh ginger root on green table.

Many recipes that use fresh ginger, such as stir-fries, marinades, and sauces, call for minced fresh ginger. Mincing ginger, or chopping it finely, allows it to flavor the dish completely without leaving big spicy chunks of fresh ginger in the dish. There are a few ways to mince ginger:

  • Use a microplane, which will create a very finely grated ginger pulp and remove all of the fibrous parts.
  • Grab a knife and a cutting board. Slice the ginger into coins, then slice those into thin sticks. Then, just keep mincing until you get to the chunkiness or fineness you are looking for.
  • Use a food processor to mince ginger. This works best for amounts in 2 tablespoons or more. If you are just mincing a small amount, you will probably want a small food processor, as a larger one has a big bowl and blade that might not let you get to the fine chop you want.

How to Add Fresh Ginger to Recipes

I cook with fresh ginger all the time, both in savory and sweet dishes. I just love the burst of slightly spicy, bold flavor.

In savory Asian dishes, fresh ginger is often paired with garlic or another member of the onion family. Ginger is featured heavily in Thai, Malaysian, Korean, Burmese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and, of course, Chinese cooking. Don’t hesitate to throw a tablespoon of minced fresh ginger into almost any Asian recipe you can think of.

It is also used in other cuisines, such as Caribbean and West Indian, Indian, European, and American.

Horseradish Ginger Salmon on grey plate with pasta.
Horseradish Ginger Salmon

How to Use Fresh Ginger

  • Mince it and add it to stir-fries.
  • Use it in glazes and marinades.
  • Use it in an Asian-inspired pan sauce.
  • Add some minced ginger to Asian noodle dishes.

Ginger Simple Syrup

Pouring Basil Ginger Lemon Saketini from cocktail shaker into martini glasses.
Basil Ginger Lemon Saketini

You can use ginger in cocktails and mocktails. The easiest way to get a ginger flavor into a drink is to make a simple syrup with ginger or some sort of liquid or tincture where the ginger is infused into a liquid and then strained out.

For ginger simple syrup, you don’t have to peel the ginger unless you think the skin is not all that firm and fresh feeling. Simply bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil and add some crushed slices of fresh ginger (simply smash the slices lightly with the back of a chef’s knife). Simmer for a few minutes, then turn off the heat and let the ginger steep for about 20 minutes as the liquid comes to room temperature. Strain out the ginger, transfer the syrup to a clean container, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Then add to your favorite drink.

Make Ginger Tea

Slice a 1-inch piece of ginger into thin slices and lightly crush them (again, simply use the back of a chef’s knife to lightly smash the slices) to a cup of water, 1 teaspoon of honey, and one squeezed lemon quarter in a pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat. Strain out the ginger and lemon and drink hot. It’s a great alternative to the warm water of a Hot Toddy.

How to Store Fresh Ginger

Carrot, Cabbage and Kohlrabi Slaw with Miso Dressing on white plate with fork.

You can keep ginger in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks before using it. Cut off any shriveled or wrinkled parts before adding ginger to a recipe. You can also freeze ginger in an airtight zipper top bag with all of the air pressed out. It is easy to grate in the frozen state; no need to defrost. You can peel it before or after freezing.

Peeled ginger will keep well when wrapped in plastic in the fridge for up to 1 week. Minced ginger will keep tightly sealed in the fridge for up to 5 days.


27 Sweet and Savory Ginger Recipes

Here are some of my favorite recipes with fresh ginger, a mix of Asian-inspired recipes, and other recipes that benefit from the pop of fresh ginger.

5-Ingredient Honey Ginger Salmon
5 from 1 vote

Honey Ginger Salmon

This delicious fish dinner contains just a handful of ingredients and less than 30 minutes of time.
View Recipe

Woman holding two bowls of Indian Butternut Squash and Carrot soup.
5 from 3 votes

Indian Butternut Squash-Carrot Soup

Creamy, comforting, earthy, warming, silky, and gorgeous, this gingery butternut squash and carrot soup is fragrant with Indian-inspired spices.
View Recipe

Table set with chips and a bowl of Citrusy Mango Ginger Salsa.
5 from 1 vote

Citrusy Mango Ginger Salsa

Completely fresh and interesting, the bite of ginger works so well with the tropical fruit and works really well with simply cooked fish or meat.
View Recipe

Grilled Soy-Ginger Pork Chops
5 from 2 votes

Grilled Soy-Ginger Pork Chops

This super simple pork chop recipe gets its flavor from a teriyaki-like marinade.
View Recipe

Orange Tofu on a bed of rice in serving dish.
5 from 8 votes

Orange Tofu

A vegetarian or vegan stir-fry crispy tofu recipe that's flavorful and tangy a beautiful gingery, orange glaze.
View Recipe

Horseradish Ginger Salmon / Photo by Kerri Brewer / Katie Workman / themom100.com
5 from 3 votes

Horseradish Ginger Salmon

Horseradish and ginger combine to create an easy salmon dinner.
View Recipe

Soy-Ginger Flank Steak
5 from 4 votes

Soy-Ginger Flank Steak

This Teriyaki-style steak is my family's all-time favorite steak. The garlic and soy and ginger with a bit of brown sugar are just a complete home run.
View Recipe

Sesame Asparagus and Shiitake Mushrooms in a skillet with a wooden spatula.
4.67 from 3 votes

Sesame Asparagus and Shiitake Mushrooms

The combo of mushrooms and some green vegetables is a very popular one in Chinese cooking, and that's because it works every time.
View Recipe

Miso black cod on grey plate.
5 from 1 vote

Miso Black Cod

Ginger features in this deeply flavored, slightly sweet, and savory glaze that complements the flaky silky cod perfectly.
View Recipe

Carrot, Cabbage and Kohlrabi Slaw on plate with other dishes.
5 from 4 votes

Slaw with Miso-Ginger Dressing

A shredded vegetable slaw with a flavorful miso and ginger dressing that will remind you of those great Japanese restaurant dressings.
View Recipe

Sweet and Sour Chicken
4.75 from 4 votes

Sweet and Sour Chicken

In just 20 or so minutes you can be tucking into his pretty, sweet and gentle old-school Chinese-American favorite.
View Recipe

Peach and Roasted Red Pepper Salsa / Katie Workman / themom100.com / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen
5 from 1 vote

Peach and Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

This dazzler of a salsa is savory and sweet all at the same time.
View Recipe

Woman plating lamb kebab next to rice.
5 from 2 votes

Indian-Inspired Lamb Kebabs

A yogurt-based marinade infused with ginger an Indian spices is the perfect soak for rich lamb. You can cook these on a stove in a grill pan, under the broiler, or on a grill.
View Recipe

Spicy Sesame Asian Marinade in small jar on wood table.
5 from 4 votes

Spicy Sesame Asian Marinade

This versatile marinade contains just 6 ingredients and can be used for anything from shrimp to pork to beef.
View Recipe

Chinese Chicken Salad
5 from 5 votes

Chinese Chicken Salad

The colorful, classic restaurant salad has an irresistible savory, gingery dressing.
View Recipe

Japanese-style meatballs with ponzu glaze on blue and brown plate.
5 from 1 vote

Japanese Meatballs with Ponzu Glaze

These meatballs make me think of the best dumpling fillings!
View Recipe

Basil Ginger Lemon Saketini
5 from 1 vote

Basil Ginger Lemon Saketini

Serve up this refreshing cocktail to kick off your next dinner party.
View Recipe

Outdoor table setting with plate of grilled Jamaican jerk-style chicken breasts and veggies.
5 from 3 votes

Jamaican Jerk-Style Grilled Chicken Breasts

These chicken breasts are so flavorful, and pack a little bit of heat, but not too much. The marinade is vibrant with ginger, chilis, garlic, and spices, and they only take 10 minutes to grill up after marinating!
View Recipe

Red pepper flakes atop a bowl of the ingredients for Ginger, Mint, and Lime Marinade.
5 from 3 votes

Ginger, Mint, and Lime Marinade

This bright marinade with slightly Southeast Asian flavors is a perfect soak for anything from shrimp to chicken to pork.
View Recipe

Chicken and Spinach Stir-Fry with Ginger and Oyster Sauce
5 from 4 votes

Chicken and Spinach Stir-Fry with Ginger and Oyster Sauce

This chicken stir-fry is loaded with vegetables and come together very quickly.
View Recipe

Chicken Yakitori / Katie Workman / themom100.com / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen
5 from 1 vote

Chicken Yakitori

You can make these little yakitori skewers on larger sticks for a main course, or smaller ones for a cocktail party.
View Recipe

Mongolian Beef
4.88 from 83 votes

Mongolian Beef

This is one of the most popular recipes on The Mom 100 — make it and see why!
View Recipe

Salad on white plate topped with Japanese restaurant-style dressing.
4.83 from 17 votes

Japanese Restaurant Salad Dressing

This is the thick, gingery orange salad dressing that we all love eating at Japanese restaurants.
View Recipe

Stir-fry with chicken, broccoli, and sugar snap peas served over white rice on plate.
5 from 5 votes

Chicken, Broccoli, and Sugar Snap Pea Stir-Fry

When I want to make the family very, very happy, this easy chicken stir-fry recipe is perfect.
View Recipe

Spicy Stir Fried Beef and Vegetables / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen / Katie Workman / themom100.com
5 from 1 vote

Spicy Stir-Fried Beef and Vegetables

Beef, a slew of colorful veggies, and a savory gingery sauce, all piled on a bed of noodles.
View Recipe

Orange Champagne Mule
5 from 1 vote

Orange Champagne Mule

A citrusy, sparkling cocktail, perfect for brunch, pairing with appetizers, or just drinks with friends.
View Recipe

Healthy Orange Chicken
5 from 4 votes

Healthy Orange Chicken

This easy Asian orange chicken stir fry has an immensely flavorful glazy coating. Clean eating at its most delicious.
View Recipe

5 from 1 vote

How to Peel Ginger With a Spoon

Removing the peel from a knob is ginger is so safe and easy — and then you can explore dozens of recipes (drinks, salsas, marinades, stir-fries!) for using fresh ginger.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings

Equipment

  • Spoon

Ingredients 

  • 1 piece fresh ginger root

Instructions 

  • Scrape over the fresh ginger root with the edge of a teaspoon, with the convex side of the spoon towards you, pulling towards you.
  • Use the edge of the spoon to scrape up and over all of the little knobs. In no time, you’ll have peeled ginger ready for chopping, slicing, or mincing.

Notes

If the ginger is going to be added to something you are eating and the ginger is on the larger, more mature side, then you should peel it. Also, cut off any woody bumps that may not feel as fresh and juicy. If the ginger is being used to add flavor to a drink or marinade and then is going to be strained out, you can skip the peeling unless the skin looks very thick or rugged.
If the ginger is small and very young, with a super thin skin, then you don’t have to peel it.
Storage
You can keep ginger in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks before using it. Cut off any shriveled or wrinkled parts before using. You can also freeze ginger in an airtight zipper-top bag with all of the air pressed out. It is easy to grate in the frozen state; no need to defrost. You can peel it before or after freezing.
Peeled ginger will keep well when wrapped in plastic in the fridge for up to 1 week. Minced ginger will keep tightly sealed in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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