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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.

How to Cook with Ginger

How to Peel Ginger (with a Spoon!)

You can surely use a traditional vegetable peeler, but the lumps and bumps of ginger make it a little hard to navigate. A plain old teaspoon however is a great tool for peeling ginger. The skin of ginger is very thin, so just scrape over it with the edge of a teaspoon and you’ll have peeled ginger ready for chopping or slicing or mincing in no time.

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..

How to Mince or Grate Fresh Ginger

How to Cook with Ginger

To mince or grate fresh ginger, you can:

  • Use a microplane, which will result in pretty much pulverize ginger, and ginger that is pretty juicy.
  • Grab a knife and a cutting board and just keep chopping away until you get to ginger that’s minced to the consistency you are looking for.
  • Use a food processor. 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 which 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.

Spatula stirring a skillet of Mongolian Beef.

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.

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

Make a Simple Syrup:

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 this 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 to lightly crush it). 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 two weeks. Then add to your favorite drink.

Make Ginger Tea:

Slice a 1-inch piece of ginger into thin slices and slightly 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.

How to Store Fresh Ginger:

You can keep ginger in the refrigerator for up to two weeks before using. 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.

18 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.

Indian Butternut Squash-Carrot Soup / Todd Coleman / Katie Workman /

Indian Butternut Squash-Carrot Soup

Creamy, comforting, earthy, warming, silky, gorgeous.

The Felix Hot Ginger Apple Toddy / Sarah Crowder / Katie Workman /

The Felix Hot Ginger Apple Toddy

Warmed apple cider with spices and a bit of booze. Yes, sir, I would love a mugful.

Table set with chips and a bowl of Citrusy Mango Ginger Salsa.

Citrusy Mango Ginger Salsa

Completely fresh and interesting and the nicest way to dress up a simple piece of fish or meat.

Congee (Chinese Rice Porridge)

Congee (Chinese Rice Porridge)

Savory Chinese rice pudding (read: comfort food).

Horseradish Ginger Salmon / Photo by Kerri Brewer / Katie Workman /

Horseradish Ginger Salmon

A little east meets west-ish moment. A terrific easy salmon dinner.

Sesame Asparagus and Shiitake Mushrooms / Photo by Mia / Katie Workman /

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 work every time.

Carrot, Cabbage and Kohlrabi Slaw on plate with other dishes.

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.

Peach and Roasted Red Pepper Salsa / Katie Workman / / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

Peach and Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

A dazzler of a salsa, savory and sweet all at the same time.

Spicy Sesame Asian Marinade

Spicy Sesame Asian Marinade

6 ingredients and the possibilities are pretty unlimited.

Japanese Meatballs with Ponzu Glaze

Japanese Meatballs with Ponzu Glaze

These meatballs taste like the inside of a really, really good dumpling.

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

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.

Chicken and Spinach Stir-Fry with Ginger and Oyster Sauce

Chicken and Spinach Stir-Fry with Ginger and Oyster Sauce

Never too many stir fries. This one features chicken,but is loaded with vegetables.

Chicken Yakitori / Katie Workman / / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen

Chicken Yakitori

Pretty likely to become a family favorite.

Mongolian Beef

Mongolian Beef

This 20-minute dish is so easy to make, with a wonderful savory-sweet glaze coating the ultra thin slices of steak.

Salad on white plate topped with Japanese restaurant-style dressing.

Japanese Restaurant Salad Dressing

This is the thick orange salad dressing we all fall in love with at hibachi restaurants, and it's so easy to make at home!

chicken stir fry with broccoli and sugar snap peas / Katie Workman /

Chicken, Broccoli and Sugar Snap Pea Stir Fry

When I want to make Gary very, very happy.

Spicy Stir Fried Beef and Vegetables / Photo by Cheyenne Cohen / Katie Workman /

Spicy Stir Fried Beef and Vegetables

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

Basil Ginger Lemon Saketini

Basil Ginger Lemon Saketini

This is one refreshing cocktail.

Curious about ginger’s health benefits? Click here and here for info on that!

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