Fresh ginger adds zip and zing to every sweet or savory recipe – and it's straightforward to prepare and store! Learn how to mince fresh ginger to enhance any meal while offering some benefits for your health.
Fresh ginger is way more delicious than its dried counterpart, but it's one of those cases in which it's important not to judge a book by its cover – ginger is knobby, covered in brown papery skin, and, well, pretty ugly by most food standards.
But we promise that once you peel and prepare fresh ginger, that all changes! This yellow-orange root is beautiful and delicious under the skin.
Ginger goes well in almost every recipe, from fragrant, simmered curries to sweet ginger snap cookies. You can even learn how to make vegetables taste good with ginger as your best secret weapon!
Whether chopped, minced, or grated, you can learn how to cut ginger for any recipe using our simple instructions below.
Why Use Ginger in Cooking?
Ginger is a potent and fragrant root that boasts many uses, from medicinal effects to sparking excitement for our taste buds. It's a spice in the same family as cardamom and turmeric, though ginger is one we use as often fresh as we do dry in plenty of recipes.
Ginger's flavor offers a ton of zip and an intense aroma that softens as it cooks. Fresh ginger, much like garlic, has a warm bite that can make the eyes water and the nose run but still manages to be incredibly pleasant.
We use ginger in both sweet and savory dishes, and again, much like garlic, it completes the meal and can turn any mediocre dish into an addictive flavor bomb.
This fragrant spice tastes so good we want to toss it into most of our savory stir-fries and curries, but as a bonus, it also offers plenty of health benefits!
Health Benefits of Grated or Minced Ginger Root
- Relieves common cold symptoms like a runny nose and scratchy throat
- Immune booster and antioxidant for the body
- Contains anti-inflammatory and pain-relief compound, gingerol
- Can improve motion sickness for some people and settles an upset stomach
- Can improve some morning sickness symptoms in pregnant women
- May relieve migraine or headache symptoms
Fresh vs. Dried Ginger
Both fresh and dried ginger contain some health benefits and enhance any dish's flavor.
Dried ginger is easy to keep on hand, but I prefer to use ginger when cooking 90% of the time because of its more robust flavor and zip – the dried stuff doesn't compare. You can use fresh peeled or unpeeled ginger in your cooking to amp up the flavor in a flash.
Fresh ginger root keeps up to 1 month in the fridge and even longer in the freezer, so I usually buy a knob of fresh ginger to grate or mince as needed quickly.
Is Minced Ginger the Same as Grated Ginger?
Specific recipes will call for grated ginger roots, while others might ask for chopped or minced. While the ginger's format in your recipe won't make a massive difference in overall flavor, it can affect the texture.
How to Prepare Ginger Root for Any Recipe
The smaller the ginger pieces you use, the smoother your recipe will be. If you're making a smoothly pureed soup, you likely won't want bigger chunks of ginger, whereas in a stir-fry or curry, the size of minced fresh ginger will blend effortlessly into the thicker texture of chunky vegetables.
For the best results, stick to mincing ginger when called for and grating ginger according to recipe instructions.
If you're working from scratch without a recipe, consider the texture of your dish – grate ginger for fine-textured foods and mince it for your thick and chunky meals.
How to Peel and Mince Ginger
Before you learn how to cut ginger, the preparation always begins the same: with cleaning and peeling.
How to Clean Ginger
Fresh ginger has the somewhat unfortunate luck of looking dirty even when it isn't, but like any other fresh, whole food, you need to clean it before you start the preparation process.
- To clean your ginger root, run it under warm water and use your fingers to rub until well-cleaned.
- Before you slice the ginger, pat it dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel, and leave the root to dry on the counter.
How to Peel Ginger
Do you peel ginger before mincing?
While we should often peel our ginger, it's not always necessary. Young ginger has fragile, soft skin that doesn't require peeling before learning how to cut ginger.
Much of the ginger at the grocery store is older, so if your ginger skin looks papery, it's going to feel like paper in your mouth. Peel it off.
- Use a peeler or the back of a spoon to remove thin ginger root skin. You can use a knife too, but it will likely release a lot of the flesh along with it.
- Use the spoon's curved edge to peel all of the skin off the outside of our ginger root.
- If the ginger is difficult to peel, soak it in warm water for up to 5 mins to soften the skin, then continue with the peeling process.
How to Mince Ginger
Now that your ginger is prepped and ready to go, let's address how to mince ginger for any recipe.
The traditional method is to slice ginger into thin matchsticks by cutting lengthwise and then crosswise. This is not the best way to mince ginger – ginger's small size makes this method tedious and slippery, which can lead to cutting accidents.
Instead, here's how to mince ginger efficiently:
- Clean and peel the ginger root.
- Slice the peeled ginger root as thinly as possible, then place the slices in a shingle overlap pattern on the cutting board.
- Cut across them to make thin matchsticks, then thinly slice crosswise.
How to Grate Ginger
If you need some grated ginger, we've got you covered: the easiest way to grate ginger requires a small microplane or grater. We don't recommend using a ginger grinder like a mortar and pestle, as the ginger contains a little too much moisture, and you'll lose a lot of its incredible flavor in the bowl.
The best way to grate ginger is from frozen, as its firmer texture stands up to the grater a little better.
Here's how to grate ginger for any recipe:
- Clean and peel the ginger root.
- Hold the microplane or grater vertically over a cutting board.
- Hold one end of the ginger root and move it downwards towards the chopping board over the microplane or grater, applying light pressure.
- Beware of your fingers and keep them safely away from the sharp tool.
Final Notes: Storing Prepared Ginger
While we know you can refrigerate or freeze ginger root, you can similarly store minced or grated ginger.
Place the prepared ginger in a sealed Ziploc bag in the fridge for two weeks or in the freezer for six months. Enjoy!