Food

Spice up your life with ginger! 51 surprising ways to use it at home

Aromatic and spicy, ginger is as good for you as it tastes. From marinades to baked goods, sore muscles to motion sickness, this top-performing spice adds zest and flavor to recipes. Read on to find out more about this remarkable rhizome. You may just agree with us that ginger is the root to good food as well as good health! Here are 51 ways to use ginger.

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Ginger root sliced on wooden table

RELATED: Yogurt is not just for breakfast! 53 ways to use this magical ingredient

Food uses for ginger

VanillaCrunnch

1. Give a kick to chocolate bark

Try minced crystallized ginger in blogger Vanilla Crunnch's Pomegranate Chocolate Bark and cookbook author Grace Parisi's Microwavable Chocolate Bark 3 Ways.

2. Spoon it over grilled fish

Michael Wilson, Chef de Cuisine of Domenica in New Orleans, drizzles grilled fish with a vinaigrette of grated ginger, Champagne vinegar, grapefruit, extra-virgin olive oil and chopped flat leaf Italian parsley.

3. Soup up the soup

Chef Todd Pulsinelli, executive chef at Restaurant August in New Orleans, adds juiced ginger to pumpkin soup and tops it with ginger whipped cream.

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

4. Marinate chicken

Wilson describes his Ginger Scallion Chicken Thighs at Domenica as "summer on a plate". The chef marinates chicken overnight in a combination of grated ginger, minced garlic, sliced scallions, plain whole milk yogurt and salt. Grill and enjoy!

Recipes to try: Grilled Pineapple Chicken Breasts and Baked Asian Orange Ginger Chicken Breasts

RELATED: 5 make-ahead chicken marinade recipes for super easy dinners

5. Glaze fried chicken

Drake Leonards, executive chef of Lüke in New Orleans, combines 1 cup honey, 1 teaspoon ginger, a splash sambal (Indian hot sauce) and the juice from half a lime. The mixture is also a perfect dressing for a grilled corn salad.

6. Create a not-so-Sloppy Joe

Another Pulsinelli tip: add ginger to a meaty Sloppy Joe sauce for an unexpected pop.

Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

7. Add zing to classic crème brulée

Al Roker spikes his version of the French dessert with a hit of ginger.

Recipe to try: Ginger-Lemon Crème Brûlée

8. Add zest to applesauce

Chef Wilson's spicy and sweet applesauce is easy to make: Toss peeled and diced Granny Smith apples with brown sugar and grated ginger. Refrigerate overnight, then cook over medium heat until the mixture is the consistency of applesauce.

9. Sass up sweet potatoes

Add it grated and juiced, says Pulsinelli, when making whipped sweet potato puree.

Samantha Okazaki/TODAY

10. Wake up breakfast bread

Ginger—ground and in a syrup—pack a double pow in this Nutty Caramel Bread Swirl.

11. Spice up cranberry sauce

To give a new twist to your usual recipe, Wilson suggests adding grated ginger to taste.

12. Give a kick to chicken and dumplings

Pulsinelli adds zested ginger and lemon zest to give traditional chicken and dumplings an extra kick. He also adds the duo chicken fricassee for extra flavor.

13. Perk up peach cobbler

Cookbook author Melissa Clark's summer skillet peach crisp has a touch of ginger.

14. Glaze pork and ribs

Here are just a couple ways our experts suggest to use ginger: Melissa Cookston mixes ginger ale with nectarines for a zesty citrus pork glaze. Leonards also glazes pork ribs and wild duck and with a mixture of 1 teaspoon minced or pickled ginger, 1 cup preserves (he loves figs or plum) and a splash of vinegar. 15. Braise with it "I add a piece of peeled ginger to the pan when braising a pork shoulder to give it some depth," says Wilson.

M.C. Suhocki / TODAY
Martha Stewart shows TODAY Anchor Savannah Guthrie chicken wing recipes.

16. Add zing to wings

Take your wings up a notch. Pulsinelli tops salt and pepper fried chicken wings with ginger and shaved serrano peppers and Martha Stewart's ginger scallion wings are perfect for a party.

17. Try it in Jell-O

When making flavored Jell-O, Dr. Jeremy Wolf, ND, wellness expert for LuckyVitamin.com, substitutes ginger tea for water.

18. Make a flavored salt

At Restaurant August, house made potato chips are sprinkled with a mixture of lime, chile and ginger salt.

Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

19. Dress a salad

Blend carrots, ginger, onion, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and oil for a light and flavorful Ginger Carrot Dressing.

20. Upgrade classic Italian sage butter

"Fold grated ginger and finely chopped sage leaves into room-temperature butter," says Wilson. "Then spoon it on top of a roasted sweet potato with dark cane syrup."

21. Bake up gingersnaps

These crispy gingersnap cookies by Molly Marzalek-Kelly come alive with a zesty lemon-sugar topping.

22. Use it with grilled salmon

Memphis BBQ expert Melissa Cookston turns up the heat in Grilled Ginger Salmon with Pineapple Chipotle Glaze.

23. Serve it with oysters

Pulsinelli creates a magical mignonette sauce with chopped ginger, jalapeno, shallots, vinegar and pepper.

24. Add to stocks

Another Wilson favorite: liven up vegetable, fish and chicken stocks by adding a piece of peeled ginger.

Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

25. Sizzle it in a stir fry

Every stir fry is always better with at least a little bit of the root.

Recipe to try: Al Roker's Ginger Shrimp Stir Fry

26. Elevate meatballs

Add it along with loads of lemongrass and lime to pork and shrimp meatballs to create Pulsinelli's Friday lunch special.

27. Whip up mayo

Pulsinelli top pulled pork sandwiches with a ginger and hoisin sauce flavored mayo for a touch of panache.

Nathan Congleton / TODAY
TODAY Show: Al Roker serves up simple shrimp, beef and vegetable kabobs. -- June 3, 3016

28. Use it in kabobs

Al Roker's 5-Ingredient Ginger Honey Shrimp Kabobs have a sweet kick and they're fun to make.

29. Add a kick to steamed mussels

Drake Leonards, executive chef of Lüke in New Orleans, adds a kick to steamed mussels with coconut milk and a "sweat of ginger." (Cook ginger for a minute on medium heat in an olive-oil-coated pan with a dab of butter.)

Casey Barber / TODAY

30. Wrap it up

These easy Asian Lettuce Wraps come alive with a filling that's spiced with fragrant ginger.

31. Make it candied

Keep candied ginger on hand to quiet digestive upset.

Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
TODAY Show: Al Roker shares recipes for gluten-free breakfast lunch and dinner in Studio 1A. -- April 17, 2015

32. Spice up summer rolls

An easy tamari-ginger dipping sauce is perfect with these Chicken and Shrimp Summer Rolls.

33. Cool down with an easy-to-make seafood appetizer

Recipe to try: Chilled Ginger Shrimp

Beverages with ginger

RELATED: Tea is not just for sipping! 54 ways to use this amazing ingredient

34. Wake up with Al Roker's ginger jump start

TODAY's Al Roker gets up every morning at 3 a.m. To keep him energized, every morning he drinks this kombucha tea with lots of fresh ginger and listens to the "A-Team" theme song.

Recipe to try: Al's Morning Ginger Jump Start

35. Pump up Champagne

TODAY contributor Joy Bauer shares her low-calorie Champagne Ginger Cocktail recipe: In a small dish or saucer, combine equal parts sugar and minced ginger. Run a lemon wedge along the rim of a Champagne flute, then dip it in the sugar-and-ginger mixture to rim the glass. Add 1 teaspoon crystallized ginger to the bottom of the Champagne flute, then pour in 5 ounces of Champagne. Enjoy!

36. Add it to simple syrup

It's the base of cocktail guru Maureen Petrosky's delicious Honey Ginger Sparkler with Rock Candy stirrers.

Frances Largeman-Roth

37. Add zing to a healthful elixir

Registered dietician, Frances Largeman-Roth tailor-made this Beet-Apple-Ginger Smoothie for a healthy boost.

38. Pump up your Pimm's Cup

"I love to muddle a few slices of ginger and cucumber in my Pimm's cup--fruit, cucumbers, mint and a fortifying shot of gin, with a splash of ginger ale," says Drake Leonards, Executive Chef of Lüke restaurant.

Lexi Dwyer

39. Drink a ginger cocktail

Ginger ale adds the fizz to this cranberry cocktail.

40. Brew it as tea

Easy to make, simply add 8 to 10 slices of fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger to 4 to 5 cups of water. Bring to a boil for about 20 minutes. Strain and cool before drinking.

41. Make a DIY ginger ale

Cookbook author Diane Morgan's homemade ginger ale is easier—and tastier—than you can imagine!

Health and beauty uses for ginger

42. Rub it on

Ginger massage oil can relieve symptoms of chronic osteoarthritis, says Dr. Jeremy Wolf, ND, wellness expert for LuckyVitamin.com.

43. Combat nausea and motion sickness

Dr. Nesochi Okeke Igbokwe, internal medicine physician at New York University Langone Medical Center, recommends sipping ginger ale or ginger tea to reduce symptoms of nausea and motion sickness. It's the phenols in ginger that do the trick.

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ginger

44. Combat chemotherapy nausea

Ginger chews treat nausea from chemotherapy, says Ashley Boynes-Shuck, Healthline.com reporter and author of "Chronically Positive."

45. Energize your skin

Ginger topical skin preparations clear acne and even-out skin tone and hyperpigmentation, according to Dr. Jeremy Wolf, ND, wellness expert for LuckyVitamin.com.

46. Protect against periodontal disease

The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger help to support healthy mouth tissue, says Rene Ficek, Registered Dietitian and Lead Nutrition Expert of Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating.

47. Help with arthritis inflammation

Drinking ginger tea or adding ground ginger to savory dishes promotes these anti-inflammatory properties that may also be beneficial to those with arthritis, according to Ficek.

48. Improve digestion

Ginger, in tea or candied, is shown to help with indigestion, says Ficek.

49. Relieve migraines

Ginger tea, or fresh or candied ginger is a powerful painkiller that can relieve migraines, according to Ficek.

50. Manage a cough

Ginger in any form can manage a chronic cough or bronchitis, according to Ashley Boynes-Shuck, Healthline.com reporter and author of "Sick Idiot."

51. Ease menstrual cramps

Cooking with ginger powder or eating slices of ginger with peanut butter on crackers may help with the pain and discomfort of menstrual cramps, according to Ashley Boynes-Shuck, Healthline.com reporter and author of "To Exist."

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