Cooking and Recipes

Crystallized Ginger

Today we are making crystallized ginger, also called candied ginger.

About 10 years ago I found some crystallized ginger while grocery shopping around the holidays. I bought a small container of it but never really knew what to do with it until one day the spirit led me to plop a few pieces into a cup of hot tea. Okay, it wasn’t really the spirit, I just like to put sweet stuff in my hot tea like peppermints and orange or grapefruit slices and other odd things. But. I loved it.  It added just a little nip of flavor and sweetness and made my cup of tea special.

But by St. Patricks Day, the little box of candied ginger was gone, and lo, there was none to be found throughout the entire kingdom, at least in my kingdom’s grocery store, and there was great sadness.  And hot tea was just not the same.

So the next year around holiday time, the kingdom’s grocers once again put out candied ginger and I bought about 12 containers. But these too did not last the entire year. And again there was great sadness.  Many years passed and there was no candied ginger to be found and I so I tried to go on with my life.

Then one day while in the grocery store I gazed upon a bin of raw ginger and it occured to me that I could probably make it myself.

For this recipe you will need some fresh ginger root, sugar and water.


So then, buy yourself several hands of ginger.  Look for big flat pieces because you are going to have to peel these things and that will be a bit of  pain.


This is how much raw ginger the above three hands yielded.  I don’t know why I call them hands of ginger. Probably because they look like hands or maybe I heard someone call them hands.


Chop into small chunks or strips, whichever you like.


Cover with water and then boil, boil and boil some more.  Boil until they are tender, probably about 45 minutes.

Now for some reason, at this point I put the camera down. Oh, now I know. Because I was going to have to stir boiling sugar.

After the ginger is tender, drain and return it to the pan.

Among candied ginger recipes, there is a lot of variation in the sugar to water ratio.   Some recipes tell you to weigh the ginger and then measure out an equal amount of sugar and then 3 or 4 tablespoons of water.  I don’t have a scale so I just guess on the sugar and add about 1/2 as muchwater.  Other recipes call for a 1 to 1 ratio of sugar to water.   Roughly, you want enough sugar to cover the ginger when it is in the pan.  I have found that in this recipe it isn’t necessary to be absolutely precise.

If you want a chunky crystallized ginger, add more sugar and less water.  If you want more of a glazed ginger, get the sugar to water ratio closer to 1 to 1.

I like my candied ginger chunky, so I used about 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water.  I am no Alton Brown. In my world, cooking is more art than science.

Cook it all on low heat until the sugar is dissolved and then bring to a boil for about one minute, stirring constantly. Then reduce to a simmering boil until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. This will take at least 30 minutes, depending upon how much you are making.

Remove the ginger with a slotted spoon and place on wax paper to dry.  When cool, toss with additional sugar if desired.

Bonus:  I poured the left over ginger infused syrup over some Texas Ruby Red grapefruit sections (which are so yummy and in season right now!) And it was a delicious treat.  Also, did you know that ginger is often used to soothe an upset tummy?


Above is the full yield.


Candied ginger in a festive container makes a nice hostess gift.  Or if you have tea lover on your list, add a pretty tea cup and an assortment of teas for a gift that says “Hey! I know you like tea!”

Crystallized (or candied) ginger keeps for six months (or more) in the fridge.

29 thoughts on “Crystallized Ginger

  1. Wow, I think I might actually be able to do that one.
    It does not involve Candy thermometers or 15 steps. PLUS, ginger is cheap (at least it is around here) sugar is cheap and water is free. Nice hostess gifts for little money.
    It doesn’t get any better than that!

    * * *
    Candy thermometers make me feel inferior. ~AM

  2. the november issue of southern living had a recipe which called for candied ginger…i had never heard of that before, but read about it on another blog yesterday…now 3 times…i must make some

  3. At what point do you add the sugar?? I’m sorry, if I just overlooked it. I promise I read the about 3 times before I decided to respond.. Looks delicious and would love to make it!

    * * *
    After you boil the ginger until it’s tender, drain the water and then return it to the pan and back to the stove. Then add the sugar and water.

  4. In India, they live on ginger (ok, they live on rice, but you know what I mean) so I grew up to revere the stuff. I can’t have tea without a slice of ginger in it (it does help the belly and gives you some energy to boot). That being said, the idea of using candied ginger never occurred to me. I feel so silly.

  5. Oh, WOW! I didn’t realise it was so easy! I’m going to make this for sure. YUM!

    Your recipes are much nicer than mine, by the way. I’m all “Soup”. Huh.

  6. Thank you for reminding me exactly how delicious candied ginger is. And since I’m the only member of the family who likes it, it has the extra benefit of being able to be eaten without a nine year-old pestering me for some. And that’s delicious, too.

  7. I tried crystalized ginger for the first time this year and also fell in love with it. And, as you noted, am finding that my resources are limited to getting more. I am really excited about giving this a try. Thanks!

  8. Have you ever tried ginger beer? Non-alcoholic (think root beer) although there are recipes for mixtures around. Look for the Australian version, by Brandeburg, not the Jamaican kind which is lighter in weight. It also comes diet.

    The only place I’ve been able to find it is a World Market.\

    * * *
    No, I haven’t. I don’t like beer or anything diet, but I love creme soda and rootbeer. I will look for it at World Market and try it. I might try putting it in a pancake or crepe batter.

  9. I think this would be awesome with sugar in the raw. Have you tried that?

    And, would you think asian groceries would have a more robust ginger selection?

  10. Knighton, I make choc covered ginger every Christmas! With this recipe, I would stop after the first boiling, let the ginger dry, and then coat it in choc. I have made it with crystallized ginger too.
    And that ginger-infused syrup is awesome on ice cream. Or pancakes, if that’s how you roll.

  11. It’s thought ginger has anti-inflammatory, and therefore anti-cancer, properties too. Another reason why this is a great gift.

  12. I have one of those potato peelers hawked by the late Billy Mays in those awful commercials. It’s what I use to peel ginger and it does a pretty good job.

    Since I use ginger a lot in cooking, I then shred a whole peeled hand with a microplaner and wrap it in plastic wrap. Then I roll it into a sausage-shape and put it in the freezer.

    Now, excuse me. I am off to Henry’s Market for ginger and crystalized sugar to adorn the adorned ginger when all is done and cooled. Yay!

  13. I have those same Christmas dishes, and I love them! It’s time to get them out this year!!

    * * *
    They are just the cheapest old things and I’ve had mine for years, but I really enjoy them. I get them out the day after Thanksgiving and use them for every meal until January.

  14. I love candied ginger and have a bag in the kitchen. Just right for a little sweet snack. I use it in homemade cranberry relish with cranberries and pears.

  15. I wonder if it would peel more easily AFTER it’s boiled and cooled? Hmm . .

    The nature-granola type stores here usually carry crystallized ginger, but it would be nice to make my own. I chop it up to use in cookies, or even in Asian recipes where a touch of sweetness won’t hurt anything. Or just eat it out of hand!

  16. I have also heard of a ‘hand of ginger.’ There…that is two people…must be true.

    The first time I bought some candied ginger I found it in a very high-end store. It was VERY expensive and I needed some so I meted it out in drips and drabs until it got too hard. After two years or so (okay maybe it was five…or more), it just ain’t the same. Then I would occasionally find some in the store and would grab it up and use it with abandon until it was gone (I also like it in tea).

    Since fresh ginger is pretty much readily available I can now make my own candied ginger and drink it as much as I want.

    Thank you, AM.

  17. I am really excited to try this. I just love ginger and it is so good for you. A little over a year ago we had a Japanese exchange student stay at our house. She had a cold and wasn’t feeling good. I did some looking on the internet and found a ginger tea of sorts. You just take some ginger root, peal it and put it in boiling water and the juice of ½ a lemon. Then add honey to taste. It was really good and even my picky teens drank it.

  18. edj – I think I’ll try it then! Thanks!

    Today I’ve made candied orange peel, and I think I’m going to have to bottle up all this orange-infused simple syrup as hostess gifts or something. Cannot believe how much it made. Two sets of Christmas gifts in one, I guess. 😀

  19. Thinking if ginger is a cure for nausea I could convince my husband we need another baby. And then I can eat candied ginger everyday, all day and not feel bad about it?

  20. My only exposure to ginger is at our sushi restaurant where I have recently learned to like the taste of the sweetened ginger slices. I used to think it tasted like cleaning fluid, but now I really enjoy it with a nice piece of yellowtail tuna.

    I think I might have to try this. My husband and I love hot tea and this sounds really tasty!

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