Spice Hacks: Best Grains of Paradise Substitute?

Grains of paradise is a well-known West African spice which is used to provide dishes with a peppery flavor with complex notes of ginger and cardamom. This is a common ingredient in ras el hanout blends in Moroccan cooking. This spice is extremely valuable in terms of flavoring when making beer or authentic Nigerian recipes. This spice tends to be a bit pricier than some, but there are some good alternatives or substitutes to grains of paradise.

Grains of Paradise Substitutes

Black Peppercorns

One of the most common ingredients in your spice rack may be the perfect substitute to Grains of Paradise. It’s an effective alternative because of the similarities in flavor, and they are also very similar in appearance. Take note that black peppercorns may give a bit more kick compared with grains of paradise. You may want to add less than what your recipe requires.


Cardamom is a spice which originates from India and is a member of the ginger family. Grains of paradise is a close relative of cardamom and they have certain similarities. This spice does not add a lot of heat to dishes, so you may want to add a little black pepper just for the kick. Cardamom, like grains of paradise, should be added last as its flavor does not hold well to long cooking times.

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