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How to Peel, Grate and Chop Ginger

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How to Peel, Grate and Chop Ginger

As you can tell from many of my recipes, I love cooking with fresh ginger. It’s a versatile ingredient that works just as well in savory dishes, from Thai-style butternut squash soup to butter chicken, as it does in those on the sweet end of the spectrum, like my Stone Fruit Salad with Ginger Lime Syrup. It’s also a key ingredient in Asian cooking, adding a slightly sweet yet peppery flavor to stir-fries, sauces, marinades, and salad dressings.

If you’ve been reluctant to cook with fresh ginger because it’s hard to imagine how to get it from that knobby-looking root to a version that can enhance the flavor of your meals, read on for simple guidance on how to peel and grate ginger.

How to peel and Grate ginger

whole, unpeeled ginger

Put the ginger on your cutting board and using a sharp knife, cut it into manageable pieces and cut off any small knobs.

peeling ginger

Find a flat spot on the trimmed ginger so you can place it securely on the cutting board.

peeled ginger

Use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to remove the papery skin. While the skin is dry and rough, it’s thin, so once you start peeling, you’ll quickly reveal the flesh.

grated ginger

After you’ve peeled the ginger, grate it with a handheld grater or on the small holes on a cheese grater. (Ginger is very fibrous. The fibers run from the top to the bottom of the root. Hold the piece of ginger you are grating so that you grate across the grain of the fibers.)

Some recipes require chopped ginger instead of grated. To chop it, you’ll need to peel the ginger like you do in preparation for grating it.

How to Chop ginger

slicing ginger

Find a flat spot on the trimmed ginger and place it securely on the cutting board. (If necessary, cut off a thin slice off lengthwise and then lay the ginger on that side for a more stable surface.) Slice the ginger into 1/8-inch-thick slabs.

julienning ginger

Stack a few of the slabs and cut them lengthwise into 1/8-inch-wide strips. They should resemble matchsticks. Repeat this with the remaining slabs.

dicing ginger

Line the small strips up in a horizontal row and cut crosswise to dice.

making smaller dice

If your recipe calls for minced ginger, gather all of the chopped ginger into a pile and cut through it using a rocking motion with your knife.

diced ginger

Recipes that call for Fresh ginger

 

Comments

  • Hi Jennifer
    Finally, I know how to deal with fresh ginger! Is there a way to print this article?

    Thanks, Tannis

    • — Tannis Stewart on October 22, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Tannis, Glad you found it helpful! Unfortunately, there’s not an easy way to print this without getting a lot of extraneous content in there too. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on October 23, 2023
      • Reply
    • Tannis, If you have word processing software, e.g. Microsoft Word, you can first “Select All” text then Copy and Paste it into a blank word processing document. You will then be able to edit/delete the extraneous info/pictures before saving to you files. Good Luck.

      • — Tina Clements on November 10, 2023
      • Reply
  • Is it possible to use dried ground ginger instead of fresh ginger in a pinch? Thank you!

    • — Mary Spear on October 8, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Mary, when fresh ginger is called for in a recipe, I always recommend using that. That said, it is doable to use ground ginger instead although the amount will be different (1 tbsp of fresh ginger = 1/4 tsp of ground ginger).

      • — Jenn on October 9, 2023
      • Reply
  • I was SURE that in one of your other recipes you said peeling wasn’t necessary because the peel is so thin, so I have been chopping and mincing it without peeling. This has been so helpful, as I use ginger on at least a weekly basis! Did I dream that you said this? (Aren’t you proud that you’re in my dreams?) 😉

    • — Tess on July 1, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Tess, I do think you must’ve dreamt it. 😉 I always recommend peeling ginger.

      • — Jenn on July 3, 2023
      • Reply
    • I have seen other chefs on TV say that about the thin skin and not removing it. If it’s shredded it won’t make any difference.

      • — Jean Ellen on August 28, 2023
      • Reply
  • Never use a peeler for ginger, you waste half of it !! just scrape it with a butter knife and only the thin skin will be removed and no ginger.

    • — n. khan on June 23, 2023
    • Reply
    • Q: Embarrassed to ask — when you grate ginger, can/do you use the ginger that’s on the front of the grater or only that which falls /runs thru to the back side?

      • — Je on August 31, 2023
      • Reply
      • No need to feel embarrassed! Yes, you can use the ginger that clings to the grater.

        • — Jenn on September 1, 2023
        • Reply
  • If the ginger is fresh you can put chunks of it in a garlic press and it comes out like grated ginger.

    • — Eileen on June 6, 2023
    • Reply
    • Great tip!

      Thanks Eileen…I never thought of that before,but it makes sense 😊.

      Lisa

      • — Lisa on August 18, 2023
      • Reply
  • I find using a teaspoon to peel ginger is the easiest tool to use.

    • — Rich Locker on May 28, 2023
    • Reply
    • That’s how I do it also.

      • — Pamela on October 31, 2023
      • Reply
    • I came here to say this! Using the tip of a teaspoon is so quick and more maneuverable
      than a peeler and you loose less flesh.

      • — Carrie on February 4, 2024
      • Reply
  • Great tips! Thanks again, Jenn.
    So many recipes call for ginger amounts in variables of an inch, which confuses me as ginger root sizes can vary widely. Do you have a rule of thumb on translating measurements into weight or volume?

    • — John M. on May 27, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi John, I don’t – sorry! But I would say most recipes assume “1 inch” is a 1-in square (and 2 inches would be 2 in x 1 in).

      • — Jenn on May 29, 2023
      • Reply
      • Sounds good. Thanks!

        • — John M. on June 1, 2023
        • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Quick question, I also store ginger in the freezer, but find when you grate it frozen (with a microplane) it ends up looking like snow and seems to be a lot greater volume when put into a measuring spoon. I wonder if you let yours thaw a bit, prior to using your measuring spoon, and does that give you a truer volume measurement?

    Thanks!

    • — Gary on April 11, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Gary, I do let it thaw a bit before measuring it. 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 17, 2023
      • Reply
  • I store my ginger in the freezer, whole and unpeeled, in a zip top bag. I then cut off/break a piece off as needed. As for peeling, I find using a teaspoon (flatware, not measuring spoon) can be used to scrape off the thin peel. Cutting the ginger while it is still partially frozen helps too. I use ginger in a lot of my recipes and have done this for years.

    • — Kathleen on March 26, 2023
    • Reply
    • Thanks for the freezer storing tip. I’m always reluctant to buy a large piece of ginger for that very reason, then when I need it, I have to run out to buy some!

      • — Debra on March 26, 2023
      • Reply
  • I find storing left over ginger (unpeeled) in a jar filled with white wine keeps the ginger fresh longer. Plus you can use a splash of the gingery wine for flavouring other dishes.

    • — webley silvernail on July 14, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn – absolutely love your site and cookbooks. I recommend all the time. Your details and pictures are so helpful to all of us. Just thought you would want to know there is a word missing on the ginger tutorial. Under the 4th picture above (below the picture with the peeler in it) the word “knife” is missing.

    Have a great weekend.

    Cindy

    • — Cindy on May 20, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Cindy, So glad you like the recipes! 💗
      And thanks for pointing out that error. I just fixed it — it takes a village!

      • — Jenn on May 20, 2022
      • Reply
  • I like to freeze the entire ginger root. Then when it comes time to peel it, the peeling comes off so much easier.

    • — Bette Land on March 10, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! Can Ginger be stored in the freezer? And if so, is it necessary to peel it first?

    • Hi Sissy, Yes, pieces of ginger can be stored in the freezer and I would recommend peeling it first.

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