Crystallized Ginger – candy is dandy, and easy peasy, too!

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(Homemade Crystallized Ginger – recipe in post)

Crystallized ginger is an old favorite of mine. When I was a kid my mom always had a bag stashed somewhere, so I suppose you could say it runs in the family. With such a big kick, you wouldn’t think a little kid would like such a treat… but the spicy bite didn’t stop me.

Candying your own isn’t difficult, either. The hardest part, by far, is peeling all the ginger – but don’t worry, it’s worth it. Not only is this just as delicious as store-bought, but it’s quite a bit cheaper. Plus, you get bragging rights that you made it yourself. Bonus!

And of course we’re all familiar with the classic sugar-tossed slices, but have you ever had chocolate-covered candied ginger? If not, you are in for a serious treat. Dark chocolate cuts through that sharp bite of heat, and the whole thing mingles into one perfect ginger experience. This stuff can be hard to find on the shelves, too, so is just one more reason to make your own.

Crystallized Ginger
(Recipe adapted from Alton Brown)

1 lb. fresh ginger root (buy slightly more than a pound, as you will lose some from peeling)
1 lb. granulated sugar

Extra sugar for tossing, or chocolate for coating (I recommend dark)


First, lightly grease or spray a cooling rack, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil. Set aside.

collage 1
(Tip: to tell if ginger is fresh, squeeze it between your thumb and forefinger. It should be firm, and have little to no give. Next, break off a chunk. It should snap off crisply, and reveal a yellow (not green, grey, or faded) interior. The smell should be clean and fresh)

Peel all of the ginger. When peeling this much at once, I suggest wearing gloves (un-powdered, latex-free, such as Nitrile) to prevent any skin irritation.

collage 2
(Tip: to peel, scrape the edge of a spoon along the ginger to peel away just the outer skin, and to prevent any possible cuts from a vegetable peeler. A spoon will also help get into bends and around knobs. Peeling is by far the most labor-intensive part, but can be done ahead of time. store peeled ginger in the freezer to be used at a later date. For this recipe, if using frozen ginger, I suggest slicing it cold and then letting it come to room temperature before continuing with the recipe)

Carefully slice the peeled ginger very thinly, using either a mandolin slicer or a very sharp knife.

Weigh your slices, and measure out an equal amount of sugar. If you don’t have a scale, but weighed your ginger when buying it, you can use that weight as an estimate. One pound of granulated sugar is about 2 level cups. Set sugar aside.

Place ginger slices in a medium size pot, and fill with just enough cold water to cover all of the ginger.
Set over medium-high heat, and cook for about 40-50 minutes, or until the ginger is fairly tender.

Strain the ginger, reserving the water in a bowl for later. (You will need 1/3 cup for the rest of this recipe, but any extra can be mixed with honey to make tea, or stirred into other tea or beverages. Be careful though – it’s potent stuff!)

Return the ginger to the pot, along with 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid. Add in the sugar, and set over medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 20 minutes. Swirl the pot from time to time to make sure all of the ginger is covered, and the sugar isn’t burning, but do not stir.

collage 3
(Tip: stirring or agitating will introduce crystals into the sugar – which, technically, is fine. If this happens, simple dump the ginger out onto your cooling rack and spread it apart to cool. Once it’s dry, knock off any large chunks of sugar and store in an airtight container. However – this will result in a rougher looking ginger, with more crunch to the sugar exterior, and will mean you won’t have any of this wonderful ginger-infused syrup left over.)

Set a colander or fine mesh sieve over a jar or other heat-proof container and strain the ginger. Spread candied ginger onto your prepared cooling rack and let it dry for at least 2-3 hours, or as long as overnight.

collage 4
(Tip: this syrup can be used later, added to seltzer water like ginger-ale, or drizzled over ice cream – divine!)

Fill a small container or baggie with granulated sugar, add several slices of ginger, and toss to coat. Set aside and repeat until all of the ginger is covered.

collage 5

Or, melt chocolate in 20 second intervals in the microwave. Add ginger, stir, and remove to a parchment or foil lined plat or tray. Chill in the fridge 10-15 minutes, or until the chocolate is fully hardened.

collage 6

Store candied ginger in an airtight container or baggie at room temperature (or in the fridge, if chocolate covered). Candied ginger should easily last several months – you know, in case you forget it’s there and don’t eat all of it.
I’m not sure how many of ginger’s wonderful health benefits there really are after it’s been boiled in sugar and dipped in chocolate… but let’s just assume it’s still a good-for-you treat!


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30 Responses to Crystallized Ginger – candy is dandy, and easy peasy, too!

  1. Carrie March 30, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Wonder how it would work using a pressure cooker…might try it soon. Pinning. Thanks for the idea.

    • Willow March 30, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

      You’re welcome! I’m not very familiar with using pressure cookers, so I couldn’t say… if you try it, let me know how it goes!

  2. Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes March 30, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    So when can I come over for a cup of tea with sole the intent to devour a pound of your chocolate covered ginger, and perhaps make a cocktail or two with the syrup. I would be inclined just to make this for the syrup – nice post Willow!

    • Willow March 30, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

      You can come over any time! Except… the ginger is gone already. I made it (mostly) as a special treat for my mom. You could fight her for it, but I wouldn’t recommend it. :P

      And yeah, the syrup is such a great bonus. Cocktails are a great idea, too… I’ll have to try that!

  3. Anonymous March 31, 2012 at 7:32 am #

    Thank you for the recipe. It looks easy enough to do, I’d really like to give it a go as my husband loves eating ginger. The syrup is an added bonus too.

  4. Kavey March 31, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    I’d always been told I couldn’t / shouldn’t do this with normal root ginger that we can buy in the shops as candied ginger was made from the young stems. But yours looks divine so I shall ignore the voices and have a go!

    • Willow March 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

      Now that you mention it, I think I’ve heard that before as well. This was perhaps a bit sharper than the crystallized ginger in the store, but if you wanted a milder flavor you could just replace some of the 1/3rd cup ginger juice with fresh water – that’s where a lot of the punch comes from.
      Hope you like the results!

  5. Kat March 31, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    My mom loves candied ginger, but I always found it a tad too spicy (which is weird, because I have a high tolerance for spicy things). But I’m curious about the chocolate option which I’ve never tried. So easy to make too, thanks for sharing!!

    • Willow March 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

      The chocolate definitely cuts some of the bite – and as I mentioned in previous comments, this was a little sharper than the average, but I’m sure that could be tempered by using some fresh water in place of the ginger juice. :)

  6. Jen @ Juanita's Cocina March 31, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

    I have never had candied ginger.

    I know…what?

    I have no excuse now! Can’t wait to try this out. And once again, gorgeous pics!

    • Willow March 31, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

      Thanks! If you just want to try some (I know a lot of people who are not a fan) I’d suggest buying a little bit (you can sometimes find it in the bulk section at places like whole foods) or making a half batch. One pound is quite a lot! :)

  7. Choc Chip Uru April 1, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    What a simple and delicious and relatively healthy candy :D
    Awesome pics!

    Choc Chip Uru

  8. Valerie @ From Valerie's Kitchen April 1, 2012 at 12:41 am #

    I’ve never tried this and…wow, the chocolate covered ones. Wow!

    • Willow April 1, 2012 at 1:15 am #

      If you’re a fan of ginger, you should definitely try it candied. I know a lot of people who aren’t fans – it’s pretty spicy – but I’ve always loved it. :)

  9. CleverPlumage (Hillery Sawyer) April 1, 2012 at 1:57 am #

    I love candied ginger and I am so excited to find this post today as I have been cooking with ginger all day. There are so many beautiful ‘bi-products’ that come from making this, it’s got me so excited. Ginger tea, ginger syrup, candied ginger, ginger-ale, chocolate covered candied ginger, ginger cock-tails! I am in heaven! Excellent post and so glad to have come across your blog!

    • Willow April 1, 2012 at 2:09 am #

      What serendipity! Always great to meet another ginger lover, and I’m so glad you liked this post. Thank you!

  10. Hester Casey April 1, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    I will never have to buy crystallised ginger again! Very informative n great pics

  11. Jena April 20, 2012 at 6:37 am #

    Ever eaten candied ginger for nausea? I ate candied ginger when I was in my first trimester and feeling nauseated, especially on this road trip we took… Maybe this would be a lovely gift to share with any expecting friends? I’vve tried making it before, but didn’t have much luck. Your directions look clearer, though, so I’ll bookmark it and try it.

    • Willow April 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

      Indeed, ginger is wonderful for digestion, as well as nausea! What a great idea to use it during pregnancy.

      I’m sorry it didn’t work for you in the past… what went wrong?

  12. susanna in KY May 30, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    I love love candied ginger even though I normally don’t like foods that bite (like peppers). I like to put chopped candied ginger in ginger cookies – mmm mmm – or just eat it straight from the package. A lot of bang for the calories. I’ve wanted to make it myself, so now I know how! Thanks!

    • Willow June 2, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

      Wonderful! Just a heads up, I find that most homemade ginger results in a little more kick than the store-bought. If you want to make it with a little less bite, it may help to replace some or all of the 1/3rd cup reserved ginger juice with fresh water. Hope you enjoy! :)

  13. Yvonne January 15, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

    Sees Candy used to sell the best chocolate covered candied ginger. Very spicy. It was my favorite. They no longer sell it, so I will have to make my own !!! After reading this, I will use mature ginger as it’s the spiciness I crave and ginger is cheap, at least here in Los Angeles. Only, I would rather buy more ginger and use a knife to peel, as I don’t believe I have the patience for the spoon peeling technique. Thanks so much for publishing this.

    On a side note, I also have a number of gingers growing in my garden for the decorative factor. Don’t know if any of them are edible, but I certainly love both the foliage and the flowers. Interestingly enough, the flowers are often perfumy–totally different from the rhizomes which smell like the ginger we all know.

    • Willow Arlen January 18, 2015 at 5:08 pm #

      You’re welcome, Yvonne! That’s so cool that you have ginger in your garden — I don’t think I’ve ever seen a ginger plant in person, but it sounds beautiful!

  14. GardenerZ November 18, 2015 at 6:12 pm #

    I raise ghost peppers and love HOT stuff. I grind ‘old’ ginger root in my K-Tech blender and make ‘hot’ ginger syrup for Pcakes n Waffles. Delish!! I use some of the syrup [thickened] to mix in with melted chocolate and make a thin ‘ ginger bark’. MMM mm MMM mm MMM MMM MMM! Delish in sweet relish also. Yes, I chop fresh ginger in my food processor to 8th inch chunks and use in ginger cookies. For me, it makes the cookies. Plus now n then for a while afterwards I’ll get a chunk of ginger dislodge from somewhere and I get to chew it all by itself. Make your own pudding? Make it ginger flavored. OR chocolate ginger pudding? Ginger pcakes n waffles. Ginger chunks in a coffee [chocolate] cake. Etc. Don’t stay inside the box. Do you make hard candy or Jelly candy? [Gummies] Candied yams with 8th inch chunks for Turkey Day? Ginger in stuffing?

    • Willow Arlen November 19, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

      Those are all great ideas, thanks for sharing!

  15. Azza October 25, 2017 at 7:01 am #

    Thanks for the recipe
    I didn’t add water, instead I let Ginger soak in the sugar overnight and followed the steps,then rolled in Cinnamon instead of sugar, trying to avoid more sugar added, thanks again…?

    • Willow Arlen October 28, 2017 at 6:51 pm #

      Thanks for sharing, Azza! I’ll have to give that a try, it sounds interesting with the cinnamon!

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