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Why and How to Harvest Cardamom Seeds

By Andrea Geary Published

When you buy ground cardamom, chances are it's been pulverized from the whole pod, according to Ethan Frisch of the spice company Burlap & Barrel. Yet the vast majority of the spice's flavor comes from its seeds. While packaged seeds are available in South Asian markets and from specialty purveyors, they're far pricier than ground cardamom or intact pods, since extracting the seeds (a process called decorticating) is labor-intensive.

But you can save yourself money—and experience cardamom's full potency—by extracting these little seeds from the pods yourself and crushing or grinding them on their own for Swedish recipes such as kanelbullar or South Asian specialties such as garam masala. Here are two good methods. (Note: Twelve cardamom pods will yield about 1 teaspoon of whole or coarsely ground seeds or ¾ teaspoon of finely ground seeds.)

For Bigger Batches

1. Pulse whole cardamom pods, 2 tablespoons at a time, in spice grinder until pods break open and seeds are released. Transfer pods and seeds to small bowl.

2. Fill bowl with water and agitate briefly. Let sit for 1 minute, so seeds sink to bottom and lighter pods float to top.

3. Pour water and pods off top, then add more water to bowl and repeat process until no pods rise to top.

4. Use fine-mesh strainer to drain seeds well (discard any remaining empty pods) and spread in thin layer on smooth dish towel. Blot dry with second towel. If using immediately, it's fine to grind seeds while they're damp. If storing, allow seeds to dry fully before transferring to airtight container.

For Smaller Batches

Smash a few pods at a time in mortar and pestle, then separate out seeds.

Learn More About Cardamom

Confused about the differences among green cardamom, white cardamom, and black cardamom? This article can help. 

Recipe Kanelbullar (Swedish Cinnamon Buns)

The sugar-and-spice delights known as kanelbullar feature a rich dough that's perfumed with cardamom and swirled with cinnamon and butter.

Recipe Orange-Cardamom Latin Flan

This cousin to Spanish-style flan and crème caramel boasts a dense, sweet profile and rich toffee-like flavor. Orange zest and ground cardamom brighten up the custard.

Recipe Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

For a springtime dessert with a twist, we layer a cardamom-and-lemon-scented batter with jammy rhubarb and a crunchy almond streusel.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.