10 Grain Of Paradise Substitutes 


If you’re out of a grain of paradise and looking for a substitute, never fear!

Here are 10 possible substitutes that you can use to give your dish the same flavor profile.

From allspice to cardamom, there’s bound to be a spice in your pantry that can do the job.

Let’s find out right away what they are!

10 Grain Of Paradise Substitutes 

Here are my top picks for substituting Grain of Paradise. 

1. Black Pepper

Black pepper is believed to be the closest alternative to grains of paradise with its similar flavor profile to clove and nutmeg flavors. 

It is important to know that compared to grains of paradise, ground black pepper has a lighter flavor and milder texture and should be measured accordingly. 

How to substitute

It is suggested to add a slightly more quantity of black pepper compared to grains of paradise when substituting.

Black pepper chicken.

2. Cardamom Pods

Cardamom pods are an essential part of many South-Asian cuisines for their rich aroma and noticeable presence in any dish it is added to. 

Although cardamom pods make an efficient substitute for grains of paradise, their average cost worldwide has risen as they are not widely produced outside Asia. 

How to substitute

Grains of Paradise can be substituted for ½ a teaspoon of Cardamom pods and ½ a teaspoon of ground black pepper for dishes such as curries, stews, meat dishes, and more.

Cardamom and cinnamon rice.

3. Sansho Powder

Sansho powder is a Japanese native spice often used in Teriyaki recipes to provide it with a tangy, smoky, peppery, and mildly spicy flavor. 

Do note that it is rather difficult to find Sansho powder in stores outside of Japan and some other Asian stores making it an unlikely alternative. 

How to substitute

Equal amounts of Grains of paradise and Sansho powder can be used to substitute for each other for most recipes.

Tasting Sansho peppers.

4. Pink Peppercorns

Pink peppercorns are most commonly preferred for their equally sweet and spicy flavors that can substitute for Grains of paradise in meat and fish dishes, sauces, and even drinks. 

It is recommended to blend in a small amount of ginger to pink peppercorns to accurately replicate the intense flavors of grains of paradise. 

How to substitute

Equal amounts of pink peppercorns and additional amounts of ginger should efficiently substitute for the required amount of grains of paradise.

Steak with Pink Peppercorn sauce.

5. Pepperwort

Pepperwort is a citrusy and earthy herb often known for its sour and slightly peppery taste that can well substitute grains of paradise in many dishes. 

Remember that although pepperwort is an accessible alternative, its mild spice soon fades as it is cooked. Its aroma remains. 

How to substitute

Grains of paradise and Pepperwort can be substituted in an equal 1:1 ratio and increased if required so for the dish.

Learn more about Pepperwort here.

6. Green peppercorns

Green peppercorns, much like grains of paradise, have a heated and spicy flavor with a rich and almost fruity aroma, making them one of the best alternatives. 

Although green peppercorns are an effective alternative, they are often not found in their raw form but instead in the form of black pepper. 

How to substitute

Grains of paradise and Green peppercorns can be substituted for equal quantities of each other for most recipes.

Thai stir-fried seafood with Green Peppercorns.

7. Mustard Seeds

Mustard seeds are an interesting alternative found in all global markets and are known for their intense aroma and taste that can well substitute that of grains of paradise. 

Do remember that mustard seeds are often incorporated into South-Asian cuisines with a bunch of other spices due to their intensity. 

How to substitute

It is advisable to add a slightly lesser quantity of mustard seeds than the mentioned quantity of grains of paradise in the absence of other spices.

Mustard seeds and fenugreek rice.

8. Allspice Berries

Allspice berries are a major part of Mexican and Jamaican cuisines and are used in making barbeque sauce for their smoky yet sweet flavor. 

It is important to make sure that the store-bought pack of allspice berries is fresh, as the mild sweetness is only present if fresh and deteriorates s the berries dry. 

How to substitute

Equal or slightly more quantities of allspice berries should be used to substitute for the required quantity of grains of paradise.

Allspice tea.

9. Ground Ginger

Ground ginger makes another great alternative to grains of paradise as they both belong to the same family of ginger plant. 

However, when cooking with ground ginger, do remember that ginger alone is too mild. Combining ground ginger with ground black pepper is a closer match. 

How to substitute

Equal amounts of ground ginger and ground pepper should effectively substitute for the required amount of grains of paradise.

Ginger ground beef recipe.

10. Peppercorn Mix

The four organically colorful peppercorn mix available as a packaged product is yet another unique substitute for grains of paradise with all their unique features. 

It is essential to know that the combination of all four types of peppercorns, black, white, pink, and green, make quite an intense mix, making it unsuitable for most people. 

How to substitute

A slightly lesser amount of peppercorn mix should be used for substituting for grains of paradise due to their complex flavors.

All about the different types of Peppercorns.


What Is The Best Substitute For Grains Of Paradise? 

The best and closest substitutes for Grains of Paradise are Black pepper, Sansho powder, Allspice berries, Cardamom pods, and Mustard seeds. All these alternatives have a unique taste to them. 

Ground ginger is another great substitute that can also be added to other substitutes to give them a stronger and close flavor to grains of paradise.

Is Black Pepper The Same As Grains Of Paradise? 

No, although black pepper and grains of paradise look very much alike, they are not the same spice. Black pepper is spice berries, while grains of paradise are dried seeds. Black pepper originated in Asia, while the other in Africa. 

Due to their similar appearances, they are often the closest substitutes for each other.

What Is The Difference Between Grains Of Paradise And Alligator Pepper? 

The only difference between Grains of Paradise and Alligator pepper is in the way they are sold. Grains of Paradise are sold as packs containing just the round seeds, while Alligator pepper is sold with the whole pod. 

The Alligator pepper pod contains all the Grains of paradise seeds within and can be opened and used.

Can You Make Grains Of Paradise At Home? 

No, Grains of Paradise cannot be prepared at home as they are botanically obtained seeds with a spicy and aromatic complex flavor. However, its taste can be replicated by combining equal amounts of ground black pepper, ground cardamom, and ground ginger. 

The taste of this homemade mic would be significantly different from that of real grains of paradise but it can still be a close alternative. 

Bottom Line

Did this article help you? Have you ever used any of these substitutes for grain of paradise?

Do you have a go-to spice that you like to use in place of grain of paradise?

Share your experiences and tips in the comments below! And don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family if you found it helpful!

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About Pratibha Singh

Pratibha is a popular home chef and loves to prepare some amazing Indian dishes. A foodie to the core she enjoys other cuisines too. She has been cooking since childhood and often prepares meals for her family, friends, and even strangers. Her motto in life: “Always be prepared!”