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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

How To Crystallize Ginger Without Sugar



Make your own sweet fiery treat--without traditional sugar!
Make your own sweet fiery treat–without traditional sugar!

Crystallized ginger is a perfect sweet treat for any time of the year. It’s a great, healthy alternative to candy, with a spicy-sweet taste that can curb your sweet tooth cravings. It’s also a perfect way to get kids to eat their veggies. So how do you crystallize ginger without sugar?

Ginger has some amazing health benefits for people of all ages. Cultures all over the world use it to soothe digestive issues, headaches, inflammation, and more. But when you crystallize ginger with sugar, you may be cancelling out some of those health benefits by bringing on the potentially harmful side effects of sugar.

Get all the goodness of crystallized ginger without the added sugar with the recipes below:


Using honey instead of sugar to crystallize your ginger provides even more added health benefits and a naturally sweet taste. Honey has been shown to have numerous health benefits, from aiding in digestion to immune support. Honey and ginger together provide a great alternative to dessert, or a quick snack, when your stomach isn’t feeling so great and a regular sweet treat wouldn’t help.

Jarware Honey Dipper Lid for Regular Mouth Mason Jars, Orange

Turn a regular mason jar into a
honey pot with this lid from Amazon.

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For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • 1 pound of fresh ginger
  • 1 and ½ cups of honey
  • 1 and ½ cups of filtered water

Step 1 – prep

Wash and peel your ginger, then slice it very thin.

Step 2 – simmer

Place all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover and leave it on low heat for 30 minutes. Remove lid and let simmer on low heat for another 30 minutes. Ginger should be tender after this step.

The All-Clad Stainless Steel Sauce Pan from Amazon is perfect for crystallizing ginger.

All-Clad BD55201.5 D5 Brushed 18/10 Stainless Steel 5-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Sauce Pan Cookware, 1.5-Quart, Silver

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Step 3 – strain

Remove from pan and let cool. Pour through a strainer until all extra syrup falls off ginger pieces.

Step 4 – let dry

Set leftover pieces on a wire rack or wax paper to dry and crystallize. Let sit for 12 hours, then enjoy your honey-crystallized ginger snack.

Hamilton Housewares at Amazon makes a great wire rack for cooling and drying food.

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Maple Syrup

This recipe is very similar to the honey option, but with maple syrup, you’ll get a smokier sweet taste than you would with honey. It’s also a great, natural alternative to sugar.

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups of ginger root
  • 2 cups of water
  • ¼ cup of maple syrup

Peel and slice ginger. Add all ingredients to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and leave to simmer for 30 minutes. Strain out the ginger and set out to dry on a drying rack or parchment paper. They should be dry and ready to eat in about 8-12 hours.

Once your ginger is crystallized, store it in this airtight Montana jar from Amazon.

Montana Jar with Brushed Metal Lid, 1.5 Gallon

View on Amazon

Coconut Sugar

Coconut sugar is a great alternative to traditional sugar. It’s made from a coconut palm, so while it has the same amount of calories and sweetness as regular sugar, it has higher levels of iron, zinc, potassium, and calcium along with a lower glycemic index.

For coconut sugar crystallization, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of sliced ginger
  • 1 cup of coconut sugar (and a little extra to coat – optional)
  • 3 cups of water
Beautiful, healthy, delicious. Ginger for everyone!

Beautiful, healthy, delicious. Ginger for everyone!

Step 1 – boil

Bring water to a boil in covered saucepan. Add ginger and sugar.

Step 2 – simmer

Reduce heat and let simmer for five minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 20 minutes while warming the oven to 200°F.

Step 3 – bake

Place the ginger slices into a glass pan and in the oven until the slices are somewhat dry, but still supple.

Line your glass pan with these Amazon Basics silicone mats and avoid sticking.

AmazonBasics Silicone, Non-Stick, Food Safe Baking Mat - Pack of 2

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Step 4 – cool

Allow pieces to cool. Lightly coat the slices by sprinkling the extra sugar over them, if desired.

Sugar Substitute

And of course, you can always use a familiar sugar substitute like stevia to make your candied crystallized ginger. You can also sprinkle this (or the coconut sugar) on top of the honey or maple syrup recipes for added sweetness!

Use the same process detailed in the coconut sugar recipe above using your sugar substitute of choice for this option.

Other Crystallizing Tips

When slicing your ginger, try using a spoon. This will make curvy, fun, even pieces. For more of a crunch, slice the ginger very thinly. If you want your crystallized snacks to be chewier, slice them thicker.

You can also use the leftover liquid that comes from cooking and straining your ginger. Make it into ginger ale by putting it through a fermentation process. Add it to sparkling water or tea. Drizzle it over some ice cream or on a snow cone.


Whichever alternative you choose, crystallized ginger is a great, healthy treat for anyone looking for a sweet alternative to traditional sugary treats.

Additional Resources