Is ginger better peeled or unpeeled?

Ginger is a versatile and flavorful spice that can add kick to both sweet and savory dishes. Some recipes call for fresh ginger to be peeled before using, while others keep the skin on. So should you peel your ginger or leave the skin on? There are pros and cons to both options when it comes to taste, nutrition, and ease of use. Read on to learn more about how peel impacts ginger and get tips for prepping ginger to best suit your needs.

Appearance and Texture

One of the most noticeable differences between peeled and unpeeled ginger is the appearance. Unpeeled ginger has a tan, thin skin covering the flesh. This skin can appear wrinkly and rough. The color of the flesh inside can vary from pale yellow to a light tan color.

Peeled ginger has a smooth, exposed flesh that is soft and juicy in texture. Without the skin, it loses the fibrous texture the skin contributes. The color of the flesh is brighter without the skin covering it.

Ginger Type Appearance Texture
Unpeeled Tan, wrinkly skin. Flesh varies from pale yellow to tan. Fibrous and rough
Peeled Smooth, bright yellow/tan flesh exposed Soft and juicy

Flavor Differences

In addition to appearance, peeled and unpeeled ginger also differ slightly in flavor. The ginger skin has a woodier, more bitter taste compared to the juicy flesh inside. Peeling ginger removes that rough top layer and exposes the smooth, pure ginger flavor within.

However, some enjoy the extra flavor dimension the skin adds. When cooked in dishes, the skin breaks down and doesn’t significantly alter the end result. The skin also contains higher amounts of gingerol, the compound that gives ginger its signature spicy, bright taste.

Ginger Type Flavor
Unpeeled Slightly more bitter, fibrous texture
Peeled Pure, clean ginger taste

Nutrition Content

Many of ginger’s beneficial nutrients are most concentrated in the skin. Peeling ginger removes some of these nutrients, but ginger is still quite healthy either way. The nutrition values can vary slightly depending on how much skin is removed.

Here is a nutritional comparison of a 100 gram serving of raw peeled ginger vs. raw unpeeled ginger:

Nutrient Raw, Peeled Ginger (100g) Raw, Unpeeled Ginger (100g)
Calories 80 86
Total Fat 0.8g 0.9g
Carbs 18g 17g
Protein 1.8g 1.7g
Fiber 2g 3g
Manganese 0.2mg (11% DV) 0.3mg (14% DV)
Vitamin C 5mg (6% DV) 6mg (7% DV)
Vitamin B6 0.2mg (9% DV) 0.3mg (14% DV)
Magnesium 25mg (6% DV) 43mg (11% DV)
Potassium 415mg (9% DV) 420mg (9% DV)

As you can see, unpeeled ginger contains slightly more of certain vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin B6, and magnesium. However, both peeled and unpeeled ginger offer benefits.

Ease of Use

Beyond nutrition and taste, the ease of using and prepping ginger is an important factor for many home cooks and bakers. Peeled ginger is easier to grate, slice, mince, or blend because the skin has already been removed.

With unpeeled ginger, the rough skin needs to be sliced off or scraped away before grating or mincing. Otherwise, small bits of skin can get incorporated into the dish. The extra step of peeling takes more time and can be tricky if the ginger has thin skin or irregular shapes.

On the other hand, unpeeled ginger has nature’s protective packaging so it may stay fresh longer. And for recipes where ginger is cooked whole or in large pieces, peeling is not necessary.

Ginger Type Ease of Use
Unpeeled May last longer when stored. Skin needs removing before grating or mincing.
Peeled Ready to use in recipes needing grated, minced, or blended ginger.

Best Uses for Peeled vs. Unpeeled Ginger

Knowing when it’s preferable to use peeled or unpeeled ginger can help streamline recipe preparation. Here are some best practices:

  • Use peeled ginger when:
    • Grating, mincing, or blending
    • Pure ginger flavor is desired
    • Smooth texture is wanted
    • Appearance matters, like in a slaw
  • Use unpeeled ginger when:
    • Adding whole pieces to simmered dishes
    • Making ginger tea
    • Juicing
    • Wanting ginger skin nutrients and flavor
    • Appearance doesn’t matter

For example, a ginger peach smoothie would be best with peeled ginger for an ultra smooth texture and pure ginger taste. Meanwhile, chicken soup can simmer with a whole unpeeled ginger knob to slowly impart flavor and then be fished out later.

How to Peel Ginger

While peeling ginger takes more effort than using it unpeeled, it’s easy to do with the proper technique and tools.

With a Spoon

A soup spoon can be used to scrape away the thin skin of ginger. Simply hold the ginger in one hand and use the edge of the spoon to scrape off the skin in strips. Run the spoon perpendicular along the ginger until all sides are peeled.

With a Vegetable Peeler

A swivel vegetable peeler works similarly to a spoon but even more easily slides under the ginger skin to remove it. Hold the ginger firmly, angling it as needed, and make long strokes down the sides with the peeler.

With a Paring Knife

A sharp paring knife can also peel ginger. Trim off any knobs or tips first. Then slice the skin off the sides by angling the knife slightly under the skin and making thin cuts down the ginger.


Ultimately there’s no right or wrong choice when it comes to using peeled or unpeeled ginger. Let your recipe, taste preferences, and how much time you have guide you. Ginger’s versatility makes it useful in all kinds of sweet and savory dishes either way. Keeping ginger root in your fridge or freezer, peeled and unpeeled, ensures you always have this bright ingredient ready to enhance meals and drinks with its unique kick.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *