What does one knob of ginger mean?

Ginger is a popular spice used in many cuisines around the world. It adds a distinct flavor and kick to both savory and sweet dishes. When following a recipe, you may come across an ingredient amount listed as “one knob of ginger.” But what exactly does this measurement mean?

Defining a Knob of Ginger

A knob refers to a single piece or section of a ginger root. Ginger grows underground in knotty rhizomes, which are the underground stem portions of the plant. The knobs or knots are the rounded sections between the root-like growths.

When harvesting ginger, these knobby sections are often broken off individually. A single knob is about the size of a garlic clove or a thumb, usually around 1-1.5 inches (2.5-3.8cm) long. It may weigh approximately 15 grams or 0.5 ounces.

Appearance of a Knob

A knob of ginger may be wider at one end and tapered at the other. It generally has a rounded, bulbous shape. The knob may have some narrower tentacle-like sections attached where it broke off from the rest of the rhizome.

The outside skin is a tan, beige, or light brown color. When peeled, the inside flesh is pale yellow with a fibrous, stringy texture. The interior color may also vary from pale yellow to deeper golden tones depending on the variety.

Equivalent Amounts

When shopping, you may come across ginger labeled and sold individually in knobs, fingers, or hands. Here are some equivalent amounts:

  • 1 knob = 1 inch piece
  • 1-inch knob = 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 ounce knob = 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 4-5 knobs = 1 ounce

For convenience, recipes may also list grated ginger amounts instead of knobs:

  • 1 knob = 1 tablespoon grated
  • 2 knobs = 2 tablespoons grated
  • 1/4 cup grated ginger = about 4 knobs

Substituting Knobs with Other Forms of Ginger

When a recipe calls for knobs of ginger, you can substitute with these approximate options:

Fresh ginger Substitute
1 knob 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 knob 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
2-3 knobs 1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 inch knob 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Keep in mind ground ginger may have a more intense concentrated flavor compared to fresh. Start with less than the recipe calls for and add more to taste.

How to Prepare and Use Knobs of Ginger

Preparing ginger knobs takes just a few easy steps:

  1. Rinse the ginger under cool water and scrub off any dirt with a vegetable brush.
  2. Trim off any dry, thin ends or roots using a paring knife.
  3. Peel the ginger with a vegetable peeler or spoon to remove the tough outer skin.
  4. Grate, mince, slice, or julienne the ginger depending on the recipe instructions.

To maximize freshness and flavor, try to buy ginger knobs as needed and prepare them right before cooking or using in a recipe. Wrap any unused peeled knobs tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to three weeks.

Here are some ways to use knobs of ginger:

  • Add minced ginger to stir fries, curries, soups, and noodle dishes.
  • Mix grated ginger into marinades, dressings, and sauces.
  • Steep sliced ginger in hot water for fresh ginger tea.
  • Bake goods like gingersnaps, gingerbread, and molasses cake.
  • Juice fresh ginger or add to smoothies.
  • Pickle ginger to make Beni shoga red ginger to top sushi.

Ginger Knob Conversions

When working with knobs of ginger, here are some useful conversions to reference:

1 knob ginger Equals
1 inch piece 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
15 grams 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
0.5 ounces 1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon grated 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Sample Recipes Using Knobs of Ginger

To give you an idea of how knobs of ginger are used in recipes, here are a few examples:

Ginger Soy Salmon

2-3 knobs ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
4 6-ounce salmon fillets

  1. Combine grated ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and honey in a small bowl. Add salmon fillets and turn to coat.
  2. Marinate salmon for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through.
  3. Bake salmon on foil-lined baking sheet at 400°F for 12-15 minutes until cooked through.

Carrot Ginger Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 knobs ginger, minced

1 lb carrots, chopped
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of nutmeg

  1. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Sauté onion and ginger 3-5 minutes until soft.
  2. Add carrots and cook 2 minutes more. Pour in broth and season with salt and nutmeg.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 20-25 minutes until carrots are tender.
  4. Puree soup until smooth. Adjust seasoning as needed.

Ginger Molasses Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg

1/4 cup molasses
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 knob ginger, grated

Pinch of cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. Beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses.
  2. In separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, grated ginger, cloves, and salt.
  3. Gradually mix dry ingredients into wet. Chill dough 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  5. Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.

Key Takeaways

When it comes to knobs of ginger, keep these tips in mind:

  • A knob refers to a single piece of ginger root about 1-1.5 inches long or the size of a garlic clove.
  • On average, a one inch knob weighs about 15 grams or 0.5 ounces.
  • Peel the tan outer skin before grating, mincing, or slicing the pale yellow interior flesh.
  • 1 knob equals about 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger.
  • Substitute 1 knob ginger with 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.
  • Add knobs of ginger to Asian dishes, marinades, baked goods, and beverages.

Equipped with this handy knob conversion information, you can measure ginger with ease for any recipe.


When a recipe calls for a knob of ginger, it refers to a single section of ginger root about 1 inch long or the size of a garlic clove. A knob weighs approximately 15 grams and equals 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger. Knobs add delicious flavor to many dishes and can be substituted with ground ginger in a pinch. With this handy conversion guide, you can seamlessly work with knobs of ginger in all your favorite recipes.

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