Looking for the best cinnamon substitute? I’ve gathered all of my favorite and best cinnamon substitutes in one place just for you!
Cinnamon is a popular spice made from the inner bark of different tree species belonging to the genus Cinnamomum.
The four major types of the condiment are cassia or Chinese cinnamon, Vietnamese or Saigon cinnamon, Indonesian cinnamon, and Ceylon cinnamon, also known as true cinnamon.
Well-known in Sri-Lankan and Indian cuisine, cinnamon adds a distinctive spicy-sweet flavor in both sweet recipes and savory dishes.
And you can purchase whole cinnamon sticks along with the cinnamon powder and cinnamon extract in the spice aisle.
If you don’t have cinnamon on hand, can’t find one in your local grocery store, or have a cinnamon allergy, you may wonder whether any substitutes also provide a similar flavor or appearance.
Big YES! Some aromatic spices and ingredients can be used in place of cinnamon in cooking and baking.
Check out #6—my best substitute for cinnamon sticks—this underrated spice offers a similar flavor profile to that popular spice cinnamon!
The flavor of cinnamon depends on the variety of the spice.
But generally, cinnamon features a sweet and woody taste with a slight citrusy nuance and spicy flavor profile due to the presence of aromatic compound cinnamaldehyde.
Of the four main varieties of cinnamon, Saigon and cassia cinnamon have the highest cinnamaldehyde content and stronger flavor. Indonesian cinnamon tends to be less spicy with a balanced warm and woodsy undertone suitable for baking.
Meanwhile, Ceylon cinnamon has a medley of fruity, floral, and clove-like flavor with a mildly spicy taste.
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How cinnamon is often used
Cinnamon is often used in baked or sweet dishes including cinnamon rolls and cinnamon buns.
It’s one of the key ingredients in making Chinese five-spice powder along with fennel seeds, star anise, and garlic powder (ground cloves).
It’s used to flavor savory dishes, too!
Here are other unique ways to use that cinnamon in your spice rack.
- Combine cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and ginger to create a pumpkin pie spice. Don’t miss this apple pie spice, too!
- Use cinnamon to make these easy yet delicious cupcakes.
- Make this buttercream frosting by mixing sugar, milk, vanilla, butter, and cinnamon.
- Add that nice cinnamon flavor to your baked apple slices.
- Use the ground spice to make this nice and toasty cinnamon French toast.
- Fuse the fragrant spice with vanilla extract, butter, and powdered sugar and make this homemade cinnamon butter.
- Make our version of cinnamon sugar by mixing ground cinnamon and brown sugar.
- Add them to popcorn!
- Treat your taste buds with this luscious carrot cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.
- Take your banana bread to the next level by adding cinnamon!
- Make this hot chocolate with cinnamon to keep you cozy.
- Use ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks to make this cinnamon coffee.
- Make this warming pumpkin chili with cinnamon, pumpkin puree, and ground beef.
- Season chicken with warm spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
Substitutes and how to use them
Cinnamon is versatile, making it a sought-after ingredient for making.
In case you’re running out of cinnamon or just want to avoid the ingredient, here are the best cinnamon substitutes you can rely on when you’re in a pinch.
For ground cinnamon
1. Ground nutmeg
Instructions: Use 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg for every teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
Nutmeg is one of the best-known spices and is found in most kitchens.
Scientifically called myristica fragrans, nutmeg refers to the seed of an evergreen tree native to Indonesia, India, and Malaysia.
It features this intense, warm flavor and offers a similar amount of sweetness to cinnamon, making it a good substitute for the said spice.
As a replacement, use 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg for every teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
Instructions: Substitute ground cinnamon with cardamom in a 1:1 ratio.
Cardamom is a spice that comes from the seeds of various plants in the ginger family.
It’s also known as cardamon or cardamum.
Its flavor is often described as piney and citrusy with sweet and spicy undertones. It is also commonly found in kitchen pantries, making the ingredient a convenient alternative to cinnamon.
You can use an equal amount of it as ground cinnamon in any recipe, meaning if your recipe calls for a teaspoon of cinnamon, you can replace it with a teaspoon of cardamom instead.
3. Ground ginger
Instructions: Substitute ground cinnamon with ground ginger in a 1:1 ratio.
Another great option to replace ground cinnamon is ground ginger.
Ground ginger, sometimes called powdered ginger, is made by drying peeled fresh ginger root, then grinding it into a fine powder.
Its flavor is described as slightly sweet, peppery, and a bit floral.
This ground form of ginger is a great substitute for cinnamon in baking.
It works best in sweet treats such as cakes, cookies, and milkshakes.
Use an equal amount of ground ginger in recipes that call for cinnamon.
Instructions: Replace 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon with 1/4 teaspoon of allspice.
Another good cinnamon substitute is allspice. Allspice is a common spice used in Greek, Jamaican, and Middle Eastern cuisines.
The ingredient mixes well with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and eggplant, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes.
The flavor of the spice is sometimes described as a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, and juniper berries.
In your recipe, replace 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon with 1/4 teaspoon of allspice.
For cinnamon sticks
Instructions: Substitute cinnamon sticks with cloves in a 1:1 ratio.
Cloves refer to the flower buds of the clove tree, an evergreen also known as Syzygium aromaticum.
They’re best known for mildly spicy and subtly sweet flavors perfect for gingerbread baked goods.
The pungent spice works well with savory dishes such as meat, sauces, and rice-based recipes.
As a cinnamon alternative, use whole cloves in equal parts to the requirement for cinnamon sticks.
Another thing, you can also replace ground cinnamon with ground cloves in a 1:1 ratio.
Instructions: Replace your cinnamon sticks with mace in equal quantities.
If you haven’t heard about this spice, mace comes from the protective coating of the nutmeg seeds.
It’s a great cinnamon stick substitute thanks to its warm, pepper, sweet, and spicy flavor close to cinnamon.
Since the flavor of mace and cinnamon is somehow similar, you can easily replace your cinnamon sticks with mace in equal quantities in most recipes.
Cinnamon, whether it’s whole (stick) or ground version, can elevate the overall flavor of various recipes ranging from savory dishes, drinks to baked goods.
We all run out of cinnamon some days.
Luckily, there are plenty of cinnamon substitutes you can use in baking and cooking.
Most of the spices I’ve mentioned above can be used at a 1:1 ratio, but it’s recommended to add less at first to prevent the substitute spice from overpowering your dish.