The 5 Best Substitutes For Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a popular spice around the world. Whether you’re allergic to cinnamon or ran out of it, we have listed the best substitutes.

What Is Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a spice used in various dishes throughout the world from sweet and savory dishes to spicy main meals. It’s a spice that comes from the inner bark of a cinnamon tree.

It’s a very versatile spice that has a notable sweet and woody flavor, but there are different types of cinnamon and can be used differently for particular recipes.

It’s undoubtedly a popular spice and is often called for in many types of recipes, but if you need a substitute, it’s important to understand how it’s used in the first place.


The two main types of cinnamon are cassia cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon which are very different.

Cassia cinnamon is the type that you find in most supermarkets throughout the world, however, it’s considered cheaper and lower in quality in comparison to Ceylon Cinnamon.

Nevertheless, it has a stronger flavor profile compared to ceylon cinnamon and is spicier because most of its oil is cinnamaldehyde.

Ceylon cinnamon, otherwise known as true cinnamon, is purer and higher in quality, which is more expensive and mild compared to cassia cinnamon.

As a result, this type of cinnamon is popular in many baked recipes because of its flavor.


Both cassia cinnamon and ceylon cinnamon can be sold as a cinnamon stick or cinnamon powder.

Cinnamon Sticks:

  • Same bark rolled up into quills.
  • Ideal to infuse liquid.
  • Subtler flavor.
  • Can last up to two years.

Ground Cinnamon:

  • Ground into powder.
  • Can use in most dishes which calls for cinnamon.
  • Can last up to six months or longer.

The good news is that in most cases you can use ground cinnamon in recipes that call for cinnamon sticks because it will release the same flavor.

However, it’s important to add ground cinnamon in the latter stages of the recipe to make the most out of the flavor, whilst cinnamon sticks are generally ideal for infusing the liquid during the early stages of the recipe.

Health Benefits

There are many reasons why cinnamon is good for you because it’s loaded with powerful antioxidants and contains anti-inflammatory properties.

However, you need to remember that Ceylon cinnamon is the true cinnamon and cassia cinnamon is what’s sold in supermarkets.

They both have their pros and cons, but if you’re looking for a healthy recipe and want to use pure cinnamon, you should opt for Ceylon cinnamon.

Substitutes For Cinnamon

Whether you’re allergic to cinnamon or ran out of it, here is a list of the best substitutes for a variety of recipes.


One of the best substitutions for cinnamon is allspice. After all, the ingredients to make allspice are simply cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon!

As a result, it has the same earthy flavors but with the addition of cloves and nutmeg, it’s stronger and very spicy which means you should use a smaller portion when substituting for cinnamon.

You will mostly find allspice available in fine powder, but you can purchase them as a whole (pimento) to infuse liquids.

Therefore, if a certain recipe calls for cinnamon, but you want it to make it more spicy and intense, you should certainly give allspice a try.


Nutmeg is a popular spice and is another great alternative for cinnamon because they share a similarly warm and aromatic flavor with the addition of nutty undertones.

You can also use nutmeg with cloves, both of which are used in allspice with cinnamon but blend tremulously well together to enhance certain dishes.

Furthermore, nutmeg is often called for in many sweet and savory recipes to add some spice, which can be a fantastic substitute for many baked good recipes.


If you’re looking to substitute cinnamon for savory dishes, then cardamon would be a fine choice because it has a similar flavor to cinnamon.

However, cardamon also has a unique and complex flavor which is perfect for infusing certain recipes and is very versatile.

For example, cardamon is a popular spice in Indian curry recipes but is also popular for baked good recipes in Europe.

Cinnamon Extract

Cinnamon extract is an easy substitution for cinnamon in many recipes which requires only a small amount as it’s very strong.

It’s made from a cinnamon stick that has been soaked in alcohol like vodka or rum, which is similar to vanilla extract and is often called for in baked good recipes.

Therefore, for many baked good recipes which call for fresh cinnamon, you can use the cinnamon extract as an alternative but in very low amounts.


Mace is a good all-around substitution for cinnamon because it can work well in many savory and sweet recipes.

Mace has similar notes of cinnamon but with the addition of black pepper, and also is similar to nutmeg but less intense.

Therefore, in most baked good recipes which call for cinnamon, you can use mace, but you might need to include more for flavor.

Having said that, mace is very versatile because it’s included in many popular spice blends like garam masala and curry powder, but is also great for liquid-based recipes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Cinnamon Is The Best

Ceylon cinnamon is the best type of cinnamon because it’s high in quality and safer to use which is more expensive compared to cassia cinnamon.

When you go to a supermarket and see cinnamon on the shelves, it’s almost guaranteed to be cassia cinnamon which is more spicy and strong.

However, Ceylon cinnamon is often referred to “true cinnamon” because it’s purer and is made from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum verum tree.

What Is Cinnamon Tea Good For

Teas are renowned for the healthy beverage of the day and cinnamon tea is right up there because it’s packed with health benefits.

Cinnamon tea, which is made from cinnamon sticks steeped in boiled water, can be one of the healthiest beverages you can drink.

This is because cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants and also contains strong antibacterial properties.

Can Cinnamon Go Bad

As with most spices, cinnamon will last a long time, but cinnamon sticks will last longer than ground cinnamon.

Cinnamon sticks can keep well for up to two years while ground cinnamon can stay very fresh for six months or longer, but you can still use it after.

However, it’s important to the cinnamon stored correctly and in an air-tight container which will prevent it from going bad and retain the freshness for longer.