10 Excellent Cinnamon Substitutes
A hot cup of cocoa. A mouthful of apple pie. A dollop of pumpkin pie. A slice of banana bread. What do they have in common?
Well, that sprinkle of cinnamon, of course. But if you’re making any of these and you’ve run out of the delicious spice, you still have choices! Plenty! We’ve got together no more, no less than 10 cinnamon substitutes to complete your dish.
Aromatic and very popular in sweet and savory dishes, cinnamon is quite versatile and popular worldwide. While we associate it with Christmas and that fall-latte filled with pumpkin spice, cinnamon can be added to many dishes and drinks. From baked goods to curries.
From Italian cookies to mulled wine. From casseroles to lamb chops. From pies to coffee. Cinnamon has become so popular for a reason: it works perfectly in so many recipes! Still, here’s how to substitute cinnamon when you don’t have it around.
Cinnamon flavor profile & replacements that mimic its taste?
Cinnamon is filled with contrasting vibes. Slightly sweet, this ingredient is also quite peppery and spicy. Quite fresh and awakening, it also has a smoky smell. While having an electrifying, wake-up vibe, it also has a warming, wholesome effect. No wonder it’s such a diva of spices! Still, if you used up your last sprinkle of cinnamon for that hot cocoa last night, what are you to do? Are you wondering what to comes close to cinnamon? Here are some suggestions!
- Cinnamon alternatives to replicate its sweetness
Cinnamon is made from tree bark. A cinnamon sticks is a small piece of tree bark (yes, wood!) rolled up! While you can use it ground or in sticks, cinnamon can be added to sweet and savory dishes. Its substitutes can also enhance cakes and cookies, stews and meats.
In terms of sweet foods, cinnamon can even reduce the amount of sugar you use, helping you balance your sugar levels. And when it comes to spices similar to cinnamon in sweet dishes, we suggest you give nutmeg, allspice, cloves, pumpkin spice, or ginger a go.
- Substitutes for cinnamon’s spiciness
While that sweet aroma is a staple of cinnamon, so is its spiciness. Curries, casseroles, chili, meats can all benefit from a dash of cinnamon zing. That warming feeling this spice has can be replaced to the same effect by ginger (powder or freshly grated root), and a combo of nutmeg and chili powder. Do you dare?
10 cinnamon substitutes to add to your recipes
So you ran out of it. Or maybe you’re allergic to this spice. In any case, there are many ways to replicate the flavor. Here’s what to try instead.
1. Ground Nutmeg
Is nutmeg the same as cinnamon? Well, no. But in terms of sweetness, nutmeg provides the same aroma and warmth you associate with cinnamon. Ground nutmeg is one of the best cinnamon substitutes in baking.
But it’s sufficiently versatile to be added to both sweet and savory foods. Its nutty, peppery flavor, its sharp and deep aroma can stand in for cinnamon. Make sure not to overdo it and maybe add a touch of sugar to the dish.
- Use it with potatoes, meats such as pork and sausages, puddings, thick sauces, stews, baked goods, and beverages.
- Ratio: About a quarter of nutmeg from the amount of cinnamon the recipe calls for.
Cloves offer that specific blend of sweet taste and earthy tones that cinnamon provides. They have a potent flavor, with a sharp, pungent, intense aroma. When you nibble on a clove, oh, you know it! Cloves are heavier in taste, compared to cinnamon, but you can still play swapsies.
- Use it in cakes and all baked goods, bread, curries, sauces, stews, meats, cookies, and beverages.
- Ratio: Cinnamon sticks, as well as ground cinnamon, can be replaced with cloves in a 1:1 ratio.
Extra info: nutmeg + cloves, just like cloves + ginger, are good mixes for replacing cinnamon. Cloves have an earthy, sweet, intense aroma, while ginger comes with a spicy, acidic, citric flavor kick.
How to replace cinnamon in Indian food, you’re asking? While curry powder could be a “meh-option”, cardamom really pushes the right buttons. We’re suggesting cardamom not because it’s cinnamon’s twin, as the flavor is very different. But regarding its warmth and aromatic touch, you can think of it in Indian dishes and sweet foods that call for cinnamon.
- Use it in anything sweet, from cakes to cookies, to sauces and glazes for desserts.
- Ratio: A 1:1 substitution is perfect.
What can you use instead of cinnamon? We bet you didn’t think of this one! Allspice has the same sweetness as cinnamon. You need to dial down the quantity of allspice, though, not to overwhelm the dish!
- Use it for roasted veggies and meats, apple pie, chocolate desserts, baked goods, soups, stews, sauces, and even gingerbread!
- Ratio: Use a quarter the amount of cinnamon the recipe calls for.
5. Grated or Ground Ginger
Fresh, dried, or ground, no matter the state it’s in, ginger is one of the best cinnamon substitutes. Still, remember that while cinnamon has an earthy, smoky, rich, dense aroma, fresh ginger comes with a sharp, sweet, and sour taste, so start with just a touch and go from there.
- Use it in baked goods, gingerbread cookies, cakes, sauces, curry, and meats.
- Ratio: You can make a 1:1 swap in terms of ratio when using ground ginger.
Mace is a great cinnamon stick substitute, having a tart and less sweet aroma. Related to nutmeg, mace has a similar aroma to this spice. It’s rather mild and brings extra peppery notes to the table. Compared to cinnamon, you’ll notice it’s less sweet.
- Use it in sweet dishes, cookies, cakes, drinks, veggies, and roasts involving potatoes and sweet potatoes.
- Ratio: You can use equal quantities of mace and cinnamon interchangeably.
7. Star Anise
Star anise would be the best cinnamon substitute if not for its licorice aroma. Star anise combines the taste of cinnamon and licorice. It’s warm in terms of effect, but comes with a sharp, “shouting” taste. Still, as intense as it is, star anise will not overwhelm the dish. And it’s rather versatile, being a great addition for both sweet and savory recipes.
- Use it in soups, cookies, and desserts.
- Ratio: For a teaspoon of cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon of start anise is recommended.
8. Pumpkin Spice Seasoning or Pumpkin Pie Spice
A simple and effective alternative to cinnamon is pumpkin spice seasoning. This mixture of spices includes cinnamon (wink!), ginger, nutmeg, and other aromatic ingredients. It can replace cinnamon, but it will add a sweeter, aromatic, more intense tone to your food.
- Use it in cookies, muffins, cakes, pies, lattes, oatmeal, coffee, yogurt, roasted vegetables, and even meats.
- Ratio: You can go for a 1:1 ratio, but err on the less pumpkin spice side.
9. Cinnamon Extract
The extract makes a great cinnamon replacement, especially in drinks, where the ground spice doesn’t dissolve. Coffee, hot cocoa, mousses that require cinnamon can be enhanced with the extract. To be fair, cinnamon extract will provide the same effect to any dish. Just make sure to adjust the amount used, since the extract can be more concentrated.
- Use it in every recipe that calls for ground cinnamon or stick.
- Ratio: Start with a couple of drops and go from there, depending on intensity.
Chinese cinnamon is, as the name suggests, one of the most similar cinnamon substitutes. It’s similar in terms of aroma and appearance because cassia also comes in the shape of cinnamon bark rolls. Cassia is milder in terms of aroma.
- Use it in baked goods, curries, meats, marinades, pickles, and candies.
- Ratio: For every teaspoon of cinnamon the recipe asks for, use ¾ teaspoons of cassia.
Ground or stick? Before you leave, remember that you can always substitute ground cinnamon for the stick, if needed. After all, ground cinnamon comes from the stick. However, the stick is sweet, woody, spicy, but with a slight citrusy aroma.
It’s rather mild, delicate, while the ground version is far from subtle, being more spicy and powerful. You can use the two versions of the same spice interchangeably, adjusting the quantity.