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Best Cinnamon Substitute (10+ Alternative Ingredients)

Uncover the best cinnamon substitute here! We will share the best alternatives, perfect for adding warmth and flavor to your dishes without traditional cinnamon.

Cinnamon spice and sticks spilled on top of the table.

What Is Cinnamon?

Cinnamon is an aromatic spice that comes from the Cinnamomum tree bark.

It has a warm and slightly sweet taste, adding a delightful touch to sweet and savory foods.

Home cooks add it to various recipes. You can use it in delectable desserts, flavorful curries, and spiced beverages.

Cinnamon comes in different types. The two most popular types are Ceylon and Saigon cinnamon.

People also call Ceylon cinnamon “true cinnamon.” This type has a delicate sweetness and subtle citrus notes. That said, it is perfect for delicate bakes.

In contrast, Saigon cinnamon, or Vietnamese cinnamon, has a robust and spicy taste. It is ideal for hearty stews, sauces, and spicy desserts.

Fortunately, acquiring cinnamon is a breeze. You can find almost all forms of cinnamon in most grocery stores. Ground cinnamon, cinnamon sticks, or even cinnamon essential oil are already widely available.

Best Substitutes For Cinnamon

As mentioned, cinnamon powder is a sought-after ingredient in baking and cooking. You’ll find it in many recipes; if you don’t have it, you can use other ingredients.

Here is the list of the best ten substitutes for cinnamon.

1. Cinnamon Sticks

Bowl with apple sauce and cinnamon sticks next to it.

You can make your own powder if your recipe calls for powdered cinnamon. All you need are cinnamon sticks.

Cinnamon sticks are the most raw form of cinnamon you can find. They’re dried and curled peels of the Cinnamomum tree bark.

Grate them using a microplane, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle. You may also use a blender or a spice grinder.


Only grate the amount you need for your recipe. Ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks both keep well. However, freshly-grated cinnamon is always better. Plus, cinnamon sticks have a longer shelf life.

2. Cinnamon Extract

Bottle with cinnamon extract and ground cinnamon spice on top of the wooden table.

Another great alternative to ground cinnamon is cinnamon extract. It is especially a great swap if you want to add the cinnamon flavor to beverages.

After all, cinnamon does not dissolve in water or any other liquid. Instead, it just floats or settles at the bottom.

Do note that cinnamon extract results from submerging cinnamon sticks in alcohol. That said, the extract is much more concentrated than the ground powder.


Substitute ground cinnamon with a few drops of cinnamon extract for the best results.

3. Cinnamon Oil

You may also use cinnamon oil to replace ground cinnamon in recipes. Cinnamon essential oil is more potent than the extract. It does have the same effect on recipes.

This flavorful oil adds sweetness and aroma to your dishes.

However, the oil might not blend well with all liquids. It also loses its potency when you cook it for an extended period.

Only use food-grade cinnamon oil, which is safe to consume.


Add a drop or two of cinnamon oil to your recipes to replace ground cinnamon.

4. Cinnamon Sugar

Measuring spoon filled with cinnamon sugar next to small bowl filled with sugar.

Cinnamon sugar is a straightforward ingredient. It is simply a mix of granulated sugar and ground cinnamon.

Because it contains cinnamon, it makes an excellent swap for pure ground cinnamon. The only difference is that this option is a lot sweeter.

Using cinnamon sugar, though, is best if your recipe calls for sugar. Add it to desserts and other sweet dishes.

There is more sugar than cinnamon in each teaspoon of cinnamon sugar. For this reason, you need to use more of it as a cinnamon replacement.


Use four parts of cinnamon sugar to replace one part of ground cinnamon. Remember to reduce the amount of other sweet ingredients to compensate.

5. Apple Pie Spice

Ingredients to make apple pie including bowl filled with apple pie spice.

Apple pie spice is a spice blend people use to season apple pie. It has spices like ginger, cardamom, and nutmeg. However, the most evident taste in this mix is cinnamon.

For this reason, apple pie spice is a great replacement for cinnamon. It is especially useful if you’re making sweet desserts and pastries.

Just note that there will be additional flavors. These flavors will blend well with most recipes that need cinnamon. Still, you have to watch out as there might be dishes where the mix won’t taste great.


Rely on your sense of taste when using apple pie spice as a substitute. It is always best to start with a small amount and add more as you go.

6. Pumpkin Spice Seasoning

Brown bowl filled with pumpkin pie seasoning.

Another spice blend you can use to replace cinnamon is pumpkin pie spice. Pumpkin spice is much like apple pie spice but has a more robust and savory flavor.

Still, it has strong notes of cinnamon, so it is a great replacement. Then again, it comes with nutmeg, ginger, and other spices.

It might go poorly with some recipes that call for just cinnamon. That said, you must consider flavor compatibility before swapping.


You can go up to a 1:1 substitution ratio but always start with a small amount first. Do a taste test, and add more as you go.

7. Ginger

Black bowl with ground ginger.

Ground ginger is also a decent swap for cinnamon. While it is not an exact flavor match, it can provide a similar sweet note.

It does lack the earthy, rich taste and smoky aroma of cinnamon. However, it can elevate dishes like cinnamon does. Plus, it is a common ingredient in cooking, so you are more likely to have it in the kitchen.


Opt for a 1:1 substitution ratio when using ginger as a cinnamon alternative.

8. Nutmeg

Bowl with ground nutmeg spice.

Nutmeg is an aromatic spice you will find in most apple pie and pumpkin pie spice blends. That said, it is another substitute for cinnamon you should consider.

It has a comparable sweetness that can add flavor to your baked goods, like banana bread. The good thing is that nutmeg is versatile. Whether you are making a sweet or savory dish, nutmeg can step in for cinnamon.


Nutmeg can be overpowering when used in large amounts. Use ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg to replace each teaspoon of cinnamon.

9. Star Anise

Bottle with spice and spilled star anise next to it.

Most people describe the star anise flavor as a cross between licorice and cinnamon. It has a warming essence but a strong taste that some people might find off-putting.

For people who like its taste, star anise can be a decent alternative to cinnamon. You may use it in baked goods like cookies and bread. It also proves useful in soups and other savory dishes.


Replace each teaspoon of cinnamon with ¼ teaspoon of star anise.

10. Cardamom

Metal measuring spoon filled with ground cardamom spice.

When it comes to Indian cuisine, there is no better alternative to cinnamon than cardamom. This spice is warm and aromatic and has a sweet taste.

Use it for savory applications like glazes and sauces. You may also add it to sweet recipes like cookies and cakes.

Remember that cardamom quickly loses its flavor after you grind it. Just grind the amount you need and use it immediately.


Use the same amount of cardamom as the cinnamon your recipe calls for. For the best results, buy the whole spice and grind them yourself.

11. Allspice

Allspice tastes like a combination of cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon, hence its name. For this reason, it also makes an excellent cinnamon substitute.

It has a similar sweet taste but comes with some extra flavors. Allspice is a great addition to pies and other baked goods, though. This spice is versatile, so you can also use it in savory dishes.


Due to the difference in flavor, use only ¼ teaspoon of ground allspice to replace one teaspoon of cinnamon.

12. Mace

Close up shot of mace spice.

Nutmeg and mace come from the same tree. Mace is the covering of the seed, and the seed is what we know as nutmeg.

Because of this similarity, their flavors do not stray from each other. It’s just that mace is a milder version of nutmeg. Since nutmeg is a great substitute for ground cinnamon, it follows that mace is, too.

Do note that mace is not as sweet as cinnamon. This less-sweet taste is perfect if you find cinnamon too sweet. It also works if there are other sweet ingredients in your recipe.


Start substituting by replacing each teaspoon of cinnamon with ¼ teaspoon of mace. Add more if you think it is necessary.

13. Cloves

Wooden scoop filled with cloves.

Cloves may not be your first thought as a cinnamon substitute. After all, it has a pungent taste and a potent unmistakable aroma. However, it does have an earthy and sweet taste that you can compare to cinnamon.

Ground cloves have a stronger taste, so if you think cinnamon is too mild, it may be your ideal ingredient.


For a closer flavor match, try combining cloves with nutmeg or ginger. Then, use a 1:1 substitution ratio when replacing cinnamon with this mix. If you’re using cloves alone, starting with ¼ of the cinnamon your recipe calls for is better.

How To Choose The Best Cinnamon Substitute

Several factors come into play when choosing a replacement for cinnamon. You need to look at them to find something that closely resembles cinnamon’s flavor. However, you must also consider the particular dish or recipe you’re making.

1. Choose The Flavor Profile You Want

It is advisable to seek swaps with a similar flavor to maintain the original taste of your dish. Decide whether you want a sweeter or spicier profile and pick a substitute.

For instance, apple pie spice offers a sweet and aromatic flavor. Meanwhile, pumpkin spice provides a more robust and spicier taste.

2. Consider The Flavor Intensity

Cinnamon fall under moderate in terms of flavor. Consider whether you like a substitute with comparable intensity. Also, think if you need a more subtle or stronger flavor.

Mace, for instance, has a milder flavor compared to cinnamon. Cloves, on the other hand, have a more pronounced taste.

3. Watch Out For Dish Compatibility

Think about the specific dish or recipe you intend to prepare. Consider how well the substitute will complement the other ingredients.

After all, certain cinnamon substitutes may better suit baked goods. Others may harmonize well with savory recipes.

Allspice, for instance, serves as a versatile substitute that excels in sweet and savory dishes. Ginger is perfect for baking and Asian cuisine.

4. Check Ingredient Availability

Some alternatives may be more readily available at local grocery stores. Other swaps may be harder to find, depending on your location. Nutmeg, for example, is a commonly available spice. Likewise, ginger comes in various forms and is widely accessible.

5. Take Into Account Your Personal Preference

Your taste preferences will play the biggest role when choosing a cinnamon substitute. Feel free to experiment with different alternatives for sweet and savory recipes. This way, you can identify the one that suits your palate best.

What Does Cinnamon Do In A Recipe?

Cinnamon brings a unique taste and aroma to recipes. It adds a warm, sweet flavor and delicate spice undertones. The spice can enrich the flavors of desserts, bread, and pastries. Additionally, cinnamon can elevate hot chocolate, coffee, and spiced teas.

What Does Cinnamon Smell Like?

Cinnamon has a unique and pleasant scent. It smells like sweet wood while giving off a warm and sweet aroma. For this reason, it is essential for holiday baking.

What Spice Can I Use Instead Of Cinnamon?

Nutmeg and allspice can substitute for cinnamon. Cardamom and cloves are also decent options. Each of these spices allows you to tailor your choice based on personal preference. They can also help you achieve the desired flavor profile for your dish.


If you find yourself without cinnamon powder, there are alternatives you can use. For instance, you may make your powder by grinding a cinnamon stick. Alternatively, you can opt for cinnamon extract or oil. They provide a potent, concentrated flavor. For a sweeter option, cinnamon sugar works wonders as a cinnamon substitute.

Spice blends such as apple pie and pumpkin pie spice are also excellent swaps. Ginger, nutmeg, star anise, cardamom, allspice, mace, and cloves are suitable replacements as well.

More Ingredient Substitute

Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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