Cinnamon is a staple ingredient in any baker’s shop. Its warm and soothing flavors surely captivate the taste buds. However, some people may not be able to consume cinnamon because they are allergic to it.
Some may just don’t like the strong taste of cinnamon and may opt for a more subtle taste. Here are some alternatives that you can consider
If you are still unable to find the above alternatives from your kitchen, we have enumerated the following comprehensive list of ingredients that would best substitute cinnamon.
10 Best Substitute For Cinnamon
Nutmeg is a ground spice made from the seed of the nutmeg tree often used in cooking and baking. It has a sweet, nutty, and woody flavor.
Nutmeg is one of the entries in the best cinnamon substitute list because it is perfect for those who prefer a more subtle flavor.
Cinnamon has a very strong flavor that can overwhelm some people, so they often resort to using nutmeg in their dishes instead. Nutmeg is typically used in desserts like Christmas cookies and drinks like chai tea and mulled wine.
Nutmeg is an excellent source of antioxidants. It also has inflammatory properties that help prevent heart diseases, arthritis, and diabetes.
It is also great for teeth because it has antibacterial properties which help prevent the growth of bacteria like Streptococcus mutans and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, which cause gum disease and dental cavities
When using ground nutmeg as a substitute for cinnamon, use 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg for every 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
Mace is often called the sister spice of Nutmeg as it is derived from the same tree as nutmeg. As earlier mentioned, nutmeg is made from the seed of the tree. Meanwhile, mace is made from the protective coating of the seed. Unlike nutmeg, mace only comes in ground form.
As to its flavor profile, mace has a sweeter and softer taste as compared to nutmeg. Some often note that the taste of mace is the combination of cinnamon and pepper, making it a good substitute for cinnamon when baking.
Mace has a lot of health benefits. It improves digestion and boosts blood circulation. Others use it to protect their teeth and prevent bad breath. It is also a way to treat colds and coughs too.
When using mace as a replacement for ground cinnamon, use it in a 1:1 ratio.
The next entry in the best cinnamon substitute for baking list is allspice. Allspice, also known as Jamaica Pepper, Myrtle Pepper, or Pimento, is made from dried berries called Pimenta dioica.
It is often used in Latin American, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern cuisine. It has a similar taste to cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper.
Allspice is often sold in whole or ground form. It can be used in any form; however, take note that it loses its pungency and flavor quickly once ground. Ground allspice has a more intense flavor than the whole one.
When cooking, allspice is often used to flavor meat dishes such as lamb and beef. It can also be used to season stews and soups. When baking, it is often used together with or as a substitute for cinnamon, cloves, pepper, and nutmeg.
When using allspice to replace ground cinnamon, use ¼ teaspoon of allspice for every 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
Allspice helps reduce inflammation, treat nausea, and prevent infection. Some women even use it as a complementary menopause therapy. It also has antimicrobial, antifungal, and anticancer properties.
Cardamom is a spice derived from the seeds of several plants namely Elettaria and Amomum. Its taste is a combination of mint, eucalyptus, lemon, and pepper.
There are three types of cardamom – black cardamom, green cardamom, and white cardamom. The most common type is the green cardamom.
Cardamom is a very flexible ingredient as it can be used for both savory and sweet dishes. In Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, it is used to flavor rice.
It is also used as a flavoring in curries. Other than as an ingredient in cooking and baking, cardamom is also often added in drinks like tea and coffee. It is known for its medicinal benefits.
Cardamom is a known diuretic and is also known to have a lot of antioxidants. In some cultures, it is added to tea to lower blood pressure, aid in weight loss, and ease digestive problems.
When using cardamom as a substitute for cinnamon, use it in a 1:1 ratio.
Another entry in the best cinnamon substitute for baking list is ginger. Ginger is often used as a substitute for cinnamon as it also has a warm and sharp taste. Aside from that, ginger is also a great substitute for cinnamon as it is more accessible than other spices.
However, when using ginger, make sure to ground it up finely to ensure that it won’t be overpowering when eaten. When using ginger as a substitute for cinnamon, use it in a 1:1 ratio.
Ginger is famous for its numerous medicinal properties. It is known to prevent chronic diseases like heart disease and high blood pressure.
It’s also used as a traditional medicine to improve digestion, strengthen immunity, and alleviate pre-menstrual symptoms. Others even use it to aid weight loss and clear up skin.
Clove is a spice made from the flower buds of the clove tree, a tree endemic to Indonesia. Cloves are commonly used in Asian, African, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean cuisines.
It can be used both for savory and sweet dishes and even for drinks. In some countries, clove is used as a marinade for meats like lamb, beef, and pork, and fruits like pears, rhubarbs, and apples. In Indian Cuisine, it is used as a flavoring for hot beverages.
Clove has a strong and pungent but sweet taste. The intense taste of cloves can be attributed to the essential oil it contains. Cloves typically are made up of 15 to 20% of the essential oil, eugenol. It can be used whole or ground.
As earlier mentioned, clove contains eugenol. Eugenol is a type of natural aromatic oil known for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. Scientific evidence shows that cloves can be used to treat toothaches.
When using cloves as a replacement for ground cinnamon, use it in a 1:1 ratio.
Cumin is a spice derived from the seed of the cumin plant, a member of the parsley family. It originated from Egypt but is now commonly used in North African, Latin American, and Middle Eastern cuisines.
Cumin is typically used in savory dishes like stews, soups, pickles, and rice dishes. It can also be used when baking bread.
Cumin has a warm and earthy taste profile. It has a bit of bitterness and sweetness. Cumin comes in both whole and ground forms. Although both forms taste the same, they are used differently.
Whole cumin seeds are typically used in soups and hot broths while ground cumin can be used as a rub, marinade, or seasoning.
Cumin greatly improves digestion, lowers blood sugar, and improves blood cholesterol. Because of its taste, it is also used to aid drug dependence treatment.
Cassia, also known as Chinese cinnamon, is a spice derived from the bark of the evergreen tree, Cinnamomum cassia. The tree originated from Southern China but is now also cultivated in Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Malaysia.
Cassia is the perfect substitute for cinnamon as it has almost the same taste profile. However, Cassia has a stronger and less delicate flavor than true cinnamon.
It is hard to distinguish between the two when ground. When whole, the distinguishing factor between the two is the color and smell.
Cinnamon has a warmer and tanner color than cassia. It also has a sweeter flavor. Meanwhile, Cassia has a reddish-brown color and a more bitter flavor.
Cassia is typically used for cooking because of its strong flavors. It can be used for curries, pickles, and meat dishes. For baking, it can be used in making liqueurs and chocolate.
Star anise is a spice from the seed of the Illicium verum plant. This plant is an evergreen shrub that originated from Southwest China and northeast Vietnam.
As its name suggests, star anise is shaped like a star which usually has eight points. Each point contains a single seed. Both the pod and seed are used in cooking and baking. Star anise is sold ground and whole.
Star anise has a sweet and savory flavor. It has a bit of spiciness that makes it a good substitute for the warmth of cinnamon.
Star Anise is a staple in Chinese cuisine. It is often used in meat dishes, soups, and stir-fry. However, it is also used in Chinese baked goods like cakes and cookies.
It is also used in making teas and liqueurs. Aside from being a good substitute for cinnamon, star anise is best paired with other spices like nutmeg, ginger, fennel, cloves, and cinnamon.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
The last entry in the best cinnamon substitute for baking list is pumpkin pie spice. Pumpkin Pie Spice is a mixture of the “fall spices,” namely, nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and cloves.
Pumpkin spice is a good substitute for cinnamon because it has a hot, sweet, and slightly spicy flavor that tastes similar to cinnamon. Pumpkin spice is great for lattes, muffins, and cakes.
Cinnamon Substitute Related FAQs
What is a good alternative to cinnamon for baking?
As discussed in the article, the following are good alternatives to cinnamon for baking: nutmeg, mace, allspice, cardamom, ginger, cloves, cumin, cassia, star anise, and pumpkin spice.
They are the most similar to the flavors of cinnamon, and are commonly found at home or in stores.
What spice is the most similar to cinnamon?
Out of all those listed in the best cinnamon substitute for baking list, the best is either nutmeg or allspice.
The flavor profiles of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice are the most similar. Furthermore, these spices are also common and accessible.
What can I use instead of cinnamon in banana bread?
When you run out of cinnamon while baking banana bread, nutmeg or allspice is a good substitute for cinnamon.
However, do note the proper measurements when using the suggested cinnamon substitutes. Only half a teaspoon of nutmeg or allspice should be used for every teaspoon of cinnamon.[Source]
Nutmeg and allspice both have a stronger flavor than cinnamon, hence the smaller amounts required.