Skip to Content

Savory Tweaks: 7 BEST Ground Cinnamon Substitutes

Are you looking for the perfect substitute for ground cinnamon in your kitchen pantry? We have the answers.

You can create amazing recipes with these 7 best substitutes for ground cinnamon and get similar flavor and aroma as that of ground cinnamon.

So, let’s take a look to find the right substitute for your needs.

What is Ground Cinnamon?

Ground cinnamon is an aromatic, slightly sweet and warm spice made from the inner bark of Cinnamomum trees.

Cinnamon has been used since ancient times as a flavorful ingredient in both savory and sweet dishes.

The essential oil extracted from ground cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde, which gives it its characteristic flavor and aroma.

Ground cinnamon also adds color to recipes making it a popular option in kitchens across the world.

Its distinctive taste has been described as nutty, fragrant, warm, and spicy with hints of clove and allspice.

Ground cinnamon is the most common form used to flavor recipes since it can easily be added to wet or dry ingredients without having to cut or grind sticks of fresh cinnamon.

Common uses for ground cinnamon include baking goods such as cookies, cakes, breads, pies, and pastries; in desserts like ice cream sundaes, granola bars, poached fruit compotes; sprinkled on yeast dough or French toast; or making savory dishes such as casseroles and chili con carne.

Cinnamon is commonly sold both pre-ground into powder form along with whole sticks which are then used by chefs to freshly ground into powder by hand before adding to their recipes as needed.

Alternatively, ground spices like cinnamon can be bought already sealed in jars so that you always have freshly ground spices at home whenever needed.

The 7 Best Substitutes for Ground Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a key ingredient in many dishes and desserts, adding a sweet and aromatic flavor.

Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to find cinnamon at the store, and ground cinnamon can be expensive.

Fortunately, there are other spices you can use that have similar flavors.

Here are the best substitutes for ground cinnamon that you can use in any dish:

1 – Cinnamon sticks

Cinnamon sticks are one of the best substitutes for ground cinnamon.

These tasty treats are made by grinding bark from the Cinnamomum tree into long, thin strips.

Unlike ground cinnamon, which loses its flavor quickly when exposed to air and light, the flavor of cinnamon sticks is released slowly as you cook with them.

The best part about this substitute is that you can use the same stick throughout your cooking and baking process.

You can easily crumble up or grind what you need before adding it to dishes and beverages or just add broken pieces straight from the stick.

Cinnamon sticks provide a dynamic flavor profile ranging from subtle sweetness and woody touches to aromatic floral tones, but they may have an intense presence when used in excess.

To get a milder flavor, try simmering it in a small volume of water before adding it to your recipes.

2 – Nutmeg

Nutmeg can be a great substitute for ground cinnamon in sweet recipes.

It is often used with cinnamon in many recipes, but it has enough of a distinctive, nutty flavor that it will stand on its own.

Since the flavor is so unique, use it cautiously—a little goes a long way.

Use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg or 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg as an alternative to 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.

It can also be used in savory preparations such as soups, stews, and chili.

Nutmeg does not last forever; store it at room temperature for up to 2 years and keep it away from heat and humidity.

3 – Allspice

Allspice is a more aromatic substitute for ground cinnamon, and is commonly used to replace the zest that cinnamon can provide.

Derived from the dried fruit of a single tropical tree, it’s actually a combination of flavors from several other spices including cloves and nutmeg.

Its flavor is robust and often described as pungent with subtle hints of both sweetness and pepper.

Allspice works in both sweet and savory dishes, but take care not to overpower dishes when using allspice as it may outshine other ingredients.

When used in combination with cinnamon, allspice will result in a more complex flavor, creating depth while enhancing the overall experience.

For example, you might use allspice to spruce up cookie recipes or use it instead of ground cinnamon to top apple pies or cobblers.

4 – Cardamom

Cardamom is a member of the ginger family and has an aroma similar to cinnamon, as well as a woody undertone.

The flavor of cardamom is slightly sweeter and more floral than cinnamon and can be used in any dish calling for ground cinnamon.

To substitute cardamom for ground cinnamon, use half the amount of cardamom called for in the recipe.

Cardamom has several health benefits such as relieving indigestion, aiding digestion, and helping to reduce inflammation.

It also has antiseptic properties which can help improve respiratory issues and is known to have antioxidant effects, which may reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Cardamom can also be used to make a tasty tea that aids digestion and helps reduce blood pressure levels.

5 – Cloves

Cloves have been used as a spice since ancient times and they were originally used in China to cure digestion problems.

With their warm and sweet flavor, cloves work well with certain dishes such as braised beef and pork.

They hold up fairly well during baking, although you may want to grind them yourself if you prefer a finer texture.

Cloves can be quite potent in small doses, but unless the recipe specifically states otherwise, try substituting ground cloves for ground cinnamon (1:1 ratio) in recipes that say to use ground cinnamon.

6 – Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pumpkin pie spice is a blend that includes many of the same spices in ground cinnamon, including cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and sometimes cloves.

It also has a similarly sweet taste with a hint of warmth.

The combination creates a wonderful essence for coffee as well as other drinks or baking.

Use it in place of ground cinnamon directly or add it to recipes that call for both.

This is especially handy when you don’t have all the individual spices on hand.

Use about one-third less pumpkin pie spice than the amount specified for ground cinnamon if substituting straight across.

7 – Apple Pie Spice

Apple pie spice contains ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and allspice, making it an ideal substitute in any recipe that calls for ground cinnamon.

It has a slight sweetness that makes it especially well suited for baked goods.

For every three teaspoons of apple pie spice, use one teaspoon of ground cinnamon in the recipe.

By using this substitution even subtly spiced dishes can be transformed into unique desserts with lots of flavor.

To increase the impact of the substitution try adding a sprinkle of extra ground cinnamon to the dish after baking or before serving.


In conclusion, if you’re in a jam and don’t have ground cinnamon on hand, there are multiple ingredients that can be used as worthwhile substitutes.

From sweet to savory options, the right substitute will depend on your palate and the type of recipe you’re making.

Whether you reach for ginger or Chinese five-spice powder, it pays to get creative when it comes to experimental flavors and tastes.

No matter which substitute you go with, be sure to taste test and adjust in small increments until you get the flavor just right.

Remember, a little goes a long way — and the same goes for all of these substitutions.

Have fun exploring all of their unique nuances and enjoy getting creative with your cooking.