Last Updated on March 29, 2023 by Toya
Here are 10 of the best ways to substitute for cinnamon whether you need a substitute for ground cinnamon or a substitute for whole cinnamon for a recipe.
While the best option is always to use cinnamon for recipes that call for the cinnamon spice, you may not always have it available.
And, while no other spice can truly take the place of cinnamon, there are some spices that can be used as substitutes for ground cinnamon, especially if ground cinnamon is not a star ingredient in your recipe.
Therefore if you’re in a pinch or cannot find any cinnamon in your grocery store, here are some easy ways to substitute for cinnamon in a pinch. These substitutes are for ground cinnamon as most recipes that call for cinnamon will specify ground cinnamon, which is also called cinnamon powder.
The best part is some of these cinnamon substitutes are likely in your home right now! Keep reading for more details.
What are the best ground cinnamon substitutes?
The best ground cinnamon substitutes are:
- Whole cinnamon sticks
- Cinnamon extract
- Cinnamon leaves
- Apple pie spice
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Cinnamon flavor oil
- Cinnamon sugar
- Brsish mixed spice
Each of these will be discussed below.
Common Ways to Substitute for Cinnamon
Whole Cinnamon sticks
The best substitute for ground cinnamon is whole cinnamon sticks. It works because you can easily grind it up to make homemade ground cinnamon. All you’ll need is a cinnamon stick and a cheese grater, a mortar and pestle, or a coffee grinder.
The best part of grinding your own cinnamon sticks is that the flavor of the spice will be more potent. This means you will get a better cinnamon flavor from freshly ground cinnamon. Once ground, a 1:1 substitute ratio is great here.
However, if you’d rather not grind the cinnamon sticks, the whole stick can be used too but only if the recipe will not be affected by the addition of the whole stick or pieces of it.
Whole cinnamon sticks will not work for recipes like muffins and pies. However, they will work in beverages, stews, soups, pilaf, etc. Note, in these recipes the cinnamon stick will need to be plucked out of the dish once it is cooked, before serving.
In this case, a good substitute for a whole cinnamon stick to ground cinnamon is as follows; One 3-inch cinnamon stick can be used in place of ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon (3).
Another part of the Cinnamomum plant that can be used as a substitute for cinnamon powder is the cinnamon leaves (4).
While it is less popular than both the powder and the whole sticks, if you can find them, cinnamon leaves can be used as a sub for ground cinnamon in stews, soups, braises, beverages, some desserts, etc.
Grind up the dried cinnamon leaves and use them as a cinnamon powder substitute.
Nutmeg is another great alternative to cinnamon in a pinch. Nutmeg has a different flavor from cinnamon, but these two spices are often used together in many dishes which makes one easier to swap for the other.
If you’re making recipes like casseroles, stews, pilafs, pumpkin pies, apple pies, etc and you have no cinnamon on hand, use a bit of nutmeg as an alternative.
Ground nutmeg is stronger tasting than cinnamon so use less of this spice so as not to overpower your dish (5). Preferably a 2:1 ratio of cinnamon to nutmeg is ideal. That means if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder, substitute it with ½ a teaspoon of nutmeg.
Another possible replacement for cinnamon? Mace spice! Mace can be used in recipes like cinnamon rolls, apple pie, pumpkin pie, etc in place of cinnamon.
It’s not the best cinnamon alternatitve, but if this is all you have, mace can work by adding some cinnamon, black pepper and citrus notes to your dish (6) . Use a 1:1 substitute ratio here.
Allspice is a type of spice that comes from a tropical evergreen tree of the myrtle family with a flavor that reminds you of a mix of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. It is often compared to the cinnamon spice and works great as a replacement for cinnamon in both sweet and savory recipes in a pinch.
A good substitute ratio of cinnamon to allspice is 4:1. That is, if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, start by using ¼ of a teaspoon of allspice. Then adjust to your liking.
Ginger is another good cinnamon substitute worth trying out. Ginger is an ideal cinnamon alternative because it too will add a warm, sweet spicy flavor to your dish.
An ideal substitution for cinnamon to ginger is 1:1. This means if a recipe asks for 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, replace it with 1 teaspoon of ginger.
Apple Pie Spice
Apple pie spice is another type of spice that can stand in for cinnamon. Apple pie spice is made with a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom and there is usually more cinnamon in the mixture. Therefore, it is easy to use apple pie spice in place of cinnamon in many dishes including beverages, baked goods, stews, etc at a 1:1 substitute ratio.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pumpkin pie spice is another mixture of different spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and sometimes allspice usually with more cinnamon in the mixture than any of the other spices. Therefore, pumpkin pie spice can make a good ground cinnamon substitute in recipes like stews, soups, french toast, pumpkin pancakes, and even in beverages, and all types of baked goods.
Due to the addition of the other spices, pumpkin pie spice will add some complexity to your dish but a 1:1 substitute is okay here.
Cardamom is a great substitute for ground cinnamon in recipes like curries, rice puddings, and many other sweet and savory dishes. Cardamom is often used together with cinnamon in many recipes as they complement each other well.
The flavors of these two spices are different; Cardamon is complex with hints of lemon, while cinnamon is a sweet, woody flavor with hints of citrus (7). However, in a pinch, you can use some cardamon in place of cinnamon, especially if the cinnamon is not the featured ingredient in the recipe.
A good cinnamon powder to cardamom substitute is 4 to 1.
Cinnamon extract is another good sub for cinnamon in a pinch.
Cinnamon extract, or liquid cinnamon, is made by soaking cinnamon bark in alcohol.
You can use it to make all sorts of recipes including bread, cinnamon rolls, pies, etc.
It is naturally more potent than cinnamon powder. Therefore, A cinnamon powder to cinnamon extract ratio of 4:1 is the best idea here. This means if a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, replace it with ¼ of a teaspoon of cinnamon extract.
Cinnamon oil flavor for cooking
This is something you should always keep handy if you enjoy the flavor of cinnamon. It can be the perfect cinnamon alternative in a pinch.
I recommend LorAnn’s cinnamon oil for that intense cinnamon flavor.
While most people use cinnamon oil to make hard candy, you can also use it to add cinnamon flavor to baked treats, ice cream, shakes, frosting, teas, and so much more.
LorAnn’s Cinnamon oil is a great flavor oil to keep in your kitchen cabinet. Just a few drops will add that spicy, sweet, woody, warm cinnamon flavor to your dish.
Have some cinnamon sugar in your kitchen cabinet? You can use this cinnamon sugar as a good cinnamon alternative. Cinnamon sugar is usually made with a cinnamon to sugar ratio of 1:4.
As such, it is best used as a topper for treats, in recipes like porridge, oatmeal, etc. It’s also good in things like pancakes, waffle batter, donuts, French toast, cinnamon toast, churros, and more. Make sure to lessen or eliminate the sugar in those recipes to balance out the sweetness.
British mixed spice
British mixed spice is the British version of pumpkin pie spice and is essentially a spice blend with a combination of ground spices including cinnamon, coriander, caraway, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
The dominant spice is usually cinnamon. If you have some in your kitchen cabinet, you can easily use it as an alternative to cinnamon in many recipes.
Cinnamon powder substitutes PDF
Recipes that use cinnamon
Here are some of my delicious recipes that use cinnamon. Make these simple recipes using cinnamon, or use some of the cinnamon substitutes above instead!
Fluffy pumpkin pancakes
FAQs about substituting cinnmaon
How do you substitute whole cinnamon for ground cinnamon?
To substitute whole cinnamon for ground cinnamon, use this simple conversion:
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon = A 3 inch piece of cinnamon bark or cinnamon stick
What is a good substitute for cinnamon in french toast?
Pupkin pie spice and nutmeg are great substitutes for cinnamn in french toast.
Pumpkin pie spice works well because it contains more cinnamon in the mixture. While nutmeg works because it is often used together with cinnamon in many french toast recipes.
What is a good substitute for cinnamon in apple pie?
The best substitute for cinnamon in apple pie is apple pie spice.
It works because the apple pie spice mixture contains cinnamon and nutmeg which are often used together in apple pie recipes. The other spices contained in an apple pie spice mix will serve to add a bit of complexity to the pie. A 1:1 substitute ratio is ideal here.