cinnamon substitute

Top 7 Substitutes For Cinnamon That Are Perfect For Every Dish You Want

To me, cinnamon is an essential part of baking, and sometimes even cooking. This spice means warmth and sweetness, but it can also be a powerful flavor.

If you need a change of taste or someone you know doesn’t like cinnamon, then you surely need to know about what substitutes to use.

What Is Cinnamon?

This is a spice that comes from the innermost bark of the Cinnamomum tree. The bark and ground spice both have a warm, sweet, and slightly pungent flavor. The stick of cinnamon tends to be used in liquids, such as warm chocolate, tea, and mulled wine.

Unlike the subtle flavor of cinnamon sticks, the powder form is much stronger and somewhat spicy. Powdered cinnamon is added to baked goods, like muffins, coffee cake, banana bread, and cookies.

Some people use cinnamon because it is a good antioxidant and has some antibacterial properties.

Why Replace Cinnamon, Anyway?

While not very common, there are some reasons why people would like to replace ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks at times:

  • Allergy: Some individuals have an evident allergy to cinnamon, which makes them break out in hives, and could result in their trachea to close. In this case, anything with cinnamon is out of the question.
  • Low Blood Sugar: People that have diabetes usually take medications that lower their blood sugar levels, but eating cinnamon can provide the same effect, which could be dangerous.
  • Interactions: Cinnamon can also have some interactions with medications, which is why people may want to avoid it, to not damage their treatment. Some medications that cinnamon may interact with include antibiotics, blood thinners, heart medications, and diabetes drugs.

What Can I Replace Cinnamon With?

If you need to replace this spice for whatever reason, these cinnamon substitutes are perfect for you:

Best For Baking, Cinnamon Toast, and Pumpkin Pie

#1. Nutmeg

This spice is a bit similar to cinnamon in that it is warm and sweet. Nutmeg is a common spice in baking things like pies, cookies, French toasts, and more. However, like cinnamon, this spice can be overpowering if you use too much, so be careful with how much you add.

To substitute for cinnamon, use the same amount of nutmeg, but consider that this one is brown and could darken the final color of your product. Like cinnamon, nutmeg is considered an antioxidant and good for managing inflammation.

See More: Nutmeg Substitution

#2. Allspice

Unlike what many think, allspice is the berry of a tree that received its name because it looks like a combination of spices. Allspice has a strong and pungent flavor with notes of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

You can use allspice when you bake a pumpkin pie, cookies, cake, and in making toast.

Allspice is significantly stronger than cinnamon, so we suggest you use ¼ teaspoon for every one teaspoon of cinnamon in your recipe. This option also tends to add more warmth to your dish, which can alter the final flavor.

See More: Allspice Alternatives

#3. Ground Cloves

If you like holiday drinks and desserts, then you know that cloves are essential during this time. Ground cloves taste sweet and bitter, but they are also warm and a bit pungent. You should add cloves at the beginning of the cooking process so the flavors have time to set in.

Use ground cloves when you bake cookies, cakes, and in making tea, curry sauces, and more. Keep in mind that cloves are strong so after you eat them your mouth may get dry and tingle a little. You can use the same amount of ground cloves as you would cinnamon.

See More: Cloves Replacements

Best For Carrot Cake, Churros, and Applesauce

#4. Cardamom

This spice is common in Indian and Middle Eastern foods, but it can work great in substituting cinnamon when you bake. Cardamom is very aromatic and tastes a bit bitter and cool. 

You can use cardamom in baking carrot cake, cookies, cakes, and when you make churros, applesauce, and other sauces.

If you decide to use cardamom instead of cinnamon, consider using half the amount, especially because this spice adds a strong citrus flavor that could change your recipe. Cardamom comes as pods, seeds, or ground, we suggest you use the ground version here.

See More: Best Substitutes for Cardamom

#5. Powdered Ginger

Ginger is traditionally used in drinks, food, and desserts, as it is spicy, sweet, and aromatic. You can use ginger when you bake a carrot cake, gingerbread cookies, and when you make chai tea, applesauce, or churros.

Keep in mind that this spice is zestier and a bit citrus, which can change not only the flavor of your dish but also its aroma.

Traditionally, like cinnamon, ginger is considered a good alternative medicine for those that need digestive health, those that want to reduce inflammation, and if they need protection against oxidative damage.

See More: Best Alternatives to Ginger

#6. Mace

This option is often considered a cousin of nutmeg because it has a similar flavor. However, mace is less concentrated than nutmeg and has notes of black pepper.

Mace works great in sweet dishes, like carrot cake, sweet potato casseroles, cookies, cakes, and even in some drinks.

You should keep in mind, though, that mace is much less sweet than cinnamon, so you may want to add sweetener. Also, mace is a dark powder that is highly concentrated, which can alter the final aspect of your dish.

#7. Pumpkin Pie

While this spice is often associated with fall flavors, it is a good mix to use when you want to substitute cinnamon. Usually, pumpkin pie spice contains cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice.

You can find this mix in any grocery store, any time of the year, so it is very accessible.

If you have a cinnamon allergy, however, this mix is not adequate and could cause an allergic reaction. 

You can use pumpkin spice when you bake a carrot cake, pumpkin pie, cookies, and in making churros, applesauce, or other seasonal drinks. Use ½ teaspoon for every one teaspoon of cinnamon in your dish.


Does allspice have cinnamon?

No, allspice is not a mix of spices but rather the dry berry of a tree. The flavor of allspice is similar to cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. However, allspice is a little more pungent than cinnamon.

Is ground cinnamon the same as cinnamon sticks?

Ground cinnamon is simply the powdered version of a cinnamon stick. However, this also means that the flavor and aroma of cinnamon powder are stronger than a stick. You should take this into account when substituting one with the other.

What can I use if I don’t have cinnamon sticks?

If you don’t have cinnamon sticks, you can use powdered cinnamon, but adjust for strength. The rest of the options in this article are also great alternatives for cinnamon sticks.


Cinnamon is a common ingredient for bakers and cookers alike, but sometimes it can be too overpowering or scarce. These 7 alternatives are all delicious and easy to get. Use them whenever you want to get similar tasty flavors.

Up next: Does cinnamon go bad?

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