Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the inner bark of cinnamon trees. The trees have aromatic oils in the barks and are prevalent in the tropical areas of the Americas.
Cinnamon sticks are made by drying the inner bark into strips that are then rolled up. These sticks are versatile because they can be used in their original form or ground into cinnamon powder for another set of recipes.
Cinnamon has an unmistakable sweet and spicy fragrance thanks to its oily composition and high concentration of cinnamaldehyde. Cinnamaldehyde is believed to be responsible for many of cinnamon’s health benefits, like reducing heart disease risk and acting as an antioxidant. Cinnamon has also been shown to help regulate body metabolism.
As versatile as cinnamon is, what is the best substitute for cinnamon sticks? The best substitute for cinnamon sticks is ground cinnamon. They are so identical that one is simply a grounded form of the other. When using ground cinnamon, you may need to monitor how much you add to your recipe. This is because you can remove cinnamon sticks mid-cook, but you can’t remove ground spice.
Overview of Cinnamon Sticks
Cinnamon sticks can add mild flavor to brews and recipes without overpowering the original taste. This makes them a favorite for coffee and flavored oats. Cinnamon sticks can also be grounded using a coffee or spice grinder. Doing this unlocks a whole other list of potential uses.
Cinnamon is one of the few cinnamaldehyde sources, a compound responsible for its numerous benefits, including as an antioxidant and metabolism regulator. Cinnamon sticks have a long shelf life, staying fresh for up to 12 months. You can easily tell when it loses its freshness by the waning of its potent scent. Keep your cinnamon sticks in airtight containers in dark and dry places for best results.
Why Replace Cinnamon Sticks
- You want a new flavor: Cinnamon has a familiar spicy and citrusy taste that most people will recognize quickly. If you’ve been cooking with cinnamon sticks for a while, it’s natural to crave a change of pace and distinct flavor. Luckily, a few cinnamon substitutes offer a unique taste experience.
- You can’t find it: Even though cinnamon sticks are quite common, your grocery store may run out of supply. You can turn to substitutes without placing your cooking plans on hold.
- You want cheaper alternatives: Cinnamon sticks are notorious for being expensive. There’s no clear reason why, but some speculate that it may be due to the delicate process involved in creating them. They are fragile and need to be kept in one piece; else, the sticks are largely useless. Thankfully, more affordable substitutes exist.,
- You have a cinnamon allergy: Even though cinnamon allergy is one of the most common spice allergies, it is rare in the general population. When present, it can cause itching of the face, lips and tongue, trouble breathing, and possibly hives. Luckily, there are suitable alternatives that aren’t as allergenic.
Best Substitute Options for Cinnamon Sticks
Best Overall Substitute for Cinnamon Sticks: Ground Cinnamon
Ground cinnamon is more or less the same as cinnamon sticks, baring their physical form. You can use ground cinnamon for any recipe that requires the spicy flavor of cinnamon. Additionally, ground cinnamon tends to flavor better than sticks since it has a greater surface area. This really comes in handy when you’re trying to maximize the flavor delivery.
Ground cinnamon is also more affordable than cinnamon sticks. This is because it requires a less delicate manufacturing process. Ground cinnamon can last up to six months if preserved properly — in an airtight container, kept in a cool, dry place.
If you can’t find ground cinnamon, the cinnamon powder will also do. The only difference between the two is the texture — cinnamon power is finer. You can use the same quantity of cinnamon powder as you use for ground cinnamon.
Best Substitute for a Different Flavor: Ground Nutmeg
Nutmeg isn’t as popular as cinnamon, but it does have its place in the spice cabinet. It can be an excellent substitute for cinnamon sticks if you’re looking for a break from the familiar spicy flavor. Ground nutmeg gives you a woody, bittersweet taste that blends well with some deserts.
Much like cinnamon sticks, ground nutmeg is a spice with its own list of recipes. It is usually added to cakes, loaves of bread, pastry, and even pies. Ground nutmeg can also be used with meat stews, veal and vegetable dishes. Note that ground nutmeg’s flavor isn’t as strong as cinnamon sticks, so you may have to add more to get the same strength.
Ground nutmeg is rich in fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A. It has also been shown to relieve pain, improve skin health, and reduce insomnia.
Best Substitute for Sweet Recipes: Allspice
Allspice is best for sweet recipes like Christmas pudding and Jamaican jerk chicken. It is a great substitute since it tastes similar to cinnamon. Allspice is critical to Jamaican cuisine, as well as many middle eastern recipes.
Depending on the recipe, a quarter portion of allspice amount is usually enough to substitute cinnamon sticks. However, this is variable since allspice is in powder form. Allspice has a long shelf life, lasting up to 3 years.
Best Substitute When There Are No Alternatives: Pumpkin Spice
Pumpkin spice is available in most households, even though it might be in the corner of the cabinet shelf. It is an excellent substitute for cinnamon sticks because it contains cinnamon and a bunch of other spices. Some of them include nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and even allspice.
This long list of ingredients makes pumpkin spice a great substitute for mayo recipes. It is named pumpkin spice because it is a staple of pumpkin pie recipes. The spice contains calories, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D, and trace amounts of potassium.
Pumpkin spice can last a remarkably long time, which is why you can have one in your spice drawer for months and still reach for it whenever you need to. When stored properly, it can retain its quality for up to 3 years.