Cinnamon is an aromatic spice derived from the inner bark of Cinnamomum trees. It is used as a flavoring agent in a variety of sweet and savory dishes and is popularly used in cakes or sprinkled on toast, lattes, and hot chocolate. You can find cinnamon in stick form, as powder, and quills, and it comes in different types, all having their unique flavor profiles.
Cinnamon is a must-have for those who love experimenting with warming spices and aromatic ingredients. However, if you’re making a recipe that calls for this versatile ingredient but don’t have any on hand, you can use these cinnamon substitutes to recreate a similar effect in your dishes.
Allspice is made from dried, ground unripe berries of the Pimenta tree. Although it’s made from a single berry, allspice tastes like a combination of various spices like black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg — hence the name. Its flavor profile ensures that it will seamlessly fit into any recipe that calls for these spices, making it a good alternate for cinnamon.
Allspice has a similar sweetness to cinnamon, so you can use it to replace cinnamon in various recipes. However, keep in mind that allspice is considerably more potent and pungent than cinnamon, so you will likely need to use less amount of allspice than cinnamon to achieve the desired taste in your dish.
1 teaspoon cinnamon = 1/4 teaspoon allspice.
Cardamom, also known as the “queen of spices,” is a key spice in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Its piney, citrusy flavor with notes of sweet and spicy taste makes it a superb addition to both sweet and savory dishes. While its flavor is not the same as that of cinnamon, cardamom can still make a wonderful stand-in for cinnamon.
Cardamom has the same warming, aromatic flavoring as cinnamon and is especially wonderful in savory recipes like curries and chilis. It also pairs well with apples, pears, and seasonal fruits. It’s a versatile ingredient that only works as a cinnamon substitute in a handful of dishes, so taste test as you go to ensure it’ll add to your dish and not detract from its delicate flavors.
1 teaspoon cinnamon = 1 teaspoon cardamom.
Cloves have a strong sweet and earthy flavor similar to cinnamon, but they can be a touch bitter in taste. They have a very intense flavor that stands out. While there are differences in flavor profiles of clove and cinnamon, cloves can be used as a cinnamon substitute provided it’s mixed with other spices like ginger and nutmeg to dilute its intense taste.
You can use a mixture of cloves and ginger to replace cinnamon in curries, chilis, sauces, meats, and other dishes. The acidic and citric flavors of both spices will combine to recreate a similar effect to cinnamon. However, if you’re making a sweet dish, you will need to add some honey or vanilla to the mixture. Use less than a 1:1 substitute to avoid overpowering the recipe’s unique flavors.
1 teaspoon cinnamon = 1/2 teaspoon of a mixture made with equal parts cloves and ginger.
Ginger is a popular spice with a sharp sweet and sour flavor that works wonderfully in both sweet and savory dishes. It also offers some amazing health benefits. Ginger and cinnamon have a similarly strong flavor and are often used together.
Ginger can be used to recreate the warm, almost spicy flavor of cinnamon in a range of sweet and savory recipes. You can use it in powdered, dried, and fresh forms and can even pair it with other ingredients like nutmeg or vanilla to get the flavors you’re looking for. This will admittedly bring unique flavors to the dish, so use it only when you don’t have other cinnamon substitutes on hand.
1 teaspoon cinnamon = 1 teaspoon powdered ginger.
Mace is the dried flesh that surrounds the nutmeg seed kernel. Both mace and nutmeg are from the same plant and taste quite similar, but mace tends to bring more tartness and less sweetness to the dish. It is more potent than cinnamon, but the peppery flavor of mace makes it a good substitute for cinnamon.
You can use mace to replace cinnamon in cakes, savory dishes, and drinks. Its spicy and pungent flavor will take your dish to the next level. However, keep in mind that it brings a much stronger flavor to the dish, so it would be wise to start with a small amount and adjust to taste.
1 teaspoon cinnamon = 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon mace. (Adjust to taste.)
Nutmeg has a warm, slightly nutty flavor and aroma. It’s ground from the seed of the nutmeg fruit and has great medicinal properties. Since both nutmeg and cinnamon are similarly sweet and aromatic, they are commonly used as substitutes for one another.
You can use nutmeg whole or grounded in both sweet and savory recipes. The deeper, sharper flavor of nutmeg will add an intense flavor to the dish, so you may want to add sugar, honey, or another sweetener to balance out the flavors. It’s easily available in grocery stores, which further adds to its popularity as a cinnamon substitute.
1 teaspoon cinnamon = 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg. (Adjust to taste.)
7. Pumpkin Pie Seasoning
Pumpkin pie seasoning in a blend of spices such as ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, and allspice as well as mace. As cinnamon is one of the primary ingredients in this blend, you can easily use pumpkin pie seasoning as a replacement for cinnamon.
The sweet, aromatic flavor of pumpkin pie seasoning works best in sweet dishes and baked goods. Keep in mind that the blend is made with several ingredients apart from cinnamon, so you may want to adjust the amounts of other spices in your recipe to avoid giving the dish an altogether new flavor.
1 teaspoon cinnamon = 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie seasoning. (Start with a small amount and adjust to taste.)