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For everyone from seasoned chefs to weeknight home cooks to aspiring foodies, cinnamon is a kitchen staple. It’s one of the tastiest and healthiest spices around—not only is cinnamon an important part of thousands of recipes (not to mention hot beverages in the winter!), but it’s also loaded with antioxidants and may help lower your blood sugar and reduce your risk for heart disease. What’s not to love? Here are the best cinnamons for every use.
Cinnamon is a highly versatile spice that can be used in both savory dishes (like soups and stews) and sweet recipes, like pies, cookies, and even your breakfast oatmeal. If you're looking for high-quality and versatile cinnamon to use in the kitchen, Burlap and Barrel's Cinnamon Verum is our top pick.
Sourced from the Zanzibar Islands off the coast of Tanzania, this cinnamon is hand-cut and sun-dried in order to preserve its freshness and complex flavoring. It's grown organically in the hillside, with notes of sea salt, brown sugar, raw honey, and citrus peel in the flavor profile. It's considered cinnamon verum (or "true" cinnamon) which means that it comes from the bark of the Ceylon cinnamon tree. There are two main types of cinnamon, and Ceylon cinnamon is the healthier variety.
If you haven't heard of Burlap and Barrel, they're the only importer of Zanzibar spices to the United States, and they maintain a highly respectable reputation in the culinary world.
Available in a 1.8 ounce glass jar or a 14 ounce plastic container.
Ceylon cinnamon is one of two main types of cinnamon and it has a distinctive color and taste that sets it apart from cinnamon cassia—the more common variety typically found in the supermarket or dollar store. Ceylon is healthier and free of coumarin, which makes it a popular choice for those who consume a lot of cinnamon in their diet. For a well-reviewed option with plenty of fans, we recommend Simply Organic's Ground Ceylon Cinnamon.
Users praise the subtle flavor of this ground cinnamon, although a few noted that it was much milder than the cassia cinnamon they were used to. "I like the aroma and softer flavor of this version (Ceylon) compared to the more pungent 'traditional' cinnamon (Cassia) which can be a bit bitter by itself," wrote one reviewer online. "It's a new staple in my cupboard." A shaker top makes it easy to sprinkle onto foods, or you can take the shaker off to measure the correct amount for your baking needs. It's also non-GMO, organic, and kosher.
Another Ceylon cinnamon worth considering is the Frontier Co-op Ground Ceylon Cinnamon. Not only is this cinnamon organic, but it’s also non-GMO verified, non-irradiated (free of carcinogenic chemicals), kosher, and it's Fair Trade Certified, which means that you're supporting farming families and fair wages through the purchase of this product. It's sourced from Sri Lanka and has a sweet and warm flavor that lends itself well to cookies, cakes, and other baked goods. Many customers noted that the flavor was better than grocery store versions, and agreed that the taste of "true" cinnamon is well worth the price.
McCormick is a trusted name in the food industry and their company has been around for more than 125 years, so this is the cinnamon that you’re probably most familiar with. Because their ground cinnamon is classified as cinnamon cassia the flavor profile will be much stronger and sweeter than Ceylon cinnamon. According to reviewers, this spice has a wonderful smell and the sweet flavor evoked childhood memories of trips to the mall for giant cinnamon rolls. Several reviewers also said that this cinnamon works as an ant repellent in their garden or even around the house. Sprinkling ground cinnamon where ants usually congregate may deter them from coming back.
Fragrant, warm, and deliciously spicy, Frontier Organic Whole Cinnamon Sticks are a great item to keep stocked in your kitchen. These cinnamon sticks, also called quills, offer a more robust and rich flavor compared to powdered cinnamon and will last much longer. For added flavor, toss one of these sticks into a bowl of oatmeal while it’s cooking or place into a steaming mug of herbal tea for a comforting bedtime drink. You can even add one of these sticks to your slow cooker with different meats to add heat and spice to your dish. These sticks are certified organic, non-GMO, and kosher, and reviewers call these "the best cinnamon sticks ever," noting the bright flavor and aroma.
Warm beverages garnished or sweetened with cinnamon offer a pleasant alternative to tea that's sweetened with sugar. Cinnamon also carries many health benefits (it's loaded with antioxidants), and the smell of cinnamon is said to boost your alertness and concentration. If you're looking to incorporate cinnamon sticks into some of your favorite beverages, we recommend using the Feel Good Organics Organic Korintje Cinnamon Sticks. This Indonesian cinnamon is Cinnamomum burmaniia, which has a smoother taste compared to other varieties. The bag contains 100 hard cinnamon sticks which are cut to 2.75 inches long, so you can add them to your tea, coffee, cocktails (like a hot toddy or mulled wine), and hot chocolate with ease.
Not your average topping, this sweet alternative to cinnamon sugar boasts a subtle maple flavor for a unique (and delicious) twist. You can use it the same way you'd use regular cinnamon sugar, but it lends itself to different dishes since the flavors are more complex. You’ll get the sweetness of coconut sugar along with the familiar flavors of maple and cinnamon, plus a hint of salt to bring it all together. Mix it into your egg mixture when you whip up French toast, sprinkle it onto muffins before you slide them in the oven, or incorporate it into meat rubs for warmth and richness. Customers call this a great new flavor addition and love that it's gluten-free and kosher.
If you're craving a more basic topping, it's easy enough to make cinnamon sugar at home using ingredients you already have in your pantry. Just make sure to store it properly so it stays fresh!
Customers rave about this boutique ground Ceylon cinnamon that's sold in an attractive container. It’s certainly more expensive than most, but Burma Spice grinds their cinnamon several times a week to make sure it’s fresh for their customers, and it’s packaged the day it is ground. Their "true" cinnamon is sourced from Sri Lanka and contains zero additives. No harmful preservatives, colors, or cassia cinnamon powder are mixed in. It's also gluten and dairy free, vegan, and non-GMO. And if you're looking for unique gift ideas for the foodie or baker in your life, this 1.4-ounce glass jar with toggle closure would make a beautiful addition to any gift basket.
Burlap and Barrel works with cinnamon tree growers in the Quang Nam Mountains of Vietnam to get this heirloom variety of Saigon cinnamon that isn't as common in American spice racks. Sweet and spicy, this cinnamon bark is dried while it's still on the tree, resulting in an intense flavor that's the perfect finishing touch to any recipe. Burlap and Barrel says this cinnamon has tasting notes of brown butter, honey, and orange peel, and will probably be stronger than you're used to if you usually use Ceylon cinnamon in your recipes. You can choose between a 1.8-ounce glass jar or a 16-ounce plastic container, which is a great deal if you use a lot of cinnamon in your kitchen.
Thrive Market's cinnamon is Cinnamon loureiroi, also known as Saigon cinnamon or "Vietnamese Cassia." Cassia has a stronger, bolder flavor than Ceylon cinnamon. This ground cinnamon from Thrive Market is certified organic, kosher, and gluten-free. It's also sustainably farmed and ethically sourced.
The complex flavor profile of this cinnamon makes a great addition to roasted meats or veggies. It's important to note that it's not healthy to ingest this type of cinnamon in large doses.
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Donna Currie is a freelancer who writes roundups and tests products for The Spruce Eats. The author of Cookistry, her recipe blog, and the cookbook Make Ahead Bread, Donna is enamored with cooking and is always looking for the spices and condiments that push that just-good-enough recipe over the edge. Check out her roundups on the best hot sauces, vanilla extracts, and pepper mills.