Cinnamon sticks hold a prominent place in the culinary world, thanks to their unparalleled level of spiciness that no other ingredient can quite match. This distinctive quality renders cinnamon sticks irreplaceable as a seasoning.
But what if you find yourself in a bind, with a cinnamon stick shortage and a strong aversion to using cinnamon as a replacement? Fear not, for this post will show you the perfect substitute for cinnamon sticks.
What Are Cinnamon Sticks?
Before considering the substitute of cinnamon, we learn about the related things to it, for example, cinnamon sticks.
They are the spice made by rolling dried cinnamon strands into a roll. With the cinnamon’s main components, the cinnamon sticks have a very signature herb-alike aroma and medium spicy taste.
Originally, cinnamon is the spice harvested from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum, which has been grown worldwide, but mostly in tropical climate areas.
It has been discovered since Ancient Egypt and used as a seasoning since then.
5 Best Substitute For Cinnamon Sticks
You can substitute cinnamon sticks with other types such as Ground Cinnamon, Allspice, or others. Because they have a similar flavor and amount to Cinnamon Sticks. Moreover, they have a similar way to use in same dishes.
1. Ground Cinnamon – Best Choice
The first cinnamon substitute that we want to introduce to you is ground cinnamon. Among all the ingredients on the list, this one must be most similar to the cinnamon sticks.
The ground cinnamon comes from the process of grinding cinnamon with food addictive after freshly harvesting from trees.
That being said, the ground cinnamon contains all the flavor of fresh cinnamon: the citrusy aroma and moderately woody-spicy taste. In brief, you can use ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks interchangeably without any consideration.
For the question: “How much ground cinnamon equals a stick?” I can confirm that the portion of these two products is 1:1, so 100g of powder can substitute 100g of cinnamon bars.
2. Allspice – Easy To Find Herb
An easy-to-find substitute – Allspice seems to be uncommon for some people nowadays, but actually, it has been long used in Jamaican cooking.
Made from the berry fruit of the evergreen “pimento tree” from Jamaica, allspice is a mixture of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon’s flavor all-in-one. That is also the reason why people named it “allspice.”
As a result, the allspice fruit provides a spicy, herb-alike flavor and a recognizable earthy smell that most herbs have. So, how spicy is allspice compared to the cinnamon sticks?
With all the spiciness combined in the fruit, the spicy level of allspice is a bit higher than cinnamon, honestly. You will just need a quarter of allspice than what the recipes call with cinnamon.
Besides, the allspice, a natural fruit that hasn’t been mixed up with any substances, is commonly used in curry and meat recipes because its tender texture is so easy to blend and mix into dishes while cooking.
3. Nutmeg – A Healthy Sustitution
Nutmeg, which is a healthy substitute for cinnamon, is the spice harvested from the seed of the tropical evergreen tree name Myristicaceae.
The tree that nutmeg grows from can only be seen in the Southeast Asian countries and the West Indies. So, buying it in small local markets can be quite difficult.
What makes the nutmeg distinctive is its unique acrid aroma that can be detected from far away. At the first taste, this nutritious nut offers a slightly sweet, woody, spicy flavor, which is less zesty than others on the list.
Consequently, the mild spiciness makes it a good complement for creating any type of food, from grilled pork, puddings, potatoes, sausages to sauces, and beverages.
So, how compatible the nutmeg is when compared to cinnamon sticks? As mentioned above, its spiciness is lower than cinnamon, so you have to use twice the portion as much nutmeg as you need for cinnamon sticks.
We want to mention that fennel seeds and nutmeg are usually combined all together in recipes to complement the spiciness. The peppery fennel seeds with the sweet earthy nutmeg raise the smell and taste of the recipe.
4. Cassia – Stronger Flavor
The next cinnamon substitute – Cassia is famous for the name “cinnamon’s cousin.” Given that fact, we could see that cassia and cinnamon sticks may be a great cinnamon substitute. But first, let’s learn about cassia.
What is cassia? It is harvested from cutting down the seeds of Cinnamomum cassia trees and then dried, fermented, and curled into rolls.
The process is the same, and the cassia tree and the cinnamon tree all comes from the laurel tree family. Thus, cassia and cinnamon are literally the same, and you can substitute one with each other without any problem.
However, if tasting carefully, the cassia provides stronger spiciness than cinnamon, making it a good complement to savory dishes.
Meanwhile, the cinnamon sticks – with the mild sweetness – seem to work better on sweetness-demanded recipes.
5. Cranberry Sauce – New Thing To Try
Finally, let me introduce you to another great cinnamon substitute – cranberry sauce. Made of cranberry, honey, and cinnamon, the cranberry sauce is a combination of sweet, tangy taste and a pungent fragrance.
Judging from the manufacturing process, we can see that the cranberry sauce is made from cinnamon, so the cinnamon’s sweet-but-spicy flavor still remains in the cranberry sauce.
That being said, the cinnamon sticks and cranberry sauce can be replaced by each other in cooking.
However, the cranberry sauce is in liquid form, while the cinnamon sticks are solid.
Hence, the cranberry sauce isn’t applicable for recipes that use cinnamon sticks as a topping because the cranberry sauce will blend and mix into the food.
What Do The Cinnamon Sticks Taste Like?
As mentioned above, cinnamon is widely known for its special flavor and aroma. The factor that provides cinnamon with such an odd smell is the oil extracted from the cinnamon tree.
This oil can only be found in Cinnamomum trees’ inner bark, making cinnamon stick’s flavor so unique.
At first glance, cinnamon impresses people with the citrusy fragrance and sweet, woody flavor. Tasting a cinnamon pinch makes me imagine eating cloves, but with a slight smell and less spicy taste.
Compared to the cinnamon stick taste, the cumin must be the one that provides the most similar flavor.