The 6 Best Substitutes For Ground Cinnamon

Cinnamon is such a great spice – instantly recognizable by its scent and reminiscent of Christmastime, with mulled wine and baked goods. 

A warm and welcoming aroma and taste that can be applied to a wide variety of dishes, both savory and sweet. It can really enhance anything it goes in.

But, what if you can’t get hold of any ground cinnamon? Leaving it out could potentially ruin the recipe. What should you do about it?

Well, fear not, because that is exactly what this article is here to answer.

The 6 Best Substitutes For Ground Cinnamon

In this article, we’ll be walking you through the top 6 best substitutes for ground cinnamon that you can use in place of it.

Then we’ll be topping that off with a section where we answer some of your most frequently asked questions on the subject, before wrapping up.

So, if you’re ever in need of ground cinnamon but don’t have any to hand, all you have to do is check against this article to see whether you do have something that you can substitute in its place.

And without further ado, let’s get straight to it!

(Please feel free to scroll ahead to any section that jumps out at you.)

What Is Ground Cinnamon?

Ground cinnamon is a very popular spice that you typically find in the spice aisle of your local grocery store or superstore.

However, cinnamon originates from the dried out bark of cinnamon trees, which require special conditions to grow, which means that it’s typically imported from overseas, and you don’t tend to get a lot of homegrown cinnamon in the US.

Which is why we’re not at all surprised that you’re here looking for what you can substitute for it!

It can be applied in a wide variety of dishes, savory or sweet, whether they are intended for breakfasts, mains, desserts, baked treats, or candy.

As such, it’s a great spice to have in your stock cupboard whenever you want to enhance your recipes.

The Top 6 Substitutes For Ground Cinnamon

And now for what you came here for, our shortlist of the top 6 best substitutes for ground cinnamon. Here goes!

Substitute One – Cinnamon Sticks

Strange but true, sometimes, if you can’t get hold of ground cinnamon, you can sometimes get hold of cinnamon sticks instead. 

When the inner bark of a cinnamon tree is harvested, the peels are left out to dry, at which point they naturally curl into quills, which are more commonly referred to as cinnamon sticks.

If you wish to, you can ground cinnamon sticks into ground cinnamon. There are various ways to do this…

For example, you could use a coffee bean grinder, or you could use the fine grater that you often find on cheese shredders.

One cinnamon stick will produce approximately half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon once ground.

Alternatively, you also have the option of simply using the cinnamon sticks whole so that their flavor infuses into the dish you are making.

And your other option is to simply crumble your cinnamon sticks using your fingers over whatever dish it is that you’re preparing.

Substitute Two – Allspice

Have you heard of allspice? Despite its name, allspice isn’t really a spice as such…

Allspice is basically a blend of three different spices combined.

As luck would have it, the main ingredient in allspice is ground cinnamon, which makes up approximately 50 percent of the finished product.

The other two spices featured in allspice are ground nutmeg (more on this shortly) and ground cloves (more on that shortly, too).

The ground nutmeg and ground cloves are typically present in allspice in equal measure, and their flavors and aromas blend very well together with the ground cinnamon.

It’s a spice blend that’s been around for centuries, and it was actually one of the very first spices ever to be traded between the Old and New Worlds.

Like ground cinnamon, it’s a blend of spices that works very well with both savory and sweet recipes, 

It is commonly used in savory dishes such as jerk chicken and pork, and in a variety of baked goods, ranging from cookies and cakes to pies. It is known to be used in pickling recipes as well.

If your recipe calls for a relatively large amount of ground cinnamon, then we’d suggest that you add a little less allspice to the recipe than you would have ground cinnamon, so as not to overwhelm the dish with less suitable additions.

Substitute Three – Cardamom

Cardamon is an excellent substitute for ground cinnamon, for those who like to enjoy more complex flavor profiles, due to its additional citrus and floral notes.

It’s important to note however that cardamom has a rather different texture to ground cinnamon. Rather than being powdery, it tends to have a little crunch to it.

It’s a very versatile spice that can be used in both savory and sweet spices alike.

You can steep whole cardamom pods in sauces or drinks, where the flavor can be slowly extracted over time.

Or alternatively, for greater potency, you crush or grind the whole pods, or even extract the seeds from the pods and use them either whole or crushed.

Cardamom is often referred to as the queen of the spices, and it comes from southern India’s rainforests, so not so surprisingly, it’s particularly popular in Indian cuisine,

It’s readily available online, and a little cardamom can go a long way.

Substitute Four – Ground Nutmeg

Ground nutmeg is also a great substitute, given that it has a very similar flavor profile and aesthetic.

Nutmeg is the seed kernel inside the fruit of the nutmeg tree, which is native to Indonesia. 

It’s a warming spice that pairs readily with a wide array of both savory and sweet dishes. And drinks too.

And although it has a mildly nutty aroma and taste, it does not pose a risk to anyone with nut allergies.

Like cinnamon, nutmeg seeds can be ground in the same way to produce a more potent flavor to your dishes.

You won’t need to add much of it to your recipes. Simply begin with just a pinch and taste test the dish until it’s exactly as you want it.

Substitute Five – Ground Cloves

If you’re looking for a ground spice that can deliver an even more powerful hit than cinnamon, then ground cloves would be just what you need.

It can really add a significant depth of flavor that can be applied to sweet or savory dishes alike.

But even if that is the aim you’re going for, we’d still recommend using it sparingly because it has such a strong flavor to it…

It adds a great deal of warmth to any dish it’s applied to, but it does have a slight bitterness which counterbalances the subtly sweet note.

Ground cloves can be sprinkled or stirred directly into various recipes, whether in dry meat rubs, marinades, sauces, baked goods and more.

Cloves come from the flower buds of an evergreen tree native to certain islands in Indonesia.

In addition to its use in cooking, ground cloves are frequently used as part of natural remedies for a variety of ailments and pains, the extent of which is beyond the scope of this article.

Substitute Six – Pumpkin Spice Mix

If you can get your hands on some pumpkin spice mix, then this is an excellent substitute for ground cinnamon.

Why? Because its main ingredient is cinnamon.

And in addition to the presence of cinnamon, there is also ground nutmeg and ground cloves, which as we have said are good substitutes for ground cinnamon, and ground ginger, which blends perfectly with the other 3 spices.

Again, as with the other substitutes, pumpkin spice mix can also be used in a range of different dishes, both savory and sweet.

It works well with a good deal of meat and/or vegetable dishes, in your morning oatmeal, or other breakfast dishes such as pancakes or waffles, or in baked goods such as quick breads, cookies, muffins, or pies.

Yummy and versatile.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Can You Substitute For Cinnamon In French Toast?

While cinnamon may be a very popular addition to French toast, it’s not your only option.

You could use ground nutmeg or ground cloves, or some vanilla extract might also work well.

Wrap Up

So, as great an ingredient as ground cinnamon can be, if you can’t get hold of any when you need it, that’s nothing to worry about – now you know of 6 different alternatives that you can easily substitute in its place.

The spices that are the most similar to cinnamon in terms of their flavor profile are ground nutmeg, allspice, and ground cinnamon.

They are just as versatile and can all be applied to a wide variety of not only savory dishes, but also to sweet dishes and drinks as well.

But please bear in mind that they each have a slightly different texture, aroma and flavor, so don’t be afraid to experiment to produce the effect that you’re looking for.

Bon appétit!

The 6 Best Substitutes For Ground Cinnamon

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Substitutes


Prep time


Cooking time






  • Cinnamon Sticks

  • Allspice

  • Cardamom

  • Ground Nutmeg

  • Ground Cloves

  • Pumpkin Spice Mix


  • Decide on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy

Recipe Video

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