Best Cinnamon to Bake With

Kitchen Knowledge Lifestyle | Published November 9, 2022 by Mimi Council

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We are heading into official baking season now that it’s November. Only one more month before it’s full-blown cookie season up in here!

So, with the timing of all that, you may be stocking your pantry with flour, sugar, and spices to prepare. And cinnamon is probably the most common and the most popular spice in baking. So that may leave you wondering what is the best cinnamon to bake with?

organic cinnamon sticks

Everyone loves cinnamon, there is usually not a friend in the friend group that doesn’t like cinnamon! While there may be the weirdo who doesn’t like chocolate or coconut, or even one who prefers white chocolate over dark. But there’s never anyone who says oh I don’t like cinnamon.

Cinnamon is sweet, it provides spice when needed, and it’s comforting AF. You use cinnamon in bakes like Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake, Snickerdoodle Biscotti, Maple Pecan Donuts, Snickerdoodle Donut Holes, and more!

Cinnamon should be always in your pantry! So, what is the best cinnamon to bake with? What is the best cinnamon to buy for baking?

snickerdoodle biscotti

Not all cinnamon is created equal. While other ingredients may be easily interchangeable with little effect on taste, such as sugar and flour, cinnamon is the opposite! And, just with any other recipe or ingredient, it all comes down to opinion and personal preference.

So, the best cinnamon to buy for baking is not the most common cinnamon — in my opinion! Cinnamon is made from the inner bark of tress, which is why it’s a brown or dark brown color. There are hundreds of different varieties of cinnamon in the world, but there are four main kinds of cinnamon that you can find at the grocery store. And they all come from different regions, therefore taste different!

Each of these four types of cinnamon have a different flavor! Just like if you were to buy a different peanut butter, for example. Even if it had the same ingredients as another peanut butter — which in most cases is peanuts and salt. But depending on where those peanuts were grown or where that supplier got the peanuts, the peanut butter can taste very different.

cinnamon in a jar

Four Main Types of Cinnamon

Ceylon Cinnamon

Ceylon cinnamon, often referred to as “true cinnamon,” originates from Sri Lanka and parts of southern India. It is prized for its delicate, sweet flavor, with subtle citrusy and floral notes that distinguish it from other cinnamon varieties. This light and refined taste makes Ceylon cinnamon an ideal choice for baking desserts, such as cakes, cookies, and pastries, where its gentle sweetness can shine without overpowering other ingredients. Additionally, it pairs beautifully with fruits, custards, and creamy dishes. Its fine texture and mild aroma also make it perfect for sprinkling over cozy drinks like hot chocolate and coffee. Overall, Ceylon cinnamon's unique flavor and versatility make it a staple in both sweet and savory culinary creations.

Cassia Cinnamon

Cassia cinnamon, predominantly sourced from China and Indonesia, is the most common type of cinnamon found in North American households. It has a strong, robust flavor that is both spicy and sweet, with a slightly bitter undertone. This intense flavor profile makes cassia cinnamon particularly well-suited for hearty dishes that can stand up to its bold taste, such as spiced meats, stews, and savory curries. Additionally, it is often used in baking for items like cinnamon rolls, cookies, and breads, where its potent spice can shine through. Cassia cinnamon’s thick, hard bark is typically ground into a coarse powder, making it a durable and long-lasting spice in the pantry. Its versatility and powerful flavor make cassia cinnamon a staple for adding warmth and depth to a wide variety of culinary creations.

Korintje Cinnamon

Korintje cinnamon is primarily sourced from Indonesia. It is a popular variety known for its smooth, mild flavor with a hint of sweetness. This cinnamon type has a less intense, more balanced profile compared to other varieties, making it a favorite in commercial baking and household kitchens. The subtle yet distinct flavor of Korintje cinnamon is perfect for a wide range of baked goods, including cookies, pastries, and cakes, where it adds warmth without overwhelming other ingredients. Its fine, easily grindable texture also makes it suitable for dusting on beverages like lattes and hot chocolate, or mixing into oatmeal and yogurt for a comforting spice infusion. Korintje cinnamon's versatility and mild, approachable taste make it a go-to choice for enhancing both sweet and savory dishes.

Saigon Cinnamon

Saigon cinnamon, also known as Vietnamese cinnamon, originates from Vietnam and is renowned for its bold, spicy-sweet flavor and potent aroma. It boasts a high oil content, which contributes to its intense and aromatic profile. Saigon cinnamon is prized for its warm, fiery taste, with notes of cloves and citrus, making it the most robust and flavorful variety among cinnamons. Due to its strong flavor, Saigon cinnamon is best suited for dishes that require a pronounced cinnamon presence, such as cinnamon rolls, spiced cakes, and rich desserts like chocolate dishes and puddings. Its potency also makes it a favorite for infusing beverages like mulled wine and cider. Despite its strength, Saigon cinnamon can be used in moderation to add depth and complexity to both sweet and savory recipes, making it a versatile and beloved spice in culinary applications.

organic cinnamon sticks

Are Different Kinds of Cinnamon Interchangeable?

While different kinds of cinnamon are interchangeable for any type of recipe, and it will not affect the recipe, it will alter the taste! So, if you’re making grandma’s Snickerdoodles and wondering why yours may taste odd even if you’re using all the same ingredients as she did, then try testing different cinnamons!

While I think that Korintje Cinnamon is the best cinnamon to buy for baking, you may disagree. And that’s okay, as long as you know what you prefer! The Organic Korintje Cinnamon I buy comes from Frontier Co-Op, and I highly recommend it! But they also make an Organic Ceylon Cinnamon, and a Vietnamese Cinnamon (Saigon).

My friends over at Watkins 1868 make an Organic Cassia Cinnamon. And Simply Organic also makes an Organic Ceylon Cinnamon and Organic Vietnamese (Saigon) Cinnamon.

Try out my favorite Organic Korintje Cinnamon this holiday season. I really think it’s the best cinnamon to bake with! But if you want something more subtle or less spicy, then try the classic Organic Ceylon Cinnamon.

snickerdoodle biscotti

The Takeaway

While there are many different kinds of cinnamon out there, you can find four main types on grocery store shelves or online. These four types, Ceylon, Cassia, Korintje, and Saigon all have a distinct flavor profile. They can be used interchangeably in recipes, but the taste will alter depending on which cinnamon you use. So, try out the different types of cinnamon and see which flavor profile you prefer best.

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