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What Are the Best Cinnamon Types for Baking?

26 Feb 2024
What Are the Best Cinnamon Types for Baking?

What Are the Best Cinnamon Types for Baking?

Cinnamon, one of the most beloved spices in the world, plays a starring role in a variety of baked goods, from cinnamon rolls and snickerdoodles to apple pies and spice cakes. However, not all cinnamon is created equal, and the type you choose can significantly affect the flavor of your baked creations. There are two primary types of cinnamon: Ceylon cinnamon, often referred to as "true cinnamon," and Cassia cinnamon, which is more commonly found in supermarkets. Understanding the differences between these varieties and knowing which type to use can elevate your baking to new heights. This article will explore the best cinnamon types for baking and how to choose the right one for your recipes.

Ceylon Cinnamon vs. Cassia Cinnamon

Ceylon Cinnamon

Ceylon cinnamon comes from the bark of the Cinnamomum verum tree native to Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), the Maldives, and parts of India. It's characterized by a lighter, more delicate flavor with hints of citrus. The quills (or sticks) of Ceylon cinnamon are thinner and more brittle, with multiple layers of bark. Due to its subtle flavor and lower coumarin content (a natural substance that can be harmful in large amounts), Ceylon cinnamon is considered the superior variety for both health and culinary purposes.

Cassia Cinnamon

Cassia cinnamon is derived from the bark of the Cinnamomum cassia tree, primarily grown in China, Indonesia, and Vietnam. It has a stronger, more pungent flavor and a higher coumarin content than Ceylon cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon quills are thicker, harder, and have a single layer of rolled bark. Because of its bold flavor and affordability, Cassia cinnamon is the type most commonly found in grocery stores and used in commercial products.

Choosing the Best Cinnamon for Baking

The choice between Ceylon and Cassia cinnamon depends on the specific needs of your recipe and personal taste preferences. Here are some guidelines to help you choose the best cinnamon for your baking projects:

1. For Delicate Baked Goods: Use Ceylon Cinnamon

Ceylon cinnamon's mild, refined flavor profile makes it ideal for delicate baked goods where cinnamon is a supporting flavor rather than the main attraction. It's perfect for dishes that require a subtle warmth without overpowering other ingredients. Use Ceylon cinnamon in recipes for custards, light pastries, and certain traditional European desserts.

2. For Bold and Spicy Treats: Opt for Cassia Cinnamon

Cassia cinnamon's robust flavor is well-suited for recipes that call for a strong cinnamon presence. Its intensity can stand up to the flavors of honey, chocolate, and coffee, making it the preferred choice for cinnamon rolls, apple pies, and other spiced treats. Cassia cinnamon is also ideal for creating a pronounced cinnamon sugar topping that retains its flavor after baking.

3. Consider the Recipe Origin

The recipe's cultural background might also inform your choice. Ceylon cinnamon is often used in authentic Mexican and Middle Eastern recipes, while Cassia cinnamon is more common in American and Chinese dishes.

4. Health Considerations

For those consuming cinnamon in large quantities or using it as a dietary supplement, Ceylon cinnamon may be the safer choice due to its lower coumarin content. However, when used in typical baking amounts, both types are generally considered safe for most people.


The choice of cinnamon can dramatically affect the outcome of your baked goods, influencing both their flavor and aroma. By selecting the appropriate type of cinnamon for your recipes, you can ensure that your baking not only tastes delicious but also carries the desired impact, whether you're aiming for a subtle hint of warmth or a bold, spicy kick. Whether you choose the delicate, refined taste of Ceylon cinnamon or the strong, pungent flavor of Cassia cinnamon, understanding these nuances allows you to bake with confidence and creativity.

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