Substitutes for Cinnamon: Here Are Some Recommended Alternatives You Can Choose

With its unique flavor and sweet aroma, cinnamon is a valuable spice that can be used in everything from cooking to sweets and drinks.

However, since we don’t often use it, we often find ourselves out of it when it comes time to use it.

Depending on your location or region, you may travel to a distant store to get it.

This time, we would like to introduce “Cinnamon Substitutes” that can be useful when you are in such a difficult situation.

Please take a look at them if you need any help.

What is Cinnamon? What are its characteristics and what to look for when choosing a substitute?


Cinnamon is a spice with an exotic and unique aroma, so it can be challenging to find a substitute with precisely the same flavor as cinnamon.

Therefore, when choosing a cinnamon substitute…

  • Decide according to what you are going to use it for
  • Use substitutes in small quantities

Keep the above in mind.

1) Decide according to what you will use it for.

Cinnamon is a spice that has both sweetness and bitterness, so the choice of a cinnamon substitute depends on what it is used for.

For example, if you want to use a substitute for sweets or sweet drinks, choose vanilla essence, and if you want to use it in meat dishes such as hamburgers or soups, substitute nutmeg.

2) Use in small quantities.

Cinnamon is often used for flavoring and has an exotic, sweet aroma.

Cinnamon has a distinctive aroma not found in other spices, so when using substitutes, the trick to avoid failure is not to suddenly add the usual amount but to add it in small amounts to keep the flavor fresh.

It is impossible to increase the amount gradually for baked goods and cakes that are difficult to cook while tasting.

In the case of cakes, it is a good idea to make one miniature piece to try out, or if it is a cookie, to make just one piece to taste.

6 great substitutes for cinnamon

From here, we will introduce recommended substitutes for cinnamon.

We have introduced only those relatively easy to find in supermarkets, so please use them as a reference.

Substitute for cinnamon: Vanilla essence

Vanilla essence

If you use cinnamon as a flavoring in drinks such as milk tea or coffee or pastries such as apple pie, vanilla essence is the way to go.

Vanilla essence has the same sweet aroma as cinnamon but has no taste, so it is often used as a substitute for cinnamon.

If you think vanilla essence alone is not enough, try adding lemon zest or juice, brandy, or mixing in chocolate or cocoa.

Substitute for cinnamon: Nutmeg


Nutmeg is a spice that grows in tropical regions and is used in Chinese medicine as a plant that is effective in regulating the bowels and preventing bad breath.

It is often used in meat dishes such as hamburgers because it removes the smell of meat, but it is also often used in sweets because of its sweet flavor.

It is also less peculiar than other spices and has similar characteristics to cinnamon in that it is both sweet and bitter.

Depending on what you are cooking, nutmeg can be used as a substitute if you are using it in meat dishes.

However, cinnamon is slightly sweeter and should be used only for flavoring.

Substitutes for Cinnamon: Cloves


Cloves are a popular spice often found in supermarkets these days.

Like cinnamon, it is a spice with a sweet aroma and can be used in various dishes, such as meat cooking and baking.

Cinnamon is used in coffee and other beverages, but Cloves also enjoys a flavor similar to cinnamon when drizzled in small amounts over hot wine and other drinks!

Substitute for cinnamon: five-spice Powder

five-spice Powder

The five-spice powder is also a good choice if you use it in dishes such as meat dishes.

Five-spice powder is mainly used in Chinese cooking and has a more intense aroma than cinnamon.

Although the five-spice powder is not suitable for sweets, since it also contains cinnamon, it can be used as a substitute for it in meat and stewed dishes.

However, compared to cinnamon, it has a slightly Asian flavor, so people have different tastes.

Substitute for cinnamon: Brandy


Although different in flavor from cinnamon, brandy is also recommended for small quantities as a flavor enhancer in sweets and cooking.

Brandy is readily available at liquor stores, drugstores, and home improvement stores that sell groceries.

Substitute for cinnamon: Ginger (ginger powder)


Ginger powder, made by grinding ginger into a powder, can be used in sweets and cooking and is often mixed with cinnamon.

Like cinnamon, it is aromatic and tastes great in drinks and sweets.

It’s excellent for meat dishes, stews, soups, and more!

What is not a good substitute for cinnamon

It is safer not to use the following ingredients as substitutes for cinnamon.

1) Pepper

Spices such as pepper are not suitable substitutes for cinnamon.

Although pepper helps remove the smell of meat, it is too intense and cannot be used as a substitute for cinnamon, especially in sweets.

2) Nikki

Nikki is often used in Japanese sweets, but Nikki is also unsuitable as a substitute for cinnamon.

Nikki is more pungent and a bit more bubbly than cinnamon, so depending on what you are making, you can use Nikki as a substitute, but it is not recommended if you want to make cookies, cakes, or other western-style confections.


  • Vanilla essence may be used with cinnamon in drinks or sweets.
  • Nutmeg may be used as a substitute for cinnamon, as it has similar characteristics.
  • Gloves can be used in sweets, drinks, and cooking, so it is a good substitute for cinnamon.
  • Since cinnamon is contained in five-spice powder, it can be used as a substitute for five-spice powder when cooking meat dishes.
  • Can I use brandy in drinks and sweets only for flavoring?
  • Ginger is a good substitute for cinnamon, as it is often combined with cinnamon.
  • Pepper cannot be used as a substitute for Pepper when making sweets because of its pungent taste.
  • Nikki is not a good substitute for cinnamon due to its vital coolness.