Nutritious Substitutes for Cinnamon 

Use of cinnamon compliments both meal making and medicinal benefits. Its use goes back down in human history as farthest as 3000 B.C arguably. 

The benefits of applying cinnamon oil and ground cinnamon are many. Application of cinnamon in food and treating many illnesses are historically claimed for ages. But there are substitutes for this savory king spice available within our reach. 

Through centuries of experiences and researches, it is now clear that we can substitute cinnamon with a number of items in our daily grocery list. 

Cinnamon is an exquisite spice in our daily life that can prevent and heal many diseases. It also adds extra delight to many of our mouthwatering food items- but it is only one of many others.

Continue reading to know more about substitutes for cinnamon and their dietary and health beneficiary effects. 

Reasons to Substitute Cinnamon

One might have some good reasons for replacing this highly nutritious and resourceful spice in times of necessity. Below are some of the reasons:

  • Doctors or health practitioners might advise avoiding cinnamon while taking antibiotics, diabetes medicine, blood thinners, etc. 
  • Cinnamon can give you some rare allergic reactions such as itching, swelling and burning in face and tongue. Vomiting, trouble breathing, nausea, dizziness, etc. could be other side effects too if you smell or eat cinnamon.
  • Mothers who breastfeed may sometimes avoid cinnamon as their babies might find it distasteful to smell cinnamon in milk. Using cinnamon with fenugreek to boost milk may also cause dangerous effects on the body. 
  • Unavailability could be another reason for substituting cinnamon. High-quality ground cinnamon or cinnamon oil may not be available nearby your area which may make you replace this spice with some other suitable spices.
  • Many people are there who actually don’t prefer cinnamon due to its bitter taste and smell. Not all human taste buds are the same in enjoying its rich and spicy aroma in food.  

So, owing to the above points, it might come handy to know about some useful alternatives to cinnamon for using them in your cooking.

Substitutes for Cinnamon 

You may put aside the cinnamon and turn to some other spices to make your food both tasty and healthy. 

Let’s take a look at those substitute spices below:

1. Allspices

Allspice is the dried fruit of the Pimenta dioica (Scientific name) tree [1]. This tree is native to Central America, Jamaica, Southern Mexico and now is available in other parts of the world.

The name bears the meaning as it has a unique taste of a few other blended spices. 

Allspice is quite common to cinnamon in terms of flavor. It has a touch of clove and nutmeg in its taste. Still, you can pour it in your savory or sweet dish recipe to enjoy a similar spicy or aromatic taste.

You can easily use allspice in various desserts, soups, meat dishes, etc. These foods shall smell and taste similar as they would with cinnamon.

You should be careful to use allspice because it is bitter in taste than cinnamon. 

Use it sparingly; ¼ tablespoon of allspice instead of full 1 tablespoon of cinnamon.

Allspice comes with some health benefits. Some common health benefits of cinnamon and allspice include reducing inflammation, comforting muscle and joint pain, improving brain condition, boosting memory and dental care [2]

Some studies suggest that allspice has the potential to fight cancer [3, 4].

2. Cardamom 

Cardamom is a herb that is native to the Asian region. The name Cardamom is derived from the Latin Cardamomum, originated from the Greek Kardamomon.

Cardamom is used as a fragrant spice in our food recipes. Many consider it a twin spice to cinnamon in taste and spiciness. 

Those who love tea can enrich the taste and aroma of it by dropping a couple of cardamoms in it. Warm it up on the stove and thus you make your Masala Tea (Spicy tea). 

Cardamom can easily replace cinnamon in both savory and sweet dishes. 

It can be used in an equal amount as cinnamon.  Simply said, it is a 1:1 ratio where you can use 1 tablespoon of cardamom instead of 1 tablespoon of cinnamon.

Cardamom is safe for health if consumed as per its regular use in daily dishes. 

No proven research is there yet to claim cardamom’s vile effect on health. But one should follow precautions during pregnancy, breastfeeding and while one has gallstones

It is to be noted that the above side effects need further reliable research and facts for accurate conclusions. 

For centuries, the Indian subcontinent has treasured cardamom as a gift of nature in their Ayurvedic tradition. 

Like cinnamon, cardamom is also effective for controlling high pressure, oral healthcare, reducing nausea and vomiting after surgery. 

Antioxidants are common in both cinnamon and cardamom. So cardamom can fight cold and cough effectively [5, 6]. Drinking warm tea seasoned with black cardamom and honey can comfort your sore throat and body pain during cold. 

Nutritious Substitutes for Cinnamon 

3. Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pumpkin Pie Spice is an American spice mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice. This is a reliable substitute for cinnamon.

Pumpkin pie spice is a mandatory ingredient in the Pumpkin Pie dish. You will be happy to know that you can use this in other sweet dishes too as a substitute for cinnamon. 

It will serve as fine as cinnamon in your sweet dish. You can also use an equal amount of pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon; ½ tablespoon pumpkin spice instead of ½ tablespoon cinnamon powder.

Pumpkin pie spice can make a long list of recipes. A few special dishes are baked pumpkin spice donuts, pumpkin roll, pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin hand pies, pumpkin spice yogurt pie, and the list goes on. 

Since this is a combination of other good spices, pumpkin spice may serve many health benefits in one shot. 

Pumpkin spice will take care of your inflammation, indigestion, joint pain, metabolism and blood circulation problems single-handedly. 

4. Ground Cloves

Ground cloves are spicy and sweet in flavor. It can easily replace cinnamon in your spicy and sweet dishes. 

Cloves are sweeter than cinnamon. You have to be careful in applying ground clove instead of cinnamon based on what type of dish you are making. 

There are several healthy nutrients in ground cloves such as fiber, carbs, calories, manganese, vitamin K and vitamin C [7]. It also contains magnesium and vitamin E in little amounts [8].

These components help treat constipation, strengthen the immune system, improve brain function and make bones stronger [9,10,11]

5. Fresh or Powdered Ginger

Want to warm up your dishes?  Use ginger!

Scientifically known as Zingiber officinale [11], ginger is an ancient flowery plant originated from Southeast Asia. 

Ginger can make your dish hot. If cinnamon is unavailable, you can easily add ginger and it will spice up your food. 

You can use ground ginger in your savory dishes instead of cinnamon. For Masala tea or medicinal benefit, cut the raw ginger in small pieces and drop them into your tea or warm water.

You can even eat raw ginger for it treats sore throat and clears cough. Many people chew off fresh ginger juice in cold to keep their throat and body warm.

In America, ginger is used to make gingerbread, ginger snaps, and ginger ale. 

Like cinnamon, ginger can treat nausea, control bad cholesterol and blood sugar. It can also give relief from migraine pain. 

You may drink ginger water for the above benefits but you should consult with your doctor or health expert before doing it. Excessive intake of ginger may give you gas, heartburn, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. 

Pregnant women should see their doctors as a precaution before taking ginger.

Nutritious Substitutes for Cinnamon 

6. Fennel Seeds

Fennel seed is scientifically known as Foeniculum vulgare. The name Fennel originated from the Latin feniculum or foeniculum. Ancient Greek culture valued fennel seeds greatly.

Fennel seeds are sweeter than cinnamon in taste and aroma. There are fewer possibilities of allergic effects in fennel. 

Fennel seeds are used for preserving food besides seasoning dishes [12]

Fennel seeds can make stomach relaxing tea just like cinnamon, cardamom or ginger. Fennel tea is popularly known as medicinal tea worldwide. 

You may add fennel seeds in various soups, salads, and meat or fish curries. Its strong heated taste compliments cinnamon; it means you can easily rely on it instead of cinnamon. 

Many health benefits claims are there like the boost in metabolism, strong eyesight, speed up indigestion, stress relief, clearing nasal block, etc. Fennel tea can also treat urinal problems. 

People claim some side effects of fennel intake but studies haven’t found any threatening health impact of fennel seeds yet. Studies claim that fennel seeds are mostly safe [13]

7. Nutmeg

Nutmeg flavors your sweet dishes with a strong taste. Instead of cinnamon, you can use nutmeg to make various baked foods, pudding, potatoes, sauces, meat, and eggnog. 

Myristica fragrans is the scientific name of nutmeg. It came into use approximately 3500 years ago. 

Healthwise, nutmeg acts friendly [14]. Its antioxidants protect from cell damage and reduce inflammation. Its antibacterial property fights fungal disease.

Some claim nutmeg can boost mood.

Overuse of nutmeg may cause confusion, anxiety, dry mouth, dementia, etc.


Each spice or food ingredient has its own benefits and side effects. If you cannot decide for yourself, you may consult a physician or health practitioner for choosing the better ingredient. 

One should know that studies are still going on for knowing more about these spices. Not all information is completely conclusive. 

Finally, it is your choice or requirement to prefer cinnamon over the substitutes described above and vice versa.

So, choose wisely, apply carefully and stay healthy. 

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