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Cinnamon ranks among the astir identifiable and beloved smells successful the world, its fiery sweetness scenting meal toast, meal stew, and dessert pastry. But successful opposition to the delight of opening a jar of the champion cinnamon and feeling the rust-colored pulverization tingle your nose, opening a jar of sub-par cinnamon, which comes successful a assortment of styles of sadness, from flavorless, to bitter, to tannic, is bound to disappoint.

Grace Bryan, whose stunning cinnamon rolls gully large lines to her Vista Bakeshop successful Seabrook, Washington, calls it a cardinal spice, for its quality to enactment good successful conjunction with different spices and basal retired connected its own. “It’s a small spicy, but doesn’t person immoderate capsaicin,” she says astir wherefore radical similar it truthful much. “It feels adventurous and zesty.”

Nancy Lin Chen praises cinnamon’s different large attribute: “It has that earthy sweetness,” says the writer of 101 Amazing Uses for Cinnamon. “People similar it due to the fact that we similar sweet,” she says, talking astir the spice’s agelong past going backmost to past times, including erstwhile Emperor Nero supposedly burnt a year’s worthy of Rome’s proviso astatine his wife’s funeral. “It’s a rumor,” she says, but adjacent the fable demonstrates the precocious worth placed connected the spice. Meanwhile, she notes that Egyptians utilized it successful their embalming recipes due to the fact that cinnamon’s antibacterial properties helped sphere the bodies.

Today, it sits successful astir each room furniture successful America, awaiting its clip to radiance successful holiday favourite baking and portion recipes – erstwhile really, the astir important happening to cognize astir your cinnamon is that it should beryllium arsenic caller arsenic possible. “Buy it successful tiny amounts,” advises Bryan. While she prefers to bargain hers successful sticks (also known arsenic quills) for location use, the cinnamon marketplace offers galore sizes of sticks, tons of antithetic types of crushed cinnamon, cracked cinnamon, positive different parts of the works including cinnamon leaves. Chen adjacent says immoderate radical usage the bark for medicinal purposes.

But erstwhile it comes to what you request to cognize astir cinnamon to find the champion for your cooking, baking, and mulling projects, you privation to cognize astir the sticks and crushed varieties. We tested done dozens of varieties and styles to assistance fig it out. 

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Curio Spice Co. Sri Lanka Sweet Cinnamon Quills

Origin: Sri Lanka | Format: 3-inch instrumentality | Species: Ceylon

What We Like

  • Strong, spicy smell
  • Price
  • Company
What We Don’t Like

  • Less sweet
  • Stronger odor than taste

Why we chose it: This affordable instrumentality from a certified B-corp brings a big, “in-your-face” cinnamon fragrance. 

Smelling this battalion of cinnamon quills is similar unwrapping a instrumentality of Big Red gum: the spicy cinnamon spirit conscionable jumps out. Dropped into the h2o and grated implicit toast, the fragrance remained but the spirit muted a bit, which ended up giving conscionable the equilibrium expected of existent cinnamon. All of Curio’s cinnamon products matched the apical offerings of their category, and someway negociate to vie for the astir affordable, too. 

Best Value: Oaktown Spice Shop Organic Indonesian Cinnamon

Origin: Indonesia | Format: Ground | Species: Korintje

What We Like

  • Price
  • Tingly spice
  • Sweetness
What We Don’t Like

  • Slight bitterness
  • Subtler smell

Why we chose it: Cinnamon prices scope with seemingly small transportation to quality, but this Indonesian from Oaktown gave disconnected bully flavors portion holding down the lowest price.

Though it lacks the fiery fragrance of immoderate of the large hitters, the tingly spice connected this cinnamon won america implicit with its creaseless sweetness, making it an casual go-to for sprinkling connected apical of buttered toast oregon into oatmeal. Purchased successful container form, it comes to little than $3 an ounce for ground, integrated cinnamon, making it the cheapest of immoderate cinnamon with bully flavor.

Best for Baking: Burlap & Barrel Royal Cinnamon

Origin: Vietnam | Format: Ground | Species: Saigon

What We Like

  • Rich spiciness
  • Strong flavor
What We Don’t Like

  • Slightly tannic
  • Messy packaging

Why we chose it: This affluent spice drew america successful with the odor and maintained its spot adjacent aft baking.

Burlap & Barrel’s impeccable sourcing turns retired caller products simply connected different level. While astir of the crushed cinnamon we tested paled during baking, this 1 came retired of the oven inactive kicking. While it had a spot of tannic spirit connected the finish, the strong, affluent spice overpowered it capable not to matter. Sadly, thing astir the good grind connected the cinnamon and the packaging meant that it made a spot of a messiness each clip we opened the jar. 

Best for Gifts oregon Presentation: India Tree 10-inch Cinnamon Quills

Origin: Indonesia | Format: 10-inch sticks | Species: Cassia

What We Like

  • Looks pretty
  • Sweet cinnamon fragrance
What We Don’t Like

  • Annoying packaging
  • Not resealable

Why we chose it: On spirit alone, these long, slender sticks ranked high, and thing other we tested caught the oculus rather similar them.

The agelong sticks look astir gimmicky: excessively large to usage for a cupful of beverage oregon grate onto toast, unwieldy to usage successful a stew wherever cipher would notice. But for the uncommon lawsuit wherever these mightiness spell connected display—in a punch vessel oregon infused into a ample jar oregon bottle—they adhd a interaction of delight. It’s a instrumentality that lone works due to the fact that they besides transportation a pleasant and saccharine cinnamon smell, successful summation to its intriguing appearance.

Best Cassia Sticks: Spicewalla Cinnamon Sticks

Origin: Vietnam | Format: 3-inch sticks | Species: Cassia

What We Like

  • Grates nicely
  • Strong flavor
What We Don’t Like

  • Subtle spice
  • Hollow sticks

Why we chose it: The beardown spirit but mild spice connected these cinnamon sticks marque them a crowdpleaser.

The biggest cinnamon flavors usually came with a vigor to match, but these sticks balanced sweetness and warmth without deterring those who similar little spice. The sticks besides grated nicely, making them a bully enactment connected kids’ toast oregon oatmeal.

Best for Drinks: Spice House Saigon Cracked Cassia Cinnamon

Origin: Vietnam | Format: Cracked | Species: Cassia

What We Like

  • Great for mulling
  • Sweet, adjacent spice
What We Don’t Like

  • Needs to beryllium strained
  • Not versatile

Why we chose it: This unsocial merchandise imparted the astir spirit successful the shortest clip into drinks than thing other we tested.

Like the tiny wood chips of accepted cinnamon bark sticks, this merchandise has beauteous overmuch lone 1 use—adding cinnamon spirit to drinks—but it does that amended than immoderate stick. Because the tiny chips request to beryllium strained out, they don’t enactment arsenic good for stew and necessitate a interaction much work, but they instantly adhd important cinnamon spirit to blistery water, making them the cardinal to comforting teas and flavorful mulled wine.

Best Ground True Cinnamon: Burlap & Barrel Cinnamon Verum

Origin: Zanzibar | Format: Ground | Species: Ceylon

What We Like

  • Rich, saccharine flavor
  • Big aroma
What We Don’t Like

  • Mild spice
  • Messy packaging

Why we chose it: Despite the earthy subtlety of existent cinnamon, this assortment came crossed arsenic rich, sweet, and complex.

Though somewhat much muted than the Big Red odor that jumped from our favourite sticks by Curio, this crushed cinnamon worked hard to springiness disconnected a tantalizingly spicy aroma. As is often the case, the spirit was overmuch milder, but it managed to clasp its ain against cassia styles, adjacent successful baking, which nary different existent cinnamon could. For cinnamon purists unfastened to looking extracurricular cinnamon’s accepted region, this Tanzanian assortment brings the astir flavor. However, similar Burlap & Barrel’s different cinnamon, the packaging meant that it made a spot of a messiness each clip we opened the jar. 

How We Chose These Products

We tested 25 antithetic cinnamons, from assorted companies, successful assorted formats. Each was chosen by our marketplace exertion for quality, sourcing, and immoderate unsocial features. For sticks, we mulled them successful not-quite boiling h2o for a fewer minutes, past sipped the water. We besides grated them onto buttered toast. For crushed cinnamon, we sprinkled it connected buttered toast and baked it into pastry. 

Features to Keep successful Mind When Shopping for Cinnamon

Types of Cinnamons

Cassia and Ceylon are the 2 main types of cinnamon, with cassia breaking down into galore antithetic types, mostly based connected wherever they were harvested. Ceylon oregon Sri Lanka cinnamon is the communal sanction of cinnamon verum oregon what is often called “true cinnamon,” but some Chen and Bryan said they similar the spirit of cassia for astir uses. While galore varieties are labeled conscionable arsenic cassia, Saigon cinnamon is simply a cassia benignant of cinnamon often specifically called retired for its aggravated sweetness and spice. Bryan describes Ceylon arsenic sweeter, much understated, and recommends it for mulled cider oregon tea. She prefers cassia for baking and uses the Indonesian Korintje successful her bakery (a adjacent relative, though a somewhat antithetic species). “It’s a spot spicier, much pronounced.”  That allows her to person amended power implicit the spice level, she explains, which is particularly important successful the cinnamon rolls. “Everything astir it is buttery and sweet, it needs that sharpness.”

Sources 

Generically labeled cinnamon mostly comes from China oregon Indonesia, portion fancier spice companies often statement precisely wherever they originate. But much than wherever it’s grown, the benignant of histrion it came from makes a immense difference—though the 2 are precise overmuch related. Most of the cinnamon retired of Sri Lanka is Cinnamomum verum, the existent cinnamon, portion astir coming retired of Indonesia is Cinnamomum burmannii, oregon Korintje. A batch of what comes retired of Vietnam is called “Saigon Cinnamon,” though it doesn’t really travel from Saigon. The sanction should picture Cinnamomum Loureiro. However, Vietnam, similar neighboring China, grows a just magnitude of Cinnamomum cassia

Quality

“Freshness matters most,” says Chen. The prime of cinnamon varied greatly successful tasting, but the main happening that separated immoderate of the winners from those not considered for enactment was a stale fustiness. Freshness mattered much than the nonstop brand, truthful the nonstop sourcing of brands similar Burlap & Barrel apt helped them basal out. The fustiness mattered somewhat little successful the mulled and baked mentation but became highly evident connected toast. 

Ask the Experts

Q: Does cinnamon expire?

“It doesn’t spell bad,” says Chen. “It’s conscionable that the potency isn’t there.” Bryan adds that it’s champion to conscionable bargain it successful tiny quantities, “It’s not a bully thought for it to beryllium astir for months connected end.”

Q: Is cinnamon healthy?

For centuries, cinnamon has been utilized arsenic a medicine for its antibacterial properties – and adjacent arsenic an embalming agent, says Chen. She refers to studies showing that it tin assistance radical modulate their humor sugar, “not arsenic a replacement for medications,” she says, “but to assistance power it.” 

Q: How does cinnamon grow?

Cinnamon is the interior bark of a circumstantial benignant of evergreen histrion successful the laurel family, explains Chen. It’s past scraped disconnected into quills and dried – and, if needed, crushed into a powder.

Our Take

Both experts expressed a tiny spot of embarrassment arsenic they admitted to preferring the cassia-type cinnamon to the “true” variety, but it’s important to retrieve that astatine slightest successful this case—the other of existent is not fake. “It’s astir determining which cinnamon you similar best,” Chen says, noting that immoderate radical mightiness not privation the aggressively spicy kinds that she prefers. Whether you privation your beverage to odor similar Big Red gum oregon your cinnamon toast to hardly emanate that subtle warmth, uncovering the champion cinnamon comes from knowing your ain preferences.

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