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Difference Between Cassia and Ceylon Cinnamon Sticks And Powders With Photos

        I have always cinnamon on my spice shelf in powder and sticks like probably most of us. I use it for sweet dishes, beverages, and some vegetable dishes, and love pairing cinnamon and apple. I can admit I had only cassia in my pantry before, I thought cinnamon is just cinnamon from the same plant. But what is a cinnamon spice made out of?  I start my research out of curiosity and what I learned surprised me and I want to share it with you! Cinnamon can be from different plants but with a similar aroma, from strong with a slight bitterness to sweet and mild. However, the most important and main difference between cassia and Ceylon Cinnamon amount of coumarin. Ceylon cinnamon contains much less coumarin than Cassia or Saigon cinnamon. What is coumarin? Coumarin is an aromatic chemical contained in many plants but what surprised me in a large amount can be poison for us. We need to eat so much cinnamon to be poison for us but it is good to know, especially for people with liver disease or sensitive liver. After I did my research about cinnamon and did a comparison myself, now I use only Ceylon cinnamon powder in my cooking. 


Coumarin In Ceylon Cinnamon According U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

     According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cassia cinnamon doesn’t have enough coumarin to make us sick but for people with liver disease may worsen their condition. 

You can find U.S. Department of Health and Human Services article about cinnamon here → nccih.nih.gov/health/cinnamon

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Difference Between Cassia And Ceylon Cinnamon Sticks

        Difference between cassia and Ceylon cinnamon sticks we can tell so easily by the look. Cassia cinnamon sticks are woody, one layer, and very hard to break. Ceylon sticks are very fragile and have many layers. Another difference besides coumarin is the flavor Ceylon cinnamon has a noticeable milder flavor. When I use cinnamon sticks to flavor beverages the difference I can tell easily and I am not an expert to taste spices. However, if to decorate beverages I like cassia sticks more because it not fall apart and have more possibilities to garnish. We also can make fun and simple decor with cassia cinnamon sticks for drinks. We can engrave messages with a simple inexpensive tool, write with an edible marker, and more. I have one idea how to keep together Ceylon cinnamon stick too in cold beverages. 

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Cassia Cinnamon Sticks

Photo Cassia Cinnamon Sticks

       Cassia cinnamon sticks are made from bark cut of mature trees and very solid and impossible to break. Very convenient to use for stirring beverages and very common use to make Christmas decorations, they are naturally aromatic and look so cute in many craft projects. The sticks of cassia are very hard to grind into powder and almost impossible to ground to flourlike consistency. However, it is a great addition to use as a spoon to steer Holiday drinks like hot cocoa, coffee, chocolate, or wine beverage Gluehwein. Sticks can be reused a few times, just wash well and dry before storing. We also can make fun and simple decor with cassia cinnamon sticks for drinks. We can engrave messages with a simple inexpensive tool, write with an edible marker, and more. Oh, I wish I was talented to engrave something more creative than just a simple smiley face and a heart!

Photo Cassia cinnamon stick with a heart

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Ceylon Cinnamon Sticks

      Ceylon cinnamon in sticks is very fragile and has many layers, call also quilts. True cinnamon sticks easily can be ground into fine powder. Just remember a fine sifting after grinding cinnamon sticks is a must to prevent small pieces of bark get into our baking goods. The best quality Ceylon cinnamon sticks are very thin and after it is drying can be thin as fine paper. The best quality and more expensive are quills without dark brown spots from surface knots in the cinnamon branches. The best flavor has cinnamon from the pristine inner bark. 

On the photo below my Ceylon cinnamon sticks directly from country Sri Lanka. I can sometimes be carried away with research for my articles and go extra mile what is not necessary at all. Now I have cinnamon for years to go!


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How To Tell The Difference Between Ceylon And Cassia Cinnamon Spice In Powder

        I bought a few jars of cinnamon to tell difference and learn more for my culinary curiosity because so easy to tell Ceylon and cassia cinnamon difference in sticks without looking at the label. Can we tell the taste difference between cassia and Ceylon cinnamon in the powdered form? Yes, the flavor! Ceylon cinnamon has a very mild and delicate taste compared to cassia. I definitely need to use Ceylon cinnamon much more in a recipe than cassia. Most American recipes call for cassia cinnamon if we see just cinnamon in ingredients because most people use cassia.

       However, we can’t tell difference between cassia and Ceylon in color for sure. For example, Ceylon has a light tan color but Cassia, Saigon, or Vietnamese cinnamon can vary from dark reddish-brown to very light tan color. I took a photo of comparison Ceylon and Vietnamese cinnamon as an example, no difference visually at all. However, the flavor is very noticeable. Vietnamese cinnamon is pleasant but much stronger taste than Ceylon.

6 Main Differences Between Cassia And Ceylon Cinnamon

Cinnamon comparason
Coumarin amountCeylon – contains a very small amount of coumarin.Cassia – contains much more coumarin than Ceylon cinnamon.
The best use Ceylon – great very delicate flavor to use in desserts, pastry, cakes, and beverages.Cassia – flavor strong and best to use in Asian savory dishes.
PriceCeylon – in most cases more expensive than Cassia.Cassia – very inexpensive spice compare to Ceylon cinnamon.
Availability in the USACeylon – not easy to find at every grocery store.Cassia – very easy to find at any grocery store.
Sticks difference Ceylon – sticks layered and very fragile.Cassia – sticks very solid and hard to break.

Where To Buy Real Ceylon Cinnamon In The USA At Stores?

       We can buy online from so many sources of Ceylon cinnamon but I was curious where can we buy in the USA locally at stores. Is it possible to find this treasure? I read from so many sources most cinnamon on the USA market is Cassia and I strongly believe it is the truth after I checked so many of our local stores. I asked associates responsible for ordering merchandise at a store, every person told me they never heard about the difference between Cassio or Ceylon cinnamon. Most jars have just named cinnamon on them or can be named by origin as Vietnamese cinnamon or Saigon cinnamon. So after doing some searching, I strongly believe most cinnamon on the market in the USA is cassia cinnamon. However, I still found Ceylon cinnamon sticks at our local stores!

  1. I found at Walmart Ceylon cinnamon sticks from Mexico and they are not expensive. On the package, it is named just cinnamon sticks but I check on the website www.fiestaspices.com/product/cinnamon-sticks/ and the sticks are Ceylon cinnamon. However, the powdered cinnamon they sell is cassia.
  2. Another place to find Ceylon cinnamon is Whole Foods stores
  3. We can find Ceylon cinnamon from Mexico also call on packages Canela and can be found in Latin markets in sticks or powder.
  4. Check the organic section in your local grocery store.    

       Another source of  Ceylon cinnamon in the local Winn-Dixie store at the Organic section of the store. Ceylon cinnamon from Simply Organic company we can find at health food stores as well. The website of the company is Simplyorganic.com

More About Ceylon Cinnamon

       Ceylon or “true” cinnamon is made from the bark of the evergreen tree Cinnamomum verum and is originally from Sri Lanka. The Ceylon cinnamon was named because Sri Lanka’s older colonial-era name was Ceylon. The true cinnamon flavor is very mild, pleasant and the best to use in sweet dishes. For example, cinnamon rolls, cakes, oatmeal with apples, or banana foster. In some cooking books, can be called baker’s cinnamon. However, because most of the cinnamon is cassia in the USA market, recipes usually call for cassia. Be sure, that if you use Ceylon cinnamon adjust the amount. Hight quality Ceylon cinnamon is the most expensive cinnamon and not easy to find. 

More About Cassia Cinnamon

Photo Cassia cinnamon sticks and powder

             Cassia cinnamon is made from Chinese origin plant Cinnamomum cassia and is the most common cinnamon on our shelves in the USA. Pleasant taste and great to use in baking, savory dishes, with fried pork, poultry, and lamb dishes. I checked so many local stores and can tell for sure on so many labels it says just cinnamon. What I learned, if I see the label “Cinnamon” on a jar, it is for sure is cassia cinnamon. In fact, most cinnamon in the USA market is cassia cinnamon. It is usually not an expensive spice compared to Ceylon cinnamon. It is a great addition to flavor Holiday drinks like hot cocoa, coffee, chocolate, or wine beverage Gluehwein, and much more.  

Saigon Cinnamon

       Third cinnamon, what I saw on our local store’s shelves call Saigon or Vietnamese cinnamon and it made from Cinnamomum Loureiro, according to Wikipedia. I tasted powdered Vietnamese cinnamon, it is a nice flavor but very strong compared to Ceylon cinnamon. Saigon cinnamon by taste is very close to cassia. However, color can varies from reddish-brown to light tan depends on the company. Saigon cinnamon also available in sticks as well and looks like cassia cinnamon sticks. 

17 Uses Of Cinnamon In Cooking

       Ceylon or cassia cinnamon can be used in any of these dishes and beverages below, it is up to your preferences and availability what cinnamon you have on hand. Just remember cassia and Saigon cinnamon are stronger in flavor than Ceylon. Like every other spice, cinnamon quality depends on so many factors and the best way is to buy from trusted sellers, especially the powdered versions. Most American recipes call for cassia because most cinnamon on the market is cassia and what are most people using. The use of cinnamon powder in food can warry from sweet to savory dishes.

      Leaves from cassia tree also known as Indian bay leaves but it makes confusion with bay leaves in some recipes when chefs just say bay leaf and meaning Indian bay leaves. Often Indian bay leaves use in Indian cuisine. If you like to cook, good to learn the difference.

Learn more → How to Use Bay Leaves in Cooking

Cinnamon Uses In Sweet And Savory Dishes

Squash spread with chips Photo

1. In some vegetable dishes cinnamon must-have. My squash spread recipe I am cooking for many many years. One day I added a pinch of cinnamon and it is a huge improvement in flavor!

Check out the recipe ⇒ Russian Squash Spread Recipe Kabachkovaya Ikra

Photo French Toast With Cinnamon Flower

2. A sprinkle of cinnamon makes sweet French toast even more delicious! In the photo, I decorated the plate with cinnamon powder. I use a stencil and powdered cinnamon to make this design on the plate.

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Video How to Platting Desserts With Cinnamon – Stencil Methtod

3. A cup of warm milk with honey and a small pinch of cinnamon before going to bed is so good at winter time.

Read more ⇒ 5 Cinnamon Stick Garnish Ideas For Cocktails With Photos

4. A small pinch of cinnamon is a delicious addition to homemade apple sauce. Apple sauce so good with fried pork chops.

Check out the recipe ⇒ Russian Style Pork Chops Recipe

Photo Ceylon cinnamon with hot chocolate

5. Hot chocolate or cocoa stirred with a cinnamon stick is delicious! Or just a tiny pinch of ground cinnamon, especially in hot chocolate, makes a big difference on a cold winter day.

6. Cinnamon widely use in cakes recipes. For example, cinnamon cheesecake.

7. Cinnamon rolls one of the most popular cinnamon pastries in the World.

8. Cinnamon is must to have ingredient in winter red wine beverage Gluhwein or other mulled wine. Red warm wine with spices commonly use as a remedy when we have a cold.

Check ideas → Fun And Fancy Cocktail Garnish Ideas With Photos

9. Cinnamon eggnog is a great treat for Holidays.

10. Cinnamon is a great addition to morning cereal or muesli.

Banana bread dessert Photo

11. Cinnamon very good combines with bananas in some desserts, for example, banana foster or banana bread.

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Photo Leaf garnish with fondant cut and press

12. Oatmeal with cinnamon and fruits so a great combination for breakfast.

*I saute cubed apple in real butter, add a pinch of cinnamon, salt, and brown or white sugar. Time depends on apples, some keep shape well, some don’t. Add to oatmeal apples and it will be the best oatmeal breakfast ever!

Photo How to Make a Rose from Orange Peel

13. Sliced oranges are even better with sprinkled cinnamon on the top.

Check also ⇒ 5 Cute And Fancy Ways to Serve Orange and Mandarin

Photo Cinnamon use in beverages

14. Cinnamon compliments beverages made from fresh and dry fruits. Especially good pairing with apples, pears, and apple quince.

Read about more ideas to garnish beverages ⇒ 5 Lime And Orange Peel Cocktail Garnish Ideas

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15. Cinnamon compliments some barbeque sauces.

Photo What Is Cinnamon Spice

16. Cinnamon is a “secret” ingredient in some chili recipes. Cincinnati chili has cinnamon.

Cinnamon Spice

17. Cinnamon great in some meat rubs, just a little addition makes big difference.

Video How Produse Ceylon Cinamon In Sri Lanka Before Get to Our Kitchen

      This video is about how is cinnamon processed and making cinnamon sticks before comes into our kitchen. I watched it on Youtube and liked it very much because this video is educational about Ceylon cinnamon from Sri Lanka for The Tesco company.

      The video property of European company The Tesco. I have permission to embed this video on my website from The Tesco company.

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