Is cinnamon a spice?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Is cinnamon a spice?”. We will also discuss what makes cinnamon a spice, what are its flavors, and where it originated from. Moreover, we will also talk about its uses as a spice and why it is not considered a herb and a condiment.

Is cinnamon a spice?

Yes, cinnamon is a spice that is derived from the inner bark of a tropical Cinnamomum tree. It can be used in powdered forms or whole forms (cinnamon sticks).

But what makes cinnamon a spice? Cinnamon has all the qualities that spice should have. Spice can be defined as any dried plant parts other than the leaves that are used to season and flavor a recipe but not as the main ingredient. So, to be considered a spice, either the dried root, dried stalk, seed, or dried fruit of the plant should have aromatic properties. 

Cinnamon falls under this category as it comes from the bark of a tree, and it has some very powerful flavors and aroma. One of the compounds which give cinnamon its spicy bite is cinnamaldehyde.

What flavors does cinnamon have as a spice?

Cinnamon has warm, earthy, sweet flavors with a very strong aroma. The taste and aroma of cinnamon come from an aromatic compound called cinnamaldehyde, which makes up most of the essential oil of cinnamon. Besides this compound, 80 additional aromatic compounds give cinnamon its powerful flavor and fragrance. 

Where did cinnamon spice originate from?

Cinnamon is native to the island of Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon), which is located southeast of India. It is also indigenous to southwest India and Burma’s Tenasserim Hills. Several attempts have been made to transplant cinnamon trees to other parts of the tropic world, but only the Seychelles have become naturalized.

It was one of the earliest spices to be traded in the ancient world and was considered a very valuable spice. It also has numerous biblical symbolism and references and is mentioned in the Bible.

How is cinnamon used?

Cinnamon as a spice has endless uses. They can be used to enhance or flavor both sweet as well as savory dishes. Cinnamon is popular for its delicate and sweeter notes which are utilized in different baked items and beverages, but they can also be occasionally used in different savory dishes. It is a versatile spice with numerous culinary uses.

For savory recipes, usually, whole cinnamon sticks are used as they are more powerful that way. Likewise, ground cinnamon is used in baking and flavoring drinks. You can sprinkle some cinnamon powder wherever you want some flavors of cinnamon.

Due to its intense flavors, cinnamon is often added to different spice blends such as garam masala and pumpkin pie spice. The oil can also be extracted from the Cinnamomum, which again has endless possibilities. 

The cinnamon essential oil can be used in bakeries, beverages, and for medicinal purposes as well. Cinnamon is said to be very helpful for different respiratory and digestive issues. It can also be used to control diabetes and minimize the risk of heart diseases.

Can cinnamon also be used as a herb?

No, cinnamon cannot be used as a herb since it has no herbal properties. Both herbs and spices are derived from plants, however, herbs are the fresh parts of the plant such as leaves and fragile items, and spices are the dried root, dried stalk, seed, or dried fruit of the plant. 

In contrast to herbs, which are used fresh, spices are always used dried. Since the leaves of cinnamon trees have no culinary applications, cinnamon cannot be considered a herb.

Is cinnamon a condiment?

No, cinnamon is not a condiment. A condiment is defined as something that is added to cooked food to enhance its flavor. 

However, even though in some cases cinnamon can be used as a condiment, it is not generally considered to be one. This is because cinnamon is popularly known and used as an ingredient that adds flavors to your recipes, and not just as a flavor enhancer. 

The term condiment can have multiple meanings and interpretations. While a condiment is commonly defined as an ingredient added to food after it has been prepared and served, it was originally used to refer to pickled or preserved food. Some of the popular ingredients that are considered condiments are onion salt, celery salt, normal salt, ketchup, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, mustard, etc.

Find some of the commonly used condiments and how they can be used to enhance the flavor of your food here.


In this brief guide, we have answered the query, “Is cinnamon a spice?”. We have also discussed what makes cinnamon a spice, what are its flavors, and where it originated from. Moreover, we have also talked about its uses as a spice and why it is not considered a herb and a condiment.


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