10 Surprising Things to Do with Cinnamon

Balsamic Pickled Apricots in small jars
Sweet yet savory, delicate yet hearty—cinnamon is the ultimate chameleon. Play hide-and-seek with cinnamon in these who-knew recipes. Spice up your dinner, drinks, and hors d'oeuvres with a sprinkle of never-shy cinnamon.

Cinnamon, Reimagined

Here's a little-known fact about cinnamon for you: Most of the cinnamon you'll find on grocery store shelves is the cassia type. It comes from the inner bark of the cassia tree, which originated in southern China, so it's sometimes called Chinese cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon, on the other hand, is grown in Sri Lanka and considered the "true" cinnamon (it's worth trying for its delicate, complex, citrus flavor!). Because Ceylon cinnamon is often used in Mexican cooking, you can often find it at Latin markets or specialty spice shops.

1: Wake Up Your Coffee

Steep in the robust flavor of cinnamon with this coffee trick: After brewing, add in a cinnamon stick and keep your java-craving mitts at bay for 10 minutes. It's worth the wait—just add a little half-and-half, and this cup of joe rivals the coffeehouse. Even if you usually like your coffee without any frills, this easy trick will become your new favorite way to enjoy your morning pick-me-up.

2: Sweeten Pretzels

No need to pick between salty and sweet for your next snack: Salted pretzels meet cinnamon-sugar goodness for a simple, delicious addition to any get-together. As this simple recipe proves, the best snacks combine salty and sweet. Good luck stopping after just a handful!

3: Make Oranges More Entertaining

Eating plain orange slices for a snack is a thing of the past. Dress up juicy orange slices with a dusting of ground cinnamon for a sweet fix that could pass as the dessert course. Of course, this simple recipe is also pretty healthy too, so you can indulge in this treat guilt-free.

4: Bring Sweetness to Chicken

You've seasoned chicken with salt and pepper. Now add a surprise ingredient: cinnamon! The warming spice turns the dinner staple into a super supper. And while it'll add a touch of sweetness to dinner, it won't be overwhelming. This savory cinnamon and pumpkin recipe is perfect for fall.

5: Rim Margarita Glasses

Why should salt have all the fun? Go for a sweet finish to each sip of margarita by rimming the glass with a cinnamon-sugar combo. Cinnamon is a common ingredient in Mexican cooking anyway, so it's only natural that it would taste great with a refreshing margarita.

6: Make a Spice Rub

Nearly every spice in this ready-to-top chicken or pork rub starts with C: cumin, curry, chili powder, cayenne, and—our star—cinnamon. The cinnamon is the sweet balance to the kickin' heat. This sweet-and-spicy rub is a great way to make your usual weeknight dinners a little extra special.

7: Break Up Meat Loaf Monotony

If your meat loaf always hedges savory, it's time for a cinnamon-infused version. This Moroccan-inspired recipe replaces the usual meat loaf seasonings with curry powder and ground cinnamon for a burst of sweet-and-spicy flavor. Turkey plays nice with cinnamon, so we've used it here instead of ground beef.

8: Play Up Pork

So much flavor in every bite! Pork chops are the star, but the flavor rub—wow! It's the memorable part of this recipe. Cinnamon mingles with hot pepper sauce, lime juice, and other spices for the taste-layered main dish. These pork chops will easily be the most popular recipe at your next backyard barbecue.

9: Use in Stew

It may be called a stew, but this incredibly satisfying dish has more in common with skillet chicken. Flavor your poultry with a cinnamon-spiced blend, then toss it in a Dutch oven with cinnamon-inspired add-ins, like pumpkin and golden raisins. Trust us, you'll be scraping the pan for every last bite!

10: Include in Pickling Recipes

Oh, what a stick of cinnamon can do! We've added a few to each of these canning recipes. Pick your favorite for a hint-of-sweet recipe you can enjoy any time of year. It'll help preserve your fresh produce, and each jar will have a hint of cinnamon's sweetness.

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