The cinnamon mostly used in Mexican cuisine is called Ceylon, or Canela in Spanish, and it is also known as true cinnamon. It is quite different from Cassia, which is mostly found in US stores. However, as time moves on, one can find true cinnamon in an increasing number of stores here.

The differences are in the looks but also in the flavor and aroma. Ceylon, or true cinnamon (pictured on the right side of the photo), has a milder but sweeter taste. It crumbles much easier, has a lighter color and each stick looks different from the rest. It also has more fragrance than Cassia. Cassia (pictured on the left side of the photo) sticks are much more uniform, so one stick looks very much like the next. It has a darker color, it is much harder, thus very difficult to tear or crumble. While it is less sweet than Ceylon, it has a much stronger, and even a bit harsh, flavor.

  • I am so glad to see that you’ve shared the difference between these two types of cinnamon! Not only is Ceylon sweeter than Cassia, it is also safer to use in high doses as it has 1200x less Coumarin (which is a blood thinner). Ceylon is currently my favorite herb! =)

  • Nicely done Pati. I am wondering since, Mexican recipes use Ceylon Cinnamon exclusively how many of your recipes in your book use Ceylon Cinnamon. Impressive that the book is an Amazon best seller.

  • marbeth

    How do I know? My package says El Sabor de Mexico– Canela entera. It looks like the cinnamon sticks on the left. They are hard and do not crumble easily.

    • Pati

      Then they are likely Cassia. The true cinnamon or Ceylon has every stick looking different from the next…

  • velia

    De la canela Mexicana sale un te deliciosamente rojo. La canela imitacion, da un te de color sucio.

  • Canela en el café, para una explosión de sabor..

  • Jim Dollenmaier

    What is Saigon Cinnamon, which I prefer?

    • Pati

      Is it Ceylon?

  • Ramona Duncan

    Muchas gracias Pati por la información. Yo no sabia distinguir las dos canelas. Esto me ayudo mucho.Y si aqui en USA ya se puede encontrar canela pura.Gracias de nuevo por tu ayuda.

    • Pati

      Claro, Ramona!

  • Gloria

    Estoy de acuerdo con el comentario de Velia!?

  • Janette

    That is exceptional information! It explains why I buy ground cinnamon and find that I have to use so much more than the newspaper recipes specify. In future I will be more selective about which cinnamon I buy. Ceylon!

  • Saigon Cinnamon is NOT Ceylon Cinnamon. It is very nice but has very high levels of Coumarin which can damage your liver.

  • Gloria

    Hola Pati, muchas gracia por compartir tu talento
    Culinario! Me gusta ver tu show en especial cuando
    Estas con tu familia, que Dioste Bendiga!?.