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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.


16comments inCinnamon

  1. Anonymous

    Apr 01

    Thank you for this clarification of flavor

    1. Pati Jinich

      Apr 04

      My pleasure!

  2. Gloria

    Sep 15

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

  3. Cinnamon Vogue

    Sep 15

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

  4. Janette

    Sep 13

    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!

  5. Gloria

    Sep 12

    Estoy de acuerdo con el comentario de Velia!?

  6. Ramona Duncan

    Sep 12

    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.

    1. Pati

      Sep 13

      Claro, Ramona!

  7. Jim Dollenmaier

    Sep 12

    What is Saigon Cinnamon, which I prefer?

    1. Pati

      Sep 13

      Is it Ceylon?

  8. Bill Colpitts

    Sep 11

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

  9. velia

    Sep 11

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

  10. marbeth

    Sep 11

    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.

    1. Pati

      Sep 13

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

  11. Cinnamon Vogue

    Jun 23

    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.

  12. Andrea

    May 18

    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! =)

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