Gingerbread, nutmeg, and peppermint are classic flavors during the colder months, but there’s a reason that cinnamon spice is associated with everything nice (and it isn’t just because it’s an easy rhyme). It’s just so good, and it comes with some pretty sweet health benefits too. So why limit your use to just desserts? Check out these 25 sweet and savory ways to use cinnamon that prove it may just be the most versatile spice in your cabinet.
1. Simple Cinnamon Pumpkin Pancakes
With almost five grams of protein per serving thanks to the eggs and Greek yogurt, this isn’t your usual pancake recipe. Puréed pumpkin and cinnamon add that quintessential fall flavor, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself chowing down on these at the height of summer—they’re that good.
2. Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
Unlike most artificially flavored oatmeal, this recipe is made with real apples and cinnamon spice. With applesauce; chopped, fresh apples; and two generous teaspoons of the ground spice, there’s so much sweetness already that all it needs is a touch of maple syrup for an extra cozy touch.
3. Cinnamon Pear Pancakes
A standard pancake recipe gets a fiber boost from the use of oat flour instead of white flour, adds natural sweetness from grated pear in the batter, includes tons of flavor from the two teaspoons of cinnamon, and keeps the fat to a minimum by avoiding oil. On second thought, maybe these pancakes aren’t standard at all.
4. “Cinnamon Life” Muesli
The problem with most store-bought cereals? They lack protein and fiber. Packing in a big dollop of cottage cheese and using whole grain oats, this muesli fills those nutritional holes, while the sweetener and cinnamon in the mix keep it tasting like the packaged stuff (in a good way).
5. Cinnamon Walnut Flax Muffins
Get your morning started with fiber and protein, all packed into one delicious, cinnamon-y muffin. Coconut flour, eggs, and ground flaxseeds make them full of healthy and filling fats, but with no flour in sight, these are totally suitable for grain-free diets too.
6. Cinnamon Banana Breakfast Bulgur
With more fiber than oats or quinoa and a quick cooking time, bulgur scores in both the nutrition and the prep departments. Combine it with almond milk, bananas, and of course, a hefty sprinkle of cinnamon, and it’ll win when it comes to taste too.
7. Maple Cinnamon Peanut Butter Banana Toast
Peanut butter and banana toast is an old standby, but mash the fruit instead of slicing it and add a dash of cinnamon, and it’ll taste like an entirely new breakfast. If your banana isn’t quite ripe enough, add a drizzle of maple syrup, or better yet, sprinkle some dark chocolate chips on top for a bit of sweetness.
8. Almond and Cinnamon-Scented Oatmeal
Pairing well with practically any topping, oatmeal is the Miss Congeniality of breakfasts. But this recipe—a gorgeous bowl of sliced almonds and apples along with lots of cinnamon to taste (read: lots!) may just take the crown for looks, ease, and taste too.
9. Cinnamon Quinoa Bake
The gluten-free cousin of an oatmeal bake, this high-protein, quinoa-based breakfast features an entire tablespoon of cinnamon. Eat on its own to savor the spice, or pair it with fruit and nut butter for an even more balanced meal.
10. Cinnamon, Sweet Potato, and Carrot Soup
Who needs dessert when you’ve got this soup? With cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg bringing out the flavor in the sweet potatoes and carrots, it almost tastes more like a velvety pie filling without the sugar.
11. Pear Walnut Salad With Maple Cinnamon Dressing
Take a detour from your usual lunchtime pile of veggies with this recipe. Cinnamon-spiced candied walnuts, pears, and a cinnamon-infused dressing may sound like they’d be out of place in a salad, but they totally work against the peppery arugula base here.
12. Roasted Cinnamon Lemon Chicken
Your run-of-the-mill roast chicken dinner just got a lot more exciting with the addition of lemon, caramelized onions, and cinnamon; the spice may seem like an unlikely companion for the bird, but in this case, opposites clearly attract.
13. Bolognese Sauce With Cloves and Cinnamon
Instead of ground cinnamon, this recipe goes for two whole sticks of it. Along with several cloves, they lend a subtle but definitive “something different” to a classic meat sauce—just enough to raise eyebrows in the best way possible.
14. Spicy Broccoli Soup
When cinnamon can even manage to sneak into broccoli soup, that’s proof enough that when it comes to this spice, there are no limits. Plus, along with turmeric and ginger, this recipe sure isn’t kidding around about its immunity-boosting benefits.
15. Apple Pie Pork Chops
While the idea of meat inside an apple-filled pastry crust seems pretty odd, there’s nothing weird about infusing those pie flavors into a pan full of pork chops. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and paprika are stirred into applesauce, then slathered over the chops for a sweet and spicy complement to the savory pork. You may have to taste this one to believe it, but you’ll be so happy you did.
16. Fusilli With Whipped Feta, Cinnamon, and Crispy Garlic
Cinnamon + garlic + feta cheese in the same pasta dish may not make sense. It may seem totally absurd. Go with it and prepare for your mind (and your taste buds) to be blown away.
17. Sweet Potatoes With Turmeric and Cinnamon
As if sweet potatoes weren’t nutritious enough, they’re seasoned here with both cinnamon and turmeric for even more healthy benefits. Roasted until crispy, they’re better than fries.
18. Healthy Cinnamon Carrot Cookies
This recipe may only yield 12 cookies, but the batter is packed with a ton of nutritious ingredients. From the rolled oats and entire cup of carrots to the two whole teaspoons of cinnamon, this recipe is going in the “cookies so healthy they work for breakfast” file.
19. Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Sugar Baked Donuts
Fluffy but chewy, with a crunchy, just-sweet-enough cinnamon sugar crust, these golden-brown donuts look (and taste) like they were plucked out of Krispy Kreme. Take double pleasure in the fact that they’re baked instead of fried.
20. Simple Cinnamon Apple Cake
Thanks to Greek yogurt and white whole-wheat flour, this cake manages to get away with using just a single tablespoon of butter without turning out dry. While it’s much more wholesome than most cakes, the cinnamon and nutmeg keep it as rich-tasting and comforting as ever. Meanwhile, the sliced apple pattern on top makes it a pretty stunning centerpiece for your dessert table.
21. Simple Cinnamon Ginger Apple Crisp
One of the coziest desserts out there has to be a warm, crumbly crisp. This version, with cinnamon in the gluten-free oat-y topping and the gooey apple filling, manages to be highly addictive yet still lighter than most, thanks to nixing the butter and opting for pure maple syrup instead of refined sugar.
22. Cinnamon Chickpea Blondies
These gooey squares rely on chickpeas to give the dessert some extra protein and fiber. But while the beans might be the not-so-secret ingredient, it’s the one and a half tablespoons of cinnamon that takes the cake (blondie?) when it comes to flavor.
23. Skinny Snickerdoodles
It wouldn’t be a legit cinnamon roundup if it didn’t include this classic cookie! These are slightly healthier, with a fraction of the fat and sugar of the traditional recipe, but don’t be afraid to roll them in as much of the spice as you’d like. When it comes to snickerdoodles, there’s no such thing as too much cinnamon.
24. Maple Cinnamon Cheesecakes
There’s no actual cheese in these bite-size cheesecakes—blended cashews take the place of the dairy—but there’s plenty of cinnamon. It’s featured in both the crust and the filling, so that each mouthful comes with a hint of spice.
25. Cinnamon Brown Rice Pudding With Almond Milk
Cinnamon’s a must-have ingredient in rice pudding, and this one sticks to that rule by calling for a good tablespoon of it. It does stray from the usual recipe in some pretty delicious ways, using brown rice instead of white and almond milk instead of regular milk or cream.