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Aug 11, 2011 01:21 PM

Saigon Cinnamon vs. "regular" (Ceylon) Cinnamon?

We just ran out of cinnamon (we use it for everything!) and bought Saigon Cinnamon in a huge pack. I didn't realize until we got home to refill the spice jar that this stuff smells WAY stronger than Ceylon. It reminds me of red hots.

When we read about Saigon (aka Vietmanese) it looked like it has more of the oil in it (which causes the stronger smell).

Can you use this the same as Ceylon cinnamon or is it too strong to use in baking (in the same amounts)?

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  1. My understanding is that Ceylon cinnamon is the one "true" cinnamon, and is subtler than other varieties, including Saigon cinnamon, which are similar-tasting but stronger cassia. My personal experience is that Saigon is strongest-tasting one available, and Ceylon is much more subtle. Since I love the strong flavor of the former, I use it in equal measure, but if you like how Ceylon tastes I would use half the amount of the Saigon in your baking and see if you like it that way before trying it in equal measure.

    1. As Caitlin says, Ceylon cinnamon is true cinnamon. There are three other varieties--all from species of trees that are related to Ceylon cinnamon and also to each other--that are known as cassia cinnamon: Saigon cinnamon, Chinese cinnamon and Indonesian cinnamon, the better grades of which are also called Korintje cinnamon. Saigon is the strongest and bitiest of the three cassias, while Indonesian/Korintje is the most mellow of the three. I find that Ceylon cinnamon has a citrusy note that the cassia varieties lack.

      I think that you can substitute one type of cinnamon for another, but you'll need to play around a little with the amounts to suit your taste. Personally, I love cinnamon and will usually increase the amount indicated in a recipe by 50%. I've even doubled it in baked goods. For some people that might be overwhelming.

      For what it's worth, Europeans tend to prefer Ceylon cinnamon, while Americans favor cassia cinnamon, probably because that's what we're used to getting in our cakes, pies, etc. I like both.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cheesemaestro

        Mexicans also prefer Ceylon. The Mexican spice rack is the easiest place to find quills of Ceylon. There are multilayered scrolls. Saigon bark, on the other hand, comes in thick chunks.

      2. Please visit Green Tidings If you are on Facebook, The two main types of cinnamon are Ceylon and Cassia, Ceylon being the healthier option. Here is a quote from a great article I found on Green Tidings :
        Cassia cinnamon is the main source of coumarin in the human diet. Coumarin is a naturally occurring toxin which has the potential to damage the liver in high doses. Cassia contains high levels of coumarin, whereas Ceylon contains either undetectable levels or only traces of coumarin.