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December 28, 2023 4 min read

Do you love making spiced hot chocolate or your favorite baked goods like cinnamon rolls or carrot cake? All these recipes require you to have some ground cinnamon. But what if you've only got cinnamon sticks? Don't worry, it's easy to create your own freshly ground cinnamon at home! In this guide, we'll walk you through simple, effective methods to turn those sticks into fine, aromatic powder, right in your kitchen.


What’s the Difference Between Cinnamon Sticks and Cinnamon Powder?

 

cinnamon powder in small white bowl with cinnamon stick around on wooden cutting board
Credit: Envato Elements/ sokorspace

When it comes to cinnamon, you'll often find it in two forms: cinnamon sticks and ground cinnamon. But what's the real difference between the two?

Cinnamon sticks are simply cinnamon bark, rolled up into tight spirals. They're packed with a strong, spicy flavor that's released slowly when added to your recipes. Ground cinnamon, on the other hand, is cinnamon sticks ground into a fine powder. This powder gives a more immediate and intense cinnamon flavor to your dishes.

While both are cinnamon, their uses in cooking can be quite different. Sticks are great for infusing flavors over time – think of a simmering pot of stew or a warm cup of tea. Ground cinnamon, however, is perfect for when you need a quick, bold cinnamon taste, like in baking cookies or sprinkling over oatmeal.


How to Make Ground Cinnamon


Looking to make some homemade cinnamon powder? Scroll down below to discover some effective methods:


1) Use a Coffee Grinder

 

the inside of a coffee grinder with blades
Credit: Envato Elements/ Ha4ipuri

For a fast and effective way to grind cinnamon sticks, consider using a coffee grinder. Just break the sticks into smaller pieces, pop them in the grinder, and pulse until you get a nice fine cinnamon powder. It's fast, and you get evenly ground cinnamon. Just be sure to clean your grinder well afterward to avoid mixing flavors with your next cup of coffee!


2) Mortar and Pestle Method

 

hands grinding cinnamon sticks with mortar and pestle
Credit: Envato Elements/ wirestock

If you prefer a more hands-on approach, a mortar and pestle will do the trick. First, break the cinnamon sticks into smaller pieces. Then, use the pestle to grind the pieces against the mortar. It's a bit of a workout but you have total control over the cinnamon's texture. Plus, it's a great way to destress.


3) Using a Rolling Pin

 

wooden rolling pin with black stone chopping board
Credit: Envato Elements/ seregam

Another simple method is using a rolling pin. Place the fresh cinnamon sticks inside a Ziploc bag or between two sheets of parchment paper. Then, roll over them with a rolling pin, applying firm pressure. This method might not give you the finest powder, but it's great for when you need crushed cinnamon for infusions or decoration. If you don’t use a rolling pin, you can also use a meat tenderizer.


4) Blender or Food Processor

 

electric mixer in kitchen on counter
Credit: Envato Elements/ seventyfourimages

For larger quantities, a blender, a spice grinder, or a food processor can be effective. After breaking the sticks into pieces, add them to the blender and pulse them until the appropriate texture is achieved. Once done, transfer all the cinnamon powder to a glass jar. This method might require a bit more time and patience to get a fine powder, but it's great for bulk grinding.


5) Use a Grater

 

grater on wooden surface with spices around
Credit: Envato Elements/ oizostudios

Finally, you can use a fine grater or microplane. Simply hold the cinnamon stick and gently grate it against the blades. This method is good for getting a small amount of cinnamon powder and works best if the sticks are a bit softer (you can soften them by microwaving for a few seconds).


How to Store Cinnamon Powder

 

cinnamon powder in glass jar with cinnamon stick around
Credit: Envato Elements/ sommai

The best way to store powdered cinnamon is in a tight-sealing container, like a small jar with a screw-top lid. Glass jars are great because they don't hold onto scents from previous spices. Place the jar in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and heat. This could be your pantry or a spice cabinet. Make sure to keep it away from the stove or oven, as heat can cause spices to lose their flavor more quickly. Also, avoid storing it near the dishwasher, as the humidity and heat from the appliance can affect the quality of the cinnamon. Properly stored, your fresh home-ground cinnamon can stay flavorful for about six months.


Do's and Don'ts When Grinding Cinnamon Sticks

 

cinnamon stick on round wooden chopping board
Credit: Envato Elements/ towfiqu98

Do's:

  • Check for Freshness: Before grinding, make sure that your cinnamon sticks are fresh. They should be fragrant and snap easily if bent. If they’re not fresh, you can buy cinnamon sticks at any superstore.
  • Break into Smaller Pieces: Always start by breaking your cinnamon sticks into smaller pieces. This makes them easier to grind.
  • Sift the Ground Cinnamon: After grinding, use a sieve to sift the cinnamon. This ensures you get a fine, even powder and helps remove any larger, unground pieces.
  • Clean Your Grinder After Use: Cinnamon has a strong aroma. Clean your grinding tool thoroughly to prevent flavor transfer to your next grinding task.

Don'ts:

  • Don't Grind Near Heat or Moisture: Avoid grinding in areas with high heat or moisture, like next to the stove or dishwasher. This can affect the quality of the cinnamon.
  • Don't Use Damp or Wet Tools: Make sure your grinding tools are completely dry before use. Moisture can cause the cinnamon to clump and not grind effectively. Also, make sure that your cinnamon sticks are also completely dry.
  • Don't Forget to Label and Date: Once ground, don’t forget to label your storage container with the date. This helps you keep track of freshness and flavor quality.
  • Don't Grind Too Long: Be careful not to grind cinnamon for too long because it can heat up. If you're using an electric grinder, it's best to use short, quick pulses. If you're using a manual grinder, you have more control.

Summary


In this guide, we've explored how to grind cinnamon sticks using various tools and methods. Whether it's a rolling pin, blender, mortar and pestle, grater, or coffee grinder, always pick the one that best meets your needs.

And, if you're ready to take your cooking skills to the next level, check out Pepe Nero's mortar and pestle. With our mortar and pestle, you have the power to grind your own spices, like cinnamon sticks, to perfection. Shop with us today. 


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