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The Differences Between Cinnamon and Cardamom

Cinnamon and cardamom are two popular spices used in various cuisines worldwide. While they may be similar at first glance, several differences set them apart regarding taste, aroma, and uses, especially for homemade cinnamon rolls. In this article, we will explore their distinctions.


Cinnamon


This spice is derived from the inner bark of several tree species in the genus Cinnamomum. It is native to Sri Lanka and southern India but is now widely cultivated in other parts of the world, including Indonesia, Vietnam, and Madagascar. Cinnamon is available in two main forms:

Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon.


  • Ceylon cinnamon, or "true cinnamon," is a fine, delicate spice with a subtle and complex flavor. It has a light brown color and a thin, papery texture. Ceylon cinnamon is often used in sweet dishes such as desserts, pastries, and beverages.


  • On the other hand, Cassia cinnamon is a darker, thicker spice with a stronger and more intense flavor, so it is commonly used in savory dishes, such as curries, stews, and baking. Cassia cinnamon is more readily available and less expensive than Ceylon cinnamon.


Cardamom


Cardamom is made from the seeds of several plants in the genera Elettaria and Amomum. It is native to India, Bhutan, and Nepal but is also grown in other parts of Asia and tropical regions worldwide. The two main types of cardamom pertain to their color: green and black.


  • Green cardamom is the more common variety known for its bright green color and floral, citrusy flavor. It is often used in sweet dishes, such as desserts and chai tea. Green cardamom is also used in savory dishes like biryani and curry.


  • Black cardamom is a larger and more robust spice with a smoky, earthy flavor. It is commonly used in savory soups, stews, and curries. Black cardamom is also used to flavor tea and other beverages.


Their Difference


While cinnamon and cardamom share a few similarities, the two spices have one key difference.


  • Flavor: Cinnamon has a sweet, warm, and slightly spicy flavor that is often described as woody, earthy, or floral. It has a delicate aroma that is both sweet and spicy. Cinnamon is often used in sweet dishes, such as cinnamon rolls, apple pie, and hot chocolate.


Cardamom, on the other hand, has a complex flavor that is both floral and citrusy. It also has a slightly bitter taste and a cooling, minty sensation.


Their only similarities are their uses and types. Cinnamon is often used in sweet dishes, such as desserts and pastries (homemade cinnamon rolls, anyone?), but it is also used in savory viands, such as curries and stews. It is also commonly used to flavor beverages like coffee and hot chocolate. Cardamom can also be used for pastries, meals, and drinks (tea).


Also, both spices come in two forms, as mentioned in their above descriptions.


As We End


Cinnamon and cardamom are two popular spices that are used in multiple cuisines around the world. While they may share some similarities, such as being used in sweet and savory dishes, they have several key differences. Cinnamon has a sweet, warm, and slightly spicy flavor, while cardamom has a complex, floral, and citrusy flavor.


Understanding these differences can help you select the right spice for your recipe and enhance the flavors of your dishes.


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