Pumpkin spice has become the defining spice of autumn in the United States, but the thing about pumpkin spice is that it’s mostly cinnamon. Sure, there’s ground ginger and clove, but the predominant flavor profile is cinnamon.
To be clear, I am not against this. Cinnamon’s warmth is essential to cozy winter desserts and can be the secret to rounding out a savory dish, too.
There are different varieties of cinnamon with different degrees of spice intensity, but the most common one found in U.S. grocery stores, homes and professional kitchens is cassia cinnamon: reddish brown, mildly spicy and a touch sweet. You can read more about cinnamon types and their taste differences here, but in most cooking situations you’ll likely find the difference negligible.
Below you will find seven of the simplest and best cinnamon recipes from our archives. We hope they help you usher in autumn.
Simple Cinnamon Coffee Cake, above. This easy cake with a super short ingredient list is exactly what you want with your afternoon coffee or tea. If you’ve got more time to devote to a cinnamon project, try making Old-Fashioned Cinnamon Babka.
Horchata With Cinnamon and Vanilla. Not ready for warm, wintery beverages yet? Keep it cool with this sweet, cinnamony rice-and-milk beverage.
One-Bowl Blackberry Cobbler With Easy Cinnamon-Sugar Buttermilk Biscuits. Get some late-season blackberries to whip up this one-bowl biscuit-style cobbler.
Cinnamon Challah French Toast. Is it even French toast without cinnamon?
Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter. Toast sunflower seeds, then throw all the ingredients in a food processor for this fragrant nut butter, great for breakfasts, snacks and for licking straight off the spoon.
Lemon and Apricot Cinnamon Chicken. A touch of cinnamon adds a fragrance to the dish without making you think of dessert.
Winter Minestrone. We’re only just starting to feel waves of cool breezes in the D.C. area, but I could eat this soup now. Just a half teaspoon of cinnamon adds a wonderful balancing warmth to the broth.
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