Ceylon vs Saigon Cinnamon: What’s the Difference?


Cinnamon is a spice with a long history. It was used by our ancestors as a spice and medicine to improve some health conditions. Nowadays cinnamon is one of the most used spices in many cuisines in the world.

The difference between Ceylon and Saigon cinnamon is that Ceylon cinnamon, also known as real cinnamon, is a product made from a type of cinnamon tree called Ceylon cinnamon tree. Saigon cinnamon, on the other hand, comes from another type of cinnamon tree also known as cassia.

Now, let’s learn more about both spices and explain their main similarities and differences.

Ceylon vs Saigon Cinnamon

You can use it in both sweet and savory dishes to give flavor to your food or as a flavoring additive in your drinks. This spice is made from the inner bark of the trees from the genus Cinnamomum.

The stems of the trees are cut and the inner bark is extracted and dried forming strips. When the strips are dried, they a curled into cinnamon rolls, and those rolls are ground into cinnamon powder.

There are few types of cinnamon depending on the region and type of tree it comes from including Saigon cinnamon, Indonesian cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon, Chinese cinnamon, etc.

They have a specific flavor, look, and color and are known under one mutual name cassia except for the Ceylon cinnamon.

What is Ceylon Cinnamon?

Ceylon cinnamon is real cinnamon and one of the best quality types of cinnamon. It has a light brown color, and aromatic warm and sweet flavor with a fine crumbly texture.

Saigon cinnamon or Vietnamese cassia has a more bitter and stronger peppery flavor with red dark brown color. Although they both have cinnamon flavor, Ceylon cinnamon and Saigon cinnamon also have few differences.

Saigon cinnamon contains a high amount of coumarin, (organic chemical compound) that is toxic to the kidneys and liver if it is taken daily and in high amounts.

If you have some medical issue with your liver or kidneys you can use Ceylon cinnamon instead of Saigon cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon contains antioxidants that are good for your heart health, digestion, and helps to regulate blood pressure and lower blood sugar.

It also contains small almost traces of coumarin in its content. Therefore, if you are looking for a healthier choice use Ceylon cinnamon.

Saigon cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon are used as a spice in sticks and powder.

What is Saigon Cinnamon?

Saigon cinnamon or cassia is a common ingredient in different savory dishes, while Ceylon cinnamon is a better choice for sweet dishes.

Cassias rolls are thicker, darker and with a hard texture, so you will have to use a spice grinder to get cassia powder. They are rolled from both sides into scrolls, while Ceylon cinnamon sticks are rolled in many layers into circles.

When they are in powder form it is difficult to recognize them. However, the flavor and color will be the main differences between them.

Ceylon cinnamon powder is sweeter with a lighter brown color. Saigon cinnamon powder, on the other hand, has a stronger bitter flavor and a darker color.

Ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks are common ingredients in baking and cooking recipes. To maintain its flavor, add ground cinnamon before baking or cooking.

You can flavor savory dishes with chicken and lamb meat, different soups, dressings, marinades, stews, and curry with ground cinnamon. Its flavor is also present in many sweet dishes as well.

I can’t imagine my favorite churros, baklava, cinnamon rolls, cookies, pies, or sweet bread without the well-known cinnamon flavor.

Cinnamon also pairs well with apples, oranges, pears, bananas, blubbery and other fruits mixed into drinks. You can sprinkle ground cinnamon on top of your latte, mocha, or hot chocolate. It is also a common ingredient in spice blends and the production of liqueurs, oil, drugs, perfumes, and soaps.

How to Store Cinnamon Properly?

Store both ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks in a cold and dark place in an airtight container. If you want fresh and strong cinnamon flavor in your food you can ground the sticks before you add them to your dish. Ceylon cinnamon sticks are easier to grind because they have a crumbly texture.

Cassia is the most common type of cinnamon you can find in stores because it is cheaper to produce than Ceylon cinnamon. So, if you can’t find Ceylon cinnamon or it is too costly for you, you can use cassia as a substitute.

Which Cinnamon is Better Ceylon or Saigon?


Ceylon cinnamon is high-quality cinnamon and contains a small amount of coumarin. The only negative thing is that it is more expensive than Saigon cinnamon.

Why is Ceylon Cinnamon Better?

Ceylon cinnamon is a spice with a sweet and warm flavor and many health benefits. It doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients bad for your health.

Are You Team Ceylon or Team Saigon?

Cassia cinnamon is the most used commercial cinnamon. And sometimes it is labeled like Ceylon cinnamon. However, if you prefer high-quality products without any bad ingredients in their content you can buy Ceylon cinnamon in health food stores. You will pay a higher price but you will get a product of better quality.

If you are not planning to use more than 1 teaspoon a day, you can use the less expensive type of cinnamon cassia. It provides a unique flavor to savory dishes, baked goods, vegetables, meats, desserts, hot and cold beverages.

Cinnamon contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants important for your health. So, whatever type of cinnamon you choose you will get a wonderfully unique flavor in your food or drink. Just don’t use more than 1 teaspoon of cinnamon daily if you are using cassia varieties.

What is your favorite? Do you prefer Ceylon cinnamon or Saigon cinnamon? Let us know in the comments below. We will be happy to hear about your experiences with these spices.

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