Enjoy the delectable taste of cinnamon

Three cinnamon sticks stacked over a pile of ground cinnamon on a dark table. Contains an Illinois Extension wordmark and orange I logo.
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Cinnamon is my absolute favorite spice; it’s my go-to candle scent, my favorite flavor of gum, and it’s generally the largest spice container in my spice cabinet. Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of various species of Cinnamomum trees. Ceylon cinnamon is known as “true cinnamon” but the cinnamon that we buy at the grocery store is almost always Cassia cinnamon. The inner bark of the tree is dried until it curls up into rolls known as “quills,” which are sold as cinnamon sticks. It can also be ground into powder or made into an extract.

Cinnamon is popular in many breakfast sweets, such as French toast and cinnamon rolls. Of course, it’s also the key ingredient in many desserts, such as snickerdoodle cookies, apple pie and rice pudding. However, cinnamon may be used in many savory dishes too, like Moroccan stew or vegetable curry. Store cinnamon away from heat and sunlight for two to three years. Cinnamon is high in antioxidants, which protect the body from free radicals that can cause cancer and other health concerns. Some studies have shown that cinnamon may have anti-inflammatory properties, as well as blood sugar-lowering properties. However, it’s unclear as to the type of cinnamon that may be beneficial. Studies done do not support the use of cinnamon to treat any health problems. Simply enjoy the delectable taste of cinnamon in a variety of foods!


French Toast Bake

(Printable PDF)

6 large eggs

1 (12 oz.) can evaporated skim milk

¼ cup packed brown sugar

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 large loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes



¼ cup packed brown sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup (1/2 stick) margarine, diced

Wash hands with soap and water. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Add bread cubes and stir until bread is fully coated. Spread into baking dish. In a small bowl, stir brown sugar, cinnamon and salt for the topping. Sprinkle over the bread mixture. Dot with diced margarine. Bake for 25-30 minutes until slightly browned and internal temperature reads at least 160°F with a food thermometer. May serve topped with powdered sugar, berries, syrup or yogurt.

Yield: 8 servings


Nutrition Facts (per serving): 280 calories, 5 grams fat, 530 milligrams sodium, 44 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 12 grams protein


National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.


PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Angelo Pantazis on Unsplash

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenna Smith is a Nutrition and Wellness Educator with University of Illinois Extension, serving Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties. Smith uses her experience as a registered dietitian nutritionist to deliver impactful information and cutting-edge programs to Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties and beyond.