Cinnamon is a warm, sweet, and aromatic spice that comes from the inner bark of cinnamon trees. It has been used for thousands of years in cooking and baking and also has many health benefits. Cinnamon sticks and ground cinnamon powder can be found in most grocery stores, but you can easily make your own homemade cinnamon powder from cinnamon sticks with just a few ingredients and tools.
Freshly ground cinnamon powder has an incredibly intense flavor and aroma compared to store-bought powder. Grinding your own allows you to control the texture and freshness. Follow this simple guide to learn how to make ground cinnamon from cinnamon sticks at home using various methods from start to finish.
Gather the Ingredients and Tools
The first step in learning how to make cinnamon powder is getting the basic equipment and ingredients you need.
All you'll need is:
- Cinnamon sticks - Get high-quality sticks with a deep brown color. The fresher, the better.
- Blender or food processor - This makes quick work of grinding the cinnamon sticks into powder. Any high-powered blender like a Vitamix or Ninja works very well.
- Coffee/spice grinder - Blade grinders like these grind cinnamon sticks super fine. Make sure to clean it thoroughly first.
- Mortar and pestle - The traditional mortar and pestle method works just as well but requires more physical effort.
- Rolling pin - A heavy rolling pin can crush cinnamon sticks into smaller pieces before grinding.
- Strainer - Use a fine mesh strainer or sieve to remove any large pieces and bits.
- Storage container - Store the fresh ground cinnamon powder in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
That's really all you need to get started making DIY cinnamon powder at home with various techniques.
Prep the Cinnamon Sticks
Before grinding, you'll need to prep the cinnamon sticks for easier grinding. Here are a few tips:
- Break the sticks into smaller pieces - Use your hands or a rolling pin to break the sticks into smaller chunks. The smaller the pieces, the easier they'll grind down.
- Dry out the sticks - Dry fresh sticks in a warm oven for 10 minutes or until brittle. Drying helps them grind into a fine powder.
- Soak the sticks - You can also soak the sticks in water to soften before grinding. Just be sure to dry them thoroughly afterward.
Take the time to properly prep the cinnamon sticks. It makes achieving a fine powder much easier compared to grinding big whole sticks.
Grind the Cinnamon into Powder
Once your cinnamon sticks are prepped, it's time to grind them down. You'll want to grind in short bursts and check the consistency frequently. Here are some methods for grinding cinnamon sticks:
Use a Blender
A high-speed blender like a Vitamix or Ninja is an easy way to make fine cinnamon powder:
- Break up the cinnamon sticks and add to the blender. Use more sticks for more powder.
- Blend on high, in short, 5-10 second bursts, stopping to check consistency. Don't over-blend.
- Use a spatula to scrape down powder from the sides back into the blender. Keep blending and scraping until the desired consistency is reached.
- Strain the powder through a fine mesh sieve to remove any large pieces before storing.
Use a Food Processor
A food processor with sharp stainless steel blades also works exceptionally well:
- Break up the sticks and add them to the food processor. Don't overfill.
- Pulse a few times until the sticks are broken down. Then process continuously until you have a fine powder.
- Take your time and don't process too long. Stop, scrape down the sides, and repeat for fully ground powder.
- Strain the powder to remove any debris or large pieces before transferring it to a storage container.
Use a Coffee Grinder
Coffee grinders like this are designed to grind spices and cinnamon sticks quickly:
- Break the sticks into pea-sized pieces so they grind easily.
- Grind in short 5-10-second bursts. Open and check consistency between grinds.
- You want the cinnamon to be ground into a super fine, flour-like powder. Keep grinding if needed.
- Be sure to thoroughly clean the coffee grinder to remove any cinnamon dust before and after grinding.
Use a Mortar and Pestle
The traditional mortar and pestle method works too but requires more physical effort:
- Break the sticks up into very small pieces first and add to the mortar.
- Use the pestle in a forceful, circular grinding motion to crush the cinnamon into a powder.
- Keep grinding and mashing until you work up to a super fine texture. This takes time and patience.
- Periodically remove and scrape powder from the sides back into the center.
Dry and Store the Cinnamon Powder
After grinding up fresh, fragrant cinnamon powder, proper storage is key to preserving its aroma and flavor. Here are some tips:
- Let the ground cinnamon dry out completely for 24 hours before storing - spread on a baking sheet in a single layer.
- Pour the powder into clean, dry airtight containers or glass jars. Glass works best for pantry storage.
- Store containers in a cool, dark place like a cabinet, pantry, or cupboard. Keep away from light, heat, and moisture.
- For a maximum shelf life of up to 6 months, store the powder in the refrigerator. The lower temp helps maintain fragrance and prevents fading.
- Regrind hardened chunks that form in the powder before use. Cinnamon will harden during storage.
With proper grinding techniques and storage methods, you’ll be ready to start enjoying your own homemade cinnamon powder.
Why make your own cinnamon powder?
Homemade cinnamon powder tastes and smells so much better than store-bought powders which lose flavor over time. You also control the texture and freshness.
Is it better to use cinnamon sticks or powder?
Cinnamon sticks contain essential oils that provide most of the flavor. Ground powder exposed to air loses oils over time. Sticks also last much longer.
Can you use a coffee grinder to grind cinnamon sticks?
Yes, a blade coffee grinder works excellently for grinding cinnamon sticks into powder. Just be sure to clean it thoroughly.
How long does homemade cinnamon powder last?
Stored in airtight containers in a cool, dark place, cinnamon powder will stay fresh for up to 6 months. You can refrigerate it for a longer shelf life.
What's the best way to grind cinnamon sticks?
For efficiency and ease, electric grinders like blenders and food processors make the best cinnamon powder. But mortar and pestle works too.
Making your own cinnamon powder from sticks is simple, and rewarding and fills your kitchen with fragrance. Experiment with different grinding methods to find your favorite. Use freshly ground cinnamon to enhance everything from desserts, oatmeal, and smoothies to curries, chilis, and stews.
How to Make Cinnamon Powder
- Cinnamon sticks
- Blender, food processor, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle
- Fine mesh strainer
- Airtight container for storage
- Break cinnamon sticks into smaller pieces using your hands or a rolling pin. This makes them easier to grind.
- Blender method: Add broken up sticks to a high-speed blender. Blend in short bursts, stopping to check consistency and scrape down sides. Don't overblend. Strain powder through a fine mesh strainer to remove any large pieces.
- Food processor method: Pulse cinnamon sticks a few times to break them down, then process continuously until a fine powder. Stop to scrape down sides periodically. Strain powder.
- Coffee grinder method: Grind cinnamon sticks in short 5-10 second bursts. Open to check consistency between grinds. Strain powder.
- Mortar and pestle method: Grind cinnamon pieces with forceful, circular grinding motion. Keep grinding and scraping sides until powdered. Strain powder.
- Spread cinnamon powder in a thin layer on a baking sheet and let dry completely before storing.
- Store dried cinnamon powder in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. For longer shelf life, refrigerate.
With a few basic ingredients and tools, making DIY cinnamon powder is an easy kitchen project with rewarding results. No need to buy pre-ground powder from the store when you can create your own incredibly fresh, flavorful ground cinnamon at home.
Grind whole cinnamon sticks into powder using electric appliances like a blender or food processor for quick results or go manual with a mortar and pestle. Proper grinding techniques and storage will ensure your homemade cinnamon powder stays fresh for months on end.
Now you can start enjoying the amazing flavor, fragrance, and freshness of cinnamon you ground at home in all your favorite recipes.