Is Cinnamon And Vanilla A Good Combo?

Introducing Cinnamon and Vanilla

Cinnamon and vanilla are two of the most popular and commonly used spices in the world. Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of cinnamon trees and has a warm, sweet and spicy flavor. It is a staple in baked goods, coffee drinks and is also used in savory dishes. Vanilla comes from vanilla beans which grow on orchids. It has a sweet, rich and creamy flavor and aroma. According to Bickford Flavors, vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor and is used extensively in desserts like cookies, cakes, pies and more (

Cinnamon’s warming spicy-sweet notes pair beautifully with vanilla’s rich creaminess. The flavors complement and enhance each other. Cinnamon adds an extra layer of sweet spice while vanilla softens cinnamon’s punch and rounds out the flavor. Together they create a warm, comforting, decadent aroma and taste.

Cinnamon’s Warm, Spicy-Sweet Profile

Cinnamon is prized for its distinctive warm, spicy-sweet flavor profile. The main flavor compound in cinnamon is cinnamaldehyde, which imparts a sweet yet spicy aroma and taste often described as similar to candy like red hots or atomic fireballs ( This aromatic compound gives cinnamon its trademark warming effect, both in terms of flavor and aroma.

The spicy-sweet taste of cinnamon comes from the inner bark of the tropical cinnamon tree. Cinnamon has a rich, warm, slightly biting aroma and flavor that provides a sweet yet spicy punch. There are two main types of cinnamon – Ceylon and Cassia. Ceylon cinnamon has a more delicate, citrusy aroma while Cassia cinnamon has a stronger, bolder cinnamon flavor ( Both offer that recognizable spicy-sweet taste and warming property that makes cinnamon such a beloved spice.

Vanilla’s Rich, Sweet, Creamy Notes

Vanilla has a rich, sweet, and creamy flavor profile with slight floral aromatics. According to Blue Pacific Flavors, the flavor of vanilla is “delicate, fruity-sweet and spicy with a slightly floral” aroma ( The various varieties of vanilla can exhibit different nuances, but in general vanilla offers a smooth, velvety sweetness with subtle floral notes.

Much of vanilla’s signature flavor comes from the curing process of the vanilla bean pods. As the pods are dried and aged, compounds within interact to produce the characteristic vanilla flavor and aroma. The main flavor compound is vanillin, which gives vanilla its sweet, creamy taste. Trace amounts of over 200 other flavor compounds contribute to vanilla’s layered profile.

A Classic Pairing in Baked Goods

Cinnamon and vanilla complement each other extremely well in baked goods like cookies, cakes, and pastries. The sweet yet spicy notes of cinnamon pair beautifully with the rich, creamy vanilla to create well-balanced and satisfying sweets.

Some of the most popular baked goods incorporating cinnamon and vanilla include cinnamon rolls, snickerdoodles, cinnamon coffee cakes, and cinnamon swirl breads. The cinnamon creates swirls of spicy warmth while the vanilla provides a sweet, mellow backdrop. According to this cinnamon roll cake recipe, the combination makes for a comforting cake with all the flavors of a cinnamon roll.

In cookies like snickerdoodles, cinnamon adds zest and interest to the sweet vanilla dough. Cakes like pound cake and bundt cake frequently include a dash of cinnamon and vanilla extract or vanilla beans in the batter. The spices blend beautifully with the rich egginess of the cake for a lovely flavor profile.

Overall, cinnamon’s spicy-sweet vibrancy pairs wonderfully with vanilla’s mellow creaminess in all kinds of baked treats. Cinnamon and vanilla boost and balance each other, creating warm, aromatic baked goods with complex, satisfying flavor.

Works Well in Warm Beverages

Cinnamon and vanilla are, separately or combined, widely used in flavoring warm beverages like chai tea and coffee drinks with their fragrant, warming aromas and bit of spice. The pairing works well due to cinnamon’s spiced sweetness complementing vanilla’s richness and creaminess.

Chai tea is traditionally made with a black tea base, spices like clove, cardamom and ginger, and sweetened with milk, honey or sugar. Adding some vanilla to chai amplifies the sweet, creamy flavor while the cinnamon brings its signature spicy warmth. The result is a comforting, aromatic drink perfect for chilly days (

Latte and cappuccino drinks get a delicious boost from cinnamon and vanilla too. The spices enhance the coffee’s roasted flavor and provide extra fragrance. Soy, almond or dairy milk lend creaminess while the sweet vanilla balances the slight bitterness of coffee. Topped with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon, cinnamon vanilla coffee drinks evoke cozy feelings.

The warming aroma and effect of this pairing is amplified in hot beverages. Sipping a steamy cinnamon vanilla chai or latte delivers a soothing, comforting experience for the senses.

Enhances Fruity Desserts

cinnamon and vanilla beautifully enhance fruit flavors in desserts
The combination of cinnamon and vanilla beautifully enhances the flavors of fruit in various desserts. The warm spice of cinnamon nicely complements the sweet-tart taste profile of many fruits, while vanilla’s rich creaminess helps to mellow fruit acidity. Some popular applications include:

Fruit Crisps and Cobblers: Cinnamon vanilla crumble or pie topping pairs wonderfully with apple, peach, plum, strawberry, and berry fillings. The spices enhance the fruit while lending a warming quality. Try this recipe for Cinnamon Vanilla Apple Crisp.

Fruit Pies: Vanilla helps soften the tartness of berries, apples, and stone fruits in pies. Cinnamon gives depth of flavor. Make cinnamon vanilla bean apple pie for a seasonal treat.

Fruit Compotes: Simmering fresh or frozen fruit in a cinnamon vanilla syrup makes for tasty compote toppings for yogurt, ice cream, or oatmeal. The spices infuse the fruit with extra flavor.

Savory Applications

Cinnamon and vanilla pair nicely together in savory dishes as well. Cinnamon’s warm, spicy-sweet notes can provide a subtle background flavor in hearty stews, tagines, and curries1. It helps temper the heat from chili peppers and also complements spices like cumin and coriander. Vanilla is more of a supporting player, adding subtle floral aromatics.

Some classic savory dishes that use both cinnamon and vanilla include:2

  • Moroccan tagines with lamb, chicken, or vegetables
  • Indian curries and rice dishes
  • Mexican moles
  • Middle Eastern stews and braises

In these types of dishes, cinnamon is usually the more dominant flavor. Its spicy warmth blends well with the rich savoriness of meat and spices. Vanilla provides subtle background notes, intertwining with the cinnamon and preventing it from becoming overpowering. Just a touch of vanilla extract or a split vanilla bean can provide enough flavor.

Potential Pitfalls

While cinnamon and vanilla can be a delicious pairing, there are some potential pitfalls to be aware of when combining these two strong flavors:

Overpowering flavors – Both cinnamon and vanilla have very distinctive, potent flavors. Used in excess, they can easily overpower other ingredients in a dish. It’s important to use a balanced hand and allow the supporting ingredients to shine through as well.

Cloying in excess – Too much cinnamon or vanilla extract can become cloying or overly sweet. This is especially true in dishes without enough fat, acidity or salt to balance them out. Restraint is required to allow their flavors to complement rather than dominate.

Restraint required – The key is to use just enough cinnamon and vanilla to provide a subtle background note. Let their aromas and flavors meld together, without letting either take over. Too heavy a hand can make a dish taste artificial or one-dimensional.

Tips for Successful Use

When using cinnamon and vanilla together, it’s important to use complementary proportions so that one flavor doesn’t overpower the other. According to Runamok Maple’s blog post “10 Ways to Use Cinnamon + Vanilla Maple Syrup” (, using equal amounts of cinnamon and vanilla provides a “perfectly balanced” flavor blend.

Cinnamon’s spicy warmth can enhance and elevate more delicate flavors like vanilla. When adding both spices to recipes, start with smaller amounts and taste as you go to find the right balance for your palate. The intensity of flavors like cinnamon can vary between varieties and brands.

Allow time for the cinnamon and vanilla flavors to meld together before serving. Baked goods with both spices will develop richer, more cohesive flavors after cooling. Beverages like chai lattes can benefit from steeping the spices in hot milk before adding other ingredients.

Use a light hand when layering cinnamon and vanilla with fruits, letting the fruit’s flavors shine through. Bickford Flavors notes vanilla goes well with berries, citrus fruits, peaches, and apples ( Dusting fresh fruit with a dash of cinnamon allows both flavors to complement each other.

The Verdict on Cinnamon and Vanilla

The combination of cinnamon and vanilla is a classic and beloved pairing that has stood the test of time (Daily Sabah). The warm, spicy-sweet notes of cinnamon blend beautifully with vanilla’s rich, sweet creaminess. This aromatic duo works well in both sweet and savory dishes, from baked goods to beverages to fruit desserts and beyond.

That said, it’s important not to overdo it when balancing these strong flavors. Too much cinnamon can overwhelm delicate vanilla. Cinnamon’s potency can vary greatly depending on the type and freshness, so use a light hand until the proportions are just right. When skillfully balanced, cinnamon accentuates vanilla’s flavor while vanilla softens cinnamon’s punch. This nuanced interplay is what makes them such a legendary pair.

Overall, cinnamon and vanilla is a foolproof combination that rarely disappoints. Their flavors harmonize in a way that enhances countless dishes across the culinary spectrum. With careful tweaking and tasting, you can craft signature sweet and savory creations starring this iconic, aromatic duo.

Similar Posts