How to counteract too much cinnamon in a recipe? (5 ways)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “How to counteract too much cinnamon in a recipe?”. We will further elaborate on the different approaches that will help you counteract too much cinnamon in food.

How to counteract too much cinnamon in a recipe? 

If you have accidentally added too much cinnamon to your dish and are desperately searching for ways to counteract it, do not fret, here we have prepared a long list of approaches to help you counteract too much cinnamon in your recipe, and to make it suitable to serve.

  • Physically remove the cinnamon 
  • Pair with the right foods
  • Add some more fluid
  • Add more of the additional spices
  • Add more ingredients

Different ways to counteract too much cinnamon in a recipe

Cinnamon is a bark spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum. The cinnamon extract contains several active ingredients, including eugenol, cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid, and coumarin. Multiple studies have revealed that these active components possess diverse pharmacological functions, including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-diabetic, and anti-tumor effects (1).

Cinnamon can enhance the sweetness of a wide variety of savory foods and add a slightly exotic touch to a recipe, but it can instantly ruin a dish when it is added in abundance. An excess amount of cinnamon can make the dish bitter and unsavory. 

Cinnamaldehyde is responsible for the sweet taste of cinnamon. In sweet food, there is a synergistic effect that enhances the sweet sensation of the food when combining the sweet taste of sugar and the sweet aroma of cinnamon (2).

Based on the type of cinnamon you have added, you may notice the food is actually slightly spicy and also sweet. 

You do not have to discard it and start all over again, but there is no specific art for counteracting overspiced recipes, so you might have to experiment to discover the best solution for adjusting the flavor of your dish.

Physically remove the cinnamon 

If you have added too much ground cinnamon to your dish, the first thing you can do is to remove the excess directly. However, this strategy will not work if you have mixed your recipe after adding the cinnamon. 

In case the cinnamon has flavored your dish by the time you realize your blunder, you will then have to implement any of the several approaches from the list we have provided but you must still try to remove it first. Keeping it in will add more flavor to your dish. 

Pair with the appropriate foods

You can counterbalance the excess cinnamon in a recipe by pairing the recipe with the appropriate foods. You can serve a dessert, for instance, an apple pie, a scoop of ice cream which can help to dilute and divert the taste buds from the taste of too much cinnamon.

Add some more fluid

This approach will not work well in all recipes but can go for liquid recipes like some stews and chilis. Among the liquids, you can choose from stock, red wine or even cream. 

However, depending on the wine, it could even intensify the cinnamon flavor, since some wines also contain cinnamaldehyde. The scent and flavor of cinnamon is generated by the corresponding chemical substance  “cinnamaldehyde” due to the wine aging in wooden barrels. This fragrance / flavor is typical of red grapes varieties such as Dolcetto and Barbera or Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and also of white grapes varieties  such as Timorasso or Friulano, Chardonnay, Verduzzo, Sauvignon and Ribolla Gialla (3).

Tomato juice is another good choice for chilis and stews since its acidity can distract the taste buds from the sweet flavor of cinnamon.

This approach serves well if you have used only a little too much cinnamon. However, if you have used far too much than the recipe demanded, you will have to use a large quantity of liquid. If you have to use adequate fluid, you could end up diluting your preparation to the limit where it is no more savory.

Add more of the additional spices

Adding some more spices may help to neutralize the excess flavor of cinnamon if you add sufficient of the correct ones. Sure thing, the spices that you can use will be based on the recipe that you are preparing. However, it is necessary to choose the right spice to neutralize cinnamon. Some spices may neutralize and some may not.

In both taste mixtures and odor mixtures, mutual partial masking among components is commonly observed. For example, a mixture of quinine and sucrose is judged to be both less sweet than an equimolar solution of sucrose alone and less bitter than an equimolar solution of quinine alone. This effect is called mixture suppression in taste, and masking or odor counteraction in olfaction. In taste mixtures, the inhibitory effect of one component on another can be undone by selective adaptation. When adaptation to one component is achieved (i.e ., that component is reduced in perceived intensity), the other component of the mixture is perceptually increased in intensity. If the adaptation to one component is relatively complete, the other component is perceived at the same level as it is when unmixed, as if only a single stimulus and not a mixture were being presented. This effect is commonly referred to as “release from mixture suppression” (4).

For most savory dishes, spices such as chili powder and garlic powder should do a great job of neutralizing too much cinnamon flavor.

Multiply the ingredients

This is the easiest and most reasonable strategy in any circumstances when you have added much extra cinnamon. In most instances, just adding more of everything else except for cinnamon will do the job. 

If you have added too much cinnamon to a soup or curry, you can add abundant vegetables instead of more meat if you need to restrict the fat content.

If you have added too much cinnamon to a chili, adding more tomatoes can be excellent for neutralizing too much cinnamon. 

This approach can work even if you have added notably more cinnamon than your recipe called for. Without a doubt, you will end up getting more food than you intended. 

If the excess food is not an option for you, try discarding half of the food. This will still preserve you more bucks in comparison to if you were to waste the entire dish.

We hope these suggestions will assist you. Still, if nothing goes for you, do not be troubled. Learn from your blunders and you can try again.

Other FAQs about Cinnamon that you may be interested in.

Can cinnamon get you high?

Can cinnamon cause miscarriage?

Can cinnamon cause heartburn?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we have provided an answer to the question, “How to counteract too much cinnamon in a recipe?”. We have further elaborated on the different approaches to help you counteract too much cinnamon in a dish.

References

  1. Gao, J., et al. Spice up your food for cancer prevention: cancer chemo-prevention by natural compounds from common dietary spices. Evolutionary Diversity as a Source for Anticancer Molecules, 2020, 275-308.
  2. Ribeiro-Santos, Regiane, et al. Revisiting an ancient spice with medicinal purposes: Cinnamon. Trend Food Sci Technol, 2017, 62, 154-169.
  3. Concas, Maria Pina, et al. Genetics, odor perception and food liking: The intriguing role of cinnamon. Food Qual Prefer, 2021, 93, 104277.
  4. Lawless, Harry T. An olfactory analogy to release from mixture suppression in taste. Bull Psychon Soc, 1987, 25, 266-268.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.