How Do Ceylon Cinnamon and Vietnamese Cinnamon Differ?

During the autumn and winter seasons, cinnamon seems to be everywhere; there is no escaping this warm, sweet spice!

But did you know that there are two kinds of cinnamon? The first is Ceylon cinnamon, commonly known as true cinnamon. Cassia, sometimes known as bastard cinnamon, is the other.

Cassia is classified into three sub-varieties depending on the amount of coumarin present. Coumarin is the naturally occurring sweet-smelling chemical that gives cinnamon its distinctive aroma.

In any case, Chinese Cassia has 2% coumarin, Indonesian Cassia contains 4%, and Vietnamese Cassia contains 8% coumarin, which explains its spicy and sweet scent.

Today we’ll look at the differences between Ceylon cinnamon and Vietnamese Cassia cinnamon, which has a stronger scent. Let’s get started.

Difference Between Ceylon and Vietnamese Cinnamon

The primary distinction between these two cinnamon kinds is found in their roots. Ceylon cinnamon comes from the Cinnamomum verum tree, whilst Vietnamese cinnamon comes from the Cinnamomum loureiroi tree.

The bark of these cinnamon trees is what gives cinnamon its characteristic taste and all of its variations. You may buy it ground or in the form of coiled sticks called as quills.

Both Cassia and Ceylon may be referred to as cinnamon in the United States, while Cassia must be labeled as such in the United Kingdom and other countries.

There is an undeniable difference between the two spices since one is differentiated from the other by a legal standard. Let us look at it further.

Where Do They Come From?

Ceylon cinnamon is derived from a southern Indian island once known as Ceylon but now known as Sri Lanka.

Ceylon, unlike many other herbs and spices, does not grow outside of Sri Lanka. This very selective cinnamon crop can only be grown in a few chosen regions in Sri Lanka, including Galle, Matara, Gampaha, Ratnapura, and Kalutara.

In contrast, Vietnamese Cassia cinnamon is your friendly neighborhood cinnamon! Although some believe Cassia originated in India, writings dating back to 2800 B.C. show that China was already employing Cassia cinnamon. Nowadays, the primary Cassia-growing areas are Vietnam, Indonesia, China, and Burna.

Fun fact: Sri Lankan farmers produce Cassia as well! However, stingy old Ceylon is still largely farmed in Sri Lanka, which accounts for around 80 to 90% of Ceylon cinnamon production.

How Do They Differ Visually?

Ceylon cinnamon is light brown in color and delicate in texture, making it easy to handle and ground. When rolling the bark, the quills are paper thin and contain numerous layers. These quills are relatively delicate and easily broken when compared to Vietnamese Cassia.

Vietnamese Cassia is a dark brown with a faint reddish tint. Its blankets contain fewer layers when folded up, giving it a rougher texture than Ceylon. Cassias quills are very tough, making it difficult to break and grind into powdered cinnamon.

What Taste Differences Are There?

Ceylon is often characterized as having a mild taste. It has a richer, more nuanced flavor that typically includes citrus undertones. Since you’ve undoubtedly eaten cinnamon at some point, odds are you’ve only experienced Cassia and have never tried Ceylon owing to its scarcity!

Because Vietnamese Cassia is widely accessible in stores, your cinnamon encounters are almost certainly of the Cassia kind! Vietnamese Cassia cinnamon is spicier than authentic Ceylon cinnamon. This is because cinnamaldehyde makes up 95% of the oils in Vietnamese Cassia, giving it a stronger and hotter taste.

Overall, there is no clear winner in terms of flavor. They both taste fine, unless you purchase low-quality cinnamon, which is difficult to detect. You merely need to look for the bark to know how to buy high-quality cinnamon. Look for bark with a lighter hue, since this usually indicates superior quality and comes from the trunk of the cinnamon tree rather than the branches.

How Do They Differ Chemically?

The main distinction between the two forms of cinnamon mentioned in the introduction is a molecule known as coumarin. This is a chemical defense system found in plants that helps them defend against pests and predators. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-hyperglycemic, anti-bacterial, and anti-adipogenic properties.

Vietnamese Cassia cinnamon has 8% coumarin, while Ceylon contains just trace levels, about 0.2%. While it is beneficial in certain respects, do not overdo it since coumarin is hazardous in big levels! Ceylon is hence the superior and safest alternative in terms of chemical makeup.

Which One Is More Expensive?

Ceylon cinnamon is far more costly than Vietnamese Cassia cinnamon. It is only produced in one region in the globe. Farmers wait four years for it to be ready for harvest and put in hours of hard work to make it.

Let me now discuss how it is manufactured. Peelers must painstakingly peel the inner bark of each Ceylon tree limb. The bark must then be made very thin in order to offer the most value.

After the bark has been removed, the pieces must dry and curl up in the sun. They are then piled onto a straight piece of bark to form a 42-inch-long quill that must cure for another three to four days. Once completed, they are packaged into bundles and sent to facilities for official assessment and valuation.

Overall, even highly skilled individuals can only manufacture a limited amount of quills every day. As a result, the price of the quills will rise as they get thinner, reaching as high as $27 a pound.

Cassia, on the other hand, requires less time and work to produce. The Cassia tree’s bark is strong, and the quills are made by curling a single piece of bark with no filler. Ceylon cinnamon, on the other hand, is delicate and has richer insides, and its inner layers protect the quill from fracturing.

Furthermore, Cassia has higher average amounts of coumarin, an organic compound that may injure the liver if consumed in large quantities. As a result, Ceylon cinnamon is the healthier and more costly alternative, whilst Cassia is the less expensive but less healthful one.

Ceylon vs. Vietnamese Cinnamon Comparison Table

Category Ceylon Vietnamese Cinnamon
Type of tree Cinnamomum verum Cinnamomum loureiroi
Also known as Real cinnamon Bastard cinnamon
Coumarin 0.2% 8%
Place of origin Sri Lanka Vietnam
Color Light-brown Dark brown, slightly reddish
Texture Very soft Quite hard and coarse
Easy to break Fragile Hard
Quills Layered and delicate quills with richer insides A single piece of bark quill without any filler
Flavor Mellow-sweet taste, often with notes of citrus Spicy overtones
Price More expensive Less expensive

Nutritional Content Breakdown: Which One Is Healthier?

According to the nutritional data below, Ceylon and Vietnamese cinnamon have equivalent properties, with Ceylon cinnamon having slightly more calories.

Cassia, on the other hand, might be harmful because to the high concentration of coumarin. As a result, Ceylon cinnamon is of better quality and substantially safer.

Coumarin overconsumption may have the following harmful effects:

  • Liver damage
  • Breathing problems
  • Tongue and gum swelling
  • Low sugar levels

Coumarin has a daily intake of 0.05mg per pound (0.1mg per kilogram) of body weight, but cinnamon has a maximum dose of 1 tsp. That being said, you may definitely sprinkle your favorite winter spice over your morning coffee, savory meat meals, or baked goods.

Ceylon vs. Vietnamese Cinnamon: Nutritional Profile

Category (1 tsp) Ceylon Vietnamese Cinnamon
Calories 6.4 6
Carbs 2.1g 2.1
Fat 0g 0g
Potassium 11mg 11.2mg
Sodium 0.3mg 0.3mg
Protein 0.1g 0.1g
Fiber 1.4g 1.4g
Sugars 0.1g 0.1g
Vitamins & Minerals
Calcium 2% 2%
Iron 0.2% 0.2mg

Can I Substitute Ceylon for Vietnamese Cinnamon & Vice Versa?

Yes, you may use Ceylon cinnamon for Vietnamese cinnamon and vice versa. Remember that Vietnamese cinnamon is spicier and has a stronger aroma and taste than Ceylon cinnamon, which has a more muted flavor.

In most circumstances, the change will not influence the taste of the dish, but it may not deliver the true cinnamon flavor you want.

You may adjust the ratios to include a pinch more Ceylon cinnamon in lieu of Vietnamese cinnamon, and vice versa, incorporating less Vietnamese cinnamon in place of Ceylon cinnamon.

If you can’t obtain Ceylon or Vietnamese cinnamon, you may use mace or nutmeg, allspice, fresh or powdered ginger, cloves, or garam masala.


This concludes our fiery discussion on cinnamon varieties!

Overall, the scientific name for Ceylon is Cinnamomum verum, which translates to “true cinnamon” and has been used as such throughout history. However, even if Ceylon is more expensive than Cassia, it all comes down to personal choice.

Certain people just like the punch and spicy overtones of traditional Vietnamese Cassia cinnamon, despite the fact that the rarer and more refined Ceylon cinnamon has certain benefits, such as superior texture and sweeter, lemony flavor notes.

At the end of the day, cinnamon is fantastic. So you can’t go wrong with either option.


Is Vietnamese cinnamon better than Ceylon cinnamon?

Saigon cinnamon is a cassia cinnamon kind that has a greater taste and scent than other variants. Though it’s considered to be lower quality than Ceylon cinnamon, it’s less expensive and easily found in grocery stores.

Is Vietnamese cinnamon different?

Saigon cinnamon, also known as Vietnamese cinnamon or Cinnamomum loureiroi, is a potent spice that is rich in antioxidants and very fragrant. It has a distinct taste that is comparable to that of regular cinnamon (also known as cassia), but considerably stronger and more powerful.

Is Vietnamese cinnamon cassia or Ceylon?

Is there a distinction? One important distinction to remember is that Saigon ground cinnamon is a cassia type, but Ceylon cinnamon powder is authentic Ceylon cinnamon powder. This suggests that they are related yet descended from distinct branches.

Is Vietnamese cinnamon stronger than regular cinnamon?

While all cinnamon varietals contain cinnamaldehyde, Vietnamese cultivars have the greatest quantities of this chemical. As a result, Saigon cinnamon has a significantly stronger taste than real cinnamon.

What is the healthiest cinnamon to take?

Ceylon cinnamon is high in antioxidants, which assist your body deal with free radicals and lessen your risk of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Manganese is also abundant in Ceylon cinnamon.

What is special about Vietnamese cinnamon?

Vietnamese cinnamon (Cinnamomum loureiroi) is one of the most coveted cinnamon kinds on the market. Vietnamese cinnamon bark contains the largest concentration of essential oils when compared to other species, giving it the strongest and most unique taste.

Which type of cinnamon is better?

Saigon cinnamon is known for having the richest taste and the largest volatile oil concentration. Korintje ranks second in terms of volatile oil concentration, having a smoother finish and less bite than Saigon and cassia.

Is McCormick cinnamon Ceylon?

Ground Cinnamon, McCormick

Because their ground cinnamon is classed as cinnamon cassia, it will have a considerably stronger and sweeter taste profile than Ceylon cinnamon. It’s available in 2.37- and 7.12-ounce jars, with the bigger containing more than enough for huge freshly made cinnamon buns.

What do you use Vietnamese cinnamon for?

Use it to lend a kick to classics like cinnamon buns or Christmas pies, but don’t stop there: it’s a crucial component in Vietnamese pho and can bring zing to savory foods as well.

Which country has the best Ceylon cinnamon?

Ceylon cinnamon, widely regarded as the greatest cinnamon in the world, has been farmed and manufactured in Sri Lanka for decades.

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