Cassia buds are not as commonly used as other parts of the cassia tree, but they are still useful for providing a novel twist on the cinnamon flavor. However, that cassia buds are not a well-known spice means that you may have a hard time hunting them down. If you are able to find cassia buds somewhere, they will probably be expensive. Consider one of the following easier-to-find (and probably more affordable) cassia buds substitutes below.
Table of Contents
- Your best bet: Cassia bark (cinnamon sticks)
- A decent second choice: Ceylon cinnamon bark
- In a pinch: Cinnamon extract
- Other alternatives
- Must-read related posts
Your best bet: Cassia bark (cinnamon sticks)
Most of the cinnamon used in the United States is actually the rolled inner bark from the cassia tree, which is also known as false cinnamon or bastard cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is characterized by its reddish color and extremely hard texture. The flavor is another important characteristic, as it is almost the same as that of cassia buds and results from the fact that they both come from the same tree. While the bark may lack the light floral aspect of the buds, it will be indistinguishable in many applications.
Left whole, it is sold as cinnamon sticks but it is also ground to make cinnamon powder. It is so hard that you might give up on trying to grind it at home. It is far too hard for conventional spice grinders and may even be too hard for all but the most powerful blenders. You may be able to grate cassia bark with some graters, but even that method may not work; however, it is possible to break it with the back of a knife or a nutcracker. You can replace whole cassia buds with pieces of cassia bark and ground cassia buds with regular ground cinnamon.
Use a 1-inch piece of cassia cinnamon stick to replace each cassia bud; use ground Cassia cinnamon as a 1:1 substitute for ground cassia buds.
–> Learn More: Ceylon Vs. Cassia Cinnamon—How Do They Compare?
A decent second choice: Ceylon cinnamon bark
The Ceylon cinnamon verum tree is also called true cinnamon, which makes it different from cassia. As with the cassia bark, you will be using the bark of the Ceylon cinnamon tree as your cassia bud alternative.
Ceylon cinnamon bark is almost paper thin and is much more fragile than cassia cinnamon bark. The benefit of this is that it grinds to powder easily in a home spice grinder or blender. Use that powder as a 1:1 substitute for ground cassia buds. If you want to replace whole cassia buds, simply break the bark into 1-inch pieces and use each piece in place of a cassia bud.
In a pinch: Cinnamon extract
You can make cinnamon extract with either cassia cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon. Since you are trying to replace cassia buds and not Ceylon cinnamon buds, try to find cassia extract or make your own. Cinnamon extract is made by soaking the bark of the cassia cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon bark in alcohol. Your best options are vodka or Everclear. The resulting tinctures can be used in many of the applications that might otherwise call for cassia buds.
Cassia leaves are used in cuisines throughout Southern Asia, including dishes from Malaysia and Thailand. In India and Nepal, they are called tej patta and are added rice dishes as well as to curries and soups. In a pinch, these leaves can work as an alternative to cassia buds.