How to Grind Cinnamon Sticks

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If you’re like me, you love grinding your own spices to add to the recipes you make. At first, grinding your own cinnamon might seem intimidating because the sticks don’t seem very easy to work with, but there are actually quite a few easy ways to grind this spice. 

How to Grind Cinnamon Sticks

When it comes to grinding cinnamon sticks, there are different ways we can go about crushing up the sticks to get a fine powder. Whether you’re working with Ceylon cinnamon, Saigon cinnamon, or Vietnamese cinnamon, all of these methods will work.

We’re going to break the methods up into two main categories: electric grinding and manual grinding. 

For electric grinding, you can:

  • Use a spice grinder
  • Use a coffee grinder

When grinding the cinnamon manually, you can:

  • Use a mortar and pestle
  • Use a microplane
  • Use a Ziploc bag and meat tenderizer

Manual Grinding

As mentioned above, there are 3 main methods when it comes to manually grinding cinnamon sticks.

Get a Heavy Mortar and Pestle 

The key with this method is using a heavy mortar and pestle. The heaviness will help you tear through the bark of the cinnamon. 

Snap the sticks into smaller pieces to get the process started, and from there, take the pestle and turn and press until the cinnamon is ground up and looks like powder. 

Use a Microplane or Box Grater 

You’ll need to use the finest side of a box grater to grind the sticks, and even then, it might not be fine enough. If you have a microplane, that will be better than the box grater because the blades are sharper.

This method is not as effective as using a mortar and pestle, though it’s a little more common to find graters and microplanes in a standard kitchen.

Use a Ziploc Bag and Meat Tenderizer 

If you’re really in a pinch and need to grind cinnamon and have none of the tools or appliances we mentioned above, you can go with the extremely manual method: using a Ziploc bag and a meat tenderizer. 

Start by breaking up the sticks and placing them in a bag. From there, crush the bag with a meat tenderizer. As you do this, be careful not to poke holes in the bag, otherwise, you’ll have cinnamon everywhere.

You will want to continue crushing up the sticks in the bag until the sticks are converted into a fine powder. This can take some time, so we only recommend doing this method if no other option is available for you.

Electric Grinding

Grinding cinnamon sticks with an electric appliance or tool is the easiest way to grind up your spice, but you obviously need to have an electric grinder in order for this to work. 

Spice grinders and coffee grinders are the two types of grinders we recommend using. You can’t break up cinnamon with any ordinary grinder since the blades are generally not sharp enough to get the cinnamon as fine as we need it to be. 

For each of the methods below, you will need to break up the cinnamon sticks before you add them to the grinders, otherwise, you risk damaging the appliances. 

Work with a Spice Grinder

Ideally, use a spice grinder. This type of grinder was created specifically to grind up a variety of spices, including cinnamon.

Once you’ve broken up your sticks, place them in the spice grinder. Cover the top and begin the grinding process. Depending on the model you have, there might be settings to control how fine the spices can be ground up. For cinnamon, you want it to be as fine as possible.

Use a Coffee Grinder

You can also use a coffee grinder if you don’t have a spice grinder available. If your coffee grinder has an espresso setting, use that since that will allow you to grind the sticks as fine as possible. You essentially want to pulverize the sticks. 

Remember to clean out your coffee grinder after using it for cinnamon, otherwise, you’ll have cinnamon flavored coffee!

Cinnamon bark is tough, so you need sharp blades to cut through it. If you see that the grinder you’re using is not sufficiently converting your sticks into powder, don’t push the limits. You might end up running your blades!

Where to Find Cinnamon Sticks

Cinnamon sticks can be found in your local grocery store. They are pretty common to come by, and they are not specific to one season (though we do see more items using cinnamon during Thanksgiving and Christmas).

You can also order them online if your local store doesn’t carry them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use a Food Processor to Grind Cinnamon Sticks?

You can use a food processor to grind cinnamon sticks if you have a blade attachment that is sharp and fine enough. Oftentimes, you’ll be left with small pieces of the cinnamon bark after running it through the processor, and these can be a pain to then try to pulverize.

Can you Use a Blender to Grind Cinnamon?

Typically, you cannot use a blender to grind up cinnamon sticks, because it will not be able to get the cinnamon fine enough. The exception is if you have a blender that can make rice flour, then you could likely use that to also make cinnamon powder.


Grinding your own cinnamon is very easy to do, especially if you already own a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Any of the methods shared above will work though!

Nathaniel Lee is an avid cook, drawing on his decades of home cooking and fine dining experience. He is a contributing chef at Mashed, and his recipes and contributions have been featured in Tasting Table, Edible Arrangements, Insanely Good Recipes, and The Daily Meal.