canela sticks
photo credit: gourmetsleuth


Canela is the Spanish word for cinnamon. The cinnamon used in Mexican cooking is the softer loose-bark variety grown in Ceylon rather than the more commonly found hard-stick cinnamon. Canela is easily ground in a molcajete or other mortar and pestle (including your electric coffee/spice grinder).

How It Is Used

You will find canela throughout Mexican cooking. It is used in beverage such as Cafe de Olla - An earthy mixture of Viennese-roast coffee, cinnamon, anise seeds, and piloncillo (Mexican dark brown sugar).

Canela is a common ingredient in Mexican Chocolate which is used for beverages as well as baking.Cold beverages called aguas frescas frequently use canela. It is also used in soups, stews and other savory dishes such as Mole Poblano.

Featured Recipe - Tepache

A beverage popular in Mexico made from slightly fermented pineapple flavored with piloncillo and canela (cinnamon).

1 mature pineapple (around 3 pounds)
12 cups (3 liters) of water
2 3/4 cups (600 grams ) of piloncillo or brown sugar, packed
1 small stick of canela (about 3 inches)
3 cloves


Wash the pineapple completely, clear the stem and cut the rest in big pieces even with the rind.

Place the pieces of pineapple in a big container and add 8 cups (2 lt.) of water, piloncillo, the cinnamon and the cloves.

Cover and let simmer for 48 hours.

Strain the resulting liquid and add the other 4 cups (1 lt.) of water. (Or if you prefer, add 1 cup (1/2 lt.) of ale and let rest another 12 hours.) Strain and add 3 cups (3/4 lt.) of water. Serve cold with ice cubes.

Nutrition Information For Canela

Serving Size
1 tbsp
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 1mg
Total Carbohydrate 6g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A  0% Vitamin C  0%
Calcium  0% Iron  0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Store Your Canela

Store your canela in a tightly-sealed airtight jar and it will last for at least a year.

canela mexican cinnamon

Where To Buy Canela

You can purchase canela in most Mexican markets or purchase it online at


Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.