Cinnamon sticks can be used to add depth and flavor to a variety of recipes, both savory and sweet.

Whole cinnamon sticks don't get the same attention that ground cinnamon does — but we're here to change that. We've got four surprising ways to use cinnamon sticks in your everyday cooking. From spicing up beverages and flavoring grains to boosting savory dishes and infusing liquids, cinnamon sticks can turn food from blah to bold. So grab that jar of sticks from the back of your pantry and give these ideas a whirl. You'll wonder why you waited so long.

Spice Up Beverages

Next time you steep a cup of tea, add a piece of a cinnamon stick to the hot water and tea bag for an extra boost of flavor. Cinnamon sticks also make fun tea stirrers, adding a hint of taste when used to stir in sugar or cream.

Prefer coffee? Add the warmth of cinnamon to your next cup. Simply place a cinnamon stick in with your coffee bean grounds, brew as usual, and you'll be rewarded with a cup of joe that has incredible depth and a warm, invigorating flavor.

Flavor Grains

Cooking up a batch of grains is the perfect opportunity to sneak in cinnamon's sweet, woody flavor. Toss a piece of cinnamon stick into your morning oatmeal for sweet cinnamon flavor throughout. Or try adding a stick to a pot of basmati rice. As it cooks, the heat will release the cinnamon oil into the rice.

Boost Savory Dishes

While cinnamon is often relegated to sweet dishes in the United States, it deserves a shot in savory recipes, too. Many cuisines commonly use cinnamon sticks to add a rich depth to dishes like brothy pho and decadent curries. Or make it the secret ingredient in your chilis and pasta sauces, leaving just a hint of cinnamon flavor that will have others guessing how you made your mouthwatering dish.

Infuse Liquids

When steeped in liquid, cinnamon sticks create uniquely spiced beverages. Simply place a stick in a jar with the liquid you want to infuse and after a few days, you'll be rewarded with a boldly flavored, refreshing treat.

This method works with liquors, honey, maple syrup, or even water. The longer you let it sit, the stronger the taste will become, so check your infusion daily and remove the cinnamon stick when it gets to the level you desire.

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