Does store bought apple cider contain cinnamon?


Apple cider is a popular fall and winter drink made from pressing apples to extract the juice. It can be enjoyed hot or cold and has a sweet, appley taste. Many store-bought apple ciders have added spices like cinnamon to enhance the flavor. But does store bought apple cider actually contain real cinnamon? Let’s take a closer look.

What is Cinnamon?

Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of trees from the genus Cinnamomum. It has been used for thousands of years and was highly prized in ancient times. The two main types of cinnamon are:

  • Ceylon cinnamon: Also known as “true cinnamon”, it comes from Sri Lanka. It has a tan-brown color and delicate, mildly sweet flavor.
  • Cassia cinnamon: The most common variety today. It originates from southern China and is darker in color with a stronger flavor.

Ground cinnamon has an unmistakable warm, sweet and spicy aroma and flavor. It contains antioxidants and also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Cinnamon is obtained by cutting the stems of the cinnamomum tree. The inner bark is then extracted and dried into cinnamon sticks or ground into powder.

Why is Cinnamon Added to Apple Cider?

Cinnamon has some key properties that make it a popular addition to apple cider:

  • Flavors like cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves complement the sweet apple flavor.
  • It adds warmth and spice that pairs well with the tartness of apples.
  • It brings an aromatic element that makes hot cider smell irresistible.
  • As an antioxidant, cinnamon can help retain the cider’s flavor for longer.

Adding a touch of cinnamon can turn a basic apple cider into a more complex, appetizing drink. It’s no wonder it’s such a popular combination!

Common Ways Cinnamon is Added to Apple Cider

There are a few main ways cinnamon makes its way into store-bought apple cider:

1. As a Ground Spice

Some ciders list “cinnamon” as an ingredient, indicating real cinnamon spice was added during production. Ground cinnamon is simple to add into foods and beverages as a flavoring.

2. As Cinnamon Sticks

It’s popular to add one or more cinnamon sticks to a batch of hot cider as it simmers. This infuses the drink with cinnamon flavor and provides visual appeal. Cinnamon sticks are sometimes included in cider packaging or recipes.

3. As Cinnamon Extract

Cinnamon extract is made by distilling cinnamon essential oil along with an alcohol solvent. It’s highly concentrated and provides intense cinnamon flavor. Extracts allow cider makers to add cinnamon taste without particles of ground spice.

4. With Natural Flavors

The term “natural flavors” on an ingredient list indicates flavorings derived from plant or animal products. Manufacturers use natural cinnamon flavoring to provide cinnamon taste without including the spice itself.

5. With Artificial Flavors

Artificial cinnamon flavor contains synthetic chemicals designed to mimic real cinnamon. It’s cheaper than natural flavoring but provides less authentic taste. Some very inexpensive ciders may use artificial cinnamon flavors.

Examining the Ingredients Lists of Popular Store Bought Ciders

To get a better idea of how cinnamon is incorporated, let’s examine the ingredients labels on some popular pre-made apple cider products:

Martinelli’s Apple Cider

Apple juice (filtered water, apple juice concentrate), cinnamon

Martinelli’s adds real cinnamon as an ingredient in their cider. We can assume it’s in powdered form for incorporation into the liquid.

Santa Cruz Organic Apple Cider

Organic apple juice, organic cinnamon stick

Santa Cruz relies on an organic cinnamon stick infusing in the cider during processing to provide cinnamon flavor.

Crystal Hot Apple Cider

Filtered water, apple juice concentrate, natural flavors, citric acid, sodium benzoate

The “natural flavors” in Crystal’s cider may include cinnamon, although the exact components aren’t disclosed. There’s no direct addition of cinnamon.

Tree Top Original Apple Cider

Apple juice from concentrate (water and concentrated apple juice), ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), cinnamon

Again, real cinnamon is clearly listed in Tree Top’s ingredient list, indicating it contains actual cinnamon spice.

Homemade Apple Cider Nutrition Facts

To get an idea of the nutrition facts for homemade apple cider with cinnamon, let’s look at a basic recipe per 8 oz serving:

Ingredients Amount
Apple juice 1 cup
Ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp
Water 1 cup
Nutrition Facts Per Serving
Calories 112
Total Fat 0.3 g
Sodium 8 mg
Total Carbs 29 g
Dietary Fiber 0.5 g
Sugar 24 g
Protein 0.2 g

As you can see, this homemade cider is low in fat, sodium and protein. The calories come mainly from carbohydrates in the apple juice. The cinnamon adds just a touch of fiber and nutrients without affecting the nutrition profile.

The Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon is known to have some health benefits, which can make it a smart addition to apple cider:

  • High in Antioxidants – Cinnamon is loaded with polyphenol antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress in the body.
  • Anti-Inflammatory – Compounds in cinnamon have been shown to decrease swelling, joint pain, and inflammation.
  • May Lower Blood Sugar – Cinnamon can help improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels.
  • Antimicrobial Properties – The essential oils in cinnamon have antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial effects.
  • May Reduce Heart Disease Risk – Some studies indicate cinnamon may lower cholesterol and triglycerides and prevent blood clotting.

So while the amount found in apple cider is modest, the cinnamon can provide some useful health bonuses.

Possible Downsides of Cinnamon in Apple Cider

Cinnamon is considered safe for most people, but there are some potential downsides to be aware of:

  • Allergies – Some people are allergic to cinnamon and can experience hives, sore throat, or shortness of breath after consuming it.
  • Liver Damage – High doses of cinnamon oil have been linked to liver damage. Moderation is key.
  • Drug Interactions – Cinnamon may interfere with certain medications like antibiotics, diabetes drugs and blood thinners.
  • Mouth Sores – Cinnamon oil is very concentrated and gargling it can sometimes cause mouth sores.

So those with cinnamon allergies or taking certain medications should exercise caution and avoid high amounts of cinnamon exposure from their apple cider.

How to Make Your Own Apple Cider with Cinnamon

It’s easy to make homemade apple cider with cinnamon at home. Here’s a simple recipe:


  • 1 gallon (16 cups) fresh apple juice or cider
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup brown sugar


  1. Add the apple juice, cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon and brown sugar to a large pot.
  2. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until very hot but not boiling.
  3. Remove from heat and steep for 15-30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
  4. Remove cinnamon sticks and ladle hot cider into mugs to serve.

Add a cinnamon stick garnish to each mug before serving for a perfect fall treat! Adjust cinnamon amount to taste.


So does store bought apple cider contain real cinnamon? The answer is – it depends! Checking the ingredients list gives you the best clue. Ciders that specifically list “cinnamon” as an ingredient do contain real spice, while those with “natural flavors” may or may not include it. Adding cinnamon to apple cider provides the perfect flavor balance of sweetness with a touch of spice. It also lends some potential health benefits. While too much cinnamon can have downsides, the amount in moderation in apple cider is unlikely to cause issues. So next time you sip a mug of hot spiced cider, you can have confidence that the cinnamon flavor is the real deal.

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