From apple pies to Christmas cookies, cinnamon adds a memorable aroma and taste to many things. Both cinnamon oil and cinnamon extract are concentrated essences of cinnamon. Although the oil and extract can be substituted for one another in most cases, they are not the same. The most important differences are flavor strength and heat tolerance.
Cinnamon oil is a highly concentrated oil taken directly from the cinnamon bark. The flavor of cinnamon oil is typically about four times as strong as cinnamon extract according to The Cook’s Thesaurus, so when you are substituting oil for extract, divide the quantity called for in the recipe by four. If you are substituting extract for oil, multiply the quantity by four. Flavor can vary considerably from product to product, so it’s best to add less than you think of either the oil or the extract at first and then add more to taste.