Homemade Cinnamon Ornaments
These easy homemade cinnamon ornaments for your Christmas tree will make your house smell amazing!
I have been waiting for months to bake these ever since I found the inspiration on Pinterest. And now that we have stuffed ourselves with turkey and pie and Thanksgiving is behind us, we can move on to Christmas— yay!
Some years we make the trek up into the mountains to chop down a Christmas tree, and other years we’ve just purchased one from a nearby lot. Either way, we always have a real tree. Our tradition is to decorate the tree while sipping eggnog, nibbling on cookies, and watching a holiday movie. And now I think we have a new tradition with these simple homemade cinnamon ornaments! Combined with a fresh pine tree, it’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas in my house.
How to make homemade cinnamon ornaments
These handmade ornaments require just 3 non-toxic ingredients:
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground cloves— optional, but I love the extra boost of holiday aroma
The amount of cinnamon you’ll need will depend a little on the applesauce you use, as some are softer than others. You’re looking for a sticky dough that holds its shape, so add more cinnamon or applesauce if needed until you have the right texture.
These ornaments can either be baked in a warm 200° oven for a few hours, or you can leave them out on your counter top to dry over several days.
Since these ornaments are made with non-toxic ingredients from the kitchen, this is a great craft for kids! My kids always have so much fun making these. These ornaments are not for eating, however. Do not mistake them for cookies!
Watch the video
Homemade Cinnamon Ornaments
- 1 cup applesauce
- 1-1 1/4 cup 130 grams ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground cloves optional
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the applesauce, cinnamon, and cloves (if using). You want the dough to be able to form a ball without being too sticky. Add additional applesauce or cinnamon if needed. You can also mix the dough by hand.
- Sprinkle a clean surface with cinnamon (like you would with flour while rolling out cookies). Place the dough on the surface and sprinkle with more cinnamon. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick, sprinkling with more cinnamon to keep from sticking.
- Cut out into desired shapes and place on the prepared sheet pan so that they aren't touching. Use a skewer to poke a hole into each ornament (to attach string). Bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until rock hard.
- Loop a decorative string through the ornament and hang on your tree.
128 Comments on “Homemade Cinnamon Ornaments”
What a fun project! Although they aren’t edible, I love that they are made with edible ingredients. I’m going to have to try this.
With all that cinnamon they’ll have a wonderful aroma that will last throughout the holidays. Great idea. Would be a cool project for children too.
Adorable! The ornaments and little John. I love that twine you tied with the ornaments as well!
I remember doing these as a kid and always loved the smell of them. I am adding them to my to-do list this year!
How long does the scent last? Are they reusable year after year?
I still put the ones I made here on my tree. 4 years later and they still smell great! Not as potent for sure, but the smell does last a long time.
What a cute idea! And such a cute Christmas tradition. Ours used to be heading to Home Depot, hubs in his green Xmas vest, to choose the best tree. Now we just break open the box and BOOM, she’s up! No smell, but no mess.
These are stunning! I definitely want to try making my own!
Love these! I made these 6 years ago when Hubs and I were very first married and that’s all we had to put on the tree 🙂 They still smell wonderful, we’ve only broken a few, and they are just so cute! I used some glue and super fine glitter to put dots on some of them and they are really cute too with a little sparkle! Looking forward to your cookie class this weekend too !
Totally loving this idea! I definitely want to try!
I made these this weekend and also decorated them. Just blogged about it: http://lifestooshorttoskipdessert.blogspot.com/2012/12/potpourri-baked-cinnamon-christmas.html
Thanks for posting. My roomie and I enjoyed this project very much!
Love the decorated ornaments, they look great! Thanks for sharing the link.
Such well done ornaments! You brought a modern look to a long-lived craft, too.
Just be careful when making a lot of these put on a mask or damp dishtowel over your nose and mouth if you have asthma, etc. I made 200 big heart ones with my pampered chef mold (which also calls for glue in the recipe so you can keep it much longer) and gave myself pneumonia from breathing in the cinnamon. I love them though
Can you roll out the dough and keep until the next day? Would love to make these at school with my kids but need to make the dough at home.
Yes you can make the dough ahead and wrap it in plastic wrap. Keep it cool over night.
What is the best way to store these?
Where do i get, or what is the Applesauce?
I just used generic applesauce from the grocery store.
I don’t want to sound ignorant but what are cloves? I have heard of garlic cloves, but not just cloves by itself. Where in the store do we get them?
Cloves are a spice commonly used in fall and holiday baking. You can find ground and whole cloves in the baking aisle next to the cinnamon and similar spices.
you preheat the oven to 200…is the temperature you bake them at for the whole cooking time as well?
thankyou so very much! GREAT idea! Love it! Just a great way to use my new 18 piece cookie cutters and give them to my great niece and nephew for their tree. Nice indeed!
Would these make okay gifts? Do they last from year to year? Thanks!
Yes, Heather. I made some with my mom about 20 years ago. They’ve finally “had it,” though, with all the moves (countless), and now my current location moisture is a problem for these old things.
You’ll want to store them in an air-tight container, perhaps even a vacuum bag type and then put that into a hard-shell container to keep the cookies from breaking.
I know it’s nearly a year late, but I hope this helps you (and others).
Just made these with my daughter and they turned out great. Thanks so much for the post!
Yay! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!
Your very pretty photo is here: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/463167142899059790/
Did you know about it?
Love these! I’m so sharing in my DIY Christmas series on Facebook and Pinterest!
Thanks for sharing!
I tried these today and followed the recipe including cloves. Mine rolls out okay, but seems really wet and once have pressed the cookie cutter into the dough I can’t get them off the counter without them breaking apart. What am I doing wrong ? I used unsweetened apple sauce and I have granite counters, is that an issue?
Are you “flouring” your work surface and dough with cinnamon? Use cinnamon like you would flour when rolling out a pie crust or sugar cookies. The cinnamon keeps the dough from sticking. Add as much as you need! I hope this helps!
Thank you so much, they turned out great! A tip for making the holes, we used a straw and it made perfect holes for the ornaments
What a great idea, thank you for sharing!
First, I stirred this dough up on December 31st, but had time TODAY to make them…they turned out fine, so I’d say the dough keeps well. I made these to put in baskets as a potpourri, but my husband had the amazing idea of using them as accents to gift jars! I will be making these again and again!!!! Thank you for posting this recipe!
Glad to hear the recipe still worked after such a long break! And I love the idea of using them with gift tags!
I found that I did not need as much cinnamon if I poured the applesauce into a fine mesh sieve and let it drain overnight.
Great tip, thanks for sharing!
Thank you for posting the recipe. Got here by way of Pinterest.
I made some w/ my mom about 20 years ago, and they are. . . well, it’s time for them to be replaced. But I never knew what the recipe was! Now I can do this with my daughter! Very exciting. And I’m glad I read all the comments, to get some of the “tips” to use, too. 🙂
Welcome! 🙂 I’m so happy to hear that the ones you made with your Mom lasted 20 years. The ones I made for this post are still intact and make an appearance on our tree every year!
My house smelled wonderful when I made these this past weekend. Question: How do you keep them from cracking? Mine did fine, but some of the surfaces are not completely smooth. I may have just handled them too much when piercing the holes.
I think a few of mine had a little cracking as well. Might just be those parts are a little drier? Or yes, maybe it’s just that they were handled too much. Hopefully you have enough pretty ones to hang on the tree!
Very fun way to make handmade ornaments and also deodorize your house. Pinned to my “Natural Christmas” board.
Can’t wait to make these but I was wondering if it would work if I put glitter in the dough while mixing! Do you think it would make them brittle?
I would think that it would be fine, though I can’t say for sure. Give it a try and let me know!
Can you paint these??? Will it mask the scent???
I would imagine you could. As long as they’re not completely covered the scent should still come through.
Could you use a dehumidifier instead of an oven? Its baking season so my oven is usually filled with cookies.
What a great question! I’m sure you can, but I imagine it will a bit longer. I’m sorry, I don’t have much experience with humidifiers.
When do you poke the hole for the twine? It seems like if I wait until it is hard, it would crack. So excited to make these!!!
Hi Danielle, you should poke the hole before baking! Sorry for the confusion.
Do they ever rot??
I don’t think so. I’ve had mine for 4 years now and they still smell and look great.
These turned out great and my house smells amazing! Thanks so much for the recipe.
I was wondering where you found that adorable twine?
Glad they turned out! I picked up the twine from a craft store.
This is such a cute idea! I really wanna try these out this year. And I love that it’s only 3 ingredients! 🙂
did you mean dry these out on the counter for days instead of baking them??
Nope, I baked them. I’m sure you could dry them on the counter, it would just take much longer.
I made these a few years ago and learned two very important things:
1) Be very certain you put these in a DRY place to dry. They can mold if they don’t dry quickly enough, which will happen if there’s the least bit of humidity around them.
2) If they do start to mold before they dry, DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE OVEN TO DRY, NOT EVEN ON “WARM.” Your eyes and lungs will hate you for hours if you heat that amount of cinnamon.
Thanks so much for the tips Carin! I live in a very dry climate, so this never was an issue for me, but I’m sure this will be helpful to other readers!
I’m curious – how would these be as far as attracting pests? My only concern would be ants or something that might be attracted to the sugar in the applesauce. (Although I imagine the cinnamon would prevent bugs from actually eating them.)
Lastly, do I understand that these would be used only for the year & discarded at the end of the season?
Lovely & a great idea for time with my son!!
Ants hate cinnamon and won’t go near it. 🙂
Was wondering about putting a little cinnamon oil like you use for candy in the mix or after they loose some of their scent. Has anyone ever done this?
Never heard of cinnamon oil. But I can tell you that these will keep their sent for several years!
Adorable! I made these back in elementary and will be making them with my daycare class in a few weeks. Could these be baked on newspaper instead of parchment paper?
Since it’s baked at such a low temperature that’s probably just fine. Such a fun daycare project!
I have these in my oven right now. My house smells wonderful. 🙂
just tried to make these…after over an hour trying to get the mixture to form a not too sticky ball by beating in my stand mixer and using measured ingredients as specified and adding more cinnamon…it never got manageable, very wet and sticky…had to give up and toss it all….how long is a few minutes and at what speed should it be mixed at and what went wrong…. 🙁
Thank you…I foolishly began with another recipe and worked for over TWO HOURS trying to figure out how to keep them from sticking to everything I tried-CINNAMON! Worked like a jewel and they are baking right now.
How do you store them in-between seasons?
Thank you, again, Annalise 😉
Instead of applesauce what I can use bec it is not available in India
Can you get apples? If so you can just make your own. Applesauce is just pureed apples. I cannot get applesauce in Italy either so I just make my own when I need it. Probably should strain or cook out some of the liquid for this recipe.
We made cinnamon ornaments about 20 years ago. They are just now wearing out. We used white liquid glue instead of applesauce. After baking and cooling, my children painted and decorated them. The gingerbread people look really cute with rickrack sewing trim glued on them.
What a fun idea, I never thought of painting them!
Just wondering can you refrigerat any leftovers if you don’t use all
what am i doing wrong?!!! i measured it all what you wrote.. and its not forming in a ball, and i used a mixer… HELP- I’m a teacher of the deaf so this is perfect for my kiddos on monday but i can’t get it into a ball.. what am i doing wrong?!!
I had to mash mine in to a ball with my hands and add a tad more applesauce because it was too dry… it is also taking over the 2 hours to cook in the oven. I added two tablespoons of glue to them as well to make them harder (recommended in another similar recipe)
I made these last year with glue and apple sauce and they turned out wonderful, the smell is still awesome. My kids and I used glitter glue on them and they turned out great. Thank you for posting the recipe . I’m making them again tomorrow for the teachers 12 days of Christmas baskets.
I followed the measurements exactly and had them mixing in my stand mixer with the paddle attachment. I have been adding a ton of extra cinnamon to try to get it to become a ball but it’s more like whipped cream. Help!!!
Love this recipe! Mine turned out great, except they sort of warped in the oven. This is my second batch. I made them a little thinner so maybe that’s why.
BUT with my first batch, I think the parchment paper absorbed too much moisture from the cookies, which caused the paper to warp in the oven and created small perpendicular lines across one side of the cookie. Any thoughts? Perhaps air drying them might fix that…
I made these tonight! I followed the recipe but I doubled the ingredients. The dough was wet & sticky so I added more cinnamon & then decided to use my mixer wondering if it would thicken. I don’t have a paddle so I used my beaters which made it bigger & airy & kinda like a whipped frostine (whoops!). I didn’t know how to salvage them so I took my 11 year olds advise to spread them on the cookie sheet w parchment paper. We let them dry for 5 or 10 minutes in the oven (they began to dry out fairly quickly). When they became more solid, we cut the shapes & ribbon holes & put them back in to dry. I think they should turn out well! Although, they make break easier & probably aren’t as smooth as if we had been able to roll them out. *Thanks for sharing! It made 30+ medium sized shapes. If we could’ve rolled the dough, less would’ve been wasted & it would’ve made a few more.
this is the best sight. so simple. yet so beautiful. thankyou!
I also made these cinnamon ornaments 20 years ago with my kids, now Its Feb 21, 2015 and I will make them with my grandson. I did use glue 2 tab. After baking them we used fabric and craft paint, put dots of paint on xmas tree ornaments then put small rhinestones in the center of the large dot dried in about 24 hours. they are beautiful, also used Tulip colorpoint paintstitching to decorate, any fabric paint will work. Kept them in a plastic container in the attic with my Christmas decorations for 20 plus years, and still to this day when I open them they look and smell great. Its a fun thing to do any time of the year.
I absolutely love this! My mom made these about 22 years ago when my eldest sister was a baby. We still have them, and they still smell amazing!
These look awesome! Have you tried painting designs on them? I’m just wondering how well the paint stays on.
I haven’t, though I’m sure you can find some craft paint that will work just fine. Great idea!
I made these years ago when my daughters were little. Every year we took them out to put on our tree, we rubbed sandpaper across the back to freshen them up.
Enjoy the memories,
Any tips for someone who doesn’t have a stand up mixer?
We don’t have a stand up mixer, but used our hands. The kids loved that part!
My kids and I loved making these. I think we will have to do another batch before Christmas! I gave them to my yoga students this week and then had to get the recipe up on my site to share! Check it out and thanks for the inspiration. http://www.shannoncrow.com/cinnamon-christmas-tree-ornaments/
I must share a funny tale about these ‘cookies’… I had made a batch of them to use a ‘bowl fillers’ and they were sitting on a plate on my kitchen counter. My father came for a visit. Soon after he arrived, we went out shopping and while we were in the car, he remarked “Daughter, you are usually an excellent baker, but those cookies you made were terrible. I almost broke a tooth they were so hard!” Oh my word, it took a few seconds to remember what cookies I had baked (I hadn’t!) and then it dawned on me they were the applesauce cinnamon bowl fillers!! He was not amused.
Oh dear! Your poor Dad! Kind of a funny story though, thanks for sharing. 🙂
I was wondering if I could use ginger instead of cloves ?
I don’t see why not!
Thank you for sharing your recipe. I have never seen these in the U.K before and decided to have a go at making them. They looked fantastic on our tree and the Christmas smell they created was very nostalgic. I made my own apple sauce using old apples puréed with a little water as I could not find any applesauce. I will definitely be making some more next year. Thank you!
I have made these, but always with glue..i wonder what the difference is?
You can also let fry naturally. Turn occasionally till completely dry. I’ve had mine 20 years. They still smell good.
We also hang on the neck of our guest closet hangers.
What a great idea!
I used this exact recipe and it didn’t form at all, it was like runny brownie mix so i added s little cornstarch and some flour and they turned out PERFECT! Looking for a better recipe for next time I decide to make these, but I’m excited my house will smell amazing for the holidays ?
A friend shared this on Facebook and we tried it last night. They came out great. I think we will make more for Christmas gifts this year! THANK YOU for sharing such a fun project for us to do together.
Yay! So happy to hear you like these!
I could get the dough to hold together at all, I ended up throwing it away I was frustrated! Any tips? I had mitts unsweetened apple sauce and regular cinnamon. Does the applesauce need to be cold?
Could NOT get the dough to hold together
If the dough doesn’t hold together, just add more cinnamon until it does. Every batch I’ve made is a bit different. Sometimes I have to add applesauce and sometimes I need more cinnamon to get the right texture. Sorry to hear it didn’t turn out for you!
I made these for years while teaching Parent Toddler classes at our local Nursery School, they were always a big hit. One thing I discovered quite by accident was the year I purchased bulk size cinnamon (16oz?) from one of the big box membership stores. Each year we made these in the classroom with the children stirring the applesauce and cinnamon mixture until it resembled a ball of soft pie dough. The children then rolled it on cinnamon covered surfaces with small plastic rollers and pressed their chosen ornament shapes into about a quarter inch thick piece of dough. A spatula was used by teacher or Mom to place the shapes on paper plates where a straw was used to poke a hole for red or green very thin craft store ribbon. Mom and child took their ornaments home and proceeded to turn them each day until they were no longer dark in the middle, whch kept them flat and also indicated they were completely dry and ready to use.
The discovery? Well, using the same store brand unsweetened applesauce each year, the year of the bulk cinnamon the mix would not hold together. I would make a ball in my hands, release it onto the table top and it immediately collapsed into small pieces and “dust”. Yes, I added more applesauce, but it just did not “mix” with the cinnamon! Adding more cinnamon gave the same results. Finally I used the grocery store standby and had no problem. I returned the remaining cinnamon to the place where it had been purchased, so I cannot give you a brand name, but I will verify that those of you who have had this experience have not lost your minds!
I just made these last night, I they look great but I don’t think they smell as strong as everyone in other posts have said. I followed the recipe and even added cloves. What did I do wrong????
Hmmm, maybe the cinnamon isn’t fresh?
I’m wondering if a drop or two of essential oils would refresh older ornaments without risking integrity…
Love this project – I come back to it often!
How many ornaments does this recipe make?
Hi Jill! It depends on the size of your cookie cutters – about 3 dozen.
something in this recipe seems to be missing. There was no way it could be rolled out and cut with a cookie cutter for me. It was very soupy. I tried adding flour…. nope. Oh well
I’m so happy to find this recipe — thank you! The one I used (minus the cloves, but will be a nice add) was from Sunset Magazine way back in the 1970’s. My old ones (don’t know what happened to them; too many moves) lasted for years. I stored them in a dress box between layers of tissue paper. Eventually the cinnamon scent fades, but I’d imagine they could be revived with essence oil.
I’m wondering if a drop or two of essential oils would refresh older ornaments without risking integrity…
Just wanted to say these came out wonderful! Was so worried they would crack in the oven, but they were fine! Even the delicate snowflake cutouts! Followed the measurements and used a lot of extra cinnamon for handling the sticky dough, periodically checked them every 15-30 mins while cooking. Mine took about 1 hr and 45 mins in total to harden up. Then used a white paint pen and some glitter paint for decoration, so beautiful!!
So happy they worked out for you! And I love the decoration idea!
Just asking out of curiosity if a few drops of essential oils would refresh older ornaments without risking integrity…
I haven’t tried it, but it sounds like a nice idea!
thanks for the instructions, I have cut them out into desired shapes and place on the prepared sheet pan so that they aren’t touching.
Do you think these could be done with cocoa powder? What would be a replacement for applesauce?
Do you think these could be done with cocoa powder? What would I use instead of applesauce?
Do you think these could be done with cocoa powder and what would I use instead of applesauce.
I haven’t tested this with cocoa powder, so I can’t give any recommendations. Sorry!
Made these for Christmas, and they turned out beautifully! Thank you so much for sharing this.
I made these when I was younger and living at home. They lasted for years.
Since I started making them with my boys, we place each one in a sandwich-size Ziploc bag when we take it off the tree. That helps hold the scent in and protects a bit from the humidity in the air. When they break, I place them on a shelf in a closet. To help keep little ones that might be visiting from grabbing them off the tree thinking that they’re cookies, I hang high out of their reach to avoid the temptation.
I normally don’t put them in the oven to dry. I use my dehydrator with the mesh liners to allow for more airflow. It makes the house smell wonderful!
I agree with other commenters that some cinnamon is better than others. I buy cheap cinnamon from Dollar Tree or similar. It is different with how much extra applesauce or cinnamon needs to be added each time I make them. I think it’s a combination of the brand and age of the applesauce and cinnamon plus the humidity and temperature where they’re being made.
I have yet to add cinnamon, clover, or ginger essential oil to a batch yet though I have all three and might when I make them this season. I would strongly encourage wearing gloves if you add the essential oil to help keep it from soaking into your hands or that of a child’s.
Some people, like one of my cousins, are allergic to cinnamon so I ask people if there are allergies in the household before I give them any.
I found this post (and your great blog) when i was at https://kidsactivitiesblog.com/77922/ornaments-kids-can-make/
I thought recipe added glue to it?
How does it stick together
The applesauce acts as a “glue” in this recipe
We did this craft at my job with disabled adults. They loved it!!! It made our place smell amazing and it was easy! Then I made it again at my home with my teens! They enjoyed it!