The Specific Cinnamon Variety That Makes Cinnabon So Delicious

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Perhaps the most beloved brand of cinnamon rolls to come out of any U.S. bakery, foodies cannot get enough of the taste of Cinnabon. In fact, Mental Floss reports the brand sells a sweetly serious 100 million cinnamon rolls every year. And Cinnabon's tasty reach doesn't stop at the mall food court. The bakery also has an entire at-home grocery line that features everything from Cinnabon-inspired cookie dough to Cinnabon-flavored protein shakes. But have you ever wondered how this company has managed to hold our taste buds, hostage, by selling a product as straightforward as cinnamon rolls?

While it might seem like a simple treat, the delectable formula behind the Cinnabon rolls you savor with utmost joy today is the result of months of effort and hundreds of botched recipes (per its website). And Mental Floss reports the secret ingredient that makes these rolls so irresistible is not their gooey dough, or the icing fans love enough that the restaurant once took it upon itself to sell it in a pint-form (per Thrillist). No, it all comes down to the cinnamon. Because you literally can't get a cinnamon roll with the same variety anywhere else. This is the story of the secret ingredient behind Cinnabon's uniquely decadent taste.

How Cinnabon discovered its cinnamon

According to Cinnabon's website, its father and son founders hired a professional chef to help them create a cinnamon roll the likes of which the world had never seen. And the innovative cook they chose for the job was a baked goods lover named Jerilyn Brusseau (per MYNorthwest). As Brusseau reports, when the three started their noble baking mission, they knew they wanted to make cinnamon rolls that were moist, doughy, and "would have this big cinnamon hit." While the chef drew inspiration from her own grandmother's cinnamon roll recipe to get the pillow-like dough down, the trio would have to go to "cinnamon school" (aka talk with a team of experts from a Seattle business called Crescent Spices) to uncover the perfect spice for their product.

After running through different types of cinnamon with the folks from Crescent Spices, Brusseau reports the three discovered Korintje cinnamon from Sumatra — a part of Indonesia. According to the chef, this spice's flavor was an absolute stand-out. However, while The Spice House reports Korintje is commonly used in U.S. commercial bakeries, the type on Cinnabon's iconic rolls sure isn't.

You can only get Makara cinnamon at Cinnabon

While you can find plenty of vendors selling Korinjte cinnamon on Amazon, you may notice on Cinnabon's website that the type it uses isn't just Korinjte cinnamon, but Makara Korintje cinnamon. Now if you try and search that up on the online retailer, you'll still be met with plenty of Korintje cinnamon brands but you will, not, however, see any of the Makara variety. Because as Mental Floss reports, Cinnabon has locked its unique Makara cinnamon up with a trademark and thrown away the key. That means no one's quite sure what's in the blend that makes us down 816 calories worth of its classic cinnamon roll like it's our last meal.

With that being said, what do you do if you want to recreate the brand's famous treats at home? Unlike its frosting, you may have noticed that Cinnabon isn't so willing to put its sacred ingredient for sale on its online shop (via Thrillist). However, MYNorthwest reports that you can buy a bottle of Makara cinnamon in its stores. But take heed, it may not be at your local Cinnabon. According to a Facebook post by the company, the secret ingredient is only available at select locations, so it could take you some time to find the spice that makes the brand's treats the world's most famous cinnamon rolls.