Cinnamon Salt Dough Ornaments

After getting into the holiday spirit by making the burlap and book page stocking ornaments (you can find my tutorial HERE), I had visions of making aromatic tree ornaments to fill our home with the seasonal scents of cinnamon and spices.   There are tons of recipes online for cinnamon salt dough and all seemed super simple so I jumped right in. 

The ingredients are basic - flour, salt, cinnamon powder (and a variety of spices) and water.  All items we keep on hand in our everyday kitchens and pantries.  And to think that these items could be miraculous turned into delightful ornaments for the holidays!

The equivalents varied by recipe, and the first recipe I tried (do you see where this is headed?  LOL!)  called for:

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup warm water

I gradually added the water while stirring and it turned into a wonderful dough.  Looked and smelled perfect.  

Rolled out easily with a rolling pin and I used a cookie cutter to make scalloped round shapes. Used a drinking straw to create a small hole in each ornament for attaching a ribbon later.

Recipes varied on how to dry the ornaments - some air dried them on a cooling rack, turning them periodically.  Others baked on a very low temp in the oven to dry.

With this batch, I air dried on a cooling rack.

They still looked wonderful and smelled fantastic!  My hopes were high!  

But, gradually as they dried, they turned powdery white.  Not quite the golden brown, gingerbread appearance I was after.  

Discouraged, but not one to give up on the first try, I whipped up another batch of dough using a different recipe.  This time around, the ingredients were:

2 cups flour
1 cup salt
5 tablespoons cinnamon powder
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup water

As before, the dough looked and smelled awesome.  Having read that some had refrigerated their dough, I rolled it into a ball, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for 45 minutes.  

Rolled it out and cut the ornaments and all was well.  Went with the baking method this time around, and put the ornaments on a cookie sheet on parchment paper at a low temp (175F).  Peered thru the oven window and, just minutes after being placed in the oven, they turned chalky white ... AGAIN!

I have no clue why this occurred and have only found one reference online from anyone who shares (or admits!  LOL) that this has happened to them ... they didn't have a solution.

I experimented with applying Mod Podge on one dried ornament, hoping it would somehow darken the ornament surface.  It didn't.

As a last resort, I used a wet sponge and have wiped the surface of the ornaments, fingers are crossed that when they dry again, they'll be golden brown and not chalky white.   

Painting them is also an option so all is not completely lost.  

Would love to hear your experiences with cinnamon salt dough and/or any ideas on how I can avoid this project fail the next time around.  Thanks for any input!

In keeping with that whole "lemons to lemonade" thing, perhaps I'll just plan to put them on the Christmas trees as they are - they do smell wonderful - and look snow frosted!   :)


  1. Here's my experience with cinnamon salt dough...when my oldest was in first grade, they made these. He brought it home and we put it on the tree. My then one year old walked up to it, grabbed it off the tree and bit the leg off! I immediately called the pediatrician and poison control to make sure he would be okay. I had the syrup of ipecac on hand, just in case. Thankfully it wasn't toxic and now it's my favorite one legged gingerbread ornament on the tree. :) His gingerbread man IS dark brown, but I have no idea what recipe they used. Whatever it was, it was a good one because that first grader is about to graduate college and that gingerbread man is still perfect...well, save for that one leg. :)

  2. Oh, Lisa! What an experience! So glad the little guy didn't get sick. If the recipe was anything like the two I made, it wouldn't be harmful ... nor tasty! What a story you have to tell while decorating the tree each year! And to think the ornament has lasted for years is so precious. After drying these did turn out a little less chalky white on the surface, thankfully. Still have no clue why that happened. May try one other recipe - feeling stubborn! haha! I ran across a few recipes that call for applesauce and white glue. Thanks so much for sharing

  3. Having the same problem and we did not want to paint them :(

    1. I wonder if the water was not hot enough or if I did not knead it long enough.