Buying dividend stocks can be a great way to ensure you have some recurring income flowing into your portfolio, without needing to cash out of your existing investments. The stock market has been performing well over the past year, but the average yield on the S&P 500 is only around 1.5%. But that doesn't mean that's what you have to settle for.

Three stocks that pay much higher yields (of around 3% or better) that I would buy today include Cardinal Health (CAH 0.88%)Innovative Industrial Properties (IIPR -0.37%), and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM 0.39%)

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1. Cardinal Health

Investing in healthcare can provide lots of long-term stability, but that's just one reason why Cardinal Health makes for an attractive investment. It currently yields 3.1%, but odds are that number will go up over time. Its quarterly dividend of $0.4859 has increased by 25.6% from the $0.3870 that the company was paying five years ago. That averages out to a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.7%. At that rate, it would take 15 years for the dividend to double -- if Cardinal Health were to continue to increase its payouts. Cardinal Health is a Dividend Aristocrat, so it has an excellent track record for paying and increasing its dividend payments. And with its payout ratio of around 40%, investors don't have to worry about whether the company can afford to keep paying shareholders.

What I like most about Cardinal Health is that the business is doing well even though the pandemic has had a negative impact on its pharmaceutical segment. On Feb. 5, it released its second-quarter results, and its sales for the six-month period ending Dec. 31, 2020, totaled $80.6 billion and were still up 4.6% year over year. Given that patient-doctor interactions have been down during the pandemic, it's a positive sign that Cardinal Health's business is strong enough to continue generating growth. And as the situation improves and COVID-19 case numbers fall, that growth rate could accelerate as patients become more comfortable visiting doctors' offices.

With some good diversification, a solid dividend streak, and a top yield (relative to the markets), Cardinal Health is a stock that is a great buy, especially for risk-averse investors.

2. Innovative Industrial Properties

If you're looking for more growth opportunities, Innovative Industrial might be an even more attractive investment, and it yields just over 2.6%. It hasn't been increasing its dividend payments for more than 25 years, but it's possible that the cannabis real estate investment trust (REIT) will get there. It has been aggressively increasing its dividend payments in just a short time frame. Its quarterly dividend of $1.32 today is more than five times the $0.25 it was paying just three years ago, sporting a CAGR of 74.1%.

That's not a streak that investors should expect to continue over the long term, as that would be extremely difficult to keep going. But with the cannabis industry continuing to grow and Innovative Industrial acquiring more properties to expand its reach and generate more sales, it's not hard to see why the REIT may still have lots of room to grow its dividend. Since a REIT is legally required to pay out at least 90% of its profits to investors, betting on a profitable and fast-growing company like Innovative Industrial can be a great move if you are looking for dividends and growth. 

Its diluted funds from operations (FFO) per share in 2020 was $4.72. While that is technically lower than what its annual dividend payment would be right now ($5.28), the reason I'm not concerned goes back to the company's growth. A year earlier, its diluted FFO per share was just $2.88, and it has risen by 63.9% since then. With an aggressive growth strategy and more states legalizing cannabis, there's little reason to doubt that Innovative Industrial's bottom line won't be even stronger this year.

3. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

The highest-yielding stock on this list is the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), which pays 4.5% annually. That's a solid payout in a fairly safe sector of the market. Even though bank stocks have largely recovered from last year's pandemic-fueled crash, CIBC still offers a terrific yield. It's not easy finding a dividend that is this high and safe.

With a payout ratio of just over 60%, CIBC's dividend payments look manageable, and there is plenty of room for the bank to increase those payouts -- which is what investors have come to expect. In some years, CIBC has increased its dividend not once, but twice. Over a five-year period, its dividend payments have risen by 23.7%, for a CAGR of 4.4%. With a yield this high, you also wouldn't need to see significant increases to the dividend to earn a great return.

This is a good recovery stock to bet on: With the economy in North America looking stronger this year, banks should be great investment options since they will benefit from greater economic activity. And the results are already starting to show signs of hope. On Feb. 25, CIBC reported its first-quarter results for the period ending Jan. 31, and its reported net income of 1.6 billion Canadian dollars ($1.27 billion) was a 60% improvement from the previous period and up 34% on a year-over-year basis.

Whether you buy it for its dividend or its stability, CIBC is one of the safer picks for income investors who love a high yield.