Every slice of this cinnamon swirl banana bread features a moist crumb, lots of banana flavor, and a thick ribbon of cinnamon sugar swirled through the center. Top with a simple vanilla icing to turn this quick bread into a delightful dessert-like treat.
You know I love a good cinnamon sugar swirl. (I mean, have you tried this homemade cinnamon swirl bread?? Put it on your Baking Bucket List!) While I also love a good crumb streusel topping, there’s just something extra special about slicing into a coffee cake or a chai cinnamon swirl Bundt cake and discovering a surprise-inside layer of cinnamon-sugar.
Banana bread is no exception.
Reader Erin commented: “I normally make your ‘Best Ever Banana Bread‘ recipe, but decided to try something new yesterday—my family thanks you, Sally!!!! The loaf is gone. 2 teenage boys and my husband standing at the counter devouring this bread is quite the testament to how much flavor is in this bread. They all loved the cinnamon swirl in the middle—plus I sprinkled more on the top during baking. Everyone’s waiting for the bunch of bananas on our counter to ripen for the next loaf!!!! ★★★★★”
What You’ll Love About This Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread
- A delicious mash-up of my super-popular banana bread and cinnamon swirl quick bread recipes
- Quick and easy to make
- Sweet flavors of banana, vanilla, and cinnamon sugar
- Cake-like texture stays moist for days
- Excellent use for over-ripe bananas; or you can thaw frozen bananas
- Extra delicious with creamy vanilla icing
- A great treat any time of day
- Freezes well, so make ahead and stock your freezer for banana bread emergencies!
Today’s recipe was originally published in 2012, and the predecessor of my original banana bread recipe. Because of the added richness and sweetness in the glaze and cinnamon-sugar ribbon, I don’t use quite as much sugar and butter in the bread itself. I usually receive a lot of questions about substitutions, so let me review some of the key ingredients you need and why.
Key Ingredients You Need & Why
- Flour: I typically use all-purpose flour in this recipe, but I’ve made it with whole wheat flour on occasion… and it’s still incredible. So if you’d like to include some whole grain in your bread, go ahead and use whole wheat flour with no other changes in the recipe needed. (Like a richer, sweeter version of my healthy whole wheat banana bread!)
- Ground Cinnamon: We’re using cinnamon in the banana bread batter as well as the cinnamon swirl.
- Sugar: You need regular white granulated sugar for the cinnamon swirl, so you can go ahead and use that in the bread as well. If you’d like, feel free to use brown sugar in the bread batter instead.
- Butter: You need 4 Tablespoons (1/2 a stick, or 57g) of butter for this loaf. The bread bakes up moist and tender from the Greek yogurt, bananas, and cinnamon swirl, so there really isn’t any need for more butter.
- Ripe Bananas: You need about 3 large bananas or 4 medium bananas—and the riper, the better, just like I recommend for Nutella swirl peanut butter banana bread. You can use thawed frozen bananas, too. See How to Freeze & Thaw Bananas for Baking.
- Plain Yogurt: Regular or Greek, any fat percentage. If you don’t have yogurt, you can substitute sour cream.
The batter comes together easily. I usually use my electric mixer to mash bananas, but a fork or potato masher work too. Since this batter requires creamed butter and sugar, I usually mash up the bananas first, remove them from the bowl, then add the butter and sugar to cream. (I don’t even clean out the bowl—no need.)
Expect a thick batter:
Create a Beautiful Cinnamon Swirl in Your Banana Bread
You need 2 ingredients for the cinnamon swirl, and both are used in the banana bread batter: granulated sugar and cinnamon. I don’t use quite as much cinnamon swirl as my cinnamon swirl quick bread, and that’s mostly because there’s a lot of flavor in the banana bread itself. (The regular cinnamon swirl bread doesn’t have that other flavor, you know?)
To assemble the swirl, layer half of the banana batter into a greased loaf pan. There’s about 3 and 1/2 cups of batter. It doesn’t have to be perfect, so just eyeball the amount. Top with all of the cinnamon sugar. Gently spread the remaining batter on top. Using a knife, make a large swirl down the center of the pan. Avoid over-swirling because then you’ll wind up with cinnamon banana bread, minus a swirl.
This is the same way we swirl apple cinnamon bread. It’s really easy, so no need to over-complicate it!
After baking, cool the bread completely using the detailed recipe instructions below. After the bread cools, drizzle the entire loaf with vanilla icing.
You may be asking, “Is vanilla icing really necessary here?” And the answer is yes, vanilla icing is always necessary. 😉
The vanilla icing below is my regular vanilla icing recipe, only halved. You don’t need much. Grab some confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream or milk, and a little vanilla extract, and whisk it all together. Drizzle over the bread before serving. This is exactly how we top strawberry bread, too!
Slice and just wait until the iced banana bread reveals its inner beauty: the pretty cinnamon ribbon hiding inside. LOVE!
If you love these flavors together, be sure to try my banana crumb cake next!Print
Enjoy super moist and flavorful banana bread swirled with a thick layer of cinnamon-sugar and topped with a dreamy drizzle of vanilla icing. This is like a dessert version of classic banana bread.
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar (or use packed brown sugar)
- 4 Tablespoons (56g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cups (345g) mashed bananas (about 4 medium or 3 large ripe bananas)
- 1/3 cup (80g) plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (60g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) heavy cream or milk
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Lowering the oven rack prevents the top of your bread from browning too much, too soon. Grease a metal 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Make the banana bread batter: Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then beat in the mashed bananas, yogurt, and vanilla extract until combined. With the mixer running on low speed, slowly beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no flour pockets remain. Do not over-mix. You’ll have around 3 and 1/2 cups of batter.
- Cinnamon Sugar Swirl: Mix the sugar and cinnamon together. Spoon half of the banana bread batter into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Pour and spread remaining batter on top. The top layer of batter will want to stick to the cinnamon-sugar filling, making spreading a little tougher to do, but use a spoon to carefully spread it out as best you can. Using a knife, swirl the batter down the center of the loaf pan. Avoid over-swirling, which will mix the layers together too much.
- Bake for 55–65 minutes, making sure to loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil halfway through to prevent the top from getting too brown. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with only a few small moist crumbs. All ovens vary, so begin checking every 5 minutes around the 55-minute mark.
- Remove bread from the oven and allow the bread to cool in the pan set on a wire rack for 1 hour. Remove bread from the pan and cool bread directly on the wire rack until cooled completely.
- Whisk the icing ingredients together. (I usually use heavy cream, which promises a thick icing.) Drizzle over bread before slicing.
- Cover and store banana bread at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Icing seeps into the top of the banana bread over time, so expect the tops of the slices to become a little moist.
- Freezing Instructions: It’s best to freeze this bread without the icing, and ice the bread after thawing and before serving. Freeze baked & cooled loaf for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. If desired, bring to room temperature before serving. To learn more details about how to freeze quick breads, see my post called Make-Ahead Baking.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): 9×5-inch Loaf Pan | Whisk | Glass Mixing Bowl | Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Cooling Rack
- Can I Use Whole Wheat Flour? Yes, you can replace the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour with no other changes needed.
- Butter: If needed, you can use salted butter in this recipe with no other changes needed.
- Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread Muffins: Use this banana bread recipe to make 2 dozen cinnamon swirl banana bread muffins. Pour the batter into lined or greased muffin pans and bake for 5 minutes at 425°F (218°C); then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C). Bake for an additional 16–17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total bake time for the banana bread muffins is about 22–23 minutes. The initial burst of hot air helps those muffins rise nice and tall! Or try my banana chocolate chip streusel muffins. (Feel free to leave out the chocolate chips in that recipe.)
- No Sour Cream or Yogurt? Feel free to use 1/3 cup mashed banana (in addition to the 1 and 1/2 cups), unsweetened applesauce, or even canned pumpkin puree.
- Frozen Bananas: You can use frozen bananas here. Thaw the frozen bananas. Drain off any excess liquid, mash, then use as instructed in the recipe. See How to Freeze & Thaw Bananas for Baking. Try not to mash too much or else you’ll be left with 2 cups of banana-y liquid; some chunks are great.
- Can I Turn This Into Banana Bundt Cake? There isn’t enough batter. I recommend using my extremely similar, scaled-up recipe for chocolate marble banana Bundt cake instead. You can leave out the chocolate swirl in that recipe, and replace with 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar mixed with 1 Tablespoon cinnamon.
Keywords: cinnamon swirl banana bread