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Adapted from my cranberry orange bread, this vanilla flavored cinnamon swirl quick bread is moist and soft with a thick ribbon of cinnamon sugar swirled inside. You only need a handful of very basic ingredients and there’s no mixer required. This cake-like bread will remind you of cinnamon rolls, but takes a fraction of the time to prepare!

slice of cinnamon swirl bread

Do you ever get the baking itch? (Of course you do, why am I even asking?!) But what about the desire to make something truly warm, cozy, and comforting? Where not only that first bite soothes the soul, but the smell of it baking is satisfying too. My cinnamon swirl quick bread checks all those boxes. In fact, I’m positive it’s the medicine we all need right now.

This Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread Is:

  • Melt-in-your-mouth soft & moist
  • Vanilla & cinnamon flavored (even better with vanilla icing on top!)
  • Very easy to make– no mixer needed
  • Layered with an extra thick cinnamon swirl
  • Covered with a crackly cinnamon sugar crust

In terms of texture, it’s not quite as dense as pound cake, but it’s definitely heavier than vanilla cake. I like to compare it to apple cinnamon bread, only without the apples.

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread Video Tutorial

cinnamon swirl quick bread with vanilla icing

Have you ever made my cinnamon swirl chocolate chip bread? Today’s recipe is a lot like it, only minus the chocolate chips.

Gasp! I know! But hear me out.

I swapped the 1 cup of buttermilk for sour cream and milk. I wanted a slightly denser crumb, while keeping each bite totally tender and soft. Sour cream is a magical ingredient in cakes, cupcakes, breads, muffins, and more. I found that 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup milk made the bread a little too dry and dense, but 1/3 cup sour cream and 2/3 cup milk was perfect. Brown sugar can weigh down the bread, so I used all regular white sugar. I also increased the vanilla extract and the amount of sugar in the cinnamon swirl. (Thicker swirl!) All of these small changes made a very big difference and you can see similar variations with my cranberry orange bread and peach bread recipes!

Best Ingredients to Use & Why

  • Flour: All-purpose flour is the base of this quick bread recipe.
  • Salt & Baking Soda: Flavor & rise.
  • Vanilla Extract: You’ll appreciate the simple, yet unbeatable flavor of vanilla in the bread itself. If you have homemade vanilla extract on hand, use it here.
  • Egg: One egg binds everything together.
  • Sugar: You need sugar for both the bread batter and the cinnamon swirl.
  • Sour Cream: We use sour cream for moisture and tenderness, but also because its lactic acid helps the baking soda do its job.
  • Milk: Whole milk is best, but you can use a lower fat or nondairy milk in its place.
  • Oil: While butter provides unbelievable flavor, nothing beats the moisture that oil provides. We use oil in this quick bread recipe (and others like strawberry bread, pumpkin bread, and lemon poppy seed bread) to produce a moist bread. Plus, the cinnamon sugar swirl and vanilla extract both provide a lot of flavor.
cinnamon swirl quick bread batter
cinnamon swirl quick bread batter

Extra Thick Cinnamon Swirl

To assemble the cinnamon swirl, layer half of the bread batter into your greased loaf pan. Top with almost all of the cinnamon sugar (as noted in the written recipe below, reserve 2 Tablespoons for the topping). Pour and gently spread the remaining batter on top. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tablespoons of cinnamon sugar, then use a knife to swirl.

As you layer in all that cinnamon sugar filling, you’ll question the amount. Really? This much cinnamon sugar? Yes! For an extra thick cinnamon sugar swirl inside, we need an extra amount layered in. There’s A LOT. If you’re looking to spice up the flavor, try using a chai spice blend instead. Check out my white chocolate chai snickerdoodles and use the sugar/chai spice “topping” as the filling here. (Still reserving 2 Tablespoons of it for this bread’s topping.) There are more flavors and variations listed in the recipe notes below.

cinnamon swirl bread in loaf pan

One of my favorite parts is the cinnamon sugar around the edges. Some of the cinnamon sugar from the center may seep out, creating an irresistible crisp/chewy crust.

Looking for a yeasted cinnamon swirl bread? See my homemade cinnamon swirl bread.

cinnamon quick bread with vanilla icing
cinnamon swirl quick bread

How to Freeze Quick Bread

Freezing quick breads is a lot like freezing cake.

  1. Step 1: Bake and completely cool quick bread.
  2. Step 2: Once the bread cools completely, wrap it in Press & Seal or plastic wrap. From one baker to another– Press & Seal is the best product for wrapping baked goods. I find regular plastic wrap too thin, clingy, and frustrating. It definitely works, but Press & Seal is easier to use and I’ve honestly found that it keeps my food fresher. (Not working with this brand, just really love it.)
  3. Step 3: Write the type of bread and use-by date on a large piece of aluminum foil. For best taste and texture, don’t freeze quick bread for longer than 3 months. You could stretch it to 4 or 5 months, but the sooner you serve it, the fresher it tastes.
  4. Step 4: Wrap the bread in the aluminum foil and place in the freezer. You could place the wrapped bread in a freezer container or freezer-friendly zipped top bag, but I often just freeze it after wrapping in aluminum foil.
  5. Step 5: Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, transfer the frozen bread to the refrigerator one day before serving. Sometimes I forget and just let the bread thaw at room temperature for several hours, but it’s better to thaw at a slower rate in the refrigerator. Make sure you thaw bread while it’s still in the wrapping. Don’t unwrap before thawing.

Baker’s Tip: Two layers of wrap is key! The first layer keeps the bread fresh and the aluminum foil ensures no condensation will seep in. Double layer = maximum freshness and no freezer burn. Moisture is the enemy, so don’t be afraid to add another layer of Press & Seal or aluminum foil.

See Your Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread!

Feel free to email or share your recipe photos with us on social media. 🙂

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cinnamon swirl quick bread

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 1 loaf 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This vanilla flavored cinnamon swirl quick bread is moist and soft with a thick ribbon of cinnamon sugar swirled inside. Feel free to turn this recipe into muffins or mini loaves. See recipe notes below.


Ingredients

Scale

Cinnamon Swirl

  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

Bread

  • 2 cups (250gall-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup (80g) sour cream (or plain yogurt/Greek yogurt), at room temperature*
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) whole milk, at room temperature*
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • optional: vanilla icing

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Cinnamon Swirl: Mix the 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar and 1 Tablespoon of ground cinnamon together.
  3. Bread: Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg and 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar together until combined. Whisk in the oil, sour cream, milk, and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then whisk to completely combine. Avoid over-mixing. You will have about 3 cups of batter.
  4. Pour/spread half of the batter into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle almost all of the cinnamon sugar evenly on top (reserve about 2 Tablespoons for topping). It’s a very thick layer of cinnamon sugar. Carefully pour/spread remaining batter evenly 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. Sprinkle with the rest of the cinnamon sugar. Using a knife, make a large swirl down the loaf pan, as shown in the video tutorial above. Avoid over-swirling, which will mix the layers together too much.
  5. Bake the bread for 50 minutes to 1 hour, covering loosely with foil about halfway through to prevent the top from over-browning. Poke the center of the bread with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the bread is done. Oven times will vary between ovens. My bread usually takes 55 minutes. Cool bread completely in the pan set on a wire rack.
  6. Drizzle with icing, if using. Slice and serve. Cover and store leftover bread at room temperature for 1 day or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: For longer storage, you can freeze the glazed or unglazed bread for up to 3 months. See details above the recipe. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before glazing (if needed) and serving.
  2. Sour Cream & Milk: I adapted this recipe from my cinnamon swirl chocolate chip bread recipe. Instead of 1 cup of buttermilk as I do in that batter, I used a mix of sour cream and whole milk here. The crumb is tighter and more tender– you’ll love it. Using all milk creates a thinner batter that can overflow and take much longer to bake. That being said, feel free to use 1 cup of buttermilk instead of the sour cream and whole milk option here. See recipe notes in the chocolate chip bread about using a DIY sour milk option. I don’t recommend a lower fat or nondairy milk here, though you can use it in a pinch. The bread won’t taste as rich and moist.
  3. Optional Additional Flavors: Feel free to use the chai spice swirl noted above. Or add 1 cup of peeled, chopped apples to the bread batter or even 1 cup of raisins, chopped walnuts or pecans, or dried/fresh/frozen (do not thaw) cranberries. You can also add 1 Tablespoon of fresh orange zest to the bread batter OR cinnamon sugar swirl. Also, the orange glaze from this cranberry bread would be delicious on this bread.
  4. Muffins: Grease a 12-count muffin pan or line with liners. You will need a 2nd pan for 2 additional muffins as this recipe yields around 14. (Or bake in batches.) Prepare cinnamon swirl and batter in steps 2 + 3. Spoon batter evenly into liners, filling each halfway. Sprinkle each with a heaping spoonful of cinnamon sugar. Top with more batter, filling to the top. Sprinkle each with a dusting of cinnamon sugar. Use a knife to swirl the batter/cinnamon sugar in each. Bake the muffins 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 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 20-22 minutes, give or take. Cool muffins for 5 minutes in the muffin pan, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling. Makes 14 muffins.
  5. Mini Loaves: Grease a mini loaf pan. Prepare cinnamon swirl and batter in steps 2 + 3. Spoon batter evenly into greased cups, filling each halfway. Sprinkle each with a heaping spoonful of cinnamon sugar. Top with more batter, filling to the top. Sprinkle each with a dusting of cinnamon sugar. Use a knife to swirl the batter/cinnamon sugar in each. Bake at 350°F (177°C) until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Bake time and yield depends on the size of your mini loaf pan.

Keywords: cinnamon swirl bread, quick bread, cinnamon bread

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. This recipe was delicious! I made mini loaves and should’ve split between three (rather than just two) mini loaf pans, so it overflowed a bit but was still tasty. Will definitely make this again!

  2. This is most amazing cinnamon quick bread recipe I have tried. It comes together so easily – it’s my go-to when I don’t have time for the more involved enriched dough for a cinnamon babka! Everyone raves about this bread and it has replaced banana bread for weekend treats. Thank you so much, Sally! Knocked it out of the park, again!

  3. Great recipe and easy to make. Cake is very moist and sweet. This is what you want to taste in cinnamon swirl cake. Thank you! Definitely will make again.

  4. Great recipe and easy to make. Cake is very moist and sweet. This is what you want to taste in cinnamon swirl cake. Thank you! Definitely will make again.

  5. I just made this loaf and it’s already over half gone! Incredible! I’d love to try this with the apples recommended in the notes. Should the peeled, chopped apples have any other flavoring added to them before they’re mixed into the batter? For example, should they be stirred with cinnamon or sugar as in apple pie? Thank you for all you do, Sally!

    1. Hi Shirley, The apples don’t need any other flavoring, but if do try them that was, let us know how it turns out!

  6. I absolutely loved the video tutorial. I do not love baking and I’m about to go make this. You made it so simple and I’m confident it’s as easy as you made it look. LOVE that no beaters are required. Just wanted to say thank you

    1. Hi Mandy, we don’t recommend it. Once the wet and dry ingredients are mixed, the leaveners are activated and it’s best to bake the batter right away. You could bake it one day and serve the next!

      1. This recipe was very easy and delicious! I would like to make mini loaves and mail them to friends and family for Christmas. Would this bread hold up in the mail if I wrap it well with press n seal? Or, do you recommend any of your breads to do this with? Thanks so much!

      2. Hi Jenna, You should be able to ship this ask long as it’s wrapped well and mailed overnight or in a cold pack.

  7. Huge fan of the blog and have tries soooo many of your recipes! Have you tried using brown sugar instead of white sugar (or half/half) in the cinnamon swirl? I wanted to try it out but wondering if the brown sugar would be too heavy and sink down to the bottom.

    1. Hi Amina, we don’t recommend using brown sugar in the bread batter, but you could use it in the swirl if you prefer. Though the brown sugar will be a little clumpy and hard to sprinkle neatly on top. Let us know what you try!

  8. This recipe is AMAZING! I ran out of all purpose flour and used 1 cup cake and 1 cups whole wheat and subbed the whole milk for almond milk (my son can’t have whole milk). This came out so good! So happy. Will def be making again.

  9. oh my goodness! this was such a good recipe! it had great cinnamon flavor and was super easy to make. thanks for this great recipe Sally!

  10. Nice basic quickbread recipes. The cinnamon swirl was great. This could be dressed up a lot of different ways. Yummy

    1. Absolutely, see recipe notes for optional additional flavor add-ins!

    1. Hi Marianne, You can use 1 cup of buttermilk instead of the sour cream and whole milk.

  11. Loved this recipe! I don’t like sour cream or yogurt so I don’t keep them on hand but I did the buttermilk hack instead. This turned out great! Was very easy to make and my partner and I both had 2 slices today! Will make again!!

  12. Hi Sally
    Can you make your recipes in an Air Fryer instead of an oven, if so what temperature, time
    thank you.

    1. It depends on the recipe, really. For bet success, I wouldn’t adapt any for an air fryer. This bread should be baked in an oven.

  13. This is the best cinnamon swirl bread ever! I highly recommend! It is so moist and so delicious! I love it!

  14. Made this with the additions of orange zest and raisins……gasp, OMG, I LOVE YOU SALLY!!!!

  15. Made several loads for Christmas last year and turned out great. I alternated what I had on hand between sour cream and Greek yogurt. Any thoughts on adding apple chunks to make it apple cinnamon bread?

    1. So glad this recipe is a hit for you, Kelly! See recipe notes – we recommend adding 1 cup of peeled, chopped apples to the bread batter. Or you may love our apple cinnamon bread recipe!

  16. Hi I had a question, when I first baked the recipe it was perfect and it baked within 60 mins and everyone loved it but now when I baked it again, the exact same recipe I baked leaves for 90 mins and still my bread was uncooked from the middle but the edges, top and bottom were over cooked and on the verge of baking. Ehat do you think is the problem? I used the same oven each time and the same temp 177 degreed.

    1. I’m glad to help! Did you use a different baking pan or bake the bread on a different oven rack, perhaps closer to the top? Be sure to bake on a lower or the center rack. I wonder if your loaf pan was too small?

  17. I was so excited to make this but ran out of sugar so used 1/2 cup of brown sugar in the batter along with 1/4 cup of white sugar and it messed with the texture 🙁 It’s still good, but you can’t see the swirls and it is a little dry, but that could be my fault from overbaking. Just would like to warn others if they want to substitute brown sugar!

    I will try it again sometime, I have full faith in your recipes Sally!

  18. Hey, Sally if I was to add the raisins to the bread , do I add it with the cinnamon swirl ingredients?

    1. Hi Kaitlyn, you can add raisins directly to the bread batter – enjoy!

  19. This recipe is the best. Just baked this today and it is so good. Going to try it with apples next time. Thanks for the recipe.

  20. I love this recipe so much!!! It is my older daughter ‘s favorite and I am going to make them as part of the wedding favor bag for all the guests to take home. I need to make about 125 mini (3 1/8 L x 4 1/2 W x1 1/2 H) in mini loaf baking cups. I was hoping you could give me some suggestions on amount of batter in each cup and time for cooking. I was thinking they probably should cook more like a muffin but not positive.
    Thank you for any advice you could give me.

    Lynn

    1. Hi Lynn, how sweet! We’re unsure of the exact bake time for that size pan, but it will be much shorter, closer to a cupcake. You can reference our mini vanilla pound cakes recipe for a similar baking time. You’ll want to fill the cavity about 2/3 full. Happy baking!

  21. Good morning! I wanted to share that I was able to successfully convert this recipe to Dairy, Soy and Gluten Free. I initially made the original version and it was loved so much that I wanted to make it so that my daughter could enjoy it (she has food allergies). So….I swapped the milk for canned coconut milk, the sour cream for So Delicious unsweetened yogurt, the oil with canola and the flour with KA Measure for Measure. Added 1 cup of walnuts. It turned out really good…was gone within 3 days and already requested by the family again.

    Thank you for another great recipe Sally!

  22. So delicious! I would love to bake about 10 of these for an event. What is your recommendation on scaling up the recipe? Thank you!

    1. Hi Ioana, rather than making multiplying the ingredients, it’s best to make separate batches. Doubling, tripling, etc. can make it especially easy to over mix, which will make the loaves dense. Best to stick with individual batches here!

  23. My favorite cinnamon swirl bread recipe! My family finishes it in one sitting haha

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