Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

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. Let’s watch it come together. Yes, it’s really this easy!


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. I think this is my new favorite quick bread recipe. (It’s similar to my cranberry orange bread recipe, too!)


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 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.

Print
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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
  • 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

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, orange glaze 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

 

831 Comments

  1. I absolutely loved this recipe! It was so moist and I love extra cinnamon! The glaze adds just the right touch of contrast. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Delicious! This was so easy to bake and too almost no time at all but had an amazing taste. Will definitely be baking this again!

  3. Thanks for posting this recipe Sally! I loved how moist the cinnamon swirl bread comes out and was extremely easy for a beginner like myself to bake it. The addition of chocolate chips adds more chocolate flavour to it and goes very well with the swirl bread. I had some leftover in the refrigerator for about 6-7 days and still tasted great.

  4. Can I swap plain Greek Yogurt for the sour cream?

  5. I made this recipe for the baking challenge and it came out delicious!

  6. Ruby Dragicevic says:

    I absolutely love cinnamon so I had very high expectations for this loaf and I was not disappointed. The instructions were clear and easy to follow and the loaf tasted amazing! Mine did not turn out quite as good as the image presented on the recipe though, because I used the wrong sized tin

  7. Hi, Sally!

    Just wanted to let you know that I made this a few days after you posted it, and it was absolutely delicious. I made it with the chai mix swirl, except instead of allspice in it (which is unavailable here), I’ve added some cloves and nutmeg. Anyway, as always, delicious.

    I’m not sure if I left a comment at the time, I know I totally forgot to sent you the pic, but it doesn’t matter. I was going to try it with cocoa swirl or wild blueberries, but never got around to it. If I do, I’ll let you know.

    Anyway, thank you for another great recipe!!!

  8. Hi Sally!
    I made this bread exactly as written and added apples as you had recommended as an option. DELICIOUS… Mine didn’t look as pretty on the inside , but the cinnamon taste was delicious. It was easy and definitely a must try for anyone who loves cinnamon. Thank you for the awesome recipe.

  9. 5/5 this was such a quick and delicious recipe! Would make it again.

  10. Catherine Silvester says:

    Hi Sally! I absolutely love Cinnamon so I was happy that my first Baking Challenge would involve it! This recipe was easy to follow and turned out great! I love the addition of the vanilla icing! I am already looking forward to the next challenge! Thanks

    1. Thank you for participating in your first baking challenge, Catherine! Love to hear that you’ll be joining more in the future – happy baking!

  11. I tried this yesterday….Was a quick bake with an easy to follow quick recipe. The only change I made was adding a cup of pecan nuts to the cinnamon/sugar filling. The house smelt amazing while baking and it tasted delicious. My only disappointment was the baking time- left the loaf in the oven for 50 minutes and it seems a tad overbaked as the sides and bottom are hard and its not as moist as expected. Will leave it in for +-40 mins next time!

  12. This was such a great recipe! I used 1 cup of chopped pink lady apples and about 1/2 cup of raisins in with the cinnamon sugar filling. I didn’t use an icing–I think it would have been too sweet for our taste. All of my family approved and we will make it again for sure.

  13. Patricia Troglen says:

    This was an easy to prepare and delicious recipe! Great recipe to have on hand if you need a quick dessert. I made it in an 8″ X 8″ pan and it turned out fine. My husband couldn’t stop eating it. I had two pieces, guess where the rest went? It was gone within 2 4 hours.

  14. This was an easy to prepare and delicious recipe! Great recipe to have on hand if you need a quick dessert. I made it in an 8″ X 8″ pan and it turned out fine. My husband couldn’t stop eating it. I had two pieces, guess where the rest went? It was gone within 2 4 hours.

  15. Sally
    Recipe was excellent (as usual) thank you

    My problem is getting the swirl right( to my dismay and frustration)
    It either goes to the bottom or to the top rarely in the middle like yours or other recipes
    I saw you tapping the pan several times before placing it in the oven (I know its to settle the batter)
    Could this have helped?

    Any ideas or suggestions?
    I checked your video several timers before doing it

    Thank you

    1. Hi Meg! Are you alterning anything in the recipe that may perhaps be thinning out the batter? Using a different size pan? Tapping the pan to settle the batter could help here, but you could try measuring the volume of batter (should be about 3 cups) and using an even 1.5 cups on the bottom and 1.5 cups on top.

  16. I’m curious if anyone has tried this recipe with either cake flour (since Sally says it’s “cake-like”) or bread flour (my favourite for yeasty cinnamon rolls)?

  17. Made this on Sunday – it was delicious! I had to use semi-skimmed milk rather than whole and used the Greek yogurt option. I also don’t have a big enough loaf tin so used a 7×7 square tin. But it was fantastic. I found it so easy to make and everyone really loved it. Thank you!

  18. Hi Sally, Happy Fall
    I LOVE this recipe! I have made the swirl with mini chocolate chips as well with Granny Smith apples. Both outstanding! I now want to try to make it in mini loaf pans. I have a set of 4, and the sizes are 5.5x3x2. Do you think the batter will be enough for all 4 pans? Also, you reference in the notes to spooning the batter into “greased cups”. Then after adding the swirl, filling to the top. Will that make the loaves overflow, considering the size of my loaf pans? I plan on making at least a dozen of these little beauties to give out as holiday gifts as the recipe is perfection and homemade gifts are always the best!
    I just finished making your “chewy chocolate chip cookies, for a neighborhood pop up. I added to the chips some Ghoul’s m&m’s mix. They turned out “frightfully” delicious!
    Thant You for your fabulous recipes! ❤️
    Be Well!
    Donna

    1. Hi Donna! I’m just seeing your question now and I’m glad to help. By the way, I love those chewy chocolate chip cookies and I bet they were so fun and festive with that M&M mix! The size mini loaf pans you mention works with this recipe. 1 batch of this batter will easily fit into 4 of the pans. I would fill *almost* to the very top, perhaps closer to 3/4 full. Let me know how they turn out.

    2. I just baked this recipe in 4 of those sized loaf pans and they turned out great! The pans weren’t nearly full, more like half full but they rise great! I baked for half the time (30 minutes).

  19. This bread was delicious and easy to make. I wanted to make the chai sugar topping but didn’t have any cardamom so I used pumpkin pie spice instead. I love how the outside is crunchy but the inside is moist. I will definitely make this bread again. So yummy!

  20. maria caballero olins says:

    Sally querida te felicito por tu receta
    Me salió excelente, rico, suavecito, y con ese sabor a canela fabuloso y fácil su preparación. Muy riiiiiiico
    Gracias, pronto prepararé el keke de zabahoria se ve rico y también fácil de preparar.
    Saludos

  21. So, so yummy and easy! I replaced the egg with a flax egg because of food allergies and baked in 4 mini loaves for 30 minutes. Delicious!

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