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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!

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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


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.



Cinnamon Swirl

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


  • 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


  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.


  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. Good morning from Rennes! This recipe looks amazing and I am looking forward to baking it. I do have a question. Since I cannot get sour cream, can I use my usual substitute of either Greek yogurt or crème fraîche? If so, which one? If I cannot, I will have to use the buttermilk.
    Cannot wait to bake this!!

  2. Hi Sally! I’m excited to try this. Do you think Greek yogurt (2%) could be used in place of the sour cream?

  3. The perfect treat for a rainy, autumnal afternoon; The cinnamon sugar swirl is luscious and thick, the crumb mouth watering and the spicy aroma baking it gives your kitchen could not be cozier.

    Thank you, Sally, once again for a lovely baking experience. 🙂

  4. The cinnamon swirl quick bread turned out *really* delicious! It smelled amazing during baking, and tastes incredible. Like OMG. THE CRUMB! Dense and moist, yet light. It was EVERYTHING! I’ve been dying to find this kind of crumb in a recipe forever. The sour cream is a game-changer. This recipe is definitely a winner.

    I’ve been wanting to do a Sally’s Baking Challenge for a while, and this super-simple recipe seemed like a good place to start. I made an egg-free version of this recipe since my dad doesn’t eat egg and he’s been asking me to make something for him. I substituted 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water for the egg. I rested this mixture for ~30 mins until it reached a soft viscous consistency, then added a pinch baking powder right before adding it to the sugar and mixing. It rose beautifully and was super rich and moist with an amazingly crunchy crust. So overall, I don’t think the lack of egg affected anything – for folks who are trying to make an eggless version, this is good substitute. I didn’t add the vanilla icing – I think it was yummy and perfectly sweet without it – but then again I’m not a fan of icing usually.

    I baked for 50 minutes and found it perfect, even though my oven generally runs cool. This is because the moistness of the crumb contrasts perfectly w/ the crunchiness of the crust. But it *was* crumbly when I sliced through – so maybe five more minutes would have helped. That said, I gave it maybe a minute to cool while I snapped pictures, before caving and scarfing down a slice. 🙂

    A tip: I think I “overswirled” – I decided to trace through the “S” I made with the knife one more time than the recipe said. It turned out just fine in taste but didn’t have that beautiful clean swirl pictured in the recipe picture. So it should really only be swirled once!

  5. Holy Smokes!! My normal cinnamon swirl bread takes me like 6 hours!!!! This won all the kids over! I pulled it out of the oven to cool … it lasted all of 30 minutes! Lol it’s half gone now!!!! So so yummy!!!!! Definitely one for Momma’s cook book!!!!

  6. Since the preview was published a couple of days ago, I couldn’t wait to make this, so first thing this morning I jumped out of bed and started working on it!
    It was super easy and quick to make, and turned out absolutely dreamy! It’s soft, moist and just the right level of dense, and full of fabulous cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla tastes.
    It’s funny I completed this challenge on the first day of the month, considering I completed the July challenge just on the very last days of the month. I am so proud of myself!

  7. WOW…so delicious. Made it this morning and I’m already diving into it. Easy, recipe was perfect and Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread could not be more yummy. Thank you for this!!

  8. Can’t wait to make this!! What brand of non-stick spray do you use? Like a butter flavor Pam or something with flour, too, like Bakers Joy?

    1. Hi Lauri! I usually just use regular Pam, but the “bakers” spray with flour works too.

  9. I made this bread this morning and it was such a delight at how easy it was to throw together! It came together beautifully and I love the large swirl of cinnamon and sugar as well as how the top layer of cinnamon and sugar made a perfectly crunch bite on the top! YUM! Thanks Sally!

  10. Woke up to this recipe and immediately made it. It’s heavenly. Like all Sally recipes, it’s a crowd pleaser. Was super simple to make and made all the more easier with Sally’s instructions. Thank you to Sally for another delicious and comforting recipe, you’ve made me a confident baker and I know every recipe you put out I will be capable of making.

  11. I’m so excited to cut into this bread! It looks gorgeous, but I will be patient and wait until it cools to cut and share (and add icing!) Even my cinnamon adverse children (whyyyy??) are clamoring for a treat! Thanks for the recipe

  12. This was SO delicious!!!!! I love cinnamon and quick breads, so I was super excited to try this. It is the best right out of the oven!!! Will definitely be making this again!

  13. Delicious! So quick and easy to make. Will be making more to send with my husband to share with his coworkers!

  14. I’ve got my bread in the oven as I type! The whole house smells delicious and the kids can’t wait to dig in. I also added a tablespoon of freeze dried Dragon Fruit powder to make it pink. Thank you for all of the awesome recipes Sally, you’re my go to for all things baked!

  15. This was so easy to make and came out smelling amazing!

    I added a little sprinkle of nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice to my cinnamon/sugar mixture and now my whole house smells like fall! Yum!

  16. I used the chai spice sugar blend instead of the cinnamon sugar to for a little extra something… SO DELICIOUS! The best part is that it’s really easy to make! I’ll definitely be making this again and again. It could also make for a great gift for friends and family around the holidays!

  17. This looks amazing and I’ll be making it this week. My question is about veg. oil. for baking, I never know which to buy – basic no frills “vegatable oil”, canola oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, grapeseed oil…. I’m always standing in front of the bottles scratching my head. Sally, what do you use?

    1. Regular pure vegetable oil. No frills! I believe what I usually use is Crisco brand, but I use store brand too.

  18. Super moist and delicious! The top was perfectly crunchy and sweet! The smell from the oven was amazing – even had a neighbor next door comment that they could smell it cooking from out the window! Came together really quick and easy. I used the buttermilk substitution, as I had some to use up. I also added apples (a few that have fallen from the tree early) Kids loved it!!

  19. Just pulled it out of the oven and it smells and taste amazing. Just what I needed today

  20. Yummy! I think ours was a tad off because I was JUST short on sour cream, and my “helpers” made quite a mess with the flour, so it was drier than I would have liked, but so so yummy regardless! And VERY easy! Which we are all about in this household

  21. I was not a huge cinnamon fan but this recipe blew my mind! 10/10 would recommend to family and friends. Super easy to make and delicious 😉

  22. Hi Sally,

    This recipe is absolutely delicious and so easy! I just made this recipe into muffins with icing and wow! My husband loved them too! Can’t wait to share with family! Thank you for all of your recipes and everything you do!

  23. This Cinnamon Swirl bread is amazing!! So moist and sweet, and then the tons of cinnamon gives it a little spice kick. Delicious and so completely easy to make.

  24. This is a quick and easy recipe to throw together, and smells amazing while baking! Will definitely make again!

  25. Wow! I saw this recipe and couldn’t wait to try it. This was my very first time making the baking challenge on the day it was released.
    This was such a fun and easy one! I made it for my mom but once my kids got a sniff of it and then saw it, they dove right in with a knife! I will make another one tomorrow for my mom. This recipe will be a repeated one in my household!

    Thanks for such a fun and delicious challenge!

  26. Yum!!! Very easy and very tasty! I made 2 loaves, 1 for us and 1 to send with my husband to work. His co-workers will be so happy!

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