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

How to Join Sally's Baking Challenge

Make the Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread recipe. (Mini loaves, muffins, or flavor variations listed in the recipe notes count too!) If you’re not into this recipe, here is the alternate September Baking Challenge:

  1. any previous challenge recipe OR
  2. Orange Butter Cookies with Chocolate Ganache

After you make the bread or alternate recipe, email me your recipe photo. Feel free to also share it on social media using #sallysbakingchallenge. For a bonus entry, leave a review on the recipe below!

By emailing your photo to us, you are automatically entered in the baking challenge for the $250 Amazon gift card prize. We keep track of your photos and randomly select 1 winner at the end of the month. The challenge is open to the whole world. Challenge ends on September 29th 2020 at 5pm ET. The winner will be selected at random and posted in the October Baking Challenge blog post on September 30th 2020.

662 Comments

  1. Easy and delicious! Made for a perfect birthday treat 🙂

  2. I adore a recipe where I don’t have to wait for butter to come to room temperature (and let’s be honest, butter isn’t cheap, so sometimes I like to skip it). This recipe came together very quickly, was super easy, didn’t have excessive cleanup, and most importantly, was delicious!! I’ll definitely be adding it to my list of recipes I make regularly.

  3. This was fairly easy and didn’t take very long. I didn’t watch the video and when I got to the instructions to “make the swirl like the video” I just did what I thought it would be and it turned out great! I made this for a small get-together with my friends and when I asked for a rating I got all 9’s and 10’s(out of 10)!! Super yummy! I personally wouldn’t call this bread, to me it’s more a “loaf cake” but either way it’s delicious!

  4. Adrienne Bergeron says:

    Oh my goodness, I’ll be baking this one again! Truly, so simple but packs a lot of cinnamon punch. I did make the frosting for it, and I’ll admit that I can’t imagine it without it on there. It’d be a great crowd pleaser for a breakfast or brunch! I also would love to make my next one with some pumpkin in there–be a great combo!

    1. Agreed! Sometimes the most simple recipes are the best. I would love to know if you give it a try with pumpkin!

  5. Super easy to make! AND delicious! Took the picture, 10 minutes later it was 2/3 gone!! ONLY 3 PEOPLE LIVE IN MY HOUSE!! lol!

    1. So glad it was a hit with your family, Ann!

  6. Absolutely delicious quick bread! I added toasted pecans to the cinnamon swirl and on top. Will make this again and again! Thank you Sally! Love your recipes!

  7. This bread was a huge hit with my family and friends! I added this to my recipe Arsenal (as I do with many of Sally’s recipes). Due to allergy/health purposes I used the following substitutions;
    Duck egg, Avacado oil, white whole wheat flour, 1/2cup honey, unsweetened coconut yogurt, and oat milk. For the icing I used Silks non dairy whipping cream.

    I did add 1 cup of pecans (leaving some to sprinkle on top). Sometimes I add raisins too!

  8. So easy, and so delicious! We had some leftover cream cheese icing to use up which made for the perfect pairing. My family loved this loaf too – it barely lasted 24 hours!

  9. So much fun!! It’s all gone!!

  10. Simple recipe that I was easily able to recreate. The bread turned out great and was a hit with my family.

  11. This is what I wrote on my social media:

    ❤️Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

    This is the September monthly challenge over at Sally’s Baking Addiction. It’s my second challenge. I may be addicted. No pun intended. I will try to do most of the challenges……unless it’s one that I already have in my repertoire.

    I honestly was not looking forward to this challenge…..it seemed a little too basic for me. And I am not overly fond of quick breads, in general. Unless it’s my delicious pumpkin bread.

    I am so glad that I did it anyway!

    I decided to try two different loaves.

    The first loaf is the recipe as written.

    With the second loaf, I added chopped dried cranberries to the bread batter and to the vanilla frosting.

    Oooooh, these are so good. And the cranberry loaf…….this will definitely be added to my repertoire. It will be good for a Christmas gift!!

    When we cut into these the first time, all of my kids (young adults) gathered in anticipation at the table with coffee and tea; we had a lovely morning break together. Just like when they were little. It is unanimous that these both shall be baked again.

    Oh, they were so good!!

    I miss them!!

    Trust me when I say: the photos do not show how delicious these are!!

    1. Thank you for the positive review, Chari – glad this was a sweet treat for you and your kids!

  12. We loved this recipe! I made a double batch – muffins and bread. The muffins wound up nice and crispy on top and pulled apart similar to a cinnamon roll. We froze the bread and thawed it to eat a week later and it turned out beautifully! Not soggy at all. To freeze it I sliced it and put it in a ziplock bag with all the air removed instead of following the instructions for freezing as I didn’t have any press and seal and my plastic wrap doesn’t cling very well. Worked well – at least for the week I had it in the freezer.

  13. This bread is delicious and as a bonus, the smell while it baked as amazing! I love the crunch of the cinnamon sugar on top and the crumb is perfectly moist! I’ll be making this often!

  14. I followed the recipe to the T and it came out absolutely lovely. The bread was moist and sweet and just perfect.
    Family loved it and I will be making it again for sure ! Thank you Sally 🙂
    Ps – I submitted my photo for the baking challenge!! Best of luck 🙂

    1. Thank you for participating and sharing your photo, Ollie – I’m thrilled to hear this will be a repeat recipe for you!

  15. Moist and delicious with a gorgeous thick cinnamon swirl. It looks and taste like you really slaved over it, but in truth the recipe is simple enough that my toddler could it all with direction.

  16. Amazing recipe!! So yummy and I will definitely add the vanilla icing next time as I think it will take what is already a great recipe to another level! Thank you Sally!!

  17. Sally has done it again! Another easy and delicious recipe. I LOVE how much cinnamon flavor is in this! I had to use wheat flour because I ran out of regular flour — still delicious!

  18. Delicious ♥️ And easy to bake ♥️

  19. Cynthia Hibbard says:

    Super easy to make and it tastes wonderful! I took it to two businesses to get feedback. Everyone loved it! My brother said it would be better with butter…another person said it tastes like Fall. Thank you for sharing! Yum!

  20. This was so delicious! I added a cup of chopped apples with the cinnamon swirl and it was the perfect fall bite. I will be making this again ASAP as we’ve eaten almost the whole loaf in a couple of days.

  21. This came out moist and tasty. The top layer of crusty cinnamon sugar on top was the highlight. Next time I’ll add chopped walnuts for more crunch.

  22. This was delicious and came together quickly. The cinnamon swirl was just right. I will try it with the apple addition next time, because that also sounds delicious!!

  23. Melinda Jackson says:

    Moist and flavourful and so, so easy to make! Juggling three little kids, I was still able to whip up this amazing snack in a jiff, and with ingredients I had on hand (I opted for homemade buttermilk). The bread was loved by all. I’ll definitely make this again.

    1. I love that this was a fun, manageable and delicious challenge for you, Melinda! Thanks so much for participating.

  24. So delicious and easy. I can’t stop eating it!!

  25. This turned out great and was so easy. I will definitely make this again. My family are fans of quick breads in general, so this was a no-brainer. I used half whole wheat flour and half all purpose. I also used nonfat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. Even with those substitutions the bread turned out soft and tender.

  26. This was a super easy recipe and had an amazing outcome. The smell of it filled the whole house. My brother (who was doing online school at the time) left his computer to see what the delicious smell was. It was so delicious. It was a perfect dessert after a family lunch picnic. I would definitely make this again.

  27. Definitely a keeper. The cinnamon bread was moist, easy and delicious. My son said it tasted amazing like an apple pie in a bread. Only thing I changed was adding some diced apple(granny smith) in the cinnamon swirl. I baked mine in a tea loaf pan so baking time took less time, about 42 minutes. Great recipe Sally! Thank you!

  28. Tasty, easy and quick. My kids are now requesting it, and it feels like it gets eaten faster than I can make it! I’ve tried loaf and muffins- both equally tasty, but the muffins are so much faster for my impatient kiddos.

  29. Another great quick bread recipe to add to my rotation! We added some chopped pecans to the cinnamon topping / swirl and it added a nice crunch. My kids loved it – and loved helping bake it just as much!

  30. So easy, quick and delicious! I was able to make this on a week night which was pretty impressive, I usually save baking for the weekends. I’ve made it before as is and it’s divine but due to some dietary restrictions I made 4 swaps: Oil- I used Avocado oil, Sour cream- I used plain full fat Greek yogurt, Sugar – I used Monk fruit sweetener, and Milk – I used Oatmilk. It came out equally as delicious! I didn’t put any vanilla icing on it only because I was eating this out of the pan! Thank you Sally for another incredible recipe!

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