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. 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. I think this is my new favorite quick bread recipe. (It’s similar to my cranberry orange bread and peach bread recipes, 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

 

773 Comments

  1. This recipe was delicious! The house smelled amazing as it baked and it just went perfect with my coffee in the morning. So easy to make too, and I will definitely be making this again often! Thank you!

  2. Could you use heavy cream instead of whole milk in this recipe?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Brittany, I don’t recommend heavy cream instead of milk in this recipe. Instead, feel free to use 1 cup of buttermilk instead of the sour cream and whole milk option. In a pinch, you could use a lower fat or nondairy milk.

  3. This was a delicious & straightforward recipe! My family especially loved the cinnamon swirl surprise in the middle! Can’t wait to have another piece with my coffee in the morning!!

  4. This quick bread is so delicious, Sally!! I added the crumb topping from your Apple Crumb Muffins, because as you’ve said many times before…crumb topping makes everything better 😉 That applies to all things, and while I’m sure this recipe would be amazing as is, the crumbs took it to a whole new level, both texture and flavor-wise. I definitely recommend utilizing them as the finishing touch, for any other crumb-topping-fanatics out there!

  5. This recipe is a big keeper. For my birthday brunch we wanted something a little fancy, but quick in time and this was perfect for it. The recipe is really easy to follow, so you don’t really need any baking experience beforehand. With Sally’s extra instructions, it’s basically foolproof. The cake came out really moist and full of flavour. And it’s perfect for the fall season with a Latte Macchiato to go. The only downside: it’s gone way to fast.

    Also I really recommend using the Chai spice in the cake, if you like that. It just adds a really nice zing to it.

  6. Tamara Bugarski says:

    Not only does this recipe make your kitchen smell like a cinnamon-y heaven, it also takes you there with every bite! This bread is truly a quick and easy recipe, but your family will love you for it (trust me, the bread was gone within a few hours LOL) Definately making this recipe in the near future. It is the perfect start to baking with your favourite fall flavours 🙂

  7. Veronica Menendez says:

    This bread was very easy to make! I loved how the house smelled afterwards; reminds me of fall. I loved how cinnamon-heavy the bread turned out.

  8. This was the perfect recipe for a cold and rainy fall day in Montana. As it baked, the aroma of cinnamon filled my entire home only adding to my anticipation on what’s to come, and it didn’t disappoint. It baked up evenly and moist, and can be enjoyed morning or evening. Thank you Sally for another keeper.

    Doug G

  9. Definitely a keeper. Quick, easy and delicious. I had to make another right away, didn’t even get to taste the first one, it was eaten so quickly!

  10. I couldn’t recommend this recipe more, definitely one I plan to make for years to come!! So soooo good. As always, Sally’s recipes are incredibly easy to follow with flawless results. I couldn’t be happier with both the textures and flavor. Hubby and I were both super impressed!

  11. Delicious I really enjoyed the icing on it it when really well with the cinnamon swirl.

  12. Robin DextraduerL says:

    Another 5 star recipe! Moist, sweet but not to sweet and the perfect amount of cinnamon! A great go to when you need something quick and delicious. I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t like cinnamon!

  13. It was a lot easier and faster to make than cinnamon rolls. If I make it again, I may try to put another layer of cinnamon swirl. Thanks for the recipe!

  14. This recipe was so good! It was super easy, quick and delicious. The cake was moist and had the perfect amount of cinnamon.

  15. My husband and I loved this recipe – easy to make, very moist, with a little cinnamon sugar crunch on top. Yum!

  16. This is one of Sally’s best fall recipes this season! I have been using Sally’s recipes for years now and I really love this recipe because it is so versatile! I mean to make mine special I made the cinnamon filling, and then I topped it with a cinnamon/nutmeg streusel! This added an awesome crunch on top of the moist and buttery bread:)

  17. How would this taste with cream cheese icing instead of vanilla?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Delicious

  18. Henrietta Dixon says:

    Hi Sally, I have to tell you that this bread is absolutely delicious , I have always wanted to bake bread but I couldn’t quite find the courage to do it, but since I saw your recipes I have made three loaves, the yeast cinnamon swirl loaf, the chocolate chip loaf and now the quick bread loaf, well suffice it to say I am hooked on making bread. I love how this loaf taste, but not happy with how it looks which is a legitimate excuse to remake it. I hopefully will be able to do the challenge with the next one. Thank you for your kind words regarding my first yeast loaf it really encouraged me to bake the others, I’m sorry to be so long winded but I wanted to tell you everything.

  19. This cinnamon swirl quick bread was AMAZING! I made it for the September baking challenge. Even better with that vanilla icing! So good. Can’t wait for next months recipe.

  20. Since quarantine I have found that I love to bake and try out different recipes but my family doesn’t like anything too sweet. But this cinnamon swirl quick bread was a big hit with everyone as it wasn’t too sweet and it was delicious! The best thing is that it was so quick and easy to make.

  21. The Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread was another hit this month with my running group. I just ran the virtual Boston Marathon a couple of weeks ago and am training for another one coming up in November…keep these delicious ideas coming! This recipe was super easy and really good. Everyone enjoyed it – a perfect treat after a 5 mile run and the end of a 40 mile week!

  22. Great recipe! Bread was soft and moist!

  23. This bread turned out so delicious!!! I love the crunch the extra cinnamon sugar provides. My family couldn’t stop eating it.

  24. This bread is great for breakfast. I left the glaze off and will probably add next time. I will also add in a handful of chocolate chips and some chopped nuts.

  25. Delicious and quick recipe! Wonderful!!

  26. This recipe is a keeper! It was so easy to whip together with common ingredients and tastes delicious! It’s a perfect treat for fall and made the house smell amazing!

  27. Well, if this isn’t a ridiculously easy and delicious way to make my pants not fit anymore This bread comes together so quickly and the ingredients are so simple, but the sum of its parts are so much more. Another winning recipe!

  28. Made this bread this morning and it is soooooo good. I used the suggestion of the chai spice sugar mixture and it’s delicious. The bread is so soft and moist and fall-ish. Another keeper recipe!

  29. This turned out so great! It’s delicious with a cup of coffee in the morning–not too sweet and is putting me in the mood for fall! Thanks for the baking challenge. 🙂

  30. Loved it! easy to make. Smells so good. Will be making it again

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