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

 

768 Comments

  1. Super easy to make! Love cinnamon so I may have added more than on the recipe! Oops! I don’t think anyone will complain!

  2. This was a quick and easy recipe and my daughter loved helping. Beautiful loaf and delicious too! I added apples to ours and it came out great!

  3. The kids and I baked this today together and once we tasted it we knew we had to make more to share. I’m so glad we did because this became my dad’s new favorite dessert!
    It’s one of the easiest and tastiest treats we’ve made in a while. We will definitely be making it again!

  4. Made this tonight and it was so easy and GOOD! Love having another quick bread go-to recipe!

  5. Already made! So yummy! Tasting the cinnamon sugar coated batter left on the knife after swirling through the loaf is a MUST.

  6. Jessica Eisner says:

    I am absolutely blown away by this recipe. So easy to make and made my entire apartment smell heavenly. It came out incredibly flavorful and moist. I think this has become a quick favorite for me and my family. Just perfection! Thanks for another great one, Sally!

  7. This recipe was super easy to follow and I will definitely be using it lots! So moist and flavourful, and makes the house smell wonderful

  8. I made this today and it’s amazing – almost like a spice muffin type of quick bread. My husband loved it too. I also added the icing and I’m glad I did. Can’t wait to have another slice with coffee tomorrow. 🙂 Thanks Sally!

  9. I made this today. I love your yeast cinnamon bread but it’s a process to make. This was very easy and tasted great. It’s perfect to make when you don’t have the time to make the other one. Thank you so much.

  10. Super Easy Recipe. Kids we dying while it had to cool. Whole family loved it. Thanks for another great recipe!!!!

  11. This was super easy and really yummy. I made 2 loaves tonight, one was with gluten free flour. They both turned out great.

  12. Made the bread today and it was delicious! It came out just like the pictures. Everybody loved it.

  13. Wow Sally! What an incredible recipe and so easy to whip up. And the taste is amazing. I went back and forth on adding icing or not but went for naked and I’m not mad about it. I must stop baking at late hours though! I just wanna eat it all before bed.

  14. I used olive oil and swapped Sour cream for Greek yoghurt. Turned out great anyways!

  15. This was a quick and beautiful recipe! I did the chai spice mixture and it smells so good!

    1. Vicki Trotter says:

      Hi Sally! I made your Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread today, and it is so good!! I added the optional chopped apples and the icing, and it turned out so moist. Thank you so much for sharing your delicious recipe with us! Vicki Trotter

  16. Do you think this recipe would do well/hold up adding a streusel topping to the top before baking in place of icing? Looking forward to making it, and I’ll send pictures after I make it this weekend!

    1. Absolutely! I recommend the crumble topping from this Nutella Babka. Let me know how you like it!

  17. Nancy Starcevic says:

    I just made this and it turned out great! It’ll become my go-to recipe when I need to quickly make a sweet treat.

  18. This was such an easy and quick recipe! Came out super moist and the perfect amount of cinnamon/sugar.

  19. I used whole wheat flour and yogurt and it turned out well. Great easy recipe!

  20. Delicious. My loaf pan is bigger than the typical pan so I will make it again as a double recipe or make it and use my smaller pan. But it will be made a lot more times in this house 🙂

  21. Carolyn Garcia says:

    Would I be able to make this recipe using a Bundt pan? Going to give the recipe a try today. Excited to try this!

    1. Hi Carolyn! You can double the recipe for a 9-12 cup Bundt pan. I’m unsure of the best bake time though.

      1. Carolyn Garcia says:

        I ended up making them into muffins and used your brown butter icing and they were delicious!! So moist!

  22. Loved it! Nice and easy and super yummy!!

  23. Do you think this recipe would support a crumb topping like a coffee cake?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Absolutely! I recommend the crumble topping from this Nutella Babka. Let us know how you like it!

  24. How long would the bake time be if I used mini loaf pans?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Blake, See recipe note #5 for mini loaves. Enjoy!

  25. Made this recipe this morning. Really easy to make and the house smells amazing!!!

    Entered my photo into September challenge as well

  26. Love this recipe! Easy to prepare with standard ingredients in my kitchen. This will be a great go-to for a quick sweet treat!

  27. This bread was easy to make and smelled SO delicious while baking. I didn’t add the icing, but I think I would next time. The bottom half of my bread was a teensy bit overcooked, while the top half was perfect. It will taste great with my coffee tomorrow morning!

  28. This recipe was awesome! I had lots of fun making it and just like all of sally’s recipes it came out great!! It smells delicious and taste even better!!! This won’t be the last time it’s made in our house.

  29. Really easy recipe! I cooked mine at 350 like stated, 30 minutes uncovered and then 15 minutes tented with foil. It came out perfectly moist! Next time I might add some pecans. It’s a very yummy bread but I tend to prefer nuts or fruits or something similar in my quick bread.

  30. This was so delicious! I added some nutmeg to the cinnamon and it was great! I’m planning to make it a lot this fall!

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