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

 

894 Comments

  1. Very yummy bread! Quick and easy. But you can’t go wrong with cinnamon in my opinion.

  2. This is such an easy recipe and it is sooo good! Can’t wait to make it again!

  3. This was delicious! It came out perfectly and had the best flavor! I’ll be making this again

  4. Diane Schmidtke says:

    I baked the Cinnamon Swirl Bread today for our Sunday family gathering. My 2 year old grandson who has some texture issues when it comes to food, came back for seconds, thirds, and fourths. He highly recommends this bread!

  5. The smell of this cinnamon swirl bread while baking was just perfect! Such an easy recipe and I highly recommend you make the icing to go along with it. Also my bread only took 40 minutes to cook all the way through.

  6. Just came out of the oven and looks and smells delicious! Sorry if this question had already been answered, but where’s the recipe for the vanilla icing? Thanks!

    1. Hi, Chelsea! You can find my Vanilla Icing recipe here. Hope you loved this recipe!

  7. This recipe was very easy to follow and made the whole house smell like Fall! It was simple and came out looking just like the photo! It was enjoyed by the whole family (even by our basset hound, Butter, who is a harsh bakery critic). Many compliments!

  8. This was my favorite challenge of the year! Thanks Sally! It was a perfect cinnamon bread nice and moist and delicious! Easy to make too.

  9. Jennifer Leung says:

    I’m 37 weeks pregnant with my 2nd baby and I very little energy, but decided to attempt this recipe today. Woke up early and the house was filled with the smell of cinnamon. Talk about easy, delicious, and a crowd pleaser! Thanks again Sally for another great recipe that made me feel like even I even could pull it off!

  10. María Isabel Gutiérrez says:

    It was DELICIOUS! It lasted a solid five hours in my house I think! The only thing is I might have measured something incorrectly, because the filling sank lol but it was super good anyway!

  11. Amber Karrasch says:

    Loved this recipe! Was simple and used ingredients I already had in my pantry! Was great for making a fall recipe in a pinch for my husband to eat while watching the football games.

  12. Jennifer Smith says:

    This recipe was so easy and delicious! Bonus was my house smells amazing.

  13. Very quick to get in the oven.
    Versatile too. I added grated apples and put chopped walnuts on top.

  14. Delicious! Even though I forgot the final swirl with the knife, lol!

    1. My husband told me this was his favorite quick bread that I’ve made so far, and that’s saying a lot because I make plenty of other kinds that he loves (all Sally’s recipes of course). The cinnamon swirl is heavenly and the house smelled AMAZING. Perfect with a cup of coffee!

  15. Delicious, quick, and simple. Loved it!

  16. This recipe was so easy! The kitchen smelled incredible and the bread tasted better than I thought it could! I can’t wait to have a yummy treat for breakfast in the morning!

  17. Very good and easy to make!

  18. I made this using white whole wheat flour and stevia in the batter to make it a little healthier. I still used regular granulated sugar for the swirl and topping. My batter was much thicker than what was in your video, so I added a little more milk and oil. It was very good! Probably not as tender as it would be with AP flour, but we still loved it. I made two mini loaves with the intention of giving one to our neighbors, but my husband said he wanted to keep it for himself. My mini loaves took about 30 minutes to bake. Thank you for another great recipe, Sally!

  19. This was such a perfect recipe for a chilly fall morning!

  20. Such an easy and great recipe!! I didn’t have vegetable oil left so I used coconut oil and worked well!

  21. This took almost no time to make and tasted like it took me hours! Great recipe and will be making again

  22. This was a huge hit with my family. I was surprised how easy it was to make with ingredients I had on hand. Thanks Sally for another winner!

  23. Elysse Robbins says:

    I would love to make this, I only have self-rising flour at home right now. Can I use this instead, leaving out baking soda and salt?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Elysse, The use of self rising flour would require additional recipe testing so we can’t confidently recommend how to use it. Let us know if you give it a try!

  24. So yummy, delicious, and easy!

  25. Incredibly delicious and easy to eat any time of the day! I added a cup of chopped pecans and that really took it over the edge. My husband even convinced me to share half the loaf with the neighbors to introduce ourselves. They immediately text us that it tasted fantastic! SBA for the win, as always!

  26. This recipe was incredible! Moist, delicious and very easy! Thank you, Sally!!

  27. Catherine Cortes says:

    This was so good and came together easily! Made our house feel and smell like fall!

  28. What a fantastic, easy recipe! My second batch is in the oven right now! I split the batter into two smaller loaf pans and baked them for only 30 minutes, and they were perfect! I’ll be freezing these loaves to save for an easy breakfast while I’m on vacation next week!

  29. Delicious bread! Makes me wanna dunk with a cup of coffee. Brought this into work at the hospital and it was gone in no time. Thanks for the baking challenge!

  30. A combo of a quick bread and a sour cream coffee cake. Delish!

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