Adapted from my orange cranberry 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!
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 and cinnamon swirl banana bread, only without the apples or bananas.
Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread Video Tutorial
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 orange cranberry 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. This powerhouse ingredient plays the same important role in coffee cake, too (which you’ll love just as much as this bread!).
- 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.
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.
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.
How to Freeze Quick Bread
Freezing quick breads is a lot like freezing cake.
- Step 1: Bake and completely cool quick bread.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Feel free to email or share your recipe photos with us on social media. 🙂
Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 55 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 1 loaf
- 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.
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups (250g) all-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
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
- Cinnamon Swirl: Mix the 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar and 1 Tablespoon of ground cinnamon together.
- 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.
- 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 below. Avoid over-swirling, which will mix the layers together too much.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Comments & Reviews
This came out perfectly and my husband loves it! Super easy to make too. Thank you Sally!
A super easy recipe that came out perfect. I have a new oven and a thermometer in it to verify the temp, and at 350, my bread took 65 minutes. I covered at 20 minutes, uncovered at 50, and baked 15 more minutes. This won’t last long. Thanks Sally!
This recipe was so easy to throw together, and made my flat smell amazing! I just made it and let it mostly cool down… I am terrible at waiting to cut into baked goods! It was still warm and soooo delicious!! My toddler was hesitant when I offered her a bite, but then could not wait for more! Thank you for this recipe!
OMGSH, this is deadly to have in the house lol. I only had 2% milk so I did half 2% and half whipping cream. My husband said this is the best I’ve ever made!! crunchy (not too much) chewy and so moist!! They don’t fall apart like your box cake cinnamon swirl recipes do. I doubled the recipe and made it 2 days ago, its all gone, making more tonight lol! thank you so much for this recipe, it’s delicious!!!!
Hi, I have baked this a couple of times now and I think I may be over cooking it because I get a very chewy springy texture. I have a convection oven and cook it 27 mins, cover, 27 minutes. Should I alter the temp down to 325 rather than 350 and cook it for say.. 25/25? Also, if I wanted a more cakey batter, should I swap the oil for butter?? By the way, love the taste!!
Hi Sharon! Thank you so much for trying this quick bread recipe. I recommend lowering your convection oven temperature down to 325F. 25 minutes uncovered then 25 minutes covered should work much better in your oven at that temperature. A good general rule for convection ovens when baking breads, cookies, cakes, muffins, etc is to lower the temperature by 25 degrees F.
This recipe is a favorite in our home. I love making this with my children then bringing it to share on our playdates with grandma. I bake it closer to 60 minutes. Thank you for the best recipes.
Ok hands down my favorite baking site!!
I made the bread for my 97 year old Mum!!
The Cinnamon swirl bread was fantastic – she loved it.. came out super moist!!
And the swirl was awesome!
The smell was Incredible!!
Don’t have milk in the house so I used sour cream the batter was a little dense but it came out perfect!!
We watched you Tutorial together and she thought that was lots of fun!
I bake her a different quick bread for breakfast every week!
If I could give this more stars I would!
Super easy directions, suggestions, great reviews, pictures and a video- how can you possibly fail
We’re so glad this cinnamon swirl bread was a hit for you, Lisa!
Hi will brown sugar work in this recipe aside from what you noted already?
Hi Gigi! We don’t recommend using brown sugar in the bread batter, but you could use it in the swirl if you prefer. Though the brown sugar will be a little clumpy and hard to sprinkle neatly on top. Let us know what you try!
I ended up using white granulated sugar, my batter was on the thicker side but it cooked really well. Much much easier to make than cinnamon rolls so I’ll be making this a lot. Thank you!
Does this recipe doubles well? Want to make it for my partner’s and my parents 🙂
Absolutely. Double each ingredient then divide between 2 loaf pans.
Sally, I don’t usually comment on recipes but I have to tell you this one is so good! I’ve made it twice. I substituted a cream cheese icing and let me tell you that was fantastic.
Thank you so much for making this recipe, Jess!
Excellent!! Tender, tasty and moist. Nice crunch on the top. I used yogurt instead of sour cream and buttermilk instead of whole milk. Served with cream cheese frosting on the side. A huge hit!
This is such a fantastic recipe! Thank you! I see the instructions for regular muffins. I presume I could make jumbo muffins? Or do you have a cinnamon muffin recipe? Thank you so much!
Hi Michelle! You can follow the baking directions for these Jumbo Muffins, though this cinnamon swirl bread produces less batter. Would love to hear how they go for you.
Thank you so much!! It is wonderful how you respond so quickly to questions! I really appreciate the advice. We love Sally’s recipes so much. 🙂
Over baked this. The bottom was done but I still had a wet toothpick coming out. I think the swirl layer messed up the toothpick test. Is there a better way to test doneness?
Hi Chelsea! If the edges and bottom are browning before the center is cooked you oven may be too hot. We always recommend using an in-oven thermometer. You can also try tenting your bread with aluminum foil to prevent it from browning too much.
Delicious tastes like a cinnamon roll cold, when it’s warm tastes like a muffin- a win win! The vanilla icing goes great with it as well! Last night I had a warm piece with vanilla ice cream- yum!
Can you use coconut oil in place of the vegetable oil?
Hi Paul, melted coconut oil would work here – the taste will obviously be a little different. Enjoy!
I can’t wait to try this recipe! I have one question though… Is there a substitute for the sour cream? I don’t have any on hand. Thanks!
Hi Taylor, plain or Greek yogurt will work in place of the sour cream.
Thank you! That will work perfectly!
Hi, I’m such a fan of your recipes! Can I replace the sour cream and milk with homemade sour milk?
Hi Sam! Yes, buttermilk or sour milk can be used in the place of the milk and sour cream. Hope you love it!
We loved it!!! Thank you for your great recipes!
I was away from home and did not have a loaf pan . Made it in a 9×9 square pan , bakes 30 minutes and it was excellent. Also used w w flour . This is the second Sally quick bread recipe I’ve made , it was excellent and I hope to make more varieties.
I was drawn in by the photos and the recipe did not dissapoint, took a loaf to work to rave reviews. Super easy to make and looks beautiful too….
Wonderful recipe. Made muffins. They were perfect!
Also used mixed of white and wheat flour.
Hi, I loved this recipe, but I wanna know what else I can do flavour wise with quick bread, could I Chuck some dried raspberries and macadamia nuts through?
Hi Angharad, You can add berries or nuts to the batter with no other changes! Feel free to browse all of our Quick Breads for more flavor inspiration 🙂
Could I swap refined coconut oil for the vegetable oil? I’m really excited to make this!
Hi Anne, Melted coconut oil would work here – the taste will obviously be a little different. Enjoy!
My intention was to share this with the family coming for thanksgiving but somehow I ate the entire loaf myself, before they arrived – it’s that good.
Hi! I just tried the cinnamon swirl loaf! I have to thank you for the ingredient list stating what each one does in the recipe. My son has an egg allergy so for me to know what purpose the egg serves in the recipe makes it easier to swap successfully. Thank you!
Hi Jenny, you’re very welcome. Many find too much text annoying and bothersome, but on my website, I find it’s important to state what purpose the ingredients serve in a recipe. (I also have a Jump to Recipe option that readers can use if they strictly want the recipe.) Regardless, I appreciate your thoughtful comment.
Can I add dates to the batter? If so, how much?
I’m sure that would be delicious. I recommend about 3/4 – 1 cup chopped dates.
Hi, can this recipe turned to be a cake instead of bread? Like adding more eggs, butter, using cake flour? How much of these do you recommend? Thanks a bunch!
Hi Manda, I think you would enjoy this Snickerdoodle Cake instead!
Can I swap the vegetable oil to butter?
Hi Wendy, we recommend using oil for really moist bread but melted butter would work in a pinch!
Hi Sally! Can I use brown sugar instead of granulated sugar for the swirl or even sub in the chai cinnamon swirl from your Chai Cinnamon Swirl Bundt Cake ?
Yes, definitely! We love this bread with the chai cinnamon swirl!
These are amazing! I ended making 3 loaves the first time I tried this out, and everyone loves them. I was even asked to make some to give as gifts, but I only have 2 9”x5” loaf pans. My other loaf pans are smaller. How do I adjust the recipe and bake time for 8”x4” and 8.5”x4.5” loaf pans? Thanks!
Hi Maria, We are so happy this recipe has been such a hit! You can use the slightly smaller pans. This batter will fit. The bake time will be a little longer since the bread will be thicker/taller.
Awesome recipe. And very flexible! (Great way to get rid of gross baby food flavors. Not sure why I thought apple avocado would be good. It’s not. But… you can mix it in the bread and you never even know it’s in there!) The small children approved!!