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. Heather Berard says:

    I made this bread this afternoon. It was the perfect amount of cinnamon sugar and crunch. The vanilla glaze adds a sweeter flavor to the already sweet bread. I added raisins and swapped out the milk and sour cream for buttermilk. Definitely will make again. Thank you!

  2. Rachel Bailey says:

    Such a good quickbread recipe! Easy to follow and perfect for fall. I added the vanilla icing and it was perfection

  3. Hey Sally!
    The bread was really easy to make! It was super tasty! I LOVE the idea of the swirl throughout the bread! It looks absolutely gorgeous! Yet again you have come up with an excellent recipe!! I love the monthly challenges! Being 13 years old, entering into a challenge is always really exciting! I love seeing all of the pictures that your followers send in! Thanks again!

  4. Lacey Tesseniar says:

    Great recipe to try for my first monthly #sallysbakingchallenge. It turned out so flavorful and moist. Would be great with apples added as well. Perfect recipe to transition to fall baking!

  5. I just made this today and it was absolutely fantastic!! Nice and simple and made the whole house smell amazing! My two year old loved it the most thanks for all your recipes!

  6. This recipe was super easy to follow and if you bake often you’ll most likely have all of the necessary ingredients already at home! The cake came out super moist and everyone I shared it with so far has loved it!

  7. Christina Brinkerhoff says:

    I added a little butter to the remaining cinnamon/sugar meant for the top to make it more of a crumble and it was delicious. 50 minutes and not a minute more in my oven. Definitely make it again!

  8. This bread is so warm and inviting, like a big hug! Lovely crunchy exterior and tender interior. Very easy to put together. I will definitely be making this again!

  9. This is fantastic and so easy! The house smelled amazing while it was baking. I used Penzeys Cake Spice in place of sugar and it’s perfection!

  10. Yet another winner! However, this should be called Cinnamon Swirl Warp Speed Bread – so easy, super fast and absolutely delicious! I spent more time waiting for things to come to room temperature than actually putting it together and baking it combined. Added ground ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, orange zest and raisins – will 1000% make over and over again!

  11. This recipe is a great way to make a cinnamon bun without the hassle or the yeast. Foolproof recipe that is easily duplicated and followed and of course, devoured by all those who taste it!

  12. Such a yummy recipe! Easy, quick and tastes scrummy! Thanks again, Sally!

  13. This bread was so easy to make! I doubled the recipe because we always need two loaves in our house. It turned out great! Thank you Sally for the recipe!

  14. Such an easy cake to make. Normally I use my stand mixer to make a loaf cake. However, I noticed that Sally never did in her example so I too did everything by hand. It turned out amazing. The cake was fluffy and not too sweet. Funny enough I made a very similar cake from Sally last week but this recipe used sour cream instead and I actually like it better. Will definitely make this recipe again. 🙂

  15. So easy and so delicious!!! This is my new go-to recipe for a dessert emergency.

  16. I made this recipe last night and it was so easy to make! I loved reading through the tips and watching the video to make sure I was doing everything correctly. Turns out I’ve been using flour incorrectly for a very long time so was glad to read the spoon & level tip that was linked throughout the recipe. My husband and I both went for a second slice immediately after the first!

  17. Amazingly easy and delicious quick bread/cake. Added a dash of nutmeg too! So delish. Thanks sally 🙂

  18. Amazing! We ate half the loaf on the first day 🙂

  19. Quick and easy to put together and yet impressive to breakfast guests who come over! Reminds us of cinnamon rolls but a lot faster to put together and eat. Next time we will add pecans or walnuts to compliment the sweetness.

  20. Super moist and wonderful texture! Added apples made this the perfect first bake of September!!

  21. This is so easy and delicious!! I was so impressed with how quick it was to make and loved the crunch of the cinnamon sugar! Highly recommended!

  22. Such an amazing tasting cake and super easy to make. My husband and I loved it. Highly recommend making this one (and all of Sally’s recipes)

  23. Perfect! I used 2% plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream because that’s what I keep in the house, worked flawlessly. I made them into muffins and did 1 tablespoon of batter, 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon/sugar, and then a tablespoon of batter on top. This was perfect portion, but only made 12. Dipped them in the vanilla icing. I made them last night and its 8am the next morning, all gone. They were great warmed up.

  24. This was a huge hit* I’ve made something similar before but, as you suggest in the notes, the milk/sour cream mixture does result in a finer crumb – and found the swirl sticks with the cake part better. A little tip I used for spreading the last half of the batter over the cinnamon – a small off-set knife, lightly sprayed with a non-stick spray and then wiped, makes the smoothing out much easier and tended not to ‘grab’ the swirl. Another terrific result and I’ve added it to my quick bread rotation. Thanks Sally!

    *p.s. lasted barely 1 day 🙂

  25. Super quick, super moist, super easy and super yummy!! Love it!

  26. Loved this recipe! It was easy to put together after my ingredients came to room temperature. I used what I had on hand (greek yogurt, oat milk and coconut oil). I also cut the sugar down a little. I can’t wait to try with apples and maybe try replacing the oil with pumpkin next month.

  27. Buthaina Rahaby says:

    I made this to eat for breakfast. It tasted amazing! I might not ever buy cinnamon bread again. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  28. I had a lot of fun making this. ❤️❤️
    Question: do I take a picture and post it on your webeige and then I’m in the challenge?

    1. So glad to hear you enjoyed this one, Zoe! In order to be entered in my monthly baking challenges, please send me an email and your photo to [email protected] 🙂 I look forward to seeing your bake!

  29. Sooo yummy!! I added chopped pecans to the cinnamon sugar mixture and orange glaze on top. Smells and tastes like a cinnamon roll!

  30. Lovely, easy, company-worthy recipe. Another winner from Sally!!

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