This homemade cinnamon swirl bread recipe is a family favorite and requires only a handful of basic ingredients (just 8!). It’s soft and tender with the most unbelievably gooey cinnamon swirl inside. Each yeasted bread slice tastes fabulous on its own, but try it toasted with some butter… unbelievable! For a no-yeast version, see my cinnamon swirl quick bread.
One reader, Michelle, commented: “One of the best recipes for cinnamon swirl out there. The bread is fluffy like you would find in a bakery and it has just the right amount of cinnamon and sugar, without being too gooey. We made our first loaf last night and by morning it was gone, so we have to make a second loaf. ★★★★★”
Homemade cinnamon swirl bread is one of life’s greatest treasures. Hot & fresh out of the oven, the smell alone will captivate a large crowd. The bread is buttery soft and the hypnotizing swirls are deliciously sweet. This recipe is basically a simplified version of my cinnamon crunch bread.
You know I love a good cinnamon sugar swirl (I mean, have you tried this cinnamon swirl banana bread??) But honestly, there is nothing on earth quite like the craft of homemade yeast bread. Isn’t it so satisfying? That’s why I have so many homemade yeast bread recipes on this website. Everyone’s favorite!
Baking with Yeast Guide
Are you a yeasted bread beginner? Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.
Updated & Improved Cinnamon Swirl Bread Recipe
This recipe has seen some updates over the past decade, and I want to show a quick comparison photo. When I first published this recipe, I shaped the dough into a thick square and rolled it up. This gave me very little swirl inside the baked bread. Now I roll it out into a thinner 8×20-inch rectangle. I brush the rolled-out dough with egg white, and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top. The egg white helps the cinnamon sugar stick, and helps prevent large air gaps in the baked bread.
This method produces more swirls in each slice. The loaf also rises taller as it bakes. I still can’t believe the BIG difference these SMALL changes make. Look at the slices:
How to Make Yeasted Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Today I’m teaching you how to become a bread-baking professional (well, close to it!). This recipe is very similar to my sandwich bread recipe, but it’s a little sweeter. Follow my tips and soon you’ll bake homemade croissants or croissant bread, homemade bagels, cheese bread, and even star bread. With only a handful of basic ingredients, your kitchen will transform into a bread bakery!
- Prepare the Dough: The first step is to mix the bread dough. You need yeast, sugar, water, milk, butter, bread flour, and salt. The thing about homemade bread is that the ingredients are SO basic, but throw the word “yeast” in there and many feel intimidated. I promise it’s not difficult to throw this dough together. As long as you give the yeast, sugar, water, and milk a few minutes to sit before adding the other ingredients, you’re on the right track!
- Use Bread Flour: All-purpose flour doesn’t have enough strength to support the rise and structure of cinnamon swirl bread. Bread flour is sold right next to the all-purpose flour in the baking aisle, and if you need some recipe inspiration for your leftover bread flour, try any of these recipes.
- Knead the Dough: Do you know how to do this? If not, I have an entire tutorial and video for How to Knead Dough.
- First Rise: The dough must rise twice. After you knead the dough, let it rise until doubled in size.
- Swirl the Dough: After the dough rises, punch it down, then roll it out. Brush with egg white, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and roll back up.
- Second Rise: Place the rolled dough into a loaf pan and let it rise for 1 more hour.
- Bake: Pat yourself on the back because—congratulations!—you’re a bread baker with the simplest yet tastiest homemade cinnamon bread recipe in the world.
These Step-by-Step Photos Will Help:
These are the ingredients you need:
Here is the dough after kneading:
Let the kneaded dough rise until doubled in size, like this:
Punch it down to release the air, and roll it out into an 8×20-inch rectangle:
Using a pastry brush, brush the surface with a beaten egg white. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top:
Roll it up into a 9-inch log, place into a loaf pan, and let it rise once again. Here is the dough before and after this 2nd rise:
Before baking, lightly brush the top of the loaf with melted butter.
The bread takes about 40 minutes in the oven. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the baked bread. This guarantees you won’t under-bake or over-bake the bread. The bread is done when the center is 195–200°F (90–93°C). An instant-read thermometer is an incredibly helpful bread-baking tool; you can also use it at the very beginning of the bread-making process to check the liquids are warmed to the right temperature to activate the yeast.
Gaps can form between the dough and cinnamon swirl in your homemade cinnamon swirl bread. It’s happened to me plenty of times! It’s the moistened dough separating from the dry cinnamon-sugar mixture as it bakes. To help prevent this, make sure you are brushing the dough with egg white before adding the cinnamon sugar. Additionally, you can use a toothpick or thin skewer to poke 3 holes in the top of the risen loaf right before baking; this will help steam escape.
I still can’t decide which is best: the smell of homemade cinnamon swirl bread baking, the buttery and fluffy interior, or the hypnotizing, gooey, sticky, delectable cinnamon swirl.
By the way, you’ll definitely want to use this bread to level up your French toast game, especially if you use it for apple cider French toast!
Become a Bread Baker with My Approachable Recipes:
This homemade cinnamon swirl bread recipe is a family favorite and only requires a handful of basic ingredients. It’s soft and fluffy with the most unbelievably gooey cinnamon swirl inside! See recipe Notes for freezing and overnight instructions. You can also reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
- 1/2 cup (120ml) water, warmed to about 110°F (43°C)
- 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk, warmed to about 110°F (43°C)
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (7g) instant or active dry yeast (1 standard packet)*
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar, divided
- 4 Tablespoons (1/4 cup; 56g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut in 4 pieces
- 3 cups (390g) bread flour (spooned & leveled), plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the Swirl & Topping
- 1 egg white, beaten
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon (14g) unsalted butter, melted
- Prepare the dough: Whisk the warm water, warm milk, yeast, and 2 Tablespoons of sugar together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Loosely cover and allow to sit for 5–10 minutes until foamy and frothy on top. *If you do not own a stand mixer, you can do this in a large mixing bowl and in the next step, mix the dough together with a large wooden spoon or silicone spatula. It will take a bit of arm muscle. A hand mixer works, but the sticky dough repeatedly gets stuck in the beaters. Mixing by hand with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula is a better choice.*
- Add the remaining sugar, the butter, 1 cup flour (about 130g), and the salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula, then add another cup of flour. Beat on medium speed until relatively incorporated (there may still be chunks of butter). Add the remaining flour and beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. If the dough seems too wet to a point where kneading (next step) would be impossible, beat in more flour 1 Tablespoon at a time until you have a workable dough. Dough should be soft and a little tacky, but still manageable to knead with lightly floured hands.
- Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 8–10 full minutes, or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 8–10 full minutes. (If you’re new to bread-baking, my How to Knead Dough video tutorial can help here.) If the dough becomes too sticky during the kneading process, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of flour at a time on the dough or on the work surface/in the bowl to make a soft, slightly tacky dough. Do not add more flour than you need; you do not want a dry dough. After kneading, the dough should still feel a little soft. Poke it with your finger—if it slowly bounces back, your dough is ready to rise. You can also do a “windowpane test” to see if your dough has been kneaded long enough: tear off a small (roughly golfball-size) piece of dough and gently stretch it out until it’s thin enough for light to pass through it. Hold it up to a window or light. Does light pass through the stretched dough without the dough tearing first? If so, your dough has been kneaded long enough and is ready to rise. If not, keep kneading.
- 1st Rise: Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise in a relatively warm environment for 1.5-2 hours or until double in size. (I always let it rise on the counter. Takes about 2 hours. For a tiny reduction in rise time, see my answer to Where Should Dough Rise? in my Baking with Yeast Guide.)
- Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. (I usually use this one or this one.)
- For the swirl: In a small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup (50g) sugar and the cinnamon together.
- Shape the dough: When the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air. Lightly flour a work surface, your hands, and a rolling pin. Roll the dough out into a large 8×20 inch rectangle. It does not have to be perfect—in fact, it will probably be rounded on the edges. That’s ok! Using a pastry brush, brush the surface with beaten egg white, then sprinkle on the cinnamon-sugar, leaving a 1-inch border uncovered. Roll it up into an 8-inch log. Place the loaf, seam-side down, into the prepared loaf pan. If any cinnamon-sugar filling spilled out of the sides, don’t waste it! Sprinkle it on top of the bread in the loaf pan.
- 2nd Rise: Cover the shaped loaf and allow to rise for 1 hour, or until it’s about 1 inch above the top of the loaf pan.
- Adjust oven rack to a lower position and preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). (It’s best to bake the bread towards the bottom of the oven so the top doesn’t burn.)
- After the dough rises, melt the remaining 1 Tablespoon of butter. Using a pastry brush again, gently brush it on top of the loaf. Be gentle, so as not to deflate the dough. Bake for 35–45 minutes, or until golden brown. Check on the bread about halfway through baking—if the top of the loaf is browning too quickly, tent with aluminum foil. To test for doneness, if you gently tap on the loaf, it should sound hollow. For a more accurate test, the bread is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf registers 195–200°F (90–93°C).
- Remove from the oven and allow bread to cool for a few minutes in the pan on a cooling rack. Remove loaf from the pan and cool it directly on a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing. Feel free to let it cool completely before slicing, too.
- Cover leftover bread tightly and store at room temperature for 6 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
- Overnight Instructions: Prepare the dough through most of step 4, allowing the dough to rise overnight in the refrigerator instead of in a warm environment. The slow rise gives the bread wonderful flavor! In the morning, let the dough sit on the counter until it comes to room temperature, then continue with step 5. I don’t recommend shaping the bread the night before as it will puff up too much overnight.
- Freezing Instructions: Baked bread freezes wonderfully! Wrap the loaf in plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then warm to your liking. You can also freeze the bread dough. After punching down the dough in step 7, wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, then a layer of aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature. Once at room temperature, punch the dough down again to release any air bubbles. Continue with the rest of step 7 (shaping the dough).
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Electric Stand Mixer | Glass Mixing Bowl | Wooden Spoon or Silicone Spatula | Rolling Pin | Pastry Brush | 9×5-Inch Loaf Pan | Instant-Read Thermometer | Cooling Rack
- Milk: Whole milk or 2% milk are best. I don’t suggest a lower-fat milk. Readers have used nondairy milks with success, but I haven’t personally tested it.
- Yeast: I always use Red Star Platinum yeast, an instant yeast. You can use active dry yeast instead, with no changes to the preparation. Rise times will be slightly longer. Reference my Baking With Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
- Flour: Higher-protein flour like bread flour is best for this bread recipe because of its strong gluten formation and high rise. All-purpose flour may yield a flimsy bread.
- Whole Wheat Flour: I don’t recommend whole wheat flour because it doesn’t have the same baking properties as white flour or bread flour (the gluten levels are different). If you wish to use whole wheat flour, try my recipe for whole wheat bread instead, and feel free to add the egg white/cinnamon swirl to that dough instead.
- Can I Add Raisins? Yes, you can add 3/4 cup (about 110g) of raisins to the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Sprinkle it over the egg white-brushed dough.
- Bread Machine Questions: I don’t own a bread machine so I have not tested it, but some readers have reported success in the comments section.
- Prevent Large Gaps: Gaps can form between the dough and cinnamon swirl in your homemade cinnamon swirl bread. It’s happened to me plenty of times! It’s the moistened dough separating from the dry cinnamon-sugar mixture as it bakes. To help prevent this, make sure you are brushing the dough with egg white before adding the cinnamon-sugar. Additionally, you can use a toothpick or thin skewer to poke 3 holes in the top of the risen loaf right before baking; this will help steam escape.
Keywords: Homemade Cinnamon Swirl Bread