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This homemade cinnamon swirl bread recipe is a family favorite and only requires a handful of basic ingredients. It’s soft and tender with the most unbelievably gooey cinnamon swirl inside. For a no-yeast bread, see my cinnamon swirl quick bread.

Cinnamon swirl bread

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 our cinnamon crunch bread.

Honestly, there is nothing on earth quite like the craft of homemade bread. Isn’t it so satisfying? That’s why we have so many homemade yeast bread recipes on this website. Our favorite!

Baking with Yeast Guide

Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.

Homemade cinnamon swirl bread loaf before slicing

Updated & Improved Cinnamon Swirl Bread Recipe

The first time I made homemade cinnamon swirl bread was a few years ago. I’ve always loved my recipe, but I knew the assembly had room for improvement. As I prepared another loaf the other week, I attempted a different approach to rolling up the dough. Instead of shaping the dough into a thick 9-inch square, I shaped it into a thin 18×9-inch rectangle. Spread the cinnamon sugar on top and tightly rolled it end to end. This method produced more swirls in each slice. The loaf also rose taller as it baked. I couldn’t believe the BIG difference this SMALL change made and knew you’d find it interesting (and delish!!) too.

2 slices of cinnamon swirl bread

How to Make Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Today I’m teaching you how to become a bread baking master. 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!

  1. 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! If you need a quick refresher on tackling yeasted bread, review my Baking with Yeast Guide before getting started.
  2. 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 with your leftover bread flour, try any of these recipes!
  3. First Rise: The dough must rise twice. After you prepare the dough, let it rise until doubled in size.
  4. Swirl the Dough: After the dough rises, punch it down, then roll it out. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and roll back up.
  5. Second Rise: Place the rolled dough into a loaf pan and let it rise for 1 more hour.
  6. Bake: Pat yourself on the back because congratulations, you’re a bread baker with the simplest homemade cinnamon bread recipe in the world.

Step-by-step photos below the recipe.

cinnamon swirl bread loaf cut into slices
slices of cinnamon swirl bread with butter on a black plate

I still can’t decide which is best:

  • The smell of homemade cinnamon swirl bread baking.
  • The buttery, fluffy interior.
  • The hypnotizing, gooey, sticky, delectable cinnamon swirl.

More Homemade Bread Recipes

All of my bread recipes and video tutorials!

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Cinnamon swirl bread

Homemade Cinnamon Swirl Bread

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf 1x
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This homemade cinnamon swirl bread recipe is a family favorite and only requires a handful of basic ingredients. It’s soft and tender with the most unbelievably gooey cinnamon swirl inside!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (1 standard package) active dry or instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk
  • 5 Tablespoons (72g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and divided
  • 3 cups (390g) bread flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for your hands and work surface
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (75g) raisins (optional)

Instructions

  1. Whisk the yeast and 1/4 cup of granulated sugar together in a large bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer.
  2. Heat the water and milk together on the stove or in the microwave until warm to touch, about 110°F (43°C). Pour over the yeast/sugar and whisk until combined. Cover loosely and let sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture is frothy.
  3. With a wooden spoon, rubber spatula, or the dough hook attachment on low speed, beat in 4 Tablespoons of butter until it’s slightly broken up. Add 2 and 1/2 cups bread flour and the salt. Mix on medium-low speed, then add enough bread flour (usually around 1/2 cup) to make a soft dough that no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Knead by hand or with the mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes until the dough is smooth but still slightly soft. Smooth into a ball and place into a lightly greased bowl. (I just use the same bowl. I take the dough out, spray with nonstick spray or grease with butter, then put the ball of dough back in.) Turn the dough to coat all sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place in a slightly warm environment to rise until doubled in size, around 1-2 hours. (For this warm spot, I suggest using the oven. Preheat to 150°F (66°C), then turn the oven off after preheating. Place the covered bowl inside and shut the oven door. This is your warm environment.)
  4. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with butter or spray with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, toss remaining 1/4 cup sugar, the cinnamon, and raisins (if using) together. Set aside.
  5. Punch down the dough to release the air. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface and with a floured rolling pin, shape into a 9×18-inch rectangle. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on top, leaving a 1-inch border around the sides. Roll the dough up very tightly into a 9-inch log. Pinch the ends to seal. Place into prepared loaf pan bottom seam side down. Cover loosely and allow to rise in a warm environment until the dough rises to the top of the pan, about 1 hour.
  6. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position then preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Melt the remaining 1 Tablespoon of butter and gently brush the top of the loaf. Bake until golden brown and, when gently tapped, the top of the loaf sounds hollow, about 35-45 minutes. If you find the top of the loaf is browning too quickly as it bakes, tent with aluminum foil. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and cool loaf completely on the wire rack.
  7. Slice and serve. Cover and store leftovers at room temperature for 5 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Bread tastes delicious when toasted in the toaster!

Notes

  1. Overnight Instructions: Prepare the dough through most of step 3, 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 4. I don’t recommend shaping the bread the night before as it will puff up too much overnight.
  2. 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 5, 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 punch the dough down again to release any air bubbles. Continue with the rest of step 5.
  3. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | 5-qt Tilt-Head Glass Mixing Bowl | Rolling Pin | Loaf Pan
  4. 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.
  5. Yeast: I always use Red Star Platinum yeast, an instant yeast. If using active dry yeast, the rise times could be slightly longer. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.
  6. 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 will yield a flimsy bread.
  7. Kneading: If you do not have a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment, you can mix the ingredients together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, then knead the dough by hand as directed in step 3.

Keywords: Homemade Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Homemade Cinnamon Swirl Bread – Step by Step Photos

Bread flour is key to this cinnamon swirl bread recipe.

2 images of bread flour and bread dough in a glass bowl

After the soft dough is prepared, place it into a greased bowl and let it rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.

cinnamon swirl bread dough in a glass bowl

How to Roll Cinnamon Swirl Bread

After the dough rises, punch it down and shape the cinnamon swirl bread. Roll it out into the 18×9-inch rectangle. Sprinkle with a blend of cinnamon and sugar, then roll it up tightly just as you would cinnamon rolls.

bread dough rolled out with cinnamon sugar mixture spread on top
2 images of cinnamon swirl bread dough before rolling up and rolled up and placed in a loaf pan

After the dough is tightly rolled up, place it into your loaf pan and wait for the dough to rise above the edge. This takes about 45 minutes. When it’s ready, brush with melted butter and bake. The bread is massive!

Cinnamon swirl bread in a pan after baking
cinnamon swirl bread

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Hi Sally! I made this recipe today, and it was absolutely delicious. Just toasted a slice, and craving more. I struggled a bit with rolling the loaf as neatly as you did, and it didn’t bake as evenly as yours, either, but I’ll try again!

    Having tasted this, my father is asking me to replace the cinnamon sugar filling with something savoury, ideally healthier than cheese. Do you have any suggestions as to how I could go about this recipe with a difference swirl filling?

    1. Hi Svasti! You could try savory fillings like pesto, tomato sauce, cheese, herbs, etc. We recommend you reference this cheese bread recipe for a savory dough and shaping process.

  2. First time making this…and my family loves it! I did make some vanilla icing to put on it.

  3. Hi! Is it possible to use an 8×4 pan for this recipe? If so, would the baking time need to be adjusted?
    Thank you,
    Gabrielle

    1. Hi Gabrielle, We haven’t tested it but it should be ok. The pan is a bit smaller so your dough may rise taller. Let us know if you give it a try!

      1. It worked out perfectly! Thanks for another great recipe 🙂

  4. Oh my goodness. Crazy Delicious!! I did use a couple of the tips from KAF to minimize gaps in swirl bread…I brushed dough with egg wash before adding cinnamon/sugar topping which I added 2 tsps AP flour to. Cant Stop Eating It!!!

    1. Yes!! The egg wash plus additional flour ensured zero gap and that perfect cohesive bread I’ve always dreamed of. This bread recipe plus that addition makes it perfect!

  5. Hi, can I use all purpose flour instead of bread flour

    1. Hi Cascadia, All-purpose flour doesn’t have enough strength to support the rise and structure of cinnamon swirl bread. We recommend sticking with bread flour which has a higher level of gluten.

  6. I have made this bread at least 10 times and have enjoyed it every time. The recipe is free of glitches if I don’t refrigerate the dough. I, however, want to share my experience with the slow rise: When I refrigerate the dough, it never doubles in bulk. Is this normal? It takes at least an hour to come to room temperature (I use a thermometer for this). Is that too long to sit on the counter on a pastry cloth? And in order for it to rise once rolled, I have to put it in the warm oven described. The 100-degree proofing function environment in my oven does not seem warm enough. Does this bread need the warmer environment to rise? Finally, whether I choose the slow-rise method or the standard, I find taking the temperature of the bread a better way to determine if it is baked optimally. I like it between 185 and 190, which in my electric oven is after 30 minutes. What is your thought on this?

    1. Hi Carol! We’re so glad you love this bread. Your fridge may run extra cold which would cause this bread not to rise. It’s fine to let it sit at room temperature until properly doubled after being in the fridge. Whatever method of proofing your dough you find works for you is perfectly fine! Using an electric thermometer is a fantastic way to check yeasted breads for doneness.

  7. I do quite a bit of baking but bread and pie are two things I’d avoided. After making your all butter pie crust (twice now) and having it come out beautifully I decided to try bread. I picked this one and I was certainly not disappointed. Your directions are always wonderful and additionally, I used two tricks from KAF to reduce the gaps…egg wash and three teaspoons of flour. It came out beautiful and really delicious. I used sweetened dried cranberries instead of raisins which really worked well. Thank you for the great recipes. I have already picked out my next bread recipe from your site and will make it in the next few days. I will also most certainly make this again.

    1. We’re so happy to hear that you’re enjoying our recipes, Lucy! Your cranberry bread sounds fantastic.

  8. Yum! I let my dough rest overnight in the refrigerator, following directions. I added 2t of flour to the raisin, sugar, and cinnamon filling mixture and then scattered it onto the rectangle of dough where I had brushed on an egg wash. After rolling up the dough and letting it rise, I brushed on some remaining egg wash to the top of the loaf. The result was a completely buttery, delicious, and photogenic bread. Next time, I’ll try brown sugar in the filling. And there will be a next time. Thank you, Sally.

  9. Hi, can I use dried cranberries instead of the raisins? If I can’t, I’ll just omit them. TIA!!

  10. this recipe is real good and it also makes real soft bread and delicious ones. i reduced the sugar for the cinnamon filling and it tasted real good if u prefer less sugar

    1. Hi Joyce, what are the dimensions of the bread pan beyond 12 inches? How deep? It may be best to find a dough recipe that can fit into your exact size pan instead of altering this recipe. I hesitate to give advice since I haven’t tried modifying this recipe to yield more dough.

  11. I made this last night to eat this morning. I love that it is not too sweet. It’s light and it makes great toast!! I’m thinking this could join my Christmas bakes that I give to family and friends. I use so many of your recipes. I always try your website first.

  12. Hello,
    The bread tastes delicious but mine burned on the bottom which is very odd. Any suggestions please. Thank you.

    1. Hi Amal, if it’s just the bottom of the bread, it could possibly be the pan that you’re using. Isn’t it a dark pan? For next time, you can try moving the pan further away the heating element, too, which should help prevent burning. Glad you still enjoyed this recipe!

  13. I’ve made this bread for all of our neighbors this Christmas. It’s the perfect gift!

    The recipe is great – easy to do, dough is beautiful and bakes up perfectly!

    1. Hi Lee! The bread will be more dense and a little less soft. What I’ve done in the past is used our multigrain bread dough and shaped it with the cinnamon swirl as directed in this recipe and it worked great. Let us know what you try!

  14. Delicious recipe! Nice dough, rolled out easily , and created nice tight swirl of cinnamon

  15. Hi! I love this bread!
    I’ve made it a few times before, and it’s worked out great. Lately, I’ve had trouble with the second rise, though. I don’t have a stand mixer, so I’m working the dough by hand, and I wonder if that’s where I’m going wrong?
    Do you have any tips for doing the mixing/kneading step by hand?
    Thanks!

    1. Hi EMD, is the dough not rising much during that 2nd rise? It may simply require more time. (Especially if it’s cold in your kitchen this time of year.) Lately I’ve been kneading this dough by hand too and yours may require extra kneading. Try extending the time to 5 full minutes of kneading.

  16. Taste and texture great! I didn’t really get a swirl when I cut into it though, wondering what I did wrong? Thank you!

    1. Hi Steph, it’s completely normal for the dough to separate from the cinnamon swirl– that’s steam trying to make its way out. What we’ve found helpful (and what we instruct with this apple cinnamon babka) is poking a few holes in the top of the loaf right before baking. This helps steam escape from the baking bread and holds the layers together a bit better.

  17. Hi Sally,
    great recipe! is there a way to eliminate the gap between cinn. and bread as it bakes, someone mentioned in the comments an egg wash and extra flour, would this help tighten up the finished product?

    Ric

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! Best way to eliminate or reduce the gaps is to poke a toothpick in a few places on top of the bread right before baking. This helps that steam escape (which is creating the gaps!).

  18. This is a delicious recipe and nice and easy for beginner bread makers. I actually used all purpose flour (didn’t have any bread flour) and it was still so good! It definitely didn’t rise as much during the bake but the result was still very good- it wasn’t too dense or stodgy!

  19. I have been making this bread for a couple years now, and it is my family’s absolute favorite! Although we love it as cinnamon bread, a couple times a week I make it into rolls without the cinnamon and serve it with dinner…my kids literally fight over who gets the last rolls. When we recently moved to a new home at high altitude, I made a few small adjustments, and it still turns out perfect! And our absolute favorite thing to do with it is to leave the cinnamon bread overnight, and make it into bread pudding the next day. It makes the most amazing bread pudding ever!

  20. My first attempt at your cinnamon swirl bread recipe and it turned out great! Have tried other, similar, recipes that were NOT successful. Thank you.

  21. 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 gooey. We make our first loaf last night and by morning it was gone, so we have to make a second loaf. We pinned this recipe to make again and again.

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