Homemade Cinnamon Swirl Bread

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. (Though it’s a stiff competition with homemade cheese bread!) 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. There is nothing on earth quite like the craft of homemade bread!

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 bread

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.

Comparing two different rolling methods for homemade cinnamon swirl bread on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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, 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!
  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!

Simple homemade cinnamon swirl bread is a family favorite bread recipe! The recipe makes just 1 loaf. Soft and fluffy slices of fresh bread have a gooey cinnamon swirl! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Homemade cinnamon swirl bread

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
  • 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

  • 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.

Homemade Cinnamon Swirl Bread – Step by Step Photos

Bread flour is key to this cinnamon swirl bread recipe.

Bread flour and bread dough

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

Homemade cinnamon swirl bread dough on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.

How to shape homemade cinnamon swirl bread on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Cinnamon swirl bread dough

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

Simple homemade cinnamon swirl bread is a family favorite bread recipe! The recipe makes just 1 loaf. Soft and fluffy slices of fresh bread have a gooey cinnamon swirl! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

215 Comments

  1. After the 2nd rise and all looks great, the loaf suddenly collapses….. is this normal or am I doing something wrong? I put loaf in oven on “proof”, they rise wonderfully, and then when I take it out to get oven ready to bake, it collapsed back to pan level????

    1. Hi Shelley! I’m happy to help. I actually direct readers to a very helpful article whenever this happens: https://thebreadguide.com/why-does-my-bread-collapse-or-flatten/
      It could be a variety of factors including under-kneading, over-proofing (usually the culprit), too warm of an environment for rising, too warm of liquid in the dough, or even being too rough when handling the dough. I think you’ll find that article very helpful. I know I always do!

      1. Chris Andersen says:

        Love this recipe. Thanks so much.

        Thinking about making two next time. How well will a loaf hold up if kept in the freezer?

  2. Do you have to proof the yeast (active dry) in sugar and water before you begin? I have seen in some recipes where the yeast is mixed in with the dry ingredients and then the warm liquid is added along with any egg, butter, etc.

    1. Hi Jessica. Proofing the list is listed in steps 1 and 2.

  3. This loaf came out beautifully – it was relatively easy to make. I used fresh yeast instead of dry as that’s all I had and it worked just as well!

    1. Daphne Tan says:

      Used your recipe and my cinnamon bread turned out perfectly! My most satisfied bread ever! I hand kneaded the dough (surprising easy) and proofed it for over 2 hours because i left for a jog and got caught in the rain. It turned out so well and the swirl looked fabulous too. For those who are looking for bread recipe to try, please look no further. This is a very good formula and I am keeping it. Thank you

  4. I love this recipe so much! I’ve made it many times now and it always comes out perfect. However, I just tried the overnight directions for the first time and felt they weren’t very clear. You stated to follow through step 3 allowing it to rise in the refrigerator overnight. So does this mean you are only to do half of step3 and omit the rising in the warm environment? That’s what I did and in the morning the dough did not seem to have doubled and was too cold to continue to step 4 and roll out. The directions say nothing about letting the dough come to room temp before you attempt it so please help! Now I’m wishing I had just stayed up a late to Finish tge bread as usual.

  5. This recipe was absolutely perfect!! I used regular active dry yeast (not instant) and the 1st rise took about 2 hours. Will definitely be making again! I also highly recommend using it for French toast the next day. Delicious!

  6. Clear instructions, easy to bake, and tastes delicious – especially toasted with peanut butter!! I added a few raisins since my mother loves them.

  7. I’ve had this recipe bookmarked forever now, but decided that while we’re all stuck at home is the perfect time to try it. I was very nervous beforehand, even though I’ve already conquered my fear of baking with yeast. But your directions were clear and the pictures were helpful. My loaf isn’t as pretty as yours, but it is delicious and I’ll be making it again for sure! Thank you Sally.

  8. Turned out delicious

  9. I’m curious about trying this with Earth Balance instead of butter. I’m on a dairy free diet right now and don’t want to waste the flour and yeast if it’s unlikely to work. Has anyone tried dairy free butter in addition to non dairy milk?

  10. I made this bread this first time and it didn’t rise how it was suppose to. I have made French baguettes with this yeast. I’m making a second batch now and I am having the same issue with the dough not rising. It’s rising during the first step, but once I add the cinnamon and sugar it’s not rising in the log pan after sitting for an hour and a half. Not sure what I’m doing wrong. It still taste delicious

  11. I love all of your recipes and typically have good success with them, minus the last bread recipes I have done. Please help! On your hot cross buns recipe and this one, right after all of the flour is added and the dough pulls away from the sides, the dough suddenly becomes really sticky and wet again as I begin to knead it in my mixer. I have never had this happen and can’r figure out the problem. Is it the butter?

    1. Just keep mixing on low with the mixer– the doughs will come together. You can add a little more flour 1 Tablespoon at a time until it does. Hope this helps!

  12. Lesley Bailey says:

    This came out perfect, thanks! Curious – I’ve made your easy dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls and they both call for egg but this one doesn’t. Wondering why…but it’s great for when I’m out of eggs!

  13. Hi Sally!
    I love this recipe! I love it so much I am making not only one dough but TWO!

    Do you think it would be fine to bake them together in two loaf pans? Would you increase the time they need to bake?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Phyllis, I’m so happy you love this recipe! I recommend baking each loaf separately 🙂

  14. Hi Sally!
    I made this beautiful bread today… but sugar free because of my saccarose sugar intolerance. Instead of sugar I used granulated fructose and it worked great. The bread is so soft, I think that I am going to use a couple of slices to make french toasts for tomorrow breakfast!
    Thank you for your amazing recipes
    Veronica from Italy

  15. This bread is amazing! I had to use soy milk since my kids plow through whole milk like it’s their job! It is so good! I cut the loaf in to two after trying to stuff the whole thing in my loaf pan. It would have exploded! The flavor is so good. I have made your pretzel bites 2 times, your cinnamon roll cake twic (one for me and one for my mother in law) and now this recipe since being home because of covid-19. Your recipes are amazing. You are great at what you do!

  16. I think I’ve gained about five pounds making this bread since we’ve been quarantined. It is my most favorite thing on the planet. I could seriously eat this, and only this, every day! Sally, you are a true genius!

  17. Gabrielle Mignault says:

    Such a great recipe! It was super easy to make and came out beautifully. I used KA AP flour and didn’t have a problem with the rise. Great flavor and the tip for rolling the dough was very helpful. I will definitely be making this again. A new favorite to add to the Amish White we love!

  18. This was awesome!!! Can I cut this recipe in half??

    1. I can’t see why not! I’m unsure of the best size baking pan to use, but let me know what you try.

  19. Joyce hancock says:

    Can I add raisin and if so how much

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Joyce, add 1/2 cup of raisins.

  20. Tracy Thompson says:

    Can I use a bread machine to make the dough?

  21. This is the best recipe love the texture and taste. I have tried making bread many times but never turned out well.
    This time around came out perfectly. Thanks for the recipe.

  22. I made this and love it. It was super easy and delicious. However my cinnamon swirl is not goo-ey. When I sprinkled it on the dough it was not as dark In color as your picture. It just laid on top. It tastes great but did I miss a step? It almost looks like the the cinnamon sugar wa a mixed with butter.

  23. I made this, and it was the best! Of course the cinnamon and sugar is always popular, but it held together so beautifully and toasted perfectly. I immediately wrapped it in plastic wrap and then tinfoil like you suggested and I froze it because I took it on a trip and shared it with family. I was so nervous. But it sliced beautifully, toasted beautifully, & tasted perfect. I will post a picture on Instagram and then tag you. LOVE all your recipes so far. Thanks ❣️

  24. Question. Your white bread specifies that you let it rise on the counter but this recipe you suggest the pre-heated oven turned off. Why the difference? Can I let this rise on the counter as well, or is it better to use the oven trick? My white bread (I believe) has risen too quickly and over-poofed so it collapses when I bake it. Still delicious though. Just want to get this bread right.

    1. Hi Katie! Letting dough rise in a warm oven is a little trick I use for most yeasted doughs, which helps *slightly* cut down on rise time. You can skip it and let the dough rise at room temperature on the counter. Nothing changes except the rise time may be a little longer.

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