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!
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. There is nothing on earth quite like the craft of 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.
How to Make Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Today I’m teaching you how to become a bread baking master. Follow my tips and soon you’ll be baking homemade croissants, bagels, 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 with your leftover bread flour, try any of these recipes!
- First Rise: The dough must rise twice. After you prepare the dough, let it rise until doubled in size– about 90 minutes.
- Swirl the Dough: After the dough rises, punch it down, then roll it out. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and roll back up.
- Second Rise: Place the rolled dough into a loaf pan and let it rest for 45 minutes.
- 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!
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!
Homemade Cinnamon Swirl Bread
This simple recipe for homemade cinnamon swirl bread is a family favorite. It's soft and tender with the most unbelievably gooey cinnamon swirl inside!
- 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 (plus more for your hands and work surface) (spoon & leveled)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (75g) raisins (optional)
- Whisk the yeast and 1/4 cup of granulated sugar together in a large bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer.
- 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 5-10 minutes or until the mixture is frothy.
- 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 5 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 and 1/2 - 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.)
- Grease a 9x5-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.
- 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 9x18-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 45 minutes - 1 hour.
- 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.
- 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!
Overnight: Prepare the dough through step 3, allowing the dough to rise overnight in the refrigerator. The slow rise gives the bread wonderful flavor! In the morning, continue with step 4. I don't recommend shaping the bread the night before as it will puff up too much overnight.
Freezing: 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.
- Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer | 5-qt Tilt-Head Glass Mixing Bowl | Rolling Pin | Loaf Pan
- 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.
- I always use Red Star Platinum yeast, an instant yeast. If using active dry yeast, the rise times could be slightly longer.
- 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.
- 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.
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Homemade Cinnamon Swirl Bread – Step by Step Photos
Bread flour is key to this cinnamon swirl bread recipe.
After the soft dough is prepared, place it into a greased bowl and let it rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
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.
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!