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!

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!

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. 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– about 90 minutes.
  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 rest for 45 minutes.
  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

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.

Homemade cinnamon swirl bread

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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 (plus more for your hands and work surface) (spoon & leveled)
  • 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 5-10 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 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.)
  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 45 minutes – 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. Make Ahead Instructions – 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.
  2. Make Ahead Instructions – 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.
  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.
  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

 

154 Comments

  1. You’re right–there really aren’t many things better in life than homemade, fresh baked cinnamon swirl bread! 🙂 I absolutely love this recipe; I bet it’ll soon become a family favorite over at this house too!!

  2. I still haven’t conquered my fear of baking with yeast!!! I’m so afraid it ISN’T “so fluffffffy I could die”! My nightmare haha. It would probably haunt me 😛

    This bread doesn’t have any glaze, but how GOOD would it be with one???

  3. This looks delicious.
    You must do dishes 24/7. haha

    A friend told me about your site.

    I think it’s great that you are doing this for a living.

    I’m a military wife who goes where the government tells us to,
    so I am hopeful to have my “job” portable. — through my baking blog.

    Thanks for this recipe.

  4. Sally, Thank you! I made your cinnamon swirl bread recipe and it turned out exactly as I imagined. My husband and I enjoyed it on Easter morning and we were so happy with how it tasted!! While it was rising, I pulled together your ingredient list for the Soft-Baked Funfetti Sugar Cookies and they were a hit at our family gathering! Grandpa had 3 – the out of town visitors had 3 each and the rest of the family kept making trips back to the cookie tray for more! They were so happy to have such a tasty sugar cookie and I told them all about your recipe book and the website! Lots and Lots of love to share when I am baking your goodies! We’re so excited when you share new recipes with us! <3 Sarah and lover of Sky-High Blackberry Apple Muffins!!! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Sarah! I love hearing about how much my recipes are loved. I’m glad you gave this cinnamon bread a whirl!

  5. tried this bread and it was asawesome n soft as it looks. one of the best breads i have tried. you should definitely put up more yeast bread recipes of diff sort …your pizza base recipe is a no-fail too! love your recipes. keep em coming.

  6. Hi Sally,

    First of all, I’m a big big fan of your blog. Started following two months back and I’m totally hooked on to it. I make sure I atleast ry two recipes every week from your blog. I love the page layouts and your pictures. Your recipes are spot on. Can never go wrong. Thanks a ton for teaching me to bake. 🙂

    In this recipe, I was wondering if I could replace bread flour with whole wheat or multigrain flour since I always have them in my pantry. This is my first attempt at baking bread so fingers crossed.
    Thanks

  7. There is something about cinnamon swirl bread that never disappoints. This bread looks tender and delicious! There was a similar bread in the New York Times the other day. I’ll be trying this soon!

  8. I made this bread this weekend and in one way it was an epic fail, but on the other hand it was still delicious! The fail was that I must have the ultimate conditions for yeast growth in my house because the bread literally exploded, it rose so much. Like, it rose so much that it was 5 or 6 inches above the pan. Like, it rose so much that the sugar mixture dripped down the side onto the bottom of the oven. I took a picture it was that impressive LOL! But, despite the mess, the bread was delicious and my kiddos especially enjoyed it. I will be making it again, but this time I am going to make it into buns, some filled with cinnamon and sugar and some filled with coconut and sugar. Yummy!!

    1. Oh my! I’ve never had dough rise like that before Laura! Wow. Impressive conditions in your home. So glad you all enjoyed the baked bread though!

  9. Hi Sally! I have been a fan for a long time now. 🙂 This recipe looks amazing!! We recently learned our 2 yr old has a dairy allergy so I have been learning substitutions w everything. I have found the butter substitute for baking but see you have that you do that recommend anything other than whole milk. Is that keeping skim milk users on alert or does that apply to us amond milk users too? Thanks so much! 

    1. Denise, almond milk is just fine here! You just don’t really want a thin, fat-free milk like skim. Thicker milks, like almond, are great.

  10. After finishing the supermarket cinnamon swirl bread a friend brought me back from the States, I just had to google for a home-made recipy, because it is SO delicious. I have never seen anything similar here in the Netherlands.

    The dough is rising in the oven right now. I think I messed up some of the quantities due to conversion to metric system, and I had to substitute some of the American ingredients for Dutch versions, but all in all, it looks similar to your pictures. Let´s see how it turns out! 😀

    Thank you for putting this recipe online so that we can also enjoy the goodness across the ocean!

  11. I usually don’t write reviews for anything or comment on how amazing something from your site came out, but this bread must be written about. This was my first time ever making bread. I’ve been wanting to make some for some time but I was afraid of the yeast (which I’ve never worked with before) and that I probably wasn’t going to have the patience for bread.The 4 hours are TOTALLY worth it! Nothing from your site ever comes out wrong! This bread is absolutely marvelous. I left out raisins and next time I will definitely be adding chopped pecans to the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Thank you Sally, for making my first-ever bread experience worth my time and delicious. 🙂

  12. Hi, your bread looks delicious!!! I only have wholewheat bread flour. Will it work about the same or will it be more dense… Let me know what you think.  

  13. I have made this recipe before and worked perfectly it was delicious! But now I’m in Europe and i don’t have access to bread flour, so does normal flour work? i would love to show this off to my family!

  14. thank you for a recipe of homemade cinnamon swirl bread! It’s tasty bread! What bread maker do you have? I love bread and toasts. I think that it will be tasty toasts. Have you a toaster? I want to buy toaster but I don’t know what to choose. I saw a nice review of the best toasts at topreviews.best What can you say about Breville smart toaster BTA840XL?

  15. I just made this with my son. We accidentally used all purpose. It did slightly effect the bread swirls but nothing too awful. But it was still fluffy and oh so yummy.

      1. It was so yummy! I’ve made a loaf every day this week. My boys can’t get enough lol. I switched to bread flour and get better results. This recipe also works well with gluten free flour if you roll it tight so the filling doesn’t gap.

  16. I have such a craving for this bread right now! I know you’re not always on your blog/able to reply to comments but I’m really hoping for a quick one today I know you highly recommend whole milk, which is great cause it’s usually what I have on hand anyways, however I used the last of my whole milk w/ breakfast this morning and my local grocery store was sold out 🙁
    I do have whipping cream and buttermilk though, would either of those work?

  17. Hi Sally, thank you for re-posting this! I haven’t tried this recipe since but now I see the wonderful pictures I really hope I get around to it this week!
    Small thing: somehow the link to other recipes with bread flour went missing. At least I can’t seem to find it… Thanks.
    Have an inspiring time in your travels 🙂 Sina from Germany

      1. So, my 8-year-old son tried this recipe out today! He was eager to do most of the work himself, I was assisting 😉
        But let me tell you, if baking with kids one has to be prepared that every little thing takes a lot (like: a lot!) more time and you patiently have to watch children make mistakes without constantly correcting them so not to discourrage them… i. e. when brushing the loaf with melted butter after the 2nd rise I was all “don’t push to hard, no, you don’t have to do it with that much pressure, be careful, please…”, fearing for the wonderfully risen loaf to be pushed down… This can be really hard for perfectionists, I tell you! 😉 But when the bread came out of the oven smelling so good, and when we finally tried it, sharing it with friends at a playdate, it was so worth it! He was so proud of what he had made. And it was delicous!
        Thanks for this wonderful recipe.

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