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. Oh, and the print-button only lead me to “no posts matched your criteria”… Maybe this is a temporary problem? I’ll try again later.

  2. Oh my goodness this looks so good and one of my favorites too. I am going to have to try and make this. You make it look so easy. I’m not great in the kitchen, but I want to get better. This one looks like a good place to start. Thank you for positing this. I can’t wait to try it.

  3. Love this recipe! Sally, do you have a proofing box? I got one this year, and all my breads come out perfect now.

  4. I remember this recipe when you first posted it. I thought there was no way I could make this but in the back of my mind I so wished I could. I have seen a lot of people post that you have helped them become better bakers and now you can add my name to that list. I used to be so afraid of yeast that by the time came to make something with yeast in it I was a wreck!!! I just made this for the first time and it is sitting on the counter cooling and most of all, I am proud of it!!!!☺ Thank you Sally, for everything you do!!

    1. This just made my day, Wendy! I’m SO SO happy that you have broken out of your comfort zone and conquered your fear of baking with yeast. Now go enjoy your hard earned cinnamon bread! 🙂

  5. As the granddaughter of a wheat farmer, I welcome you to Kansas! Come to my house and we’ll bake something sweet! Can’t wait to try this recipe. Your site is my #1 food blog to follow.

  6. Have you ever tried chopped nuts or chopped nuts and raisins? I’m thinking the finely chopped nuts such as almonds might taste good.

  7. You can get rid of the gaps between the filling and bread by brushing on a mixture of an egg beaten with a tablespoon of water before sprinkling on the cinnamon/sugar.

  8. Sally,

    Great post.
    I have fond memories of my mom making cinnamon swirl bread weekly. She always made two loaves and four loaves of white.
    The best warm out of the oven.

  9. So excited about this recipe because my son is on a ‘cinnamon raisin bread’ kick right now. I cannot wait to make this for him.

  10. I would like to make this for my Airbnb guests but don’t want to get up before dawn to get it started. Can I get all the way through the start of the second rise, leave it overnight, then finish it in the morning or will it be weird?

    1. Hi Jan, I suggest baking the bread the day before and cover it tightly overnight, it’s still wonderful in the morning! I don’t suggest starting it the night before and finishing in the morning. Enjoy!

  11. This is amazing! It is taking lots of willpower to not make another loaf after we devoured the one I made yesterday.

  12. I followed the recipe exactly and my bread did not rise AT ALL during the second rise☹️ The only thing I noticed is that I preheated my oven to 200 degrees and then turned it off before I put the dough in. But when I took it out 11/2 hours later, the dough and bowl were actually hot. Would that have killed the yeast? I’m so sad, I was so excited about this recipe!

    1. Hi Amy! What type of yeast are you using? The temperature could have been too hot for the yeast and if that’s the case, I’m so sorry for suggesting it. If you decide to try it again, you can let it slowly rise (both times) on the counter.

      1. Hi, Sally,
        My dough seemed to rise just find the first time, but rose only a little the second time…certainly nowhere near over the top of my pan. I was using rapid rise yeast. Any idea why this happened? Thank you, Laura

  13. This is an incredibly simple recipe (don’t be afraid of using yeast if you’re new to it… this recipe is straightforward) that produces an amazingly delicious product! Besides the time it took to rise, I was only actively working on this bread for like 30 minutes maximum which is perfect. And when the bread came out of the oven, we were so eager to try it. My husband is a cinnamon roll fanatic, and he may have even liked this more than Sally’s cinnamon rolls! You will not be disappointed with this recipe! The bread is a beautiful texture and flavorful. Add this to your “must bake” list ASAP!

  14. This bread is incredibly good! Excellent cinnamon flavor and the bread flour makes a huge difference. This bread will be baked many times! Thanks Sally!

  15. Thank you so much for such a detailed and delicious recipe! Most of the time when I bake a new recipe, it fails the first time. I baked this fully expecting a first-time fail. I was so happy (and surprised) that this turned out on the first try, and it was delicious.

  16. This was fantastic, and so simple to make! One of my sons suggested that we make it in the fall and spread homemade apple butter on it! Yessssss! I am all about that! He said it tastes like Christmas!

  17. Hi Sally,

    I had the exact same experience as Amy, who commented that her dough and bowl were actually hot when they came out of the oven after the first rise and then didn’t rise at all during the second rise. I preheated the oven and turned it off, as you suggested.
    I used Redstar Platinum yeast, as you have highly recommended it. It was definitely foamy and activated before I added the flour and salt.
    I will definitely try again, and leave the dough on the counter to rise. I will let you know how it goes.

  18. Amazing. I made this today and it is scrumptious. I used dark brown sugar in the cinnamon mix instead. Rose and cooked perfectly. Thank you!

  19. I tried this recipe again today, leaving the dough on the counter for both rise times.
    It turned out beautifully! It is picture perfect and so delicious! Thank you for another great recipe.

  20. I made this today with my 5 & 3 year old daughters. They absolutely loved it and had so much fun making it! What a great first bread recipe for them to try- it turned out perfect. Thanks!

  21. Wow! I love this recipe. So easy to follow and the result was fabulous! Thank you for this recipe and all the hints. This will become a family staple!

  22. Hi Sally! Do you think this loaf would hold up to a crumb topping? Maybe after brushing with the butter?

    Thanks!
    Celeste

  23. Hi Sally!
    I finally got around to making this bread yesterday. I followed your exact recipe using 2% milk & it rose beautifully both times & baked up nicely (you’re instructions are always so clear & easy to follow!). The swirls are so pretty & its so soft & delicious that I can’t believe I made it! I’m thinking these delicious little loaves would make great gifts. Thank you so much for making me an awesome baker!

  24. My guy always talks about cinnamon swirl bread he used to get out of town. I found your recipe (I always have great luck with your posts!) and started in. I was super nervous since yeast bread has such a stigma. I was fully expecting to make a few test loaves, but the first one turned out perfect! I used the egg white trick with the swirl and had near solid slices. He has eaten the whole thing, raving about how it was just like he remembered. Thank you!!

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