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Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Homemade cinnamon swirl bread is so soft, sweet and full of heartwarming comfort. Learn how to make it from scratch with all the easy steps to bread baking success. Add raisins or nuts, too!

a loaf of cinnamon swirl bread on a table with a slice cut out.

This post appeared first on Feast and Farm.

What’s in those store bought loaves…

Oh dear. What is in those? Horrible things. It’s the whole reason they feel like a brick when you pick them up and why they last on the shelf for six months and never mold. You should be worried about that.

I know it’s easy to grab a loaf of cinnamon swirl bread and be done with it but you’ll be so much happier and your body will like you a lot more if you ditch all those preservatives and gunk and make your own.

You can do it on a Sunday, slice and then freeze your loaves for eating during the week if it lasts that long!

Steps for making cinnamon swirl bread

Step 1: Activate the yeast in warm water with some maple syrup. I’m using active dry yeast but instant yeast can also be used. I recommend always activating your yeast to make sure its alive. See how to activate yeast. You’re just looking for the foam to start growing and you’re good to continue with the recipe.

a finger pointing to yeast foam in a bowl

Step 2: Add the melted and cooled butter, the flour and salt. Stir to form a shaggy dough.

Step 3: Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 14 minutes. You can also knead the dough with a dough hook in a stand mixer but you’ll need to check it often to make sure you aren’t over working it. About 8 minutes in a stand mixer should be plenty. Add any raisins or nuts during the last few minutes of kneading if you are using them.

a ball of kneaded cinnamon swirl bread dough on a table

Step 4: Place the dough back in its bowl and cover. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk–about 1 1/2 hours or so (longer if there are nuts and raisins).

a hand deflating a bowl of risen dough for shaping

Step 5: Roll out to a 9×9 square, brush with melted butter, egg wash or water and sprinkle with sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon. You could add any additions like cream cheese or apple butter here before sprinkling on the cinnamon and sugar. Roll up like a sausage and pinch the seam shut well on both ends and along the length.

Step 6: Rise again (uncovered) until the loaf is about 2 inches above the rim of the pan. About another hour. Brush with egg wash and bake at 450 for 24-27 minutes until golden. Turn out to cool on a wire rack and glaze if desired.

a loaf of risen cinnamon bread in a loaf pan ready to bake

To add raisins to cinnamon bread

To add raisins, mix the dough and begin kneading. The total kneading process will take about 14 minutes. Add the raisins in the last 5 minutes of kneading and work them in before putting the bread on for the first rise.

Nuts can also be added to the dough if you choose at this step or they can be added to the filling itself.

To add nuts

Add 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts of your choice to the filling with the sugars and cinnamon. Walnuts or pecans are a great choice here.

You can also add the nuts to the dough itself with the raisins and knead them in.

Remember that rising dough with fruits and nuts in it will slow the rise times so be patient.

What’s the best loaf pan to use?

I’ve loved USA Pans 1 pound loaf pans for ages. I do line mine with parchment paper typically just for added non stick assurance.


Cinnamon swirl bread is versatile and fun to add adjustments to. A few popular options include:

  • Butter: A simple spread of butter can add richness and creaminess to the bread. Salted or unsalted butter can be used depending on personal preference. I’d just smear that on after I toasted a slice. 😉
  • Jam or Jelly: A dollop of sweet jam or jelly can complement the cinnamon flavor and add a fruity twist to the bread. You can add a bit on to the bread before layering in the cinnamon and swirling if you’d like. Apple butter would be amazing here!
  • Cream Cheese: A spread of cream cheese can add tanginess and creaminess to the bread. It can be mixed with honey or other sweeteners and a dash of vanilla to add more flavor.

Presentation Ideas

Cinnamon swirl bread can also be presented in creative ways to make it more visually appealing. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Toasted: Toasting the bread can bring out the cinnamon flavor and add a crispy texture. It can be served with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on top.
  • French Toast: Cinnamon swirl bread can be used to make delicious French toast (or french toast waffles!) in a skillet or waffle maker.
  • Bread Pudding: Leftover cinnamon swirl bread can be used to make a delicious bread pudding. It can be mixed with milk, eggs, and sugar and baked until golden brown.

Should the cinnamon bread loaf be glazed?

That’s totally up to you. I have included a basic glaze in the recipe but you are welcome to go all in with a cream cheese frosting, a light lemon or orange glaze, or even add maple syrup to it.

The flavor ideas are almost endless!


Gluten-Free Alternatives

For those who are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease, there are several gluten-free flour alternatives that can be used in place of wheat flour. Almond flour, coconut flour, and rice flour are popular choices that can be used in making cinnamon swirl bread. However, it’s important to note that gluten-free flours have different properties than wheat flour, and adjustments may need to be made to the recipe to achieve the desired texture. Try this gluten free cinnamon swirl bread.

Vegan and Dairy-Free Options

For those who follow a vegan or dairy-free diet, there are several alternatives that can be used in place of dairy products in this yeasted cinnamon bread. Non-dairy milk, such as almond milk or soy milk, can be used instead of regular milk. Coconut oil or vegan butter can be used instead of butter. Flaxseed or chia seeds can be used as an egg substitute. Note: I haven’t tested these in this particular recipe so you may get a different result than what’s pictured.

Additional Flavor Combinations

While cinnamon is the classic flavor for cinnamon swirl bread, there are many other flavor combinations that can be used to create a unique twist on this classic recipe. Some popular flavor combinations include:

  • Apple Cinnamon: Add diced apples to the bread dough and use apple pie spice instead of cinnamon for a delicious apple cinnamon swirl bread.
  • Chocolate Cinnamon: Add cocoa powder to the bread dough and use chocolate chips instead of cinnamon for a rich and decadent chocolate cinnamon swirl bread.
  • Maple Pecan: Add chopped pecans to the bread dough and use maple syrup instead of cinnamon for a sweet and nutty maple pecan swirl bread.

Shelf Life of Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Cinnamon swirl bread can be stored at room temperature for up to 3-4 days. To extend its shelf life, it is recommended to store the bread in an airtight container or plastic bag. This will help to prevent the bread from drying out and going stale.

a loaf of cinnamon swirl bread on a table with a slice cut off the end

Freezing and Reheating

Cinnamon swirl bread can also be frozen for longer storage. To freeze, wrap the bread tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in a freezer bag. The bread can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When ready to eat, remove the bread from the freezer and let it thaw at room temperature for a few hours. To reheat the bread, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and wrap the bread in aluminum foil. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.

It is important to note that freezing and reheating can affect the texture of the bread. While it may not be as soft and fluffy as fresh bread, it can still be enjoyed as a delicious treat.

Other bread recipes to love

a loaf of cinnamon swirl bread on a table with a slice cut out.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

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Servings: 9 slices


  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast instant yeast will substitute; see notes
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted and cooled slightly
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour all purpose works
  • 1/2 tablespoon fine sea salt

For the Cinnamon Filling

  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

For the Glaze

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk


  • To the warm water in a large bowl add the maple syrup and yeast. Allow to sit until starting to foam–about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Once foaming, add the butter and stir to combine. Add the flour and salt and stir to combine. Transfer to a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic–about 14 minutes. If adding raisins or nuts knead them in during the last five minutes.
  • Place it back in the bowl and brush with oil to prevent drying out. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size. About 1 1/2 hours. Longer if you added raisins or nuts.
  • Once doubled, transfer to a floured surface and roll to a 9×9 square. In a small bowl blend the brown sugar, white sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. Brush the dough with melted butter, egg wash or just water, and sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar.
  • Startig on one end, roll up and pinch the seam well to seal. Pinch the ends closed as well.
  • Transfer to a greased and parchment paper lined 9×5 loaf pan. Rise uncovered in a warm place until 2″ above the rim of the pan–about an hour or so.
  • Bake at 450 for 25 to 27 minutes, tenting with foil if the bread starts to get too dark.
  • Once baked transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Blend powdered sugar, vanilla and milk and use a fork to drizzle over the bread.
  • Bread will last up to 3 days tightly wrapped on the counter or may be frozen for up to 2 months.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 283kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 422mg | Potassium: 71mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 123IU | Vitamin C: 0.03mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg
The Dough Dabbler

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