Cinnamon swirl bread is a simple light bread with a tender crumb, a golden crust, and a delicious cinnamon-sugar swirl. Becoming a master bread baker might just be easier than you think!
This recipe is a delicious twist on my family’s favorite homemade bread. The cinnamon sugar swirl through the middle adds the best flavor. If you’re craving a cinnamon roll, mix up this cream cheese glaze and spread it over the top of a slice of warm bread. Heaven right there!
Homemade cinnamon bread is a light and fluffy bread made with simple ingredients. Which makes it one of the best ways to begin your bread-making journey! If this is your first time attempting bread from scratch, this easy recipe is a great place to start. There is a bit of rising time to account for, but believe me, the aroma of freshly baked cinnamon swirl bread is well worth the wait!
Follow this easy guide to making the best cinnamon sugar bread and learn about kneading the dough, proofing the dough, adding homemade cinnamon sugar, and baking it until perfectly golden. It’s a versatile bread that can be toasted in the morning for breakfast, or enjoyed as a grab-and-go snack in the afternoon. Either way, keep this recipe handy, it’s one your kids will be asking you to make over and over again.
How to make homemade cinnamon bread
- Prep. Place yeast and sugar in a small bowl with warm water (not too hot, otherwise you’ll kill the yeast). Let it sit until bubbly.
- Combine. In the bowl of your stand mixer (or large mixing bowl if mixing by hand), combine melted butter, sugar, evaporated milk, and salt. Add active yeast mixture and mix together.
- Knead. Add in 3 cups of flour and combine using the bread hook. Then continue by adding 1 cup at a time until you’ve got 5 cups added in. Continue combining. You want the dough to no longer be sticky on your hands or sticking to the sides of the bowl, so once you’ve hit 5 cups of flour, continue adding flour by half a cup until no longer sticky.
- Rise. Cover the ball of dough and sides of the bowl with shortening and cover the bowl with a warm towel. Place by the window (alternatively, some prefer in a warm draft-free area) to rise until doubled in bulk. About 1.5 hours depending on the temperature of your home.
- Punch & roll. Once the dough has risen over the sides of the bowl, punch it down and transfer it to a floured surface. Knead for a few minutes and then cut the dough into 2 pieces. Roll each out into a rectangle.
- Sprinkle. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mix on top of each rectangle leaving about an inch around the edges. Roll the dough up into a log and tuck the ends under. Place into 2 greased bread pans.
- Rise once more. Cover and let rise again. Preheat your oven just before the rise time is over.
- Bake. Place loaves in the oven and bake until golden and it sounds hollow when gently tapped. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool before serving. Brush the top with melted butter if desired, and enjoy!
Tips & variations
- Test your yeast. If it doesn’t bubble or change texture when mixed with warm water and sugar, it means your yeast is no longer active. You will need to discard and get some fresh active dry yeast.
- Add raisins. Sprinkle in 1/2 cup raisins with cinnamon mixture and have homemade cinnamon raisin bread!
- Whole wheat. You can make whole wheat bread instead with a cinnamon swirl if preferred.
- French toast. Use a few slices and make cinnamon sugar french toast. No need to wait for a fancy brunch or special occasion!
- Use bread flour. If you can help it, use bread flour. It has a different texture than all-purpose and can hold the weight of the cinnamon swirl. All-purpose can definitely be used in a pinch if that’s what you have. You’ll notice a difference in the crumb, but it’s still awesome. Also, make sure you know how to measure flour accurately before getting started.
- The rise. Sometimes the rise time is trial and error depending on your environment. Yeast requires warmth to rise, but then again only to a point. If you’re stuck for a warm draft-free area, try the drawer at the bottom of your oven. If your place is quite moist, you may want to set it by the window. Just keep an eye out on it and you’ll know if you need to adjust anything. You may find that covering it in plastic wrap before covering it with a towel is helpful.
- Stand mixer. You don’t need one, but you’ll definitely appreciate using one if you have it! If you’ve skipped arm day at the gym, then, by all means, knead by hand :)
Storing & freezing
Lucky you, you’ve got 2 loaves! If you have any leftovers, you can keep them stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Otherwise, if you plan to freeze one of your loaves for later, it will keep for up to 3 months.
More recipes you’ll love:
- Cinnamon sugar pretzels
- Cinnamon roll monkey bread
- Dessert cinnamon crescent rolls
- Cinnamon roll pancakes
- Overnight cinnamon rolls
Cinnamon Swirl Bread
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/2 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup melted butter , plus more for top of bread
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 5-7 cups bread flour , white or wheat will work too; can use more if needed
- 1 Tablespoon shortening , or butter
- Place the yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Pour the warm water (not too hot) over the yeast mixture and let it proof for about 10 minutes, or until nice and bubbly.
- Combine melted butter, sugar, evaporated milk and salt into a large mixing bowl. When your yeast mixture is ready, add them together and mix.
- If you are using a stand mixer, put on your bread hook and then pour in 3 cups of flour. If not, you can stir/knead it as well. Then add in 1 cup of flour at a time and mix. When you get to 5 cups of flour in the bowl, add in 1/2 cup more of flour at a time until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides. You’ll know it’s ready when your fingers no longer stick to the dough.
- Then cover the ball of dough and sides of the bowl with shortening and cover the bowl with a warm towel. Set by the window and allow it it rise (about 1.5 hours). When it has risen over the bowl, punch it down and place on a floured surface.
- Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes. Cut dough into two pieces and roll them out into a rectangle.
- Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top leaving 1-inch around the edges. Roll the dough up tightly into a log and tuck the ends under. Then place into 2 greased bread pans.
- Let the bread rise again, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until when gently tapped it sounds hollow. Cover the top of the bread with foil if browning too fast.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool. Brush the tops with melted butter. Slice and enjoy. Store in a covered container for 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.