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How to Make Cinnamon Swirl Bread

My crazy life is a bit of a whirlwind right now with a zillion things going on.  Busy things.  Things that make me want to pull my hair out sometimes.  Things that are turning out to be great opportunities that are good and exciting and fun.  And a few things that aren’t so good.  All of these things make me feel stressed out and want to eat carbs… lots of them, because that’s my downfall when I’m stressed out.  Not chocolate.  Not french fries or milkshakes, but plain old, good-old fashioned carbs:  like this Cinnamon Swirl Bread.

It’s a yeasted bread, but don’t be afraid.  I’ll show you how easy it is to make…

Into a bowl, place sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Pour melted butter and warmed milk over; stir.  Dissolve yeast in warm water and pour that in there too.  Add flour; mix.  Pretty easy so far, right?

Dump the dough out onto a floured surface, add more flour and knead it for a few minutes until it’s smooth and no longer sticky.  Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a towel and let it rise in a warm place (I use a slightly warmed oven).  Take it out and punch it down.  Still pretty easy…

Dump it onto a floured surface again, knead it for a minute or so and then roll it out into a rectangle.  Spread with butter and sprinkle w/ cinnamon & sugar.  It’s here that you may want to begin nibbling pieces of dough that are coated with butter and cinnamon/sugar.  Maybe not, but I’m always tempted to do it.  You must be strong.  Resist.

Start at one end and roll it up.  Yum yum yum yum yum.

Look?  It’s all cute and snuggly all rolled up like that.  Keep the seam underneath…

…because then you’re going to transfer it to a bread pan, seam-side down.  Cover the pan, and let it rise in a warm place one more time.  Soooooooo, what you’re probably realizing at this point is that making bread is really pretty darn easy.  You just have to be patient with the rising times.  Your patience will be rewarded soon.  Promise.

Cut some slits into the top of the loaf.

And bake it up into a perfectly golden loaf.

Technically, you could slice it up right away and sample it with some melted butter all sunken into those cinnamony crevices.  It’s good like that.

But probably you should let it cool, then slice.  It’s just as good sliced and popped into a toaster in the next day or two.  And it’s even more incredible when used as French Toast.  This Cinnamon Swirl Bread is also useful for satisfying carb cravings and relieving stress (and I speak from personal experience).

Yield: 10 to 12 servings (1 loaf)

Prep Time: 35 min + rising time

Cook Time: 45 min

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

This Cinnamon Swirl Bread is delicious sliced up and toasted, and it's equally good when dipped in egg batter for French Toast...


1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup milk
2 Tablespoons granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided + more for surface work

2 Tablespoons butter, softened
2 Tablespoons granulated white sugar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon


1. In a microwavable cup, heat butter and warm milk in short bursts; stir together until butter is melted.

2. In a large bowl, stir sugar, salt and cinnamon. Pour warm butter/milk mixture into the bowl; stir.

3. In a glass measuring cup or small bowl, mix yeast and warm water until yeast is dissolved; pour into the bowl and stir.

4. Mix in 2 1/2 cups flour. Turn out dough onto a floured board (dough will be sticky). Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup of flour onto the dough and knead until the dough is soft and smooth (4 to 5 minutes). Add additional sprinkles of flour, if needed.

5. Put dough into a greased bowl; turn the dough over so the top of the dough is greased too. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place for about 60 minutes, or until doubled in size (see tips below...)

6. Punch down the dough in the bowl with your fist. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 1 minute.

7. Roll dough out into a basic rectangular shape. Use a butter knife or your clean fingers to spread 2 Tablespoons softened butter on the surface of the rolled out dough. In a small bowl, mix white sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture on top of the butter.

8. Roll up dough and form into a loaf. Place into a buttered 5x9-inch bread pan, seam side down. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

10. Score risen dough in the pan by cutting 3 slashes diagonally across the top of the loaf with a sharp knife. Bake bread for 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Fully baked bread should sound hollow when tapped.

11. Turn out bread and let cool on a wire rack.


*I like to use the oven as a place for rising. Turn the oven to 400 degrees and heat for one minute. Turn the oven OFF, turn on the light, and now you have a nice, warm place for rising. Make sure the oven is turned off!


68 Responses to “How to Make Cinnamon Swirl Bread”

  1. postedMay 12, 2011 3:56 AM
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet

    Fantastic step-by-step photos! I am craving some fresh baked cinnamon swirl bread, now!

  2. postedMay 12, 2011 4:58 AM

    Like you mentioned, Lori, I bet this bread is FANTASTIC as French toast! Definitely bookmarking this recipe…cinnamon swirl bread is my favorite kind.

    …Try toasting two slices with butter and cinnamon sugar and making a peanut butter and banana sandwich. 🙂

  3. postedMay 12, 2011 5:01 AM

    Oh my! Cinnamon bread has been on my list of things I want to make–but I’m not so good with yeast and slightly intimidated! Thanks for the step-by-step photos–so helpful! Looks great!

  4. postedMay 12, 2011 6:23 AM

    I really enjoy working with yeast doughs and I haven’t made a cinnamon bread in ages. Thanks for reminding me. I know what I’ll be doing later this afternoon 🙂

  5. postedMay 12, 2011 6:40 AM

    Seriously drooling looking at these photos! How perfect does a slice sound right now!! Yummy 🙂

  6. postedMay 12, 2011 6:59 AM

    Beautiful! I made a cinnamon swirl bread a few months ago, but it did not come out nearly as pretty as yours!

  7. postedMay 12, 2011 7:05 AM

    Great pictures & tutorial Lori! I’m a huge fan of cinnamon bread. Great idea to use it as french toast!!

  8. postedMay 12, 2011 7:11 AM

    You put so much work into this post! Wow girl! And yum!!

  9. postedMay 12, 2011 7:20 AM

    This looks absolutely fabulous. I can smell it from here! Thanks for sharing, I’m going in the kitchen right now – I can’t wait to make it!!

  10. postedMay 12, 2011 8:09 AM

    I have a question. In your note you said that you like to rise the yeast with the oven. When you get it to 400 F for 1 minute and turn it off, do you put the dough in the oven or on top of it? I was a little unsure. I am new to yeast baking and don’t want to mess it up. Thanks!

    • postedMay 12, 2011 8:11 AM

      Katy- yes, in the oven! Shoot, I was hoping you could see that in my photos. Just make sure the oven is turned off. You just want to warm it up slightly to create a warm place for rising. If it’s a warm day, you can just do it on your kitchen counter instead.

  11. postedMay 12, 2011 10:33 AM

    Over the winter I had cinnamon bread on the brain but never got around to it – thanks for the post and putting the idea back in my head! Looks delicious.

  12. postedMay 12, 2011 1:20 PM

    Thanks for the step by step: love cinnamon, ans once winter is just around the corner, I bake one for us, for sure.

  13. postedMay 12, 2011 1:55 PM

    I’ve always wanted to know HOW to do this! I’ve read recipes, but the explanation is never good enough. Thanks for taking the time 🙂

  14. postedMay 13, 2011 10:45 AM

    I am officially starving now!!!!!!!! 🙂 Great stp-by-step photos!

  15. postedMay 13, 2011 10:50 AM

    Great step by step post! Love the swirl!

  16. postedMay 13, 2011 1:03 PM

    You make homemade cinnamon bread look so easy! I can’t wait to try it, yum!

  17. postedMay 13, 2011 6:38 PM
    Mikaela Cowles

    I am sorry you have been stressed, but I have to admit, the result is something amazing. If one is to eat carbs, they better be worth it. At least that’s my opinion. This looks great. I can imagine on day two making french toast with it!

  18. postedMay 14, 2011 4:47 AM

    This bread looks so good Lori! And the pictures – wow! I hear you about the craziness! You described my life as well..

  19. postedMay 14, 2011 8:32 AM

    Lori this looks *fantastic* and would be the perfect weekend treat! I was just planning on making cinnamon rolls, but this bread would definitely fit the bill. 🙂 Have fun at the bake sale today, will miss you!

  20. postedMay 14, 2011 9:21 AM

    Beautiful looking bread! Hoping the good things happening are outweighing the bad things for you. Hang in there, you will work your way through.

  21. postedMay 14, 2011 1:31 PM

    Stress makes me eat carbs too!!!!! Yummy bread!

  22. postedMay 17, 2011 3:35 PM

    Nice cinnamon swirl bread. I am recently into baking yeast breads, especially challahs but this was definitely on my list as well, maybe one cinnamon and one chocolate. Love the step by step directions.

  23. postedMay 24, 2011 11:58 AM

    Wow! This bread looks absolutely delicious! Thanks for the step by step directions. – Maggie

  24. postedMay 25, 2011 12:57 PM

    I have just put one of these in the oven, it’s my first one and so far it looked exactly like the pictures on here! I am sooooo excited about trying it. I’m English and we don’t really have this over here. xx

    • postedMay 26, 2011 9:48 PM

      oh good, let me know how it turns out!

  25. postedMay 25, 2011 9:16 PM

    this is my knd of bread. and I love the easy, step by step how to. thanks for sharing, Lori!

  26. postedMay 27, 2011 7:16 AM

    Hey Lori – just letting you know it turned out PERFECTLY. Although it’s pretty much all gone now, my boyfriend and his friends demolished it in one sitting. There is just one thing wrong with this bread – they liked it that much that they have now demanded I make one at least once a week! Awesome recipe. xx

  27. postedMay 30, 2011 6:30 AM

    This is somewhat of a traditional Romanian Dessert: “cozonac”. You can also fill it with:
    1. cottage cheese, rains or turkish delight and some sugar, also don’t forget some lemon peel for aroma
    2. cocoa powder, sugar and turkish delight (sometimes the cocoa melts and turns into “chocolate”)
    3. grated apples and sugar
    4. grinded poppy
    5. grinded walnuts, don’t forget the rum essence and lemon peel for aroma

    Ohh..! And a trick I learned from my grandmother: add a (or even 2) beaten (fluffy) egg white in the dough when kneading it. It will make it even fluffier.

    Greetings from Romania!

  28. postedJul 18, 2011 8:31 PM

    Wow.. this looks fantastic! Thanks for all the steps 🙂

    Adela’s suggestions are wonderful too – Thanks, Adela!

  29. postedJul 19, 2011 7:00 PM

    I can’t wait to make this!!

  30. postedJul 22, 2011 6:14 AM

    I love this recipe so much that I tried it out and told all my blog readers about it! 🙂 Here’s a link where I referred all my readers to your blog!

    Thanks so much for sharing! It’s DELICIOUS! 🙂 (…and quickly disappearing off my counter as we speak! haha!)

  31. postedOct 2, 2011 1:44 PM

    This was my first attempt at a yeast bread and it came out perfectly! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  32. postedOct 2, 2011 2:00 PM

    By far the BEST recipe for cinnamon bread–this replaces all the breads we used to buy at the bakery and grocery stores…I made a few changes though…I didn’t have butter or margarine so I used 2 T oil in the batter, added 2 t of vanilla extract, added one egg, and instead of spreading butter, I just patted some vegetable oil on the dough then added of course lots of extra light brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon. I don’t even own a loaf pan so I doubled the recipe and put two loaves side by side in a 13×9 cake pan. Turned out great! Thanks soooo much!!!

    • postedOct 2, 2011 2:26 PM

      Excellent- great to hear of your success and your changes!

  33. postedOct 21, 2011 3:16 PM

    Wow – I just pulled the bread out of the oven and I can’t wait to cut it. I looks and smells amazing….. and it was soooo easy to make. thanks a lot

  34. postedDec 7, 2011 2:46 PM

    Thanks for the recipe! Do you actually bring your oven all the way up to 400 degrees? So – you keep it at 400 degrees for one minute, then turn off the oven, and then immediately put the bread in to rise, correct?

    • postedDec 7, 2011 2:48 PM

      No! Don’t bring it all the way to 400 degrees. Just set if for 400 dg, then turn on the oven for 1 minute only. Then turn it OFF. That just gets a little bit of heat in there for rising.

  35. postedDec 8, 2011 9:38 AM

    THANK YOU!!!!! for making a simple understandable recipe I searched for a good 30 minutes different sites even famous food websites this was the simplest one I found! Thanks!!!

  36. postedDec 14, 2011 1:46 PM

    Hi Lori,
    Thanks so much for answering my previous question. One more question: can you make any part of the recipe IN ADVANCE, THEN FREEZE? For example, could you make the dough and get to the part of scoring it after it has risen and you’ve rolled it out…and then FREEZE it (for a month or so)…then bake? Just wondering if any parts can be done ahead, then frozen, and if so, do the recipe directions change in any way? Thanks!

    • postedDec 14, 2011 9:17 PM

      I don’t know! I can’t really say since I haven’t tried…

  37. postedJan 27, 2012 3:18 PM

    Do you allow the yeast to foam before you mix with the milk or do you mix right away? I mixed right away and it doesn’s seem to rise very much!

    • postedJan 28, 2012 11:58 AM

      Did the recipe turn out for you? I usually let it sit for a couple of minutes.

  38. postedJan 29, 2012 10:31 AM

    The bread turned out…okay. It did not double in size, but it did rise bit. Maybe next time I will let the yeast sit until it foams, then mix with the other liquids?? Or maybe I will add the sugar to the yeast mix and let sit for a few minutes. What do you think?

    • postedJan 29, 2012 3:59 PM

      perhaps lack of foaming was the culprit. I didn’t have any trouble w/ rising as you can see from the pics, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t bother much with foaming in this recipe. Are you certain your yeast was fresh? Sorry you had trouble…

  39. postedFeb 1, 2012 9:53 AM

    The yeast was about 6 months old, but the expiry on it was 2013 so I thought it would be okay. It turned out okay, tasted great and will make it again, but will try letting the yeast foam a bit, and mixing the sugar with the yeast to see if that makes a difference. Thanks for your feedback!

  40. postedApr 22, 2012 3:23 PM

    I was reading these comments and I was wondering if i should add the sugar to the yeast mixture?

    • postedApr 22, 2012 3:50 PM

      I don’t think that’s necessary… I didn’t make it that way.

  41. postedApr 22, 2012 5:37 PM

    Thank you for responding. It was a fun Sunday afternoon project for my 13 year old daughter and I. She made her first loaf of bread and is proud of herself and my husband and I can’t wait to taste her handiwork!

  42. postedAug 1, 2012 2:27 PM

    My first loaf came out terrible as I didn’t have enough flour so I halved the ingredients resulting in a poorly risen bread. Smelled great though. As I write this comment I am currently rising my neatly rolled bred in its pan for 30 min. Before placing it in the oven. Now my only setback may be that I don’t actually have an over, I have a toaster oven. I will update and let you know how my toaster over baked this bread. I am eager to see the result and either way I will enjoy it, because I just simply love cooking. Lets see what happens!!


  43. postedOct 8, 2012 5:13 PM

    I made this bread last week. I followed everything step-by-step but the bread turned out kinda dry and on the heavy side. I’m not sure why…any suggestions?

    • postedOct 9, 2012 9:08 AM

      too much flour? Working the bread too long?

  44. postedOct 21, 2012 6:56 PM

    Can I make this recipe with whole wheat flour instead of all purpose? Should I use half whole wheat and half all purpose? What do you recommend? Thanks!

    • postedOct 21, 2012 9:43 PM

      Hi Cori, I have only tried it with all-purpose, so I can’t recommend with complete confidence. Sometimes half whole wheat works out just fine with bread recipes though.

  45. postedOct 30, 2012 9:01 AM

    I let the dough rise in the oven following your exact instructions. The dough started to bake. It was hard on the outside and too hot to knead after 60 minutes. Is that normal???

    • postedOct 30, 2012 9:23 AM

      No, that is not normal! How did the dough start to bake?? The oven should be off and it should only be slightly warm after having been turned on briefly and then off again.

  46. postedNov 24, 2012 11:16 AM

    Can I use mg bread maker for the kneading?

    • postedNov 26, 2012 12:07 PM

      Not sure- I don’t have a bread maker so I’m not familiar w/ them!

  47. postedJan 13, 2013 10:25 PM

    Thanks for the recipe! Made it today and it looks fantastic!

  48. postedFeb 8, 2013 9:58 AM

    im new to making bread but this was a great help and it turned out amazing!

  49. postedFeb 5, 2014 2:19 PM

    My swirl cinnamon bread rose, browned nicely but the inside did not get done.

  50. postedMar 11, 2015 2:43 PM

    I was very disappointed I followed the recipe  exactly and after 1 hour the dough didn’t rise was in  the oven as per your directions and the  yeast was not expired  I am not impressed!!!  

    • postedMar 13, 2015 8:35 AM

      You must have had a dud package of yeast. It can still be bad even if not expired.

  51. postedOct 23, 2016 7:46 PM
    Teresa Berry

    Just came across your website via pinterest.  Your cinnamon bread looks amazing!  Just on question, though.  Why slit the top of the loaf?  My father was a baker for a number of years.  He made cinnamon bread for a bakery.  I don’t remember his loaves had a slit.  Will try this week to make your cinnamon swirl bread.

    Thank you.

  52. postedDec 29, 2016 1:32 AM

    I made this today! Soooo yummy! I doubled the cinnamon and brown sugar… And glad i did! I will make it again tomorrow with a bit a sweetened condensed milk! Thanks!

  53. postedOct 22, 2017 12:24 PM

    This brings back such happy memories.
    when I was about 7 or 8, my dad and I used to journey to the other side of town on a Saturday, first of all to get gas at the flying Pegasus gas station. This winged horse was majestic and I could not wait to see him.
    Then it was off to the bakery for the best cinnamon bread I ever had or presumably will ever have.
    After that we went to purchase ice cream at the local Chisum ice cream store. I loved the boxes the ice cream came in with big color polka dots on the box.
    Thanks for the memories. Hope I can make this soon. : )

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