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Cinnamon Swirl Bread

This Cinnamon Swirl Bread recipe is sure to become a go-to for you when you want a sweet, simple treat!

sliced Cinnamon Swirl Bread on parchment paper

Cinnamon Swirl Bread Recipe

I’ve long had a love of baking quick breads. I love their simplicity and versatility, not to mention that they make great homemade gifts. I’ve made so many over the years, yet this Cinnamon Swirl Bread endures as a favorite.

This bread is another great example of “less is more” in baking. The bread is fairly simple, with only a hint of vanilla to enhance the flavor. But a simple mixture of just three ingredients gets swirled into the bread to make it something special.

More specifically, that swirl is made of brown sugar, nuts, and cinnamon. That combination is one of my favorite trios of flavor, and they serve this bread well by adding a sweet, nutty flavor that’s pretty tough to beat.

This is the kind of bread that I like to bake on a Friday or Saturday so that we can enjoy it all weekend. It will keep for a few days in an airtight container, so it’s easy to grab a slice for breakfast, a snack, or whenever the craving strikes. For a little extra special treat, try heating a slice in the microwave for a few seconds to make it all warm and a little gooey.

This Cinnamon Swirl Bread is all a quick bread should be. Quick. Easy. And, best of all, delicious. It would be excellent for breakfast, with coffee, or for dessert.

I first found a version of this recipe in a holiday baking magazine in a few pages dedicated to homemade food gifts. A loaf of this wrapped up prettily makes a lovely gift for a holiday, a housewarming, or just because. It will be happily and hungrily received!

For more easy quick breads, try Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Quick Bread, Blueberry Bread, and Pineapple Zucchini Bread, too!

slices of Cinnamon Swirl Bread on white parchment paper

What You’ll Need

You’ll just need some basic baking ingredients to make this delicious cinnamon bread. See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions. Here are some notes to keep in mind when gathering your ingredients.

For the cinnamon swirl:

  • Brown sugar – I prefer light brown sugar here, but dark brown sugar will also work. Be sure to pack it firmly into the measuring cup or measure by weight.
  • Chopped nuts – I most often have pecans on-hand, but walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or another nut will also work. If you’re not a fan of nuts in baked goods, you can omit them.
  • Ground cinnamon – If your cinnamon has been in the cabinet for a while, give it a whiff. If it doesn’t have a strong cinnamon smell, it’s likely time to replace it.

For the bread:

  • Granulated sugar
  • All-purpose flour – As always, measure by weight for best results. Otherwise, use the spoon and sweep method to prevent over-measuring. Learn more: How to Measure Flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Egg – Set out the egg to allow it to come to room temperature before mixing.
  • Milk – Also set out the milk along with the egg.
  • Unsalted butter – After melting the butter, let it cool for a few minutes before mixing.
  • Vanilla extract

How to Make Cinnamon Swirl Bread

You’ll have this cinnamon bread mixed and in the oven in just a few minutes. No mixer needed! Let’s get baking!

Make the cinnamon swirl. Combine the brown sugar, nuts, and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Prepare for baking. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a standard 9- by 5-inch loaf pan. If you like, line the pan with parchment paper, and then grease the paper. I recommend a cooking spray with flour, like Baker’s Joy or Pam for Baking.

Combine the dry ingredients and sugar. Whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center.

Mix the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg. Then, add the milk, melted butter, and vanilla, and stir until combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients mixture into the well in the flour mixture. Stir to combine, mixing just until combined or a few small streaks of flour remain.

Transfer to the pan. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top of the batter with half of the cinnamon swirl mixture. Repeat with the remaining batter and cinnamon mixture. Use a thin knife or spatula in an up and down swirling motion.

Bake. Place the pan in the oven, and bake 50 to 60 minutes. When the bread is browned and a pick inserted into the center comes out clean, the bread is ready to come out of the oven.

Cool. Place the pan on a wire cooling rack, and let cool for 10 minutes. Then, remove the bread from the pan and place directly on a wire rack to cool completely.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread slices on white parchment paper

Tips for Success

This bread is a breeze to make, but here are a few tips to help make sure yours turns out perfectly!

  • Use a light-colored metal loaf pan. Dark pans tend to over-bake the outside edges while leaving the inside under-baked. Glass, stoneware, or other material pans conduct heat differently and will give a different end result.
  • Check your pan’s size. Some loaf pans that are labeled standard are slightly smaller, which can mean it can’t hold this much batter without overflowing.
  • Want to make muffins instead? I’ve got tips for that!

How to Store

After the bread has cooled completely, either place it in an airtight container or wrap it in plastic wrap. It should keep at room temperature up to 3 days.

How to Freeze

You can freeze the entire loaf or individual slices. Wrap well in two layers of plastic wrap, and then either wrap again in aluminum foil or place in an airtight, freezer-safe container or zip-top bag. Properly stored, this cinnamon bread should keep in the freezer up to 3 months.

Thaw on the countertop for an hour or two before serving. If you want to serve it warm, you can heat individual slices briefly in the microwave or place the unsliced loaf in a loaf pan and heat for a few minutes in a low temperature oven.

Video Tutorial: Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Yield 10 to 12 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

This simple Cinnamon Swirl Bread is perfect for breakfast, a coffee break, or even dessert! You'll love the sweet blend of chopped pecans, cinnamon, and brown sugar!

sliced Cinnamon Swirl Bread on parchment paper

Ingredients

For the swirl:

  • 1/3 cup (66g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (60g) finely chopped pecans, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the bread:

  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup (75g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled*
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

To make the swirl:

  1. Combine the brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon. Set aside.

To make the bread:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a standard 9″x5″x3″ loaf pan.
  2. Combine the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the flour mixture.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg. Then, stir in the milk, butter, and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the well in the flour mixture. Stir just until mixed. Do not overmix.
  4. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon mixture. Repeat with the remaining batter and cinnamon mixture. With a wide spatula or knife, swirl the mixtures together with a down and up circular motion.
  5. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the bread is browned and a pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then, remove the bread from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Notes

*You can substitute 1/3 cup cooking oil if you prefer, although you'll lose a bit of flavor.

Store leftover bread well-wrapped or in an airtight container up to 3 days at room temperature. Wrap well and place in a freezer-safe bag or container to store in the freezer up to 3 months.

Recipe slightly adapted from BHG.

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    70 Comments on “Cinnamon Swirl Bread”

  1. That looks delicious! Great photo 🙂

  2. Jennifer I LOVE the photo! I am so jealous of your site! I think it’s great that you have printable versions of your recipes…someday I hope to do the same thing (if I can find someone to do everything for me!). Please don’t ever stop baking 🙂

  3. Thanks, guys! I assure you, Nicole, that I will not be allowed to stop baking any time soon. My family and friends would be most unhappy. Who doesn’t like free baked goods?!?

    • Love your site and I want to make the cinnamon swirl bread. I have one question, when making this bread could you add cookie butter in it. I just started using the cookie butter in the cookies and all my friends love it’s taste. I even use it on toast.
      I’ve been a baker for many years my wife and I do it together we’ve only been married a little longer than one year. Thanks for your recipes

      • Hi, George! I think you’d need to alter some of the other ingredients to do that, probably using less butter and maybe less sugar. Without trying it myself, I really couldn’t say for sure what changes to make.

  4. I too am a sucker – I have about 3 so far… and counting!

    This looks fabulous. I have to go re-read the ones I have.

  5. I always buy those things too but sometimes they do have really good stuff…your cinnamon bread for example looks wonderful.

  6. I love pretty much anything with cinnamon in it. There’s just something about that way it tastes and smells that is so comforting and homey. 🙂

  7. I’m so excited! I’ve got mine in the oven right now! It smells amazing!!

  8. Carolyn, I hope you like it! I remember it fondly. 😉

  9. This was really good. I especially like the gooeyness of the cinnamon swirls.

  10. Rachelle, I’m glad you liked it!

  11. This looks really good!

  12. Wow, this looks great – makes my old recipe not look so appetizing! I was wondering how many loaves your recipe will make? Thanks!

  13. Hi,
    I made this today. I didn’t have pecans so i used apples instead. It was delicious! People thought it was store-bought!! I can’t wait to try the actual pecan cinammon swirl bread! 🙂

  14. Love this bread! I made it last weekend to take to sunday school and it was a big hit. I made it with walnuts though, because that’s all I had. I already want to make it again.

  15. Could you substitute coconut oil for the fat in this?

  16. I just made this with kids and it is so easy and turned out great! I love the recipe!

  17. Its 2017 and hope you see my comment (all others are years old). I needed a recipe for cinnamon swirl bread to use for Famous Daves Bread Pudding. I came across your recipe and noticed it doesnt call for yeast and I dont have to worry about rising or punching down dough. I havent baked it yet but am planning on making two loaves one for pudding and one for me cause the picture looks amazing!! I will let you know how all turns out. Thanks for this recipe. You saved me alot of time in the kitchen.

  18. Just found this today. Made it. This is sooooo good!

  19. Would butter milk be acceptable?

    • Hi, Cheryl. Buttermilk will change the flavor, but that’s fine if that works for you. The flavor of the buttermilk will be less pronounced if you substitute baking soda for at least some of the baking powder. I’ve not made this bread that way, so I can’t give you measurements that I know will work. If I were going to try it, I’d likely try 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and no baking powder.

  20. Hi Jennifer. I try to make things without nuts since several people I know are allergic. Should I just omit or can I substitute choc chips or cocoa of some type? if so what would be quantity you would recommend?

  21. Hi 👋 can I substitute the pecans for wamlnuts? 

  22. This bread was fantastic! I did substitute walnuts, since I don’t like the bitterness of pecans. Such a hit. I will be making this again for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Keep up all the good recipes coming.

  23. Hi! I was planning in making this bread but some of us (the ones that live on the house) are on a standard diet. With this in mind, I wanted to ask how many calories approximately does one slice have? (Having in consideration the bread is made for 10-12 slices)

  24. can you freeze these loaves? I bake for our school staff the week before Christmas holidays and would love to make a few things in advance. Looks delish!

  25. Hi! Can I substitute a dairy free milk like coconut milk? 

  26. Just wondering if I use my 10 cup Bundt cake pan would I double the recipe or just make as is and the cake would be very small. I want the look of a cake and not a loaf, but really want to try your cinnamon swirl quick bread.

  27. When I made this bread, the initial dough, before dividing and adding the cinnamon mixture, is quite thin. And it took longer to bake than indicated.
    Did you have that experience? The first loaf was buttery, and wonderful, but amost “cakey”. Am I doing some think incorrectly?

  28. Made this but it only came out about 1 1/2 inches high. Would that mean my baking powder was expired

    • It’s possible. You can test that by putting about 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder in a bowl and pouring about 1/4 cup of boiling water over it. If it’s really bubbly, then it’s still good. Otherwise, it’s time to get a new package.

  29. This was delicious ! I browsed many recipe on line and decided to go with this one. 
    You can taste the cinnamon and not overly sweet. I didn’t  add nuts. Easy recipe to follow. Highly recommend it!

  30. If I double it, can I bake it in a 13×9 and would it change the bake time?

  31. Hi! This recipe looks like a winner! I wanted to know how you get for the loaf to open up in the center? I never get my quick breads to crack in the center and don’t know if it’s because of the pan.

    • Hi, Marisa. That usually has to do with the top of the loaf setting before the rest of the bread. As the remaining bread batter continues to rise, it will cause the top to crack. That can be because of the composition of the batter or your oven’s temperature. I suppose it could be a result of the pan, but I’d think that’s less likely than the other causes.

  32. Hi!   Can’t wait to make this.  Would it be ok to grease and flour the pan rather than just greasing?  Also, if I’m not weighing the flour, would you spoon and level or dip and sweep?  What do you generally do?  Hope you are doing well!  Thanks!

  33. And i would be making without the nuts per my son’s request.  Thanks! 

  34. This looks very delicious.

  35. Delicious looking cake. Thanks for sharing the recipe as well

  36. I love this bread we make it all the time and it’s something the whole family enjoys. We can eat the whole thing in 30 minutes. Love this recipe.

  37. Just made this beautiful cinnamon bread today and it is delicious! I made it exactly as written. The flavor is lovely, not overly sweet, and the texture is perfect (I like that it has a tighter crumb so it doesn’t fall apart when biting into it). Yum! Thank you for sharing this great recipe!

  38. Hello! I actually made this in my “cute Williams Sonoma fall pan” so it was a bit tricky to get the thick batter in the decorative spots…made this with almond cashew milk (typically don’t have milk at the house) and didn’t have pecans so I used cashews.  Wrapped it up after it was cooled and it was even better day 2! Thanks for the recipe!

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