As soon as I feel that fall chill in the air, I get a major urge to bake bread.  All kinds of bread.  Rolls, loaves, baguettes, etc.  I love the smell of the yeast as the dough rises, the wonderful aromas that fill the house as the bread bakes and of course, getting to enjoy the finished product warm from the oven.  At least for me, cinnamon raisin swirl bread is one of those foods that immediately brings me back to my childhood.  Despite the fact that it always came from a store bought loaf, a piece of cinnamon raisin toast spread with a thin layer of butter was a special breakfast treat.

I’ve made a few different versions of this recipe in the past, but this one finally has everything I’ve been hoping for.  A tender, lightly spiced dough with a sprinkling of plump raisins, and a cinnamon sugar filling that oozes out of the swirls while the bread is still warm.  I only made one loaf, but this recipe can be easily doubled to make an extra loaf for freezing or gifting to a friend.  If you still feel intimidated by working with yeast, this is another recipe that would be good for a beginner.  Remember, there is nothing to be scared of, it just like following any other recipe.  Hopefully the step-by-step photos will also help you feel more confident.  Let’s get cozy and bake some bread!

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread
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Yield: 1 9 x 5-inch loaf
For the dough:
1 1/8 tsp. instant (rapid rise) yeast
1 cup warm milk (105-110˚ F)
17 oz. (3¼ cups) all-purpose flour
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup sugar
1 large egg
1¼ tsp. coarse salt
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ cup raisins
Vegetable oil

For the filling:
¾ cup sugar
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. water
1 egg, lightly beaten

In the bowl of a stand mixer*, combine the yeast, warm milk, flour, butter, sugar, egg, salt and cinnamon.  Mix briefly until a dough forms.  Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed until the dough is mostly smooth and clears the sides of the bowl, about 3 minutes.  Add in the raisins and allow to continue kneading about 3 minutes more, until the dough is smooth and supple and the raisins are evenly incorporated.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.

Pat into a round.

Fold the bottom third of the dough up and fold the top third down, in business-letter fashion.

Then fold the right and left sides into the center in thirds, forming a rectangle. Press down to seal.  Return to the bowl, cover and let rise again until doubled, about 40 minutes.

Generously butter a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.  To make the filling, combine the sugar, cinnamon and water in a small bowl and whisk until well combined.  Return the dough to a lightly floured work surface.

Roll the dough into a 10 by 12-inch rectangle.  Brush lightly with the beaten egg.

Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, leaving a thin border around the edges.

Fold in the edges of the long sides of the dough about 1 inch.

Beginning with one of the short ends, roll the dough up into a tight spiral log, gently pressing as you go.

Pinch the seam shut, and place the loaf seam side-down in the prepared baking pan.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let rise until the dough rises just above the edge of the pan, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  When the loaf has risen, brush the top of the loaf lightly with the remaining beaten egg.  Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the loaf is golden brown, about 45 minutes.  If the surface seems to be browning too quickly, tent loosely with foil (I did this halfway through baking).  Cool in the pan 5 minutes, then turn the loaf out and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

*This dough can be made by hand and a stand mixer is not required.  Mix the dough ingredients in a large mixing bowl and once the dough comes together, knead on a lightly floured surface until the desired texture is achieved.

Source: Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

  • This is one of my favorite breads too. I’ve made variations with whole wheat dough and as baguettes or rolls too and they’re delicious – I recommend it.

  • Anne Marie

    Yum! That looks beautiful and I’ll bet it tastes delicious. I am not afraid of yeast dough at all, but the rolling/folding process would have been difficult to understand without all of the pictures. Thank you for that. My daughters love to try new bread recipes with me, and this will be our next one for sure.

  • Oh gosh – we WISH we had some of that right this moment to slather with butter and devour for breakfast!

  • Katelyn

    This reminds me that shortly after my daughter was born, one of the parents at my husband’s school made us (by which I mean me because Steve was banned from eating any) a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread. As much as I appreciated all the dinners that people brought, I LOVED the breakfast things and homemade bread tasted like a hug every morning. I actually cried when it was gone! Thanks for the recipe – now once I’m done nursing and can eat wheat again (oh, the things we do for our babies), I’ll make a loaf for old time’s sake!

  • Cinnamon raisin bread is the best bread hands down! Yours looks too good to be true…yummy!

  • Oh wow that look wonderful. I love how much cinnamon filling you’ve got – its almost oozing out

  • littlepinkkitchen


    I NEED this in my life right now.

  • I’ve only made cinnamon raisin bread in the breadmaker before, but I am definitely going to try this version. It’s one of my favorite breads! I’ve had success with the herbed focaccia & soft garlic knots over the past week, so I’m feeling a little more comfortable with yeast. :)

  • Traci

    This looks great Annie! I’ve noticed that you use pastry mats. Is there a particular brand you prefer that works best?

  • Ariana from Chicago

    That bread looks gorgeous. Excellent photos too. I finally understand the “business letter” fold, thank you! Every time I’ve had to do it I’ve been confused. I think every cook should try a recipe like this, it is really wonderful to work with a dough and get such great results. This dough looks like it can handle some variations too, which I will definitely try. Thanks again.

  • I love cinnamon raisin bread and I have this recipe bookmarked on her cook book (among other things!), and I am glad to see that it turned out for you! I may have to make it this weekend ;-)

  • this looks wonderful! it would make a great breakfast. i’ll definitely be trying this recipe soon :)

  • Those step by step photos are really helpful. I’ll have to give this recipe a try. My dad loves cinnamon raisin bread!

  • Cara

    This looks excellent!
    I get so confused though, because I saw this on PW’s site the other day with no citation as if she made it up, but then you have it here with a source and it looks pretty much the same to me. Like to see the original source, though! It looks really good and I’m glad you showed the steps, too! (and how great would this be turned into French toast???)

  • Mmm, cinnamon raisin bread is my favorite bread to bake come fall. Thank you for reminding me – I had almost forgotten about it I don’t know what’s better, the smell it creates in your house or the first bite!

  • Annie

    I only tend to own one at a time, so I don’t know about various brands. My main requirements are that they be non-skid and have both round and straight measurements on them somewhere.

  • Annie

    Cara, I looked at PW’s recipe and hers is pretty different. A quick look at the quantities of ingredients will tell you that, plus that fact that it doesn’t include raisins. However, this has been a big problem in the food-blogging world lately (people posting recipes without a source, as though it were their own creation even though it is a well-known, popular recipe shared all over the place). I can’t be responsible for anyone else, but I always cite sources whenever possible.

  • This bread looks SO MUCH better than store-bought, and I’m SURE it is! Beautiful and yummy! Great tutorial too!

  • I love cinnamon raisin bread this time of year – just made some last month!

  • This bread is picture perfect! This is the perfect time of year to enjoy cinnamon raisin bread!

  • I love working with yeast and am always looking for interesting recipes with it – what a GORGEOUS loaf of bread, Annie!

  • Annie, this looks heavenly!

  • That is one beautiful looking bread

  • Saving this post. The recipe looks great. Your photos are guaranteed to help out when I attempt it. Thanks so much!

  • Megan

    This is a favorite of ours and I just finished making it. My filling was very runny. Did you use a full 2Tbls of water? I am new to making bread and have never made cinnamon bread so I just wanted to check. Thanks, I love your blog!

  • Annie

    Yes, I did and it was oozing out after cutting. I liked it that way. You can just let it cool before slicing if it bothers you.

  • I bought a cinnamon raisin swirl loaf earlier this week and as I was standing in the check-out I thought to myself, “I should probably just make this instead of buying it..” and here you are with a recipe! I’ll definitely try this out. Thanks!

  • crustabakes

    Am i reading this wrong, or are there triple rising here? Ur bread looks yummy, i love the wet filling oozing out!

  • Hi! Your recipes look sooo delicious!! I would love to try them sometime!!

  • Nice to have found you, beauuuuuuuuutiful blog!!! Congratulations!! I love cooking aswell. xxx

  • Annie

    You’re correct.

  • This looks SO good!! Definitely going to try this minus the raisins!!

  • I too have done just that last year bread for the world bread day and I find it wonderful! like your blog, I did not know yet …

  • Katie

    I tried this and LOVED it. My family devoured it! Do you know if this is the type of dough you could refridgerate at some point that then take it out later to rise and bake? Would you have to stall it at the first rise, or could you do it at a later stage. Just curious. Thanks.

  • Sarah from MA

    Hi Annie – I love your website and it has launched my life into a cooking and baking frenzy! My husband, friends and coworkers are loving it. I have a quick question regarding this recipe which looks absolutely delicious! When I tried making this recipe the dough was too sticky, so after the first rise when I was folding it, it was a mess! I don’t know if it’s because I live in New England, but do you think I should add more flour in the first step until it is not so sticky in the mixer? Bread is the one category I am struggling with and it’s driving me crazy. Thanks for the help!

  • Annie

    I haven’t tried it myself. Usually the fridge isn’t adequate to stop the rise and you would have to freeze it at that point. I find that most yeast breads, etc. are great if you freeze them after baking and then thaw and rewarm later. Basically, they are as good as the day you freeze so if you freeze fresh they still taste great. With loaves, I slice before freezing.

  • Annie

    Yes, sounds like you needed to add more flour. The amount of flour will vary depending on humidity and also whether you measured by weight or volume (weight is much more accurate). The texture you want is tacky but not sticky, and I address this issue in a little more depth in my post on soft garlic knots.

  • Amanda

    This recipes is wonderful and the bread turns out beautiful. Flavor brings back childhood memories of visiting my grandma. My only problem was that it browned too quick for the middle to cook, meaning the middle was still a bit raw. I will try lowering the temp to see if that works for cooking the middle and slows the browning process. I mixed it all by hand and am not sure if that had anything to do with the sagging in the middle. Please let me know what you recommend to see if that will work for me. Oh and I added some crushed pecans to the filling, it was the perfect touch to keep it from being too sweet, GREAT RECIPE!

  • Annie

    As it mentions in the recipe, you can tent with foil to prevent over-browning. I did that halfway through baking.

  • Amanda

    Thanks!! I will have to try that the next time I make it!

  • Diana

    This has got to be the best cinnamon swirl bread i ever had(and made), it tastes so yummy with all that oozing, melted, cinnamony sugar spilling out of it. Didn’t last an hour in my home. Its pure heaven. Thanks annie for the wonderful recipe.This is a keeper!! =)

  • Melissa

    Help! I have made this bread twice now and it tasted delicious both times, however my bread did not rise either time. I decided to bake it anyway just so it didn’t go to waste and the bread came out very dense. I made sure that i followed the recipe exactly both times but something just isn’t right with my bread. It did not look light and airy like yours. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  • Annie

    Are you measuring your flour by weight rather than volume? Most likely you are adding too much, creating a dense loaf. Also, if your dough isn’t rising properly you may need new yeast or you may just need to let it rise longer. The rising times in the recipe are guidelines but you really need to see the indicated rise before moving on to the next step. Be sure you are using instant (rapid rise) yeast, since you can just mix that into the recipe as indicated. If you use active dry, you have to let it proof first.

  • Mellybrown

    I just made this and it tastes delicious, but for some reason I lost my swirl! The cinnamon sugar just absorbed into the bread, which isn’t all bad :) I’ve made many a swirl bread before, but none with the step of adding water to the cinnamon sugar. Still a delicious bread and now I will have to investigate further. Maybe only 1 T next time. Thanks for another great recipe, Annie!

  • Annie

    I used both tablespoons and so have a few other people, and no one else has had a problem. Better luck next time!

  • Your bread is gorgeous! I love how the crust browned. The step by step photos are nice to see too.

  • Erica

    Annie: I’m new to baking bread, and I did not leave myself enough time to finish tonight. Would it be ok if I got to the step where the dough has to rise 30 more minutes in the pan before baking and left it out overnight and baked in the morning? Thanks!

  • Annie

    No, unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. It will way overrise and you’ll end up with crazy monster bread that has a weird texture.

  • Carol

    I made this bread and it was delicious! My filling was runny and when I rolled the bread some of the filling ended up spilling on the counter. I’m not sure what I did wrong. How do I keep the filling on the dough while I roll?

  • hanneybee

    just made this! it was so good. i cannot believe it. thanks for sharing! :)

  • Nicole

    can i substitute frozen blueberries for the raisins?

  • Annie

    Please read the FAQ page regarding substitutions.

  • Lou

    oh no, it worked out perfectly! :D didn’t expect that.. thank you so much for sharing this recipe, and showing us the step! or i wouldn’t have made my first bread.

  • Bgharris79

    I also had a problem when using 2T of water. My filling was much more fluid than what appears in the photo. Will definitely use less next time.

  • Helena

    This is delicious – thank you. Found I needed a little less than 2T water, otherwise the filling didn’t want to stay inside the bread.

  • Christine

    So delicious!!! I’m never buying store bought cinnamon bread again! Thanks for the super detailed instructions, they were very helpful!

  • Nicole M.

    The step by step directions were so helpful! I was able to make this bread using a lactose free butter substitute (my husband is lactose intolerant) and it turned out perfectly! My swirl was a little gooey initially, but once it cooled completely, it was solid. I haven’t had a bad recipe from this blog! : )

  • AmyT

    Yes this is delicious!! It takes a bit of work, but it’s fun actually :) I read some of the comments about the runny filling (potentially), and added only 1 TB of water. The filling was nice and thick and didn’t spill out when the bread was cut – I am very happy with the outcome. The only thing I would definitely recommend is to put the foil on right away (as opposed to half way through the baking time) because the top does get very brown after just 20 minutes. I will be making this again.

  • I had to leave a comment on this recipe- it’s a LOT of work but SO worth it! Delicious, and the instructions are fool proof! I followed the directions of other commenters & only used 1T of water- turned out fabulous! So glad I came across this gem!

  • I just made a double batch, and my loaves are almost ready to go into the oven. I can’t wait to eat some cinnamon raisin toast for breakfast! Like others have said, my filling was very runny using the full amount of water – it poured rather than sprinkled. I’m hoping it firms up a bit after cooking, or it’ll be some sticky bread. The dough is awesome to work with though – I’ll definitely make this bread again, and modify the filling a bit. Thanks, Annie!


    Everything went fine until I took it out of the oven- I forgot about putting the tin foil on the pan midway through so it as a little too dark for my liking. The biggest issue was the filling leaked everywhere and acted like glue in the pan- I practically mutilated the bread getting it onto my cooling rack :-(. It still tasted good though, so I will try again but I won’t be adding the water to the cinnamon sugar mixture.

  • Brieanne Childers

    I’ve made this an embarrassing amount of times and it always turns out great. (Using the full 2T in the filling every time and it works beautifully) If you look at the picture it’s supposed to be a little runny…that’s part of the reason it’s so good. This is not your average store bought loaf of bread with a dry cinnamon swirl. This is decadent. And tomorrow morning it’s going to be the star in what I hope is the most amazing french toast ever.

  • Conga815

    Hello! Just made this awesome recipe on Sunday morning and it came out wonderful. Out of curiosity, would I be able to made the dough ahead of time and freeze it to bake on another day?

  • annieseats

    I recommend freezing the finished product rather than the dough itself. See the FAQ page for more info on freezing. So glad you enjoyed this!