Swirled Cinnamon Raisin Bread (2 Ways)

A slice of warm swirled cinnamon raisin bread slathered with butter is the perfect addition to your breakfast! This bread is soft, fluffy, and loaded with cinnamon and juicy raisins. The ultimate comfort food!

swirled cinnamon raisin bread with two slices and a loaf

This swirled cinnamon raisin bread is a favorite in our family, especially for breakfast! It’s absolutely delicious toasted and generously buttered! I also love pulling back the layers while eating it!

It has plump, juicy raisins and a cinnamon sugar filling swirling inside! The dough is slightly sweet and mildly spiced with a soft, pillowy texture!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE:

  • It’s really versatile and straightforward. I’ll guide you through each step with a picture tutorial.
  • It can be made completely by hand or with a stand mixer. So if you like kneading by hand, you can easily do so. If you want the stand mixer to do all the work, you can do that, too! I’ve made it using both methods.
  • It may take a while to make this raisin bread, but it’s SO simple and totally worth the extra effort.

TWO WAYS TO MAKE THIS AMAZING SWIRLED CINNAMON RAISIN BREAD

I love making this raisin bread 2 different ways, with 2 different versions of the filling!

One is made with butter and the other is made with light vegetable oil. I also use granulated sugar for one filling and dark brown sugar for the other.

Each filling creates  a slightly different flavor and texture! The one with butter is lighter and not as sweet. The one with the vegetable oil is a bit denser and sweeter and creates a luscious, moist center that’s reminiscent of my cinnamon rolls. Both fillings are provided in the recipe card below.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How many loaves does this recipe make?

With this recipe, you can either make 1 large loaf or 2 smaller loaves. I usually make 2 smaller loaves so that I can store one in the freezer.

How do you keep the cinnamon swirl raisin bread soft?

To keep the bread soft, you need to store it airtight. I always store it in plastic wrap. Then I put it in the refrigerator or the freezer.

Can you freeze cinnamon swirl raisin bread?

Yes!  You can either wrap the entire loaf in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container, or slice it and individually wrap each slice. You can put each frozen slice directly in the toaster, or you can thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and then put it in the toaster.

A NOTE ABOUT PROOFING YEAST

You need to warm the milk to a temperature between  105° F – 115° F (40°C – 46°C). To test if the temperature is right without using a thermometer, the milk should feel comfortably warm on your wrist, but not hot. If it’s too hot, it’ll kill the yeast! If you kill the yeast, it won’t proof and the dough will not rise.

Once you get the right temperature, add the yeast and a teaspoon of sugar and stir it. The sugar acts like food for the yeast, which will activate it. Then let it sit for about 10 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the mixture becomes foamy and bubbly (see step 1 – the picture on the right in the tutorial below).

If after 10 minutes your mixture doesn’t get foamy, it means that it hasn’t proofed. It could be because the yeast has expired. In any case, if the yeast hasn’t proofed, you’ll have to start all over again.

HOW TO MAKE CINNAMON SWIRL RAISIN BREAD

For this picture tutorial, I’ll show you how to make this recipe by hand. Instructions for using a stand mixer will be included in the printed recipe card.

how to proof the yeast before and after

mix the wet and dry ingredients and knead the dough

grease bowl and dough and let it rise

roll out dough, fill, roll up and place in pan

Then you just uncover the dough and bake it.

a loaf of swirled cinnamon raisin bread in a bread pan

TOP TIP TO HELP THE DOUGH RISE FASTER

Before starting, turn the oven on for a few minutes (at 140°F / 60°C ) and then turn it off and wait a few minutes before adding the dough. This creates a nice, warm environment, allowing the dough to rise faster. Keep in mind that rising times will depend on a lot of factors, like the type of flour you use and how warm and humid your environment is.

swirled raisin bread

MAKE-AHEAD OPTIONS 

You can make this recipe ahead of time for freshly-baked cinnamon raisin bread for breakfast!

Just prepare the dough and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Then cover it loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight, but don’t put it into the pan(s) because it will rise too much and overflow.

In the morning, roll out the dough, add the filling and shape. Then place it in the pan(s) and let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before baking.

Allowing the dough to rise in the fridge overnight really allows all the flavors to develop!

VARIATIONS

  • Soak a few raisins in cognac, rum, bourbon, or whisky and then drain them before kneading them into the dough. Delicious!
  • Add some chopped walnuts or pecans to the filling for a little texture.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • Measure the flour properly. If your dough is a bit sticky or too wet, add some flour, but only a tablespoon at a time, until it’s pliable or no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl in the stand mixer.
  • Make sure you proof the yeast properly. The yeast mixture needs to be foamy; that means it’s alive and active (see picture tutorial above).
  • Kneading the raisins into the dough helps them stick to the bread better rather than just putting them in the filling.
  • I like to oil the bowl and the dough when preparing it for the first rise. Whenever I do this, I don’t need to flour my work surface or the rolling pin! The dough does NOT stick at all! This is important because adding too much flour can make the bread crumbly and dry, rather than soft and fluffy!
  • The thinner you roll out the dough, the more ooey-gooey, cinnamony-crazy swirls you’ll have inside when you roll it up!
  • Lining the pan(s) with overlapping parchment paper makes cleanup a lot easier because you just lift the bread out of the pan when it’s done. Of course, instead of using parchment paper, you could just lightly grease the pan(s) before adding the dough. Both work fine.
  • Brushing the top with butter as soon as it comes out of the oven makes the crust softer.

swirled raisin bread loaf with one slice

HOW TO ENJOY SWIRLED CINNAMON RAISIN BREAD 

  • Slice it: Enjoy it plain, as it is, or add some cream cheese. You could also drizzle some honey or maple syrup over it.
  • Freeze it: I always freeze individual slices. Whenever Iwant a slice, I just take it out of the freezer, put it in the toaster, and then butter it.
  • A Perfect breakfast: Serve it warm, fresh out of the oven!  It is so good with coffee!!!
  • Leftovers: If you have any leftovers, just make French toast with it. OMG!!! It’s DIVINE!

MORE BREAKFAST RECIPES!

Let me know how this Swirled Cinnamon Raisin Bread turns out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

Swirled Cinnamon Raisin Bread (2 Ways)

A slice of warm swirled cinnamon raisin bread slathered with butter is the perfect addition to your breakfast! This bread is soft, fluffy, and loaded with cinnamon and juicy raisins. The ultimate comfort food!
Prep Time2 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time3 hrs 30 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: swirled, cinnamon, raisin, bread, homemade,
Servings: 1 large loaf or 2 small loaves

Equipment

  • one or two 9 x 5 inch (23 X 13 cm) bread loaf pans

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 1 cup (250 ml) milk
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 standard packet)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup (56 g / 2 oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 ½ cups (444 g / 15.7 oz) all-purpose flour (plus up to ½ cup extra for kneading)
  • 1 cup raisins (about 150 g / 5.3 oz)
  • 1-2 tablespoons light vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (to spread on baked loaves

For the cinnamon sugar filling* (OR See the NOTE below for a sweeter, denser & really moist filling)

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg

Instructions

Prep the pan(s)

  • Line the pan(s) with overlapping parchment paper. Alternatively, generously grease the pan(s) with vegetable oil. Set aside.

Proof the yeast

  • Warm the milk to a temperature between  105° F –115° F (40°C – 46°C). Stir in the yeast and a teaspoon of sugar. Let it proof for about 10 minutes until it’s foamy.

Make the dough

  • In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the beaten egg, melted butter, sugar, and salt. Add the proofed yeast mixture and mix.
  • Add the flour, a little at a time, and stir with a wooden spoon. If using a stand mixer, use the dough hook and mix on medium speed.
  • Add the raisins and mix.

Knead the dough

  • Knead the dough for 10 minutes. You can either do this by hand on a floured surface or with the stand mixer (using the dough hook) on medium speed. Add enough flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough is pliable or doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl.

Let the dough rise

  • Lightly grease a bowl with oil. Add the dough and coat it with some oil, too. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise until it’s doubled in size (1-2 hours).

Roll out the dough

  • If you want 2 loaves, divide the dough in half. Then roll it out into a rectangle (about 9 X 20 inches / 23 X 50 cm).

Add the filling* & roll up the dough

  • Brush the dough with the melted butter. Then sprinkle the surface with the sugar and spices. Roll up the dough, pinch the ends, and tuck them under.

Let the dough rise a 2nd time & then bake

  • Place the dough seam side down into the prepared bread pan(s). Cover with plastic wrap and then a clean towel and let it rise again for 30 minutes.
  • About 15 minutes before the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375 °F / 190 °C. 
  • Uncover the dough and bake it for 35-45 minutes or until it’s golden brown on the top.
  • Remove the bread from the oven and immediately spread the top with the butter. Allow it to cool in the pan(s) for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove the bread from the pan(s) and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing it.
  • Store covered at room temperature for up to 4 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week. The baked loaves can be frozen for up to 2 months.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

* For a sweeter, denser and really moist filling, mix the following together and spread it on the rolled out dough:
2 ½  tablespoons light vegetable oil 
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
a pinch of ground nutmeg
MAKE-AHEAD OPTIONS 
Allowing the dough to rise in the fridge overnight really allows all the flavors to develop! For freshly-baked cinnamon raisin bread for breakfast, prepare the dough and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Then cover it loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight, but don’t put it into the pan(s) because it will rise too much and overflow. 
In the morning, roll out the dough, add the filling, and shape. Then place it in the pan(s) and let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before baking. 
FREEZING OPTIONS
You can either wrap the entire loaf in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer bag or freezer-safe container, or slice it and individually wrap each slice. You can put each frozen slice directly in the toaster, or you can thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and then put it in the toaster.
Adapted from https://inthekitchenwithmatt.com/cinnamon-raisin-bread
© Pastry Wishes

THE BEST CINNAMON ROLLS FROM SCRATCH (+ Make-ahead Options)

What could be better than a warm, gooey batch of homemade cinnamon rolls? These cinnamon rolls are super soft, pillowy, fluffy and moist – simply the BEST cinnamon rolls from scratch!

Cinnamon Rolls

I love making cinnamon rolls! There’s something therapeutic about kneading the dough by hand and watching it rise!

If you haven’t made cinnamon rolls at home before, don’t feel intimidated! It really isn’t complicated at all. I think the most difficult part is waiting for them to cool down when they come out of the oven!

And the amazing aroma that fills the kitchen…OMG, pure bliss!

This recipe is straightforward with plenty of tips. I also offer a few make-ahead options, too.

How to Make the Best Cinnamon Rolls from Scratch in 8 Easy Steps:

STEP 1: WARM THE OVEN

This is a simple trick I use if I want the dough to rise faster. I turn the oven on for a few minutes (at 140° F / 60° C ) and then turn it off and wait a few minutes before adding the dough. This creates a nice, warm environment for the dough, allowing it to rise faster.

STEP 2: MAKE & KNEAD THE DOUGH

Simple, basic ingredients is all you need for the dough: flour, yeast, sugar, salt, milk, butter & 1 egg. You can use a stand mixer or knead by hand for about 5 minutes. I love kneading by hand!

STEP 3: LET THE DOUGH RISE

Put the dough in a greased, oven-proof bowl & place it in the warm oven to rise (about 1 – 1 ½ hours).

STEP 4: MAKE THE FILLING

Mix the softened butter, sugar, and cinnamon together.

STEP 5: ROLL OUT & CUT THE DOUGH

After the dough has risen, lightly grease your work surface with oil and roll out the dough into a rectangle. Spread the dough with the cinnamon sugar filling and then tightly roll it up, starting from the bottom. Cut into 10 – 12 pieces, (the number of pieces will depend on how large your rectangle is).

STEP 6: LET THE DOUGH RISE A SECOND TIME

Place the pieces in a pan, about 2 inches (5 cm) apart and let them rise again (for about half an hour). They should have doubled in size.

STEP 7: BAKE

Preheat the oven to 356° F / 180 °C. Bake for about 20 – 30 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and puffy. Then let them cool for about 15 minutes.

STEP 8: MAKE THE GLAZE 

Mix the powdered sugar with some milk or water, adding more liquid if necessary. Drizzle over the cooled rolls.

cinnamon rolls

THREE WAYS TO MAKE THE FILLING:

  • Spread room temperature butter on the dough. Then add the cinnamon sugar & spices.
  • Melt the butter and brush it on the dough. Then add the cinnamon sugar & spices.
  • Mix room temperature butter with the cinnamon sugar & spices and then spread it on the dough using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.

MAKE-AHEAD OPTIONS

There are different ways you can easily make these cinnamon rolls in advance, just make sure they are tightly covered so they don’t dry out.

Want freshly-baked, warm cinnamon rolls in the morning?

Put the rolls in a pan, cover, and refrigerate overnight (you don’t need to wait to let them rise first). The next day, you’ll see that they have risen nicely! Let them rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes (you can do this while preheating your oven). Then uncover them and bake as directed.

Want to save the cinnamon rolls and bake them later?

Here are 2 easy ways and you don’t need to let them rise first!

  • In a pan: Tightly wrap the entire pan with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and freeze. If your pan has a lid, make sure it’s tightly covered.
  • Individual rolls: Place some rolls on a baking sheet and then put them in the freezer until they are frozen (a few hours). Then take them out and tightly wrap each one in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag or freezer container.

Cinnamon rolls can be frozen for up to a month. To bake, let the rolls thaw at room temperature overnight and then bake as directed.

cinnamon rolls

Tips for perfect homemade cinnamon rolls

  • Use room temperature ingredients. They will be better incorporated in the dough, making it easier to work with.
  • Don’t kill the yeast. Make sure you proof the yeast properly (see my note below).
  • Measure the flour properly when you mix your dough. If your dough is a bit sticky & too wet, add some flour, but only a tablespoon at a time, until it’s pliable. If you don’t use enough flour, the dough will be too sticky and the cinnamon rolls will turn out dense. If you use too much flour, the cinnamon rolls could turn out dry and crumbly, not soft and fluffy! The dough should be a bit tacky, but not sticky.
  • Make sure the dough rises in a well-greased bowl. This will make it easier to remove. Also, keep in mind that rising times will depend on how warm and humid your kitchen is.
  • Grease your work surface before rolling out the dough instead of flouring it. I find that greasing the surface with some light vegetable oil is much better and makes the dough easier to work with.
  • Roll the dough tightly. This will help the rolls hold their shape when baking.
  • After cutting the rolls, give them plenty of space in your pan because they will need to rise a second time. Make sure they’re about 2 inches (5 cm) apart so that they rise evenly.
  • Let the baked cinnamon rolls cool before glazing them, otherwise the glaze melts to the bottom of the pan instead of staying on top of the rolls.

How to Proof Active Dry Yeast

  • Warm the milk. The temperature should roughly be between  105° F – 115° F (40°C – 46°C) degrees. To test if the temperature is right without a thermometer, the milk should feel comfortably warm on your wrist, not hot. If it’s too hot, it’ll kill the yeast! If the temperature is OK, add the yeast and a teaspoon of sugar and give it a little stir. The sugar acts like food for the yeast, which will activate it.
  • Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes. This will give the yeast enough time to feed on the sugar. You’ll know it’s ready when the mixture becomes foamy and bubbly. If the mixture hasn’t proofed, then your yeast might be old. If that’s the case, you’ll need to start over with yeast that hasn’t expired.

Homemade cinnamon rolls are best the same day they are baked, but if there are any left the following day, you could easily reheat them! Simply microwave them for about half a minute.

AMAZING TOPPINGS FOR CINNAMON ROLLS

Apart from the classic glaze and cream cheese frosting, these are some of my favorite toppings for cinnamon rolls:

  • Slather with butter as soon as they come out of the oven! OMG! The most delicious breakfast ever!
  • Drizzle some melted, dark chocolate over the warm cinnamon rolls.
  • Top with Greek yogurt, muesli and fruit.
  • Top with some whipped cream and sprinkle some cinnamon on top!
  • Top with a scoop of your favorite ice cream!
  • Spread some Nutella over them!
  • Pour some caramel sauce or homemade chocolate syrup on top!
  • Add some chopped apples and then drizzle with honey or pour some maple syrup over them.
  • Top with crushed mini pretzels (it sounds weird, but trust me; it’s incredible!)

I really hope you enjoy these cinnamon rolls!

~Voula

Let me know how these cinnamon rolls turned out for you in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!

THE BEST CINNAMON ROLLS FROM SCRATCH (+ Make-ahead Options)

What could be better than a warm, gooey batch of homemade cinnamon rolls? These cinnamon rolls are super soft, pillowy, fluffy and moist – simply very best cinnamon rolls from scratch!
Total Time3 hrs
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: best, breakfast, cinnamon rolls, from scratch, make-ahead options
Servings: 12 approximately

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 1¾ cup (200 ml / 6 fl oz) warm milk (105°F-115°F / 40°C – 46°C ) plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 packet (8 g / 0.28 oz / 1 ½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 beaten egg, at room temperature
  • 2 ½ -3 cups (328-381 g / 11.5 – 13.4 oz) all-purpose flour (+ 1-3 tablespoons more if needed)
  • 6 tablespoons (60 g / 2 oz) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g / 0.5 oz) melted butter

For the filling

  • 3 ½ tablespoons (50 gr / 3.5 oz) butter, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup (78 gr / 2.8 oz) packed brown sugar
  • 1  tablespoon ground cinnamon

For the glaze

  • 1 cup (120 g / 4.2 oz) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) milk (water works great, too!), use more as needed

Instructions

  • Warm the oven: Preheat the oven to 140°F / 60 ° C for a few minutes and then turn it off.
  • Proof the yeast: Add the yeast and a teaspoon of sugar to the warm milk and give it a little stir. Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy and bubbly.
  • Make the dough: Mix the flour, sugar and the salt. Set aside.
    In a large bowl, mix the yeast mixture together the beaten egg. Add the dry ingredients and mix until a soft dough forms, adding 1-3 tablespoons more flour if needed or if dough is too sticky. The dough should be a bit tacky, but not sticky.
    Knead the dough for about 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Add the melted butter and knead for another minute or so.
  • Let the dough rise*: Grease an oven-proof bowl and put the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap and then a clean kitchen towel and place it in the warm oven and let it rise for about 1 – 1 ½ hours.
  • Make the filling: Mix together the butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Roll out and cut the dough: After the dough has risen, lightly grease your work surface with a little oil and roll out the dough into a rectangle. Spread the dough with the filling and then tightly roll it up, starting from the bottom. Cut into 10 – 12 pieces, (the number of pieces will depend on how large your rectangle is).
  • Let the dough rise a second time: Place the pieces in a pan, about 2 inches (5 cm) apart and let them rise a second time (about 30 minutes). They should double in size.*
  • Bake: Preheat the oven to 180 °C / 355° F. Bake for about 20 – 30 minutes or until they’re golden brown and puffy. Then let them cool for about 15 minutes.
  • Make the glaze: Mix the powdered sugar with the milk, adding more if necessary. Drizzle over the cooled rolls.
  • Cover the cinnamon rolls tightly and store for up to 5 days in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

* Rising times will depend on how warm and humid your kitchen is.
For Overnight Cinnamon Rolls: Put the rolls in a pan, cover, and refrigerate overnight (you don’t need to wait to let them rise first). The next day, you’ll see that they have risen nicely! Let them rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes (you can do this while preheating your oven). Then uncover them and bake as directed. 
© Pastry Wishes