Homemade cinnamon swirl bread is easy to make using a prepared loaf of bake-and-serve bread or your favorite white bread recipe. Raisins, brown sugar, and cinnamon combine for a sweet cinnamon filling in this soft and fluffy swirl bread recipe. Using an already-prepared loaf of white bread dough makes this recipe a snap! You’ll have the spicy fragrance of warm cinnamon bread on your table in no time at all!
When I was a young child, sitting on the three-legged stool at my grandmother’s kitchen table, I was fascinated by the whole bread-making process – you know, the proofing, kneading, waiting, shaping, rising, waiting, and baking. And then finally the prize! A freshly baked loaf of warm bread straight from the oven slathered in butter and homemade jam!
As I grew older and had typical adult responsibilities, obligations, and time restraints, I became less enamored with the whole laborious bread-making operation – but never lost my love for a freshly baked homemade loaf of bread!
Luckily, in our modern society, we have the machines, methods, and products to make the whole bread-making process go a little quicker and easier, conserving our precious time.
Bread machines are a wonderful invention! I can make a bread machine recipe with little effort and just a tiny amount of patience. Using a commercially prepared bake-and-serve loaf is another terrific time saver!
In fact, you can make all sorts of fancy rolls and breads like this yummy easy homemade cinnamon bread recipe or this fun Christmas Swirl Loaf using a loaf of bake-and-serve bread!
The ingredients you are going to need to make your own loaf of cinnamon swirl bread:
- 1 loaf bake-and-serve bread – Most bake-and-serve loaves typically found in grocery stores include dairy as an ingredient. If you are one of my vegan readers, you know that is a “no-go”. Rhodes Bake-N-Serve bread dough is known to be “accidentally vegan” – meaning there are no overt animal products found in the ingredients. Please be aware though that there are a couple of problematic ingredients listed that may not jive with your ethics. Though there is no dairy in the ingredients, for allergy purposes, the factory does use dairy in some of its products, therefore, there is potential for cross-contamination. The ingredients also list sugar and enzymes from unknown sources. If this does not work for you then you can always make your own loaf of white bread. Consider this delicious bread machine vegan white bread. Simply use the dough setting, remove the dough from the bread machine, and follow the directions found in the recipe card below.
- melted coconut oil – I have not noticed any coconutty taste using extra virgin coconut oil – but there might be a subtle flavor. If the flavor of coconut oil bothers you then use refined coconut oil. You can also use your favorite melted vegan butter for an extra buttery flavor.
- brown sugar – I use light brown sugar. You can substitute it with dark brown sugar. You may also substitute with coconut sugar. Keep in mind that brown sugar is packed and coconut sugar is not. I’d add an extra tablespoon of coconut sugar if you use it.
- ground cinnamon
- raisins – You can use dark or golden raisins. I personally like the aesthetics of golden raisins.
How to make this easy cinnamon swirl loaf
The exact ingredients with measurements can be found in the recipe card below along with more concise abbreviated instructions. Read on for more details, tips, and tricks so that you will feel confident making this recipe.
First step: Prep the bread dough
Are you going to use a prepared Rhodes Bake-N-Serve loaf? If it comes frozen you will need to thaw your prepared loaf. Follow the package directions to set the frozen loaf in the refrigerator for 8-16 hours. I have found that overnight thawing works best. I have also discovered that I can leave the thawed bread dough in my refrigerator (tightly wrapped) for a full day with no problems. This thawing time is not included in the prep time below.
Bring the thawed loaf closer to room temperature by setting it on the counter for about 30 minutes right before preparing the rolled swirl bread.
Are you going to make your own bread dough? I suggest this super tasty and easy bread machine white bread recipe. Simply use the “dough” setting on your bread machine. Remove the prepared dough when it has gone through the cycle and proceed with the preparation and rising directions below. Again, this is not included in the prep time.
Are you a wheat bread person? I think a light wheat bread recipe would work very well too. Keep in mind that the Rhodes Bake-N-Serve loaf is going to produce a very light and fluffy baked loaf. Any homemade bread recipe will be more hearty and solid (less light and fluffy).
During the last few minutes bringing the prepared loaf to room temperature (or processing the dough in the bread machine), grease a loaf pan with vegetable shortening. I’ve also used a parchment paper lined loaf pan and it works great as well.
Next step: prep the filling
Melt the coconut oil in the microwave if it isn’t already softened and spreadable. The coconut oil does not have to be totally melted but softened enough to spread.
Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Set the mixture aside while you are shaping and preparing the dough. Don’t mix the raisins in with the sugar mixture. You will start to (somewhat) work the raisins into the dough in the next step.
Next: Shape, fill, and roll the bread loaf
Place the thawed dough onto a clean floured surface. I find it easy to work on floured parchment paper. Stretch or roll the dough into a flat rectangular shape. The rectangle should be as long as the bread pan is long (less an inch or two).
While stretching the dough into the rectangle, sprinkle the raisins on and try to work a few into the dough. Most will remain on the surface and that’s okay. Just press them in a little bit.
Brush the melted coconut on top of the rectangle. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture in an even layer on top of the coconut-oiled dough.
Time to roll!
Roll tightly starting at the shortest edge of the rectangle. Once it is all rolled up, tuck the edges underneath. It is important that you roll the loaf tightly, or you will end up with big spaces or air packets between the rolls. Honestly, sometimes despite my best efforts, I still have air pockets in my finished cinnamon loaf. It still tastes great though!
Final steps: The final rising and the baking
Now place the rolled loaf, seam side down in the prepared bread pan. Cover the rolled loaf lightly with plastic wrap or with a damp cloth. Place the covered loaf in a draft-free warmish area of your kitchen and allow it to rise until it’s doubled in size. This will take 45-60 minutes.
During the last 20-30 minutes of rise time, situate your oven shelves so that you have room to bake the bread without it touching the top of the oven, and preheat your oven to 350°.
How do you know that your cinnamon loaf is ready to bake?
You can do the poke test to tell if a loaf of bread has fully risen enough to pop in the oven. Read this article by The Perfect Loaf on performing the poke test to see if your loaf is ready to bake.
Give the loaf a gentle poke. If it is ready for the oven, the bread should spring back slowly and completely fill in. If it springs back too quickly then it needs a little bit more time!
Bake the bread for as few as 20-25 minutes (if using Rhodes Bake-N-Serve bread) or up to 30-35 minutes if you are using your own bread recipe. I first check my loaf at 20 minutes and then every five-seven minutes after that. It should be nice and browned when it’s done. If you lift it gently, you’ll see that the bottom is cooked and not still doughy.
the final final step: Cooling and enjoying!
Okay true confession time: I can’t ever wait for my bread loaf to cool enough before slicing into it. Sadly, this makes for a squished loaf of bread!
Please have patience I don’t have to properly cool your cinnamon loaf in the pan for 30 minutes and then continue cooling until it’s completely cooled and ready to slice. Boo… sorry.
But trust me, there is nothing tastier than freshly baked bread sliced (and not smooshed) slathered in butter (have you tried whipped maple cinnamon butter?!?), pear butter, or peach butter with pineapple and amaretto!
This bread is best served and consumed the day it is baked. If you have leftovers then tightly cover them with plastic. It might be good for a couple of days.
The printable recipe card
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Easy Vegan Cinnamon Swirl Bread
- 1 loaf bake and serve bread
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil melted
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup raisins
- Thaw a one-pound loaf of bake-and-serve bread if not already thawed. (Thawing time is not included in the prep time.) I place one in a large baggy in the refrigerator overnight. Bring it closer to room temperature by setting it on the counter for about 30 minutes before making the bread. Please see the notes if you choose to make your own bread recipe.
- Grease a 9 x5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray or vegetable shortening. Or line the pan with a sheet of parchment paper,
- Make sure your loaf is fully thawed. I set it out on the counter for about 30 minutes to bring it to room temperature. This time is included in the prep time.
- While the loaf is finishing the last few minutes of thawing melt the coconut oil in the microwave and mix the brown sugar, and cinnamon together. Set the mixture aside while you are shaping the dough.
- Place the thawed dough onto a clean floured surface. I find it easy to work on parchment paper Stretch or roll the dough into a large rectangular shape. While stretching the dough into the rectangle, sprinkle the raisins in and try to work a few into the dough. They will likely mostly remain on the surface and that's okay.
- Brush the melted coconut on top of the rectangle. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture in an even layer on top of the oiled dough.
- Roll tightly starting at the shortest edge. Once it is all rolled up, tuck the edges underneath. Place seam side down in the prepared loaf pan. See notes for a rolling hint.
- Cover with a damp cloth or lightly with plastic wrapping and allow to rise until doubled. This will take about 45-60 minutes.
- While the bread is rising, preheat the oven to 350° and place the rack in the center position.
- Uncover the loaf. Check the top with your fingers. If there is a big bubble just below the surface, use a knife to puncture it or it will create a big bubble in the swirl when baking. If you want a softer crust, brush with a bit of plant milk before baking.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until deep golden brown and firm. Allow for cooling in the pan for at least 30 minutes before removing from the pan and cooling completely. See notes for baking time if you are using your own loaf of bread dough.
- I personally can't resist a nice warm slice of bread straight from the oven. The bread will slice better however if you allow for complete cooling.
- This bread is best served and consumed the day it is baked. If you have leftovers then tightly cover them with plastic. It might be good for a couple of days.