Swirled Cinnamon Raisin Bread

This Swirled Cinnamon Raisin Bread is soft and sweet with plenty of warm spice flavor. Because the dough is made with milk and butter the bread stays fresh for days. And it makes the most amazing French Toast.

A slice of warm raisin bread schmeared with butter is like a comforting hug. The soft and luscious crumb, the beautiful swirl of cinnamon sugar, bursts of sweet raisins – it’s pure comfort food.

Even better, the dough comes together easily and the recipe can be adapted to your schedule.

You can mix and bake the bread all in one day and it will still be soft and delicious the next day.

You can also hold the dough in the refrigerator then shape and bake it in the morning to enjoy it fresh from the oven for breakfast. (See the timeline and FAQ sections below for more information.)

Oh, If you maintain a sourdough starter, you can click over to this recipe for Sourdough Raisin Cinnamon Bread.

A timeline for making Raisin Bread from scratch:

  • If you plan to bake the same day, start the sponge early in the morning. The sponge develops the gluten in the dough which will help hold in the raisins and allow the dough to rise beautifully.
  • If you start the dough in the morning your bread should be ready to bake by early afternoon.
  • To start your bread the day before, start mixing the dough late in the afternoon or early evening.
  • Let the dough rise 1x then knead the dough and return it to the bowl.
  • Cover the dough tightly and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
  • The next morning you can shape the loaf and set it aside to rise. The rising time will be a bit longer if the dough is cold from the refrigerator.

Scroll through the process photos to see how to make the best Raisin Bread:

two bowls of batter.
Make the “sponge” and set it aside for 30-60 minutes. This helps develop the gluten in the dough.
Bread dough with raisins
Knead the raisins into the dough. The dough will be slightly sticky.
The same bowl of raisin bread dough before and after rising.
Set the dough aside to rise. This can be done overnight in the refrigerator.
A rectangle of raisin bread dough. A brush putting melted butter on raisin bread dough. And sprinkling cinnamon on raisin bread dough.
Roll the dough to a rectangle. Brush the dough with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Rolling raisin dough filled with cinnamon.
Roll the dough from the short side. Pinch the seam closed.
raisin bread dough before and after rising in the pan.
Set the dough aside to rise until it fills the pan.
A loaf of bread in a pan being brushed with melted butter.
Brush the dough with more melted butter as soon as it comes out of the oven.

FAQs for making homemade cinnamon swirl raisin bread:

Can I make the dough ahead of time and hold it in the refrigerator?

Yes. After the first rise the dough can be held in the refrigerator for 1 day.

Can I use brown sugar instead of granulated sugar to make the cinnamon sugar swirl?

Yes. You can use either brown or granulated sugar for the filling.

Can I shape the loaf and hold it in the refrigerator overnight?

I don’t recommend pre-shaping the loaf for this recipe. The cinnamon sugar swirl in the loaf can melt in the moist environment of the refrigerator. The melted sugar can leak out and cause the bread to stick to the pan.

How long does homemade cinnamon raisin bread last?

Because the dough is enriched with milk, butter and a little sugar the bread will stay soft and fresh at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Should raisin bread be refrigerated?

No, raisin bread should not be refrigerated. The bread should be stored in a paper or plastic bag at room temperature for 2-3 days.

Can you freeze cinnamon raisin bread?

Yes. Slice the bread and store the sliced loaf in a freezer bag. Individual slices can go straight from the freezer to the toaster.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

Print Recipe
4.44 from 16 reviews

Cinnamon Raisin Bread Recipe

This Swirled Cinnamon Raisin Bread is soft and sweet with plenty of warm cinnamon flavor! Because it's made with milk and butter, the bread stays fresh for days.
Prep Time30 minutes
Bake Time40 minutes
Rising Time2 hours
Total Time3 hours 5 minutes
16 slices
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Ingredients

  • 12 oz whole milk (1 ½ cups)
  • 4 oz unsalted butter (divided)
  • 4 oz granulated sugar (divided)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 15 oz all purpose flour (3 cups, see note)
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon (divided)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 5 oz raisins (1 cup)

Instructions

  • Warm the milk in the microwave to about 110°F. Stir 2 tablespoons of the butter into the warm milk to melt.
    12 oz whole milk
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, combine the milk, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, the yeast and 2 cups of the flour. Mix to form a loose batter. Cover the bowl and set the sponge aside for 30-60 minutes.
    2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast, 15 oz all purpose flour
  • Uncover the bowl with the sponge. Add 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon and the salt. Stir to combine. Use the dough hook if working on a stand mixer.
    1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • With the mixer running, slowly add the remaining flour until the dough gathers on the hook and clears the sides of the bowl. If mixing by hand, stir in as much flour as you can then turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead in the remaining flour. Knead for about 5 minutes to develop the gluten in the dough.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Knead the raisins into the dough then form it into a smooth ball. If the dough is very sticky sprinkle a little more flour as you knead.
    5 oz raisins
  • Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning once to coat the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot to rise for about 1-1.5 hours hours, until doubled in size. (At this point the dough can be refrigerated overnight and continue with shaping the loaf in the morning.)
  • Melt the remaining butter. Lightly brush a 9"x 5" loaf pan with some of the melted butter. Combine the remaining granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
    4 oz unsalted butter, 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 4 oz granulated sugar
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll it into a 8"x16" rectangle. Brush the dough with melted butter then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Roll the dough from the short side to form a log. Pinch the seam to form a tight seal.
  • Set the dough into the pan, seam side down, brush the top of the loaf with melted butter and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place and rise until the dough fills the pan and comes about 1" over the top, about 1 hour (may take a little longer if the dough had been refrigerated).
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake about 40 minutes until golden brown and the interior temp is 200°F.
  • As soon as the pan comes out of the oven, brush the top of the loaf with melted butter. If any raisins on the surface look burnt you can pluck them off the loaf. Cool in the pan about 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Finish cooling to room temperature before slicing,

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Notes

If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 215kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 230mg | Potassium: 137mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 213IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg
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19 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Perfect delicious addictive recipe just as it is. Needs no adjustments. Easy and delicious!! Thank you so much for sharing. It’s my personal fav

  2. 5 stars
    I absolutely loved this recipe!! First time ever making Cinnamon Raisin Bread or any bread from scratch really..but thankfully it was a hit! Definitely will be making this again for the holidays, eating it warm in the morning is the best!

  3. 5 stars
    This bread was delicious! Definitely a keeper in my recipe binder. I should’ve followed you directions and started it earlier in the morning lol. Because it does take some time but I’ll be ready next time. It went great with my early Sunday morning breakfast. Thank you!

  4. Quick question please…do the raisins need to be soaked before adding? Thank you! I’m trying this soon!!

    1. I don’t think soaking the raisins is necessary as long as your raisins are fairly fresh. If you’ve got older. very dried-out raisins you could certainly soak them.

  5. I have a question, you say in step 6 to “Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot to rise for about 1-1.5 hours hours, until doubled in size. (At this point the dough can be refrigerated overnight and continue with shaping the loaf in the morning.)”. Does this have to be refrigerated?

    1. No. You can refrigerate the dough if you want to shape and bake it in the morning. Otherwise you can shape and bake the same day. If you read through the FAQ section there are more answers about the process.

  6. This looks delicious and wondered how it would bake & taste with a layer of marzipan on top of the cinnamon sugar before rolling? Your thoughts please.

  7. The recipe calls for 12 oz of milk, but then states it’s one cup. Is this a misprint, or is there something I need to learn about baking measurements? Thanks!

      1. I’m not sure the 1 1/2 cups of milk is correct. I used a mixer and doubled the recipe. 3 cups milk, 6 cups flour total. I must have added 1 1/2 cups more because it won’t be able to rolled out. It is rising, don’t know what to do.

          1. I always dip and sweep. After it rose, I sprinkled a lot of flour onto the counter and it all worked out. They are doing their last rise and I can’t wait to bake and try it. Thanks for replying so quickly.

  8. I didn’t see any sourdough starter in this recipe and I thought in the description there would be. I’ve used your other recipes and they are delicious.

    1. @Nancy, Oops, I just went all the way back and saw the link to the sourdough recipe, sorry, guess I was in too big a hurry.

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