Cinnamon Vanilla Swirl Bread

When I was growing up, there were only 2 types of toast I would eat on a regular basis.

1. Cheese toast.

2. Cinnamon-sugar toast.


I had a certain way of making each one, too. Maybe I’m a little OCD about certain things, but it worked for me. And variety wasn’t something I was looking for: I wanted things I knew were good, and that was it.

The cheese toast was simple: 1 slice of bread, 1 slice of cheese. First, I would toast it on low in the toaster oven to get it warm and start melting the cheese. Then I would toast it again on medium/high to get it bubbling and the edges of the cheese brown. A little bit (or a lot of bit) of burn on the edges? That was my favorite part!


I had a routine with my cinnamon toast, too. I’d slather a piece of bread with butter, sprinkle on some cinnamon + sugar and pop it in the toaster on low until the bread was warm and the sugar was starting to melt into the butter. And then it would get one more sprinkle of cinnamon + sugar after coming out of the toaster.



But sometimes it’s nice to have your cinnamon and sugar IN the bread already. It’s a little less work on busy mornings, and it means I can top my “cinnamon sugar” toast with extra butter or jam or almond butter without making a sugary mess.


I have a love / hate relationship with baking bread.

For every recipe I try, I have at least one trial that completely flops before the one that works. It’s frustrating, but it makes me want fresh out of the oven bread even more.


My first trial of this recipe last week? Failure in every sense. Not a good balance of flours, it didn’t rise as much as I wanted…I didn’t even bake it. That’s how bad it looked – I knew it wouldn’t work.

So, back to the cutting board I went! I remembered how well my second attempt at orange rolls worked and decided to work from that recipe. Turns out orange rolls and cinnamon bread aren’t far apart in terms of what you want from the dough: soft and fluffy, rich and flavorful.

When it comes to breads, I’ve had to learn to just roll with whatever happens. And for me, that usually means failing a few times before having a successful loaf.

But the best thing about homemade bread? It never matters what it looks like, because it always tastes delicious.


Cinnamon Vanilla Swirl Bread

  • 3 tsp yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk, warmed
  • 1/2 cup water, warmed
  • 1/4 cup orange juice, warmed
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour

Vanilla Cinnamon Sugar Filling:

  • 1 Tbsp neutral oil (canola, safflower, or coconut will work well)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt

Combine the flour, yeast, and sugar in a stand mixer or large bowl.

Add in salt, milk, water, orange juice, melted butter and mix with dough hook or mixer (or your hands) until combined.

Let mix 5-10 minutes (or hand knead) until dough is smooth, elastic, and a little sticky. If it’s too wet and sticky, add in more flour, a little at a time, until the dough stays together when you pick it up.

Put dough in an oiled bowl and let it rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled (about an hour).

Once the dough has doubled, punch down and roll out into a rectangle on a floured surface.

Mix the vanilla cinnamon filling mixture together and spread out on the dough.

Roll up the dough (starting with a short side so it will fit in your loaf pan).

Seal the edges of the loaf and place in a greased loaf pan.

Place in a warm place and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes – 1 hour.

Turn oven on to 350 degrees.

Bake 35-45 minutes or until golden on top and it sounds hollow when you tap on the loaf.


  1. I used to LOVE cinnamon sugar toast as a kiddo!! So good :) This looks amazing- I love the addition of the vanilla flavor. Don’t you hate when you get dough all prepped up and you can tell by the …lack of rising, that its just going to turn out to be a brick? bah! Glad your second attempt was a winner!

    • yeah, the failures make me so sad. But it definitely helps when you have some that turn out :)

  2. I love cinnamon swirl bread. It was a major craving of mine while I was pregnant. I have to say that I’m impressed with how much experimenting you are doing in the kitchen! :)

  3. I love cinnamon bread like this (and was a huge fan of cinnamon sugar toast as a kid- still am!)! My very favorite part was the insanely sugary icing that peeled off the crust. Now I just load mine up with butter. Sigh.

  4. i adore homemade cinnamon bread! It taste amazing and make your home feel so ‘home-y’. this recipe looks great brandi.

  5. Mmm, I love cinnamon toast, too. This cinnamon swirl bread looks delicious, and I love that is whole wheat flour. Yum!

  6. I’m very bread illiterate — which type of yeast for this recipe?

    • active dry yeast, or rapid rise – either will work great! As long as you have a warm spot to let it rise, it should be good :)

  7. What a gorgeous bread! Cinnamon swirl bread is one of my favorites, but I love your addition of vanilla. I think I’d take it one step further and use a little vanilla bean paste, too. Thanks for sharing and stopping by my blog, Brandi!

  8. YUM! I love love LOVE Cinnamon bread! I love the addition of the vanilla! Sounds fabulous! :)

  9. this looks amazing. confession: i bookmarked it just based on the title :) can’t wait to try!

  10. Good work! :) [And now can you figure out how to get crispy, perfectly toasted-not-quite-burnt, into an easy bread creation?]

  11. This will be fun to make with my kids, they love helping in the kitchen and licking their fingers. This is a perfect recipe for that!

  12. It looks so good. I love making bread with whole wheat flour. I sometimes need a second time with bread too. See you Thursday!

  13. This bread looks amazing! I’m glad to hear it worked the second time around :-)

  14. The cinnamon swirl bread is perfect! There is nothing quite like the aroma of homemade bread!

  15. Well, the Orange Rolls ROCKED! So I’ve got this recipe printed out and ready to try too. Yummo! :-)

  16. I love the addition of vanilla – yum! I already added this to my “must make” list. :)

  17. Homemade bread *is* always the tastiest, no matter what it looks like, but your loaf is gorgeous too! Love the cinnamon swirl!

  18. I’ve been wanting to make cinnamon raisin swirl bread but haven’t had the need (our freezer is too full of bread right now!). glad yours turned out–it looks perfect :)

  19. i certainly loved cinn swirl bread and picked it up recently when i was sick since that’s what sounded good :) must try to make this!!

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