After you try a slice of this homemade cinnamon raisin bread, you’ll never want to buy it store-bought again. Every bite has the perfect cinnamon swirl with plenty of sweet raisins.
This is the perfect beginner recipe, with easy step-by-step guidance you’ll want to read in the post if you’re attempting this for the first time or have had failed loaves. For the seasoned baker, skim through the helpful tips or skip right to the recipe card.
Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Bread
There’s nothing quite like cinnamon bread fresh out of the oven making the entire house smell like a bakery.
When I met my husband back in 2000, he would make cinnamon raisin toast for himself upon returning home from our night class in graduate school.
And to this day, crispy, buttery cinnamon raisin bread dipped in cold white milk is still one of his favorite things to eat late at night -as well as our kids!
Here’s everything you need to make this recipe for cinnamon raisin bread:
- Milk: the wet ingredient that helps bind the dry ingredients.
- Warm water: to activate the yeast.
- Active dry yeast: you can find these in small packs in the baking aisle.
- Eggs: adds structure to the dough.
- White sugar: used in the dough and the cinnamon swirl filling.
- Salt: enhances all the cinnamon, sugar, and butter flavors.
- Unsalted butter: makes this bread super flavorful and moist.
- Raisins: any golden or regular raisins work here!
- All-purpose flour: creates a fluffy loaf of bread. You’ll need more for sprinkling.
- Cinnamon: makes this bread taste heavenly, and your house smell like a bake shop.
Is Cinnamon Raisin Bread Healthy?
This bread is a healthier choice than store-bought simply because it’s made without any preservatives and wholesome ingredients. That said, all cinnamon raisin bread recipes have sugar, so it’s definitely something to be enjoyed in moderation.
How to Make Cinnamon Raisin Bread
If this is your first attempt at making cinnamon raisin bread, you’re in good hands.
The directions below thoroughly explain each step, so you’ll achieve a golden brown loaf AND that perfect cinnamon swirl. They can be printed in the recipe card below, so let’s get started.
Warm the milk in the microwave or on the stove-top until it’s lukewarm (120-125F).
- Activate the yeast
Dissolve the yeast in warm water and set aside for 10 minutes until the mixture has “bloomed” (developed foam at the top).
- Combine the sugar and wet ingredients
Combine the eggs, sugar, butter, and salt in a stand mixer and use the paddle attachment to cream the mixture. Add the room temp milk and bloomed yeast, and mix slowly to combine.
- Make the dough
Add the flour and continue to mix until a dough has formed. Add the raisins and give it one last mix.
Lightly flour a clean kitchen counter or cutting board. Knead the dough on the floured surface until it’s smooth. If the dough is sticky, dust it with a little extra flour, just enough to fold over.
- Let it proof
Grease a large bowl with oil spray or butter and transfer the dough. Cover it with a damp kitchen towel and place it in the oven for 1 ½ hours until it has doubled in size.
- Roll it out
Transfer the dough onto the lightly floured surface and roll it out into a large rectangle about ½-inch thick and 8 to 9 inches long. Brush the surface with 2 tablespoons of milk or melted butter.
- Add the cinnamon sugar
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the mixture over the moistened dough.
- Roll it up
Roll the dough lengthwise, and transfer it into a greased 9 x 5-inch pan. Brush the top with melted butter. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, place the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350F. Bake the loaf for 45 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Smell the cinnamon
Remove the pan from the oven, and allow it to cool slightly before removing the bread from the pan. Once fully cooled, cut yourself a slice and enjoy!
Did I mention this bread also makes the best French toast ever? Well, I’m telling you now! Make sure you cut the slices thickly so the egg absorbs well and the bread doesn’t come out soggy.
Before heading to the kitchen, here are a few troubleshooting tips to help you navigate your way to the best cinnamon raisin bread!
How to Use Whole Wheat Flour
You can use some whole wheat flour in this recipe, up to 1 cup; any more than that, and the loaf will be VERY dense, and you’ll need to add vital wheat gluten (about 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons).
You could also bake this loaf in a 9-inch round cake pan and slice it the same way you would slice a boulle.
This can be tough, but allowing the dough to rise twice is a must and is the only way to ensure that the bread will properly rise. Plan accordingly.
Making More Than One Loaf
If you have some serious cinnamon bread lovers and want to make two loaves, I recommend measuring the ingredients twice in two separate batches.
When making bread, it’s not as easy as doubling all the ingredients and dividing the dough; this often results in a dense loaf or bread not rising properly.
If you’re a seasoned baker and are comfortable doubling the recipe and have a feel for dough consistency, by all means, I’ve often tripled the batch myself.
How to Freeze Cinnamon Raisin Bread
You can freeze cinnamon raisin bread for up to 2 months to extend its shelf life and for future enjoyment. Make sure to allow the bread to cool down completely before slicing and then placing the slices on a lined sheet pan, and once frozen, tranfer them into a freezer-safe zip bag.
When you’re ready for cinnamon raisin bread goodness, remove the bread from the freezer and let it thaw out for a few minutes before toasting.
You can also freeze whole, baked loaves of cinnamon raisin bread for up to 2 months inside a freezer bag. When ready, simply remove the loaf from the freezer into the fridge, and slice it as needed while consuming it within 3 days.
Cinnamon Raisin Bread Loaf Recipe
- ⅓ cup water, warm
- 1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup milk, warm
- ⅓ cup raisins
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, + more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon milk
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- In a measuring glass or cup, dissolve yeast in warm water and set it aside for about 10 minutes to bloom (for developing a ½ to 1 inch of foam at the top, the bloom)
- Meanwhile, to the bowl of your stand mixer, add the egg, sugar, butter, and salt, and using the paddle, cream well. Add the warm milk and the bloomed yeast and water mixture to the bowl, and combine.
- Slowly add the flour to the bowl while the mixer is on medium-low speed until a dough forms. Add the raisins and give it a mix over.
- Flour your counter or work surface lightly, and transfer the dough onto it. Knead it a few times to combine. If the dough feels sticky, lightly sprinkle a little more flour, just enough to fold over.
- Grease a large bowl with spray, oil, or butter, and transfer the dough ball. Cover it with a warm, damp kitchen towel and let it rise for 1 ½ hours until it has doubled in size.
- Transfer the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface, and roll out the dough into a rectangle about ½ inch thick and 8 to 9 inches long (the size of your baking pan).
- Brush or use your hands to lightly brush milk over the dough. You could use melted butter instead.
- In a small dish, combine brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle the mixture over the dough.
- Roll the dough lengthwise, and transfer the rolled log into the prepared loaf pan. Brush the top of the dough in the pan with melted butter.
- Let the dough rise once more, in the pan, for one hour.
- Place the top baking rack in the middle position of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes until the loaf has browned at the top and it sounds hollow when tapped.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool down slightly before transferring it out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Once fully cooled, slice into 8 slices and enjoy.