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.Print
Cinnamon Raisin Bread Loaf Recipe
Every slice of this cinnamon raisin bread recipe is laced with plump raisins and the perfect cinnamon swirl.
Yield: 1 loaf
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 45
- Total Time: 3 hours + 30 minutes
- Yield: 8
- Category: Breads
- Method: Baked
- 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.
- Serving Size: 1 thick slice
- Calories: 119
- Sugar: 15.4 g
- Sodium: 93 mg
- Fat: 5 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.9 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 18 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 2 g
- Cholesterol: 35 mg
I just made this the other night and it truly is like store bought cinnamon raisin bread. In the morning I put some in the toaster and really really awesome. Thank you again for posting and saving me money. No more store bought Cinnamon raisin bread for me!
So glad you loved it Jenn!
Freezing the dough baking it turned out just as well. I just took the loaf out the night before and stuck it in the fridge then took it out in the morning and let it finish defrosting and rising on the counter and baked according to original directions. I think next time I will let it defrost over night on the counter then it should be ready to bake by morning. I knew it ha to work because I always buy frozen pizza dough so I figured it should be the same. Anyways thought is let you know how it turned out. Going to make several more this weekend an give them away for Chrismas! Happy Baking 🙂
What a fantastic idea to give them away as Christmas gifts Jenn! Thanks for coming back and letting me know that the-freeze-thaw-rise process worked well!
I just made this bread and its fantastic! When I make bread it never turns out perfect. It either turns out too dense or the crust is too hard. But this was perfect! By far one of the best bread recipes I’ve tested. I will be sure to make this again. I froze one of the loaves unbaked so I’m interested to see how that will work out. Thanks for sharing your recipe 🙂
thank you Jenn for letting others know that you loved it! I usually freeze the loaves after baking them. I have not tried freezing the loaves prior to baking-but will do!
Getting ready to work on this tonight! And I was just wondering if the milk could be substituted for soy milk?
I use dairy free milk all the time for this recipe. Almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk… will work.
I followed your recipe today, and my loaves turned out just as perfect as yours! It is so delicious!! You are awesome, thank you for your easy directions, and thank you for sharing your recipe- raisin bread is our favorite, so I know I will make this again and again. It IS a lot of work, but it is SO worth it!
What is the best way to prepare the loaves for freezing? Sliced, not sliced? How do you wrap them and keep them airtight?
I love your site!
I made this last night and it came out perfect! My husband and two boys went through the first loaf already! I added a heaping tsp of cinnamon to the dough and used 3 cups whole wheat flour instead of all white. I’ll definitely be making this again!
Can I make this in my bread maker?
Marsi, not with these measurements. these yields 3 loaves. for the bread machine, i use this recipe.
How would this turn out using white whole wheat flour? This recipe sounds amazing!
you can only use up to 50% whole wheat flour. otherwise it will be much denser.
Can I used bread flour instead of A.P?
Yes. That should be fine.
I am getting inspired. My boys love cinnamon raisin bread, and my 3 year-old has been known to eat 3-5 slices in one setting. Plus, I totally agree that it is perfect for French Toast. We love to add some cinnamon to the French Toast batter as well as orange zest. (Here’s our recipe – http://jennifischer.blogspot.com/2013/03/four-simple-family-breakfast-ideas.html). Anyway, thanks so much for sharing this. I am now completely inspired to try and make some myself.
Another question – do you think you could let the dough rise overnight and then bake it in the morning?
Ramona, yes. do your first rise as directed. Transfer to baking pans and let the second rise happen in the fridge overnight. not on your countertop.
Can you use the same amount rapidrise yeast as you do active dry yeast? Or do you need less rapidrise yeast. Thanks!
I love cinnamon everything and homemade bread. It’s amazing how well it freezes. Then you can have some whenever the craving strikes!
Thanks so much for making the change. My bread actually turned out great! It only took us 2 days to devour 1 loaf! Was so happy that adding the yeast at the end didn’t mess it up. Thanks!
Is it possible to make this without egg? One my kids has an allergy but I am sure the whole family would really enjoy this. Any tips or suggestions would be welcome!
You could make it with 3 flax eggs. for 1 flax egg mix 1 Tablespoon ground flax with 3 tablespoons warm water. let it sit for 5 minutes. this gel-like mix acts as an egg.
So I’m in the process of making this now. I have several complaints though. You never say to add the yeast/water mixture. Reading more carefully, I think it is “implied” that you use the yeast/water mixture bowl when you start adding egg, etc. but it is definitely not clear. I made it all the way to adding my 6th cup of flour before I realized that I hadn’t added the yeast yet! The recipe also took far more than 8 cups of flour for me. I have my dough raising now but am not to optimistic about how it is going to turn out but I definitely didn’t want to throw all the ingredients into the garbage without going to the end. I’m sure hoping that as I continue through the recipe it is more clear as this bread looks/sounds so yummy!!!
Jamie, I apologize. I too made this recipe tonight and when I couldn’t find my post-it, I came to read it off my blog. I just edited the recipe to make it “simpler” to follow. Baking bread isn’t a science. For me, it takes about 8 cups.. but I am in a high humidity area. For you it might take closer to 9ish depending on where you live. The dough isn’t tough, it’s residually “sticky”. How did it come out?
This looks so good and I can’t wait to make it. You mention grinding your own wheat and I have a grinder as well (need to use it more!) so just wanted to confirm based on your note that you use 3 cups of it that with 5 cups of AP flour to keep it from being too dense and kids from saying “No, thank you”? I have to say I find the freshly ground white wheat to be much better than anything I have found to buy in the store (once I got the knack of the proper grind setting – first few times I thought I was going to have to get a hammer out to finish milling it, ha ha. If at first you don’t succeed, though . . . )
Yes, anything more than 3 cups and you have a very dense bread. You can add a teaspoon of gluten to be in the safe side. Hurray to grinding your own wheat! 🙂
Your bread sounds lovely and looks delicious. I am very anxious to try it! I am not sure if I am reading it right though, when do you add the water with yeast? At the same time as the milk? Thanks 🙂
Hi Christy! No, you warm the milk, set aside. Warm your water, activate your yeast…set aside. then eggs and stuff in mixer… then add milk…. THEN yeasty water. 🙂
I am totally going to make this!
Thanks Kristen! The freezer is your friend!! 🙂
Hi Laura .. gabriel here! And one of my favorites to bake ( of the bread family ) ! Always in kitchen cookin up something / baking continuesly , so I take for granted most ingredients I’ve got ! Made this already 4 times and hands down it’s a winner . In doing so tonight , in the midst of it I realized I was out of milk so I substituted that w/ “almond milk” ?? I’m guessing it shouldn’t be that far out ingredient that it will screw up the whole recipe ? Anyhow the telling is in final outcome , I shall let you know , thank you for this awesome find!
Hi Gabriel! I know you’ve enjoyed a delicious loaf of bread by now… and as you can see, they came out just fine with almond milk. I use regular milk because the protein adds to the fluff and texture you love but using almond milk is just fine. Thank you for making my recipe Gabriel!