Quick Cinnamon Swirl Yeast Bread

If you like hot homemade cinnamon rolls, you will love this quick cinnamon swirl yeast bread! It’s fairly quick (for a yeast bread), requires no kneading and is super easy to make. I’ve had this recipe for about 15 years now; a photocopy from some unknown magazine or library book, and it has definitely stood the test of time.

First, I’m going to share the regular way of making it, then I’ll list how I’ve adapted the technique for gluten free bread dough.

You will need:

  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour (or bread flour)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 additional tablespoon butter or margarine
  • optional: 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Mix the yeast with the warm milk and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Let sit for a few minutes while you mix the egg, salt, 3 tablespoons of softened butter, the other 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and 1 cup of flour thoroughly with a hand mixer. Add yeast/milk mixture and an additional cup of flour, beat well. Mix the last cup of flour in by hand. You will have a stiff dough. Turn out onto a floured piece of wax paper/counter/work surface and fold and turn three or four times until lightly coated with flour and smooth.

The dough should look like this:

Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 1/3 cup brown sugar with 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Add nuts if desired. (You can also add raisins; just soak them enough to plump them up first.)

Gently press your dough out into a rectangular shape, with the short sides being roughly equal to the length of your loaf pan. It doesn’t have to be perfect; you can tug or squash to make it fit!

Soften 1 tablespoon of butter or margarine and spread over the rectangle. Next, sprinkle on the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Add the nuts/raisin here, if desired. Roll each side inwards, until they meet in the middle.

Gently place in greased 9×5 loaf pan. (You don’t have to line it with parchment; I do because we have several family members who can’t have gluten and I only have one loaf pan we have to share between us.)

Let rise for 30-40 minutes then bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, covering top with foil during last 10 to 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning.

Remove from oven. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack. Drizzle glaze or sprinkle powdered sugar on top if desired. To make a glaze: start with about a tablespoon of softened butter, add powdered sugar (I never measure) until you get a thick paste type consistency, add a bit of milk (or water if allergic) to thin until just pourable. Slicing is made much easier by using an electic knife.


Okay, now we’re going to use this same technique to make a gluten free cinnamon swirl bread. First, a note about gluten free bread recipes: I have made gluten free bread, gluten free/dairy free/soy free/egg free/corn free bread, grain free bread, and several yeast free breads in the past. Many many MANY times, far more than I care to remember, I have thrown away my experiments.

Making gluten free bread is frustrating. It’s so finicky (at least for me) that you never know quite what you’ll get. I used to make a lovely millet bread that was egg free; brought a fresh perfect loaf to my friend’s house, where I used all of my same ingredients, my pan, everything other than my own water and her stove to show a group of ladies how to make it – and the loaf turned out dense and heavy. Did I mention I find making gluten free bread frustrating?!

If you have a favorite no-fail gluten free bread recipe, feel free to use it here. As for me, I unapologetically use ready made bread mixes to save myself a lot of headache. I do like the doctor them up though with herbs, spices, cheeses or as here – cinnamon and brown sugar.

So, you’ll want to gather the ingredients to make your gf dough, plus 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon.

Make your dough, following directions on the bag (or your recipe) then place in the refrigerator for an hour or two. This is important because gluten free bread dough is sticky by necessity. If we reduced the liquids to get a more rollable dough, we’d end up with a baked cinnamon scented brick. That’s not what we’re going for, so we have to keep the dough somewhat sticky, yet workable. Not an easy feat! Refrigeration helps though.

After your dough is chilled, pull it out of the fridge and turn out onto a heavily floured surface (use any gluten free flour mixture for this part.) Gently press into a rough rectangular shape, being generous with the flour, but not too heavy with it.

Spread with one tablespoon of softened butter, margarine or even a thin layer of water. Anything to make the topping stick. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon topping, then roll up both sides towards the middle. This requires some coaxing and patience. Gently transfer to a greased 9×5 loaf pan, then cover and let rise about 30 to 40 minutes. Bake according to the directions on the bread mix, or around 350 to 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, covering with foil for the last ten or fifteen minutes to prevent overbrowning.

Let cool in pan about ten minutes, then remove to cooling rack. I often let gluten free breads cool on their side, to prevent collapse that some are prone to. While still warm, drizzle a homemade glaze or dust with powdered sugar. It’s not going to look as picture perfect as the wheat filled version – but it will still be just as yummy! Slice and enjoy!



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14 Responses to Quick Cinnamon Swirl Yeast Bread

  1. MarianneG says:

    I am soooo drooling right now. I was looking for a recipe for cinnamon bread without raisins. Thank you !

  2. Oh my goodness, these look divine! And so easy! I’m definitely pinning this for brunch this weekend. Thanks!

  3. Ohhhhhhhhhhhh…..those look so yummy! I’d love to try my cinnamon roll dough this way. It looks so pretty and fun!

  4. Tammie Rhodes says:

    Looks fab but unfirtunately I can’t tolerate yeast :-((

  5. Carol Cr says:

    I use Carol Fenster’s recipe for white sandwich bread, which is easy to make and never fails. Also, it never fails to make the apartment (and the hall outside0 smell great. I can’t wait to get into the kitchen and try this. Thank you so very much for sharing it!

  6. Hannah says:

    Hi! Your ingredients call for 3 tbsp granulated sugar, but your instructions state to use 1 tbsp sugar with the warm milk and yeast. Where’s the other 2 tbsp? I re-read it, so I apologize if I still missed it. Looking forward to baking this!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Hannah, Thanks for pointing that out to me! I’ll go in and fix that right now. The 3 tbsp sugar are divided. You add 1 tbsp with the yeast and water and the other two are mixed in with the flour. Thanks again & I hope you like the recipe!

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