Cinnamon-Sugar Crust Cinnamon Swirl Bread — This cinnamon swirl bread is light and fluffy in the middle with a crusty cinnamon-sugar exterior that’s reminiscent of a streusel topping.

sliced loaf of Cinnamon-Sugar Crust Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Easy Cinnamon Swirl Bread

I have six other recipes for cinnamon bread on my site. But this one’s different. Really, it is. It has a cinnamon-sugar crust that’s so good. I find myself wanting to eat the crust and that never happens.

Normally I am not into crust or crusty breads. Although I like texture, I prefer soft and fluffy to crusty and hard. I would never cut off the crust like a 7-year-old, but I don’t go out of my way to eat it, either.

But this crust is like shingles of sweetness on a big fluffy white house, flaking off in big chunks that are so nice to nibble on. It’s reminiscent of streusel topping, which I enjoy picking off unsuspecting coffee cakes and muffins.

The bread is so fast and easy to make and comes together in 5 minutes with a whisk, in one bowl. I love it when I don’t have to drag out my mixer because it would seem to defeat the purpose of calling a bread a ‘quick bread’ if the ingredients need to be creamed, creating more dishes. Nothing quick about that!

sliced Cinnamon-Sugar Crust Cinnamon Swirl Bread on cutting board

The same cinnamon-sugar mixture that’s sprinkled on top before baking is also sprinkled into the batter, creating a cinnamon-sugar swirl in the middle of the loaf. The only way to create that thick, delectable, wall of sweet crust on top is to sprinkle cinnamon-sugar generously over the surface before baking.

Not all of it adheres to the bread and you’ll have to remind your kids and husband to ‘Please, eat over your plate.’ And remind yourself, too, so that you’re not recreating a sandy beach on your kitchen floor with the stray cinnamon-sugar granules.

The crust reminds me of sweet bark that’s slightly hardened, firm, and full of intense flavor. After peeling away the bark, the soft, light, fluffy interior is revealed thanks to the buttermilk

slice of Cinnamon Swirl Bread

A bit of oil is used for softness because oil produces softer, springier cakes, muffins, and breads than butter. And this bread sure is bouncy soft. As to not miss any buttery flavor, I used a little butter, too. While baking, the butter and brown sugar caramelize, creating subtle caramel undertones.

The ribbon of cinnamon-sugar that floats through the interior provides another pop of flavor. It’s a bit like classic Cinnamon Swirl Bread, minus the work of kneading or rolling the dough into a cylinder.

The cinnamon flavor is present and notable, but it’s not overwhelming. Feel free to add more if you’re a true fiend.

The bread is flavorful enough that it doesn’t need butter, but if you’re so inclined toasting it and smearing liberally with butter takes it from really good to gobble-the-whole-loaf supremely good. Our toaster got a workout and has the cinnamon-sugar bits stuck in the crumb tray to show for it.

Such an easy bread to make with great resutls, no kneading and no fuss. From start to finish, this should go from cupboard and into your mouth in under an hour.

Cinnamon-Sugar Crust Cinnamon Swirl Bread

What’s in Cinnamon Swirl Bread?

For this cinnamon bread recipe, you’ll need:

  • Granulated sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Unsalted butter
  • Egg
  • Light brown sugar
  • Canola oil
  • Vanilla extract
  • Buttermilk
  • All-purpose flour
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Baking soda
  • Salt

crusty cinnamon bread loaf

How to Make Cinnamon Swirl Bread

In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla, followed by the buttermilk. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until just combined. 

Turn half the cinnamon swirl bread batter into a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan and sprinkle three-quarters of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over top. Top with the remaining batter and sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over top.

Bake your cinnamon swirl bread until the top is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. It’ll need to cool in the pan for roughly 15 minutes before it can be removed and placed on a wire cooling rack. 

cinnamon bread with cinnamon swirl filling

Can I Use a Smaller Loaf Pan? 

No, an 8×4-inch loaf pan will be too small for this cinnamon quick bread recipe. You must use a 9×5-inch pan for this recipe. 

Can I Freeze This Bread? 

Yes, cinnamon swirl bread freezes really well. Let it cool to room temperature, then pop it into a freezer bag or wrap it in multiple layers of plastic wrap. When you’re ready to eat the frozen loaf, set it on the counter overnight to thaw. 

Cinnamon-Sugar Crust Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Can I Use a Buttermilk Substitute in This Recipe? 

If you don’t normally keep buttermilk on hand, you can cheat and make some with regular milk by adding 1 or 2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice to one cup of milk and waiting for about 10 minutes.

Can I Add Mix-Ins to the Batter? 

Most likely, yes! Raisins or chopped nuts would both be great in this cinnamon swirl bread. You’d only want to add about 3/4 cup of mix-ins total, otherwise your bread will overflow in the oven.  

slices of Cinnamon-Sugar Crust Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Can I Make This Recipe Into Muffins? 

Yes, I’ve made this into muffins before and they turned out beautifully! You’ll want to check your muffins around the 18-minute mark and bake a minute or two more at a time until you figure out the exact amount of time they should be in the oven. You’ll know your muffins are done baking when they’re golden and springy to the touch. 

Can I Make This Bread Gluten-Free? 

I haven’t made this bread with a gluten-free flour before, so I can’t offer any tips on how to do so. Just try making it with your favorite gluten-free baking blend and see how it turns out! 

slices of Cinnamon-Sugar Crust Cinnamon Swirl Bread on cutting board

Tips for Making Cinnamon Swirl Bread

When making the quick bread batter, it’s important that you give the melted butter a couple minutes to cool down before mixing it in with the other wet ingredients. If you mix everything together all at once, you might wind up accidentally scrambling the egg with the hot butter. 

The cinnamon bread batter will be a little lumpy, and that’s totally normal. Don’t try to stir out all the lumps, otherwise you’ll over work the batter and your bread won’t be as fluffy once baked. 

Lastly, for easier cleanup I recommend inverting the bread over your kitchen sink or a paper towel since some of the cinnamon-sugar topping will fall off when you remove the loaf from the pan. 

Cinnamon-Sugar Crust Cinnamon-Ribbon Bread - Even picky eaters who want the crust cut off will go nuts for this sweet, slightly crunchy crust. The interior is so soft & fluffy!

Cinnamon-Sugar Crust Cinnamon-Ribbon Bread - Even picky eaters who want the crust cut off will go nuts for this sweet, slightly crunchy crust. The interior is so soft & fluffy!

Cinnamon-Sugar Crust Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Yield: one 9x5-inch loaf

Cinnamon-Sugar Crust Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Cooling Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

This cinnamon swirl bread is light and fluffy in the middle with a crusty cinnamon-sugar exterior that's reminiscent of a streusel topping.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with floured cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside (don’t use an 8-by-4-inch pan; it’s too small)
    2. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup granulated sugar with the cinnamon and stir to incorporate; set aside.
    3. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute. After the butter has cooled momentarily (so you don’t scramble the egg), add the egg, brown sugar, oil, vanilla, and whisk to combine. Add the buttermilk and whisk to incorporate.
    4. Add the flour, nutmeg, baking soda, optional salt, and stir until just combined; don’t overmix. Batter will be thick and lumpy. Don’t try to stir the lumps smooth.
    5. Pour half the batter into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula. Sprinkle three-fourths (75%) of the cinnamon-sugar mixture (just eyeball it), distributed evenly over the surface of the batter. This creates the cinnamon ribbon.
    6. Top with remaining half of the batter, smoothing it lightly with a spatula. Sprinkle remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture, distributed evenly over the top. It looks like a lot, but it’s necessary to form the crust, and not all of it aheres.
    7. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes (mine took 50), or until top is set and firm, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Allow bread to cool in pan for about 15 minutes before inverting.
    8. Invert bread over the sink or a paper towel to catch some of the non-adhered cinnamon-sugar and sprinkle it back on the bread. Place bread on wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

Bread will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days, or may be frozen for up to 3 months. Makes wonderful toast.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 249Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 140mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 1gSugar: 21gProtein: 3g

More Quick Bread Recipes: 

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Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread — Super soft, tender, moist pumpkin bread with a slightly crunchy cinnamon sugar topping!

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Carrot Apple Bread — This apple carrot bread tastes like carrot cake that’s been infused with apples. It’s a no mixer recipe that goes from bowl to oven in minutes! 

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Cream Cheese-Filled Banana Bread — This is the BEST homemade banana bread recipe! This banana bread tastes like it has cheesecake baked in! Soft, fluffy, easy and tastes ahhhh-mazing!

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Browned Butter Buttermilk Banana Bread with Strawberry Butter — This homemade banana bread recipe is made with buttermilk and browned butter, which makes it super flavorful. Top it with a schmear of strawberry butter and dig in! 

Browned Butter Buttermilk Banana Bread with Strawberry Butter 

Snickerdoodle Bread — Between the cinnamon-sugar on top, cinnamon in the batter, and the cinnamon chips, the bread is full of wonderful and prominent cinnamon flavor without being overpowering.

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