Classic Raisin Bread {Cinnamon Swirled Loaf}

The allure of a classic loaf of raisin bread is undeniable. With a sweet cinnamon sugar swirl, fluffy white bread base, and plenty of juicy raisins, this is the recipe you’ve been looking for.

One of our favorite bread-baking projects on a chilly day, this recipe makes a delicious loaf that’s perfect for breakfast or snacking.

finished loaf of raisin bread with cinnamon swirl.

Classic Raisin Bread

The perfect balance of soft, fluffy bread with the natural sweetness of raisins and a buttery cinnamon sugar swirl.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Rising time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Serving Size 12 slices

Equipment

  • Stand mixer or bread machine optional

Ingredients 

For the Dough

  • 1 cup raisins soaked in warm water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • teaspoons instant yeast or active dry
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil or melted butter
  • 1 large egg

For the Filling

  • 3 tablespoons butter melted
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup brown sugar

Instructions 

  • Make the dough. Mix all dough ingredients except the raisins and check the consistency. It should be very slightly sticky but still hold its shape. If the dough is heavy or crumbly, add water a bit at a time. If it is overly sticky or does not hold its shape, add flour a bit at a time. Knead by hand, bread machine, or stand mixer until smooth and elastic. Add raisins and briefly knead in.
    mixing bowl of stand mixer with dough.
  • First rise. Place the dough in a greased bowl, covering it with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel. Let it rise in a warm place for 1 to 1.5 hours, or until doubled in size. Due to the milk and sugar in the recipe, it may rise slower than what you are used to.
    bowl of dough before and after rising.
  • Fill and shape. Stretch the dough out into a rectangle approximately 9×14 inches. To make the filling, mix the melted butter, brown sugar and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Spread the raisin mixture evenly over the dough. Roll the dough tightly into a log, starting from the short end. Tuck in the ends and place seam-side down in a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan.
    dough stretched into rectangle with cinnamon topping.
  • Second rise. Cover the loaf with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until risen 1-2 inches over the top of the loaf pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 350°F
    raisin bread dough before and after rising.
  • Bake. Place the loaf in the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
    overhead view of shiny homemade raisin bread.

Notes

The tighter you roll, the more swirls you will have.
I prefer instant yeast for this recipe (and every bread recipe!) but active dry is perfectly fine.  You’ll just need to make sure your milk and other cold ingredients come to room temperature first, or you’ll have slightly longer rise times.

Even beginner bakers will be successful with this loaf! Don’t worry too much about getting the perfect swirl; you’ll have a delicious bread no matter what.

Important Ingredients and Tools

  • Raisins: These little dried fruits are the magic ingredient. You can use golden or regular. Soaking them ensures they’re plump and juicy within the bread.
  • Instant Yeast: While you can use active dry yeast, instant yeast often offers a quicker and more consistent rise.

Tip: Try soaking the raisins in rum!

ingredients on counter.

Loaf Pan: Essential for giving your bread that classic shape.

Stand Mixer or Bread Machine: While not mandatory, these make the kneading process easier and more consistent.

Mixing Bowl: For preparing and resting the dough.

Wire Rack: Crucial for cooling the bread properly post-baking, ensuring the loaf doesn’t turn soggy.

 Bosch Universal Plus Stand Mixer – Black 800 Watt, Black Saf Instant Yeast, 1 Pound Pouch (2-Pack) Wilton Recipe Right Medium Bread Loaf Baking Pan – 8 1/2

 

A stand mixer is helpful but yo can absolutely knead by hand. If you have a bread machine, let it run on the dough cycle, and all you’ll have to do is shape and bake.

Tips for the Best Raisin Bread

Dough Consistency: The ideal dough should be only slightly sticky. Too dry, and you’ll have a tough bread. Too wet, and it might not hold its shape. Adjust with water or flour as required.

First Rise: This bread might take a tad longer to rise than usual due to the presence of milk and sugar. Patience is key here. A good rise ensures a fluffy bread.

finished loaf of raisin bread with cinnamon swirl.

Rolling the Dough: The tighter you roll, the more cinnamon swirls you’ll get in each slice. Ensure even spread of the raisin mixture for that delightful taste in every bite.

Baking Time: The golden rule is to bake until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. This ensures it’s perfectly baked inside and out.

 Pristine Bamboo Bamboo Bread Slicer for Homemade Bread Loaf – 3 Thickness Size – Foldable Compact Chopping Cutting Board with Crumb Tray – Ideal for Homemade Bread, Cake, Bagels Jomeech Reusable Fabric Bowl Covers for Bread Proofing,Easy Clean-Easy Use,No Fading,Washable Covers For Kitchen Container or Food(Redstar) Temp-tations Mixing or Serving Bowl, 3 Qt with Tab Handles (NO Plastic Cover), Replacement (Old World Poinsettia)

 

Enjoy every slice, knowing that you’ve crafted it with love.

How to StoRE + Make Ahead

Room Temperature Storage:


After allowing the bread to cool completely on a wire rack, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or place it inside a resealable plastic bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. This will help to keep it fresh. The bread should be good for up to 2-3 days stored at room temperature.

Freezing Instructions:


Raisin bread freezes quite well!

  • Cool the bread completely.
  • Wrap the entire loaf or individual slices in plastic wrap, ensuring it’s tightly sealed.
  • Then, wrap it again in aluminum foil or place it in a freezer-safe resealable bag, removing as much air as possible.
  • Label with the date and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

To use the frozen bread, thaw it at room temperature or in the refrigerator. If you’ve frozen individual slices, you can pop them directly into the toaster for a quick breakfast.

Making Ahead

Once you’ve made the dough and it has undergone its first rise, you can shape the dough into a loaf and place it in the loaf pan. Instead of proceeding with the second rise, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, let it come to room temperature and rise until it’s 1-2 inches over the top of the pan before baking as instructed.

This method allows you to break up the process and have freshly baked bread with less effort on the day you wish to enjoy it.

More Sweet and fruity bread recipes

We love bread with mix-ins around here and bake a loaf with fruit at least once a week. Here are some of our favorites:

close up of raisin bread loaf on cutting board.

All these are delicious toasted and slathered with butter or cream cheese.

Classic Raisin Bread {Cinnamon Swirled Loaf}

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Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    Made it for my son and daughter in law and they raved about it. But you were right about the raising time, it didn’t rise like you said.

  2. 5 stars
    Step 3 reads: Stretch the dough out into a rectangle approximately 9×14 inches. To make the filling, mix the melted butter, brown sugar and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Spread the raisin mixture evenly over the dough. Roll the dough tightly into a log, starting from the short end. Tuck in the ends and place seam-side down in a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan.

    When the amount of cinnamon is specified in the direction, I infer that it isn’t the entire amount called for in the recipe. Looking back at the amounts, it is the entirety of said cinnamon. The instruction would sit better with me if it simply read, “…melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.” (On a separate note, I am in the pro-Oxford-comma camp, so I would also prefer a comma after “brown sugar”, but that’s personal preference).

    The reader is then instructed to “Spread the raisin mixture evenly over the dough.” What raisin mixture? I put all my raisins in the dough in step 1.

    Other than these two points of ambiguity, the recipe looks solid to me, so I am giving it 5 stars in advance of trying it (I know I just wrote that “I put all my raisins in the dough in step 1,” but that was a premonition of what I just know I will think when I’m making the recipe and come to that step).