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The BEST Bread Machine Cinnamon-Raisin Bread with a Secret Ingredient

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Preview: Mix this Bread Machine Cinnamon-Raisin Bread in your bread machine, then roll it out by hand to get that classic swirl. Bake it in your oven for a superior crust. The secret ingredient? A pinch of ground cloves in the filling accentuates the cinnamon flavor.

Am I the only person who likes to unroll, separate the layers, or otherwise dissect my food as I eat it? This raisin bread begs to be unrolled so you can appreciate all the cinnamon-y layers as you smell and taste them.

In case you’re wondering how you can swirl your bread in a bread machine, I will show you two ways. My favorite is to remove the dough after the DOUGH cycle, shape it by hand, and bake it in your oven. That’s how you get the best crust (see how thin it is in the picture) with even browning and an even texture throughout the bread.

You can also interrupt the regular bread cycle to pull the dough out and shape it. Keep reading for more details.

This bread was baked in a covered Pullman pan. It’s perfect for this recipe to keep the swirls under control. Compare the picture above with one further down in this post where I used a regular loaf pan. The swirls aren’t nearly as pretty.

No worries if you don’t have a bread machine. Use a stand mixer or mix this bread by hand. See the recipe notes for details.

Bread Machine Cinnamon-Raisin Bread made in a pullman pan with one slice missing to showcase the inside.
Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Machine recipe baked in a covered Pullman pan

It goes without saying that you aren’t going to get cinnamon-raisin bread that looks like the one above if you bake your loaf inside a bread machine. That’s why I almost always mix the dough in a bread machine and bake it in my oven.

Toasted slice of raisin bread.

Ingredients and substitutions:

  • MILK: Use any kind of milk you have. But remember the more fat in your milk, the richer and more delicious your bread. That’s a general principle for all bread recipes.
  • EGGS: All bread recipes on this website are made with large-sized eggs. If you use a different size, adjust the liquid accordingly.
  • BUTTER: I tested the recipe with unsalted butter. If you use salted, decrease the amount of salt slightly.
  • SUGAR: Use granulated sugar. If you want to substitute honey, use a little bit less as honey is sweeter than sugar.
  • SALT: Use table salt or sea salt. If you use Kosher salt, increase the amount by at least 1/4 teaspoon.
  • CINNAMON: Be sure it’s fresh! It makes a big difference.
  • CLOVES: If you like secret ingredients, this is for you. A pinch of ground cloves is what makes this bread memorable. Cloves punch up the flavor of cinnamon just like instant espresso intensifies chocolate or chocolate enhances chili. BTW, this ingredient is optional. If you don’t have it–no sweat!
  • FLOUR: Bread flour is my favorite for this loaf. The higher protein helps the enriched dough to rise better, imparts more chewiness, and makes a loaf sturdy enough for toast. If you need to substitute all-purpose flour, you may need to decrease the liquid slightly.

    Be sure to open the lid and check your dough as it kneads to see if it needs an adjustment in flour or liquid. This is the most important secret to making good bread with a bread machine.
  • YEAST: I don’t buy anything but instant or bread machine yeast. If all you have is active dry yeast, see the notes in the recipe for more information.
  • RAISINS: Leave them out if you’re not a raisin lover or get creative with substitutions. Try other dried fruit such as currants, dried cranberries, dried cherries, or chopped dates. (See the FAQ below for suggestions on the best way to add fruit and nuts to your bread dough.)

    Walnuts and pecans are additional options. I recommend you toast nuts in the microwave before adding them to your bread for maximum flavor.

If you love bread with fruit and nuts in it, check out these recipes also on this website: Cranberry and Lemon Rolls. Golden Egg Bread with Dried Fruit, Soft Rum Buns with Raisins, and Sweet Bread Machine Banana Whole Wheat Bread



A word about the filling:

Most recipes call for white sugar or brown sugar along with cinnamon for the filling. The problem is the layers. They want to pull apart as they bake. See the old picture below using a different recipe.

This shows bread with large spaces in the cinnamon swirl that let the raisins fall out and the bread gets dry.

Thanks to Jennifer at Once Upon a Chef who gave me the idea to use powdered sugar in the filling instead of regular sugar or brown sugar. The cornstarch in the sugar “glues” the layers together. Using a covered pullman pan also helps to keep the cinnamon swirls from separating.

Can I make this bread from beginning to end in a bread machine?

The answer is yes. I can think of at least two approaches:

  1. If you don’t care about the cinnamon swirl, follow the directions in the recipe except you should choose the REGULAR cycle instead of the DOUGH cycle. Forget about the filling and glaze. You can expect the crust to be thicker than when you bake it in your oven. The color may be lighter on top than the sides and bottom.
  2. With this method, you can do the cinnamon swirl, but it requires some hands-on time. Minimize the holes caused by the paddles by pulling the dough out of the bread machine just before the last rise (check your manual). Remove the paddles.

    Quickly shape the dough into a large rectangle as seen in the how-to pictures below. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture and roll it up. Pinch the seams shut and turn the ends toward the seams. Drop the dough back into the pan with the seam side down. Make sure the dough is distributed evenly in the pan. If you do this quickly, you don’t need to stop the machine.
This loaf was mixed and baked in a bread machine from beginning to end.
Bread Machine Cinnamon-Raisin Bread mixed, kneaded, and baked in a bread machine.

FAQ about Bread Machine Cinnamon-Raisin Bread:

When and how should I add the raisins?

Chop the raisins coarsely or use currants (nature’s mini raisins). Add them when your machine beeps that it’s time for add-ins.

If you add raisins in the beginning, the machine will pulverize them. Not only will it change the color of the bread, but you also won’t experience the sweet flavor bursts from the raisins.

Some people sprinkle them on top of the cinnamon-sugar filling. I don’t care for that method because the raisins tend to fall out as you slice and eat the bread. (See the picture above).

How can I tell when this loaf is baked all the way through?

Use a quick-read thermometer (here’s a cheap but functional model). The internal temperature (in the middle of the bread) should reach 190˚F when the loaf is done. If the crust is getting too dark, lay a piece of foil over the top. Next time move the shelf down a notch.

Why did my cinnamon-raisin bread turn out dense?

The possibilities are endless, but one of the most common causes is too much flour. Using a measuring cup often results in adding too much. Next time, weigh the flour with a digital scale. Here’s a basic scale for not much money.
Another common reason for denseness is that the bread did not rise enough. Enriched bread (lots of butter, sugar, and eggs) tends to rise slower. If your kitchen is cold, it will also slow down the rise time. Allow plenty of time in case you need it.

How long will raisin bread stay fresh?

Homemade bread with no preservatives can’t compete with store-bought bread when it comes to shelf-life. Eat what you can the first couple of days and freeze the rest. Keep the loaf in a plastic bag, not the refrigerator. If you make a lot of bread, I recommend these plastic bread bags because of their long shape.

Why did my bread split on the side as it baked?

Two possible reasons:
1. When rolling the dough after applying the sugar-cinnamon mixture, be careful not to stretch the dough before pinching the edges shut.
2. The pan you used was too small.



How to assemble Cinnamon-Raisin Bread after the DOUGH cycle finishes:

Please note: These pictures were taken using dough without raisins (so my grandkids would eat it).

Dough when it has first been removed from the bread machine pan.
Remove dough from the bread machine pan. Shape into a rough square. Cover and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.
Shaping dough into a rectangle.
Use a rolling pin or your hands to roll into a large rectangle approximately 10 x 14 inches.
spritzing dough with water
Give dough a light spritz of water.
Distributing cinnamon and sugar mixture on top of the dough.
Distribute the sugar/cinnamon mixture over the top, leaving an inch of uncovered dough at the borders.
Rolling up the dough.
Start rolling the dough from one of the short ends. Roll tightly but try not to stretch it.
Sealing the seams after rolling the dough.
Pinch the seam closed and turn each end toward the seam.
Dough dropped into a pullman pan.
Flip over and place the roll into a pan, with the seam down. Cover and place in a warm place to rise for 45-80 minutes or until almost double. When ready to bake, glaze loaf if not using a Pullman pan or the bread machine to bake. Bake for 35-45 minutes at 375˚F (190˚C) or until internal temperature reaches 190˚F (88˚C).
Dough after baked in a pullman pan.
Allow to cool on a rack for about 30 minutes before slicing to avoid squashing the soft interior.
slices of cinnamon-raisin dough baked in a pullman pan.
Yield: 12 slices

Bread Machine Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Recipe

a slice of toasted cinnamon raisin bread made with a bread machine

This recipe makes a sweet cinnamon swirl bread with or without raisins. Use your bread machine to mix and knead the dough.

Prep Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients

DOUGH:

  • ½ to ⅔ cup lukewarm milk (114 to 151 gr)
  • 2 large eggs (100 gr)
  • 3 tablespoons softened unsalted butter (42 gr)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar (50 gr)
  • 1½ teaspoons table salt (9 gr)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (1.3 gr)
  • 3 cups bread flour (360 gr)
  • 2¼ teaspoons instant yeast (7 gr)
  • ⅔ cup raisins, chopped (106 gr)

FILLING:

  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar (38 gr)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon (5 gr)
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves (a pinch)

GLAZE:

  • 1 large egg (50 gr)
  • 1 tablespoon water (14 gr)

Instructions

  1. Add all the dough ingredients except the raisins to your bread machine pan. Select the DOUGH cycle and press start. After 12-15 minutes, open the lid and check the dough. It should be tacky and stick to the side of the pan before pulling away cleanly. Make corrections by adding either liquid or flour 1 tablespoon at a time until dough meets this criterion.
  2. Add raisins or currants when the machine beeps that it's time to add any ingredients you don't want mashed by the kneading action. If your machine doesn't have this signal, add them during step #4 by working them by hand into the dough.
  3. When the DOUGH cycle finishes, poke two floured fingers into the dough to see if it has proofed enough. Your fingers should leave an indentation that slowly fills in. If the dough bounces right back, let it sit in the bread machine a little longer and test again in 15-30 minutes.
  4. Remove the dough from the bread machine to a lightly floured or greased surface. Form into a ball and flatten into a rough square shape. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Mix together the filling ingredients.
  5. Roll dough out to a 9 x 14-inch rectangle. Spritz lightly with water. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough. Roll up jelly-roll style starting from one of the short ends. Pinch the seam together to seal. Pull each end towards the seam and pinch. Place dough cylinder into a greased 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pan seam-side down or a 9x4x4-inch Pullman pan. Press down on the dough to evenly distribute it throughout the pan.
  6. Cover pan and place in a warm place until almost double in size. This process will likely take longer than usual (1-2 hours) because it is an enriched dough, but check it at 45 minutes. Use a knuckle to lightly press on the side of the loaf. The indentation should fill in slowly. If it bounces back immediately, let it continue to rise.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375˚F (190˚C) about 15 minutes before you think the loaf will be ready to bake.
  8. Glaze the loaf on top only if baking in a regular loaf pan. Put the lid on if using a Pullman pan and you want a square loaf. Bake for about 35-45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 190˚F (88˚C). If using a Pullman pan, pull the lid off about 10 minutes before you expect the bread to be done. Use a quick-read thermometer to guarantee the bread is baked all the way through.
  9. Remove the bread from the oven and allow to sit for 5 min. Use a butter knife to loosen the loaf from the pan and turn it out onto a cooling rack for 20-30 minutes before slicing to avoid squashing your loaf.

Notes

Alternate Mixing Instructions:

Directions for making bread with a stand mixer or by hand: 

  • To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer, add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on low to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Using a dough hook, turn speed to 2 or 3 and continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic (about 5-10 minutes). Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • If making by hand, combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead with your hands until dough becomes smooth and elastic, a process that will likely take 10-20 minutes depending on your experience. Place the dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate the dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
  • Please note: If you only have active dry yeast, use 1/4 teaspoon more than called for in the recipe. It no longer needs to be dissolved first, but you can if you prefer.

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