Cinnamon Swirl Gluten Free Quick Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Gluten Free Quick Bread

This cinnamon swirl quick bread is made easily by swirling some cinnamon and sugar between two layers of vanilla quick bread. Your house will smell amazing!

Cinnamon Swirl Gluten Free Quick Bread

No matter how smoothly things seem to be going on busy mornings, eventually we’ll end up having breakfast issues in my house. Once we get into a groove with a make-ahead breakfast that all 3 of my kids like and I feel reasonably good about, well I settle in to that groove.

As my kids got older, maybe I should have just let them just.eat.cereal. I was just never really willing to give up, though. Instead, I’ve always tried to clear the decks by serving up something nearly too good to reasonably be called breakfast, like this cinnamon swirl gluten free quick bread.

I can almost guarantee that, if you serve it for breakfast with some fruit you’ll be like me. Surprise surprise, there is not one complaint.

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread raw in pan

How to make all that cinnamon sugar quick bread texture

The layered and then swirled batter doesn’t necessarily mean that the cinnamon-sugar mixture makes its way into every single nook and cranny of the quick bread. But it’s not meant to.

The swirling makes for a perfectly craggy and nubby top, one that makes the whole business taste like the perfectly tender coffee cake which it basically is, after all. And spreads out the cinnamon-sugar just enough.

Cinnamon Swirl Gluten Free Quick Bread

It’s not nutritious like oatmeal muffins, but it does remind me and my children alike that I can, in fact, make something that they love for breakfast. Sometimes, you just need a win. You know? 

Whole baked loaf of cinnamon swirl bread closeup image

Ingredients and substitutions


You should be able to replace both the buttermilk and the butter in this recipe. The buttermilk can be replaced with half (by volume) unsweetened nondairy milk (my favorite is almond milk) and half (by volume) unsweetened nondairy plain yogurt.

You can also make this swap with dairy-containing ingredients if you just don’t have buttermilk. The butter should be able to be replaced with your favorite vegan butter.

I like Melt and Miyoko’s Kitchen brands best. I would avoid Earth’s Balance buttery sticks, since they’re not my first choice for baking.


In place of each of the 2 eggs, you can try using one “chia egg.” Place 1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds in a small bowl, add about 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mix and allow to gel.


If you can’t have corn, try replacing the cornstarch with potato starch or arrowroot. If you’re using an all purpose gluten free flour blend like Cup4Cup brand, which already high in starch, don’t use the extra cornstarch. Replace it with an equal amount, by weight, Cup4Cup.


Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread slice facing forward

Cinnamon swirl quick bread raw in pan, closeup of baked crust in whole loaf, and one slice facing forward

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 standard loaf


For the quick bread
1 3/4 cups (245 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (54 g) cornstarch

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup (8 fluid ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature

2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the cinnamon-sugar mixture
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the (optional) glaze
1 cup (115 g) confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon milk (any kind), plus more by the 1/4 teaspoonful if necessary


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and line with unbleached parchment paper a standard 9-inch x 5-inch loaf pan and set it aside.

  • Make the quick bread batter. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the butter, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla, mixing to combine after each addition. The batter will be thick and fluffy.

  • Make the cinnamon-sugar mixture and assemble. In a small bowl, place the granulated sugar and cinnamon, and mix to combine well. Scrape half of the quick bread batter into the prepared loaf pan, and spread into an even layer with a wet spatula. Place half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top and shake into an even layer. Place the remaining batter on top followed by the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture, in the same manner. Using a wet butter knife at an angle perpendicular to the bottom of the loaf pan, carefully swirl the batter in all directions. The top of the batter should be craggy and uneven.

  • Bake the loaf. Place the loaf pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes at 350°F. Lower the oven temperature to 325°F, rotate the loaf pan 180°, and continue to bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out with no more than a few moist crumbs attached, and the top is light golden brown and firm to the touch (about another 15 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the baking pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • Make the glaze while the quick bread is cooling. In a small bowl, place the confectioners’ sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk. Mix well, until a thick paste forms. Add more milk by the 1/4-teaspoon, mixing to combine well, until the glaze falls off the spoon slowly, in a thick but pourable glaze. Add milk very slowly, as it is much easier to thin, than to thicken, the glaze. If you do thin the glaze too much, add more confectioners’ sugar a teaspoon at a time to thicken it. Drizzle the glaze in zigzag patterns all over the top of the cooled quick bread. Slice thickly and serve.

  • Adapted from Taste of Home and my recipe for Lemon Poppyseed Bread. Originally published on the blog in 2015. Some photos new; video new. Recipe unchanged.


  • Sherry
    October 10, 2020 at 4:06 PM

    I did not like this “bread” because the texture was more light and spongy like a cake. I was looking for something that was more dense like an AP flour/gluten filled pumpkin or banana bread. This reminded me of vanilla cake with cinnamon swirled in it. If it was titled vanilla cake with cinnamon swirl, it would be an okay recipe, but since it is listed as a bread, I was disappointed. Silver lining, the recipe without the cinnamon would make a decent vanilla cake. (NOTE: I used Cup-4-Cup multipurpose flour because it’s what was available.)

    • Nicole Hunn
      October 10, 2020 at 6:34 PM

      It’s a “Quick Bread,” Sherry. It’s right there in the title. A quick bread is muffin-like. No one ever intended it to be a bread that you could make a sandwich on. There’s no yeast, and there are tons of photos showing the same. There’s even a how-to video!

  • CB
    August 29, 2020 at 5:34 PM

    Mine is in the oven! I loved how this recipe doesn’t use any fancy ingredient and I could make it with what I had in my pantry!

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 30, 2020 at 8:16 AM

      So glad, CB!

  • Leah Flora
    August 14, 2020 at 2:25 AM

    I am so glad I came across your site, what with almost all my favorite food I can make it myself, applying your gluten-free recipes. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes, it is very much appreciated.
    I am still looking around for Xanthan gum in the supermarkets here. I can buy gluten free all purpose flour only, but there is none with xanthan gum mixed in it. So this is my concern the reason why I haven’t started baking your recipes. But I am really getting excited and hope I will finally produce what I like, soft and fine textured bread and tasty. I think Xanthan gum plays a big role in making the texture soft, am I correct? I will give you a feedback once I tried baking one of my favorite using your recipe. Keep up and greetings. By the way, I am based in Europe.

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 14, 2020 at 7:22 AM

      You shouldn’t have a problem ordering xanthan gum online, Leah. You must use it in the recipes that call for it, including all of my all purpose gluten free flour blends. Thanks for the note!

  • Peg Mathews
    August 9, 2020 at 10:20 PM

    Thanks – i will try this soon. I appreciate having some quick bread recipes because yeast does not seem to like me.
    I thought you used to have a “click to print” button on each recipe. I don’t see it anymore.

    Stay safe!

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 9, 2020 at 11:34 PM

      We just did some site edits, and the printer icon at the top of the post seems to have disappeared. I will mention that to my designer, thank you for mentioning it! In the meantime, the printer icon at the very bottom of the post is still there. Sorry for the inconvenience, Peg!

  • Shari
    August 9, 2020 at 9:51 PM

    Can Monkfruit be substituted for the sugar?helene

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 9, 2020 at 11:32 PM

      I do like Lankato brand monkfruit granulated sugar alternative, but I haven’t tried it here. You can experiment!

  • Judy
    August 9, 2020 at 7:58 PM

    Just to confirm, the butter is not melted, just room temperature, not sure how that is going to mix in to the flour very well…?

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 9, 2020 at 9:43 PM

      There’s no mistake in the recipe, Judy. It’s correct as written. Please watch the video to see how it incorporates quite well!

  • Dotti Holden
    August 9, 2020 at 2:15 PM

    Where can you find Better Batter?

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 9, 2020 at 9:44 PM

      Just do a google search, Dotti!

  • Dorri Goldman
    August 9, 2020 at 9:54 AM

    Can I use almond flour?
    What can I use instead of buttermilk? Coconut milk?

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 9, 2020 at 12:14 PM

      No, you cannot use almond flour. It is not an all purpose gluten free flour. Please see the Ingredients and substitutions section for other information about ingredients.

  • Thomas
    August 7, 2020 at 1:53 PM

    This sounds like such an amazing and not-too-difficult recipe! Since there is no yeast to worry about, do you think that the batter could be frozen or refrigerated overnight?

    • Nicole Hunn
      August 7, 2020 at 3:35 PM

      I don’t recommend mixing anything that is relying upon chemical leaveners (baking powder, baking soda) for rising too long before baking, because the initial chemical reaction begins as soon as you mix everything together. It might not rise properly the next day, as if your baking powder were out of date.

  • Morgan
    March 18, 2015 at 2:17 PM

    I made this bread over the weekend and it did not turn out for me. :( This could be a rookie mistake on my part but if I used the Better Batter blend, do I still need to add the Xanthan Gum? My bread turned out very gooey in the middle after it set for a while. When I first took it out of the oven it was a fluffy, beautiful top but when it set, it sunk significantly and the middle was very gummy – not bread-like at all. Any thoughts on what I may have done wrong?

    • March 19, 2015 at 7:48 AM

      Morgan, Better Batter already has xanthan gum in the ingredient list, so no, you don’ add more. If you did, you no doubt ended up with a gummy mess! That’s why the recipe says to omit the xanthan gum if your blend already contains it. It also sounds like you did not bake it for long enough. Please check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer, as well.

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