Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread
Cinnamon is incorporated two ways in this banana bread! The batter itself is spiced with cinnamon, and there’s also a cinnamon-sugar swirl running throughout the loaf. This recipe is perfect for a quick and easy “anytime” dessert!
Walnuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit — I love mix-ins in my banana bread as much as the next person, but the simple combination of cinnamon and mashed bananas will forever be my favorite.
This banana bread recipe is infused with cinnamon two ways: in the batter itself, as well as the ribbon of cinnamon sugar running throughout the loaf. The cinnamon sugar swirl takes just a few extra moments to prepare, but it never fails to impress when revealed within the finished loaf!
Enjoy the bread as is, or reheat individual servings in the microwave and enjoy warm. It’s also an excellent way to use up those ripe bananas sitting on your counter!
This recipe is just as easy to make as my classic banana bread. The cinnamon sugar swirl in the center of the loaf requires minimal effort on your part to prepare, but adds even more cinnamon flavor to the bread.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Butter: I prefer to use unsalted butter when I’m baking, so that’s what I used here. If you only have salted butter on hand, reduce the salt to 1/8 teaspoon.
- Sugar: I used a blend of granulated and brown sugar to sweeten the bread and make it ultra moist.
- Eggs: Must be room temperature before being mixed into the batter. If you forget to sit them out ahead of time, place them in a bowl of warm water for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Vanilla extract: Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- Bananas: You’ll need about four large bananas for this recipe. They should be overripe and speckled, but not completely black.
- All-purpose flour: Spoon and level the flour when measuring it. Don’t scoop the flour out of the bag with your measuring cup, otherwise the flour will be compacted and you’ll accidentally measure out too much.
- Baking powder and baking soda: The combination of the two helps the bread rise in the oven. If you’re a baking nerd (like myself), then I highly recommend reading my post on baking soda and baking powder. I explain more about the difference between the two and why some recipes use both.
- Cinnamon and salt: Cinnamon is used in the batter and in the cinnamon-sugar swirl. The salt balances out the sweetness of the batter and enhances the banana flavor.
How to Make Cinnamon Banana Bread
When preparing the banana bread, you can either create one larger swirl of cinnamon sugar in the center or you can create two smaller swirls. I walk you through both options in the recipe card below, but we’ll quickly review the basic recipe steps first.
- Prep the loaf pan: Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and line the pan with parchment paper. This is optional, but will make it much easier to remove the bread from the pan later on. Go ahead and preheat the oven to 350ºF (180°C).
- Combine the wet ingredients: You may use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a handheld mixer to cream together the butter and sugars. Then, mix in the eggs and vanilla. Add the mashed bananas last. The mixture may look a little curdled at this point, this is okay!
- Combine the dry ingredients: In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
- Finish the batter: Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
- Make the cinnamon sugar mixture: Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Assemble the bread: Turn about half of the banana bread batter into the prepared loaf pan, top with cinnamon sugar, and then pour the remaining batter over the top. (To make two swirls, add one-third of the batter to the pan, then half of the cinnamon sugar, another one-third of the batter, more cinnamon sugar, then the rest of the batter.)
- Bake: Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Frequently Asked Questions
Typically two large bananas will yield 1 cup once mashed. This recipe calls for 2 cups of mashed bananas, which is equal to about four large bananas.
For best results, I recommend using bananas with lots of brown spots on them. They do not need to be completely black!
If the top of your banana bread browns well before the center of the loaf is finished cooking, loosely tent the pan with foil to prevent the bread from burning.
I recommend letting the banana bread cool for 10 minutes in the pan before transferring it to a wire rack to finish cooling.
You can use half whole wheat and half all-purpose flour in this recipe without noticing too much of a difference. If you prefer to only use whole wheat flour, I recommend making my whole wheat banana bread instead and adding the cinnamon swirl to that recipe.
Recipe Variations to Try
This bread is perfect as is, but you’re welcome to add mix-ins to the batter if desired. You can add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of mix-ins, including:
- Chopped nuts
- Dried fruit
- Chocolate chips
- Fresh berries (chop larger berries into bite-sized pieces)
- Butterscotch chips
- Peanut butter chips
- Toffee bits
- For the cinnamon swirl, you can either make one thicker layer or two slightly thinner layers. I’ve tried it both ways and they’re equally delicious.
- Make sure not to over mix your batter, otherwise it can cause the bread to turn out dense and gummy.
- I think this recipe contains plenty of cinnamon as is, but you may add more if you prefer.
More Banana Recipes To Try!
Cinnamon Banana Bread
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened (115 grams)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- ¼ cup light brown sugar (50 grams)
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups mashed banana (440 grams; about 4 large bananas)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour spooned & leveled (250 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
Cinnamon Sugar Swirl
- ¼ cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray a 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray, line the pan with parchment paper, and set aside.
- Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla, making sure to mix well after each ingredient. Then, mix in the mashed banana.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined, making sure not to overmix the batter.
- To make the cinnamon sugar swirl: In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon.
- For one layer of the cinnamon sugar: Pour about half of the banana bread into the loaf pan and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on top, then pour the remaining batter on top.
- For two layers of the cinnamon sugar (like the pictures in the post): Pour about one-third of the batter in the loaf pan, sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture on top, and repeat layers, topping with the last third of the batter.
- Bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If the banana bread becomes too dark, tent with aluminum foil for the last 15 to 20 minutes of baking.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the loaf pan and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.