Inspired by my love of Hot Cross Buns, this easy cinnamon raisin bread is the perfect recipe for Easter. Soft, fluffy and perfectly spiced.
I absolutely love Hot Cross Buns and it’s simply not Easter without them. However, I love toasting hot cross buns so this raisin bread gives me all the joy of my beloved Easter treat with the added benefit that slices can easily be toasted. However, this bread is so soft and fluffy, you’d be forgiven for eaten slice after slice as is. No toasting necessary. To make this as easy as possible, I adapted my Easy White Bread recipe and just added the flavors of hot cross buns. No egg necessary and if you don’t have butter, you can use oil!
If you are not a fan of raisins or dried fruit (cranberries, chopped apricots, etc. can be used instead of raisins), use chocolate chunks or leave them out entirely. This bread recipe will be delicious regardless.
This recipe requires the usual ingredients you would need for bread: flour, yeast and liquid. If you want the dough to be a little richer, milk is a great substitute for water. Softened butter creates a moist baked loaf but I’ve made this with oil too. The spice and raisins add flavor and texture. You could use allspice too, but I don’t often have that in my kitchen.
- Flour: I used cake (wheat) flour but you can use all purpose flour or bread flour too. Stoneground flour will need a little extra rising time but most commercial bread flours will react the same as all purpose or cake flour.
- Milk / Water: I used half milk and half water but you can use only milk or only water if you prefer.
- Spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger.
- Butter. You can use vegetable/canola oil too if you prefer.
- Raisins. Use any dried fruit you like or substitute with chocolate chunks/chips.
How to make raisin bread
- Make the dough: Combine warm water and milk with yeast and sugar in a mixing jug. Whisk together and then allow to stand for 5-10 minutes until foamy. Take care not to heat the water and milk too much, you want the liquid to be just warm enough so that when you stick your finger in, it feels pleasantly warm, not hot. If the liquid is too hot, it will kill the yeast. Combine the dry ingredients (start with only 3 cups of flour) in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. With the mixer running, pour in the yeast mixture. Allow to combine then add the butter/oil. Add the raisins and knead for a minute. If needed, add the remaining flour a few tablespoons at a time until the dough is smooth and soft and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Cover with a damp dish towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise for an hour until doubled in size.
- To make by hand: Follow the ingredients as above, just mix with your hand in a large bowl until a shaggy, soft dough forms then turn out onto a floured surface and knead until soft and smooth. Place back into a greased bowl, cover and allow to rise for an hour.
- Roll the dough:Transfer the proofed dough to a lightly floured surface then press into a rectangle as wide as your loaf pan. Press any loose raisins into the center then roll the dough onto itself into a log. Pinch the seam together. Line a loaf pan with baking/parchment paper then transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Cover again then allow to rise for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven.
- Bake the raisin bread: Brush the bread with beaten egg and bake for 30-45 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. If the top of the bread browns too quickly, loosely cover with foil. Remove the bread from the oven and brush with melted butter then and allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.
Can you freeze raisin bread?
Yes absolutely! Freeze slices of raisin bread and toast from frozen. Alternatively, the dough can be frozen in a loaf pan and baked from frozen. Baked raisin bread will last for up to 3 days wrapped in foil on the kitchen counter.
Easy bread recipes
Easy Cinnamon Raisin Bread
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 3/4 cup warm milk
- 10 g (2tsp) instant yeast
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 3-4 cups flour (any white flour can be used: Cake, all purpose or bread)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1/3 cup butter / oil (room temperature butter)
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 egg beaten (for egg wash) (optional)
- Whisk water, milk, sugar and yeast together. Allow to stand for 10 minutes until foamy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the flour, spiced and salt.
- With the mixer running, add the yeast mixture and allow to knead in.
- Add the butter or oil, allow to knead in then add more flour, one third cup at a time until the dough is smooth. Add the raisins.
- Knead for another minuted until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
- If the dough is still very sticky, add more flour and knead in.
- The dough should be smooth and soft and only a slight bit sticky.
- Cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.
- Once the dough has proofed, press it into rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Press any raisins that have fallen out of the dough into the center. Roll onto its self into a log, pinch the seam then transfer to a loaf pan that has been lightly greased.
- Cover again and allow to rise for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Brush with beaten egg and place in the oven and allow to bake for 30-45 minutes until golden brown and risen. If the bread browns too quickly, loosely cover with a piece of foil and continue baking. Once baked the bread will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Remove from the oven, brush with melted butter (optional) and allow to cool before slicing.
You can use a bread machine just to make dough, as well as a stand mixer. . Most bread machines have a setting for dough, and will even rise it. But I take the dough out as soon as it’s kneaded, and my oven has a proof setting. I’m letting this white bread rise right now and I hope it turns out. If not, it’s on me, not you. 🙂
PS I had to add more flour than the recipe called for but it’s raining cats and dogs today. I would rather go by how the dough looks that a cut and dried recipe anyway!
Tried this tonight. It came out great, just as described. Nice soft crust and soft and fluffy inside. Except that next time I’ll be making it into 2 loaves. The recipe for 8 servings in a 9 × 5 pan just kept raising, lol. Maybe because I’m in a tropical climate, but it’ll be enough for 2 next time. Definitely a keeper. ?
Hi, I just made some raisin bread in my bread machine, and seeing this recipe tonight I’m excited to give it ago. What I’m wondering is, can I use this recipe and make Hot Cross buns? And if so, how many roughly do you think the recipe will make? Also temp and time wise? Thanks in advance!
Yes, you could turn them into hot cross buns. It would make 6-8 hot cross buns, depending on their size. I would bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes.
I rolled mine with brown sugar butter and a cinnamon paste then placed in a loaf tin and glazed with a sugar syrup 20 mins into the bake turns out delish!!
My 6 year old has just told me I am the best bread maker in the world, after I gave him a slice of this bread! ?
I divided the dough into 3 smaller loaves and they came out perfect. Thank you so much!
Hi. Are you using cake flour for this bread ?
You can use cake flour, yes. All purpose or bread flour will also work.
Could this recipe be made in a bread maker? Or even just mixed in the bread maker and shapes/ baked in a loaf pan. I don’t have a mixer with a dough attachment.
Also, would it need more yeast or anything tweaked?
I’m sure you could, I haven’t ever used a bread maker so can’t say with certainty if anything would need to be tweaked I’m afraid.
This recipe looks amazing! I’m just wondering, what size loaf pan did you use?
I used a 9x5inch (23x13cm) loaf pan.
This is the cinnamon raisin bread that I’ve been looking for! One that didn’t have the cinnamon swirl but included cinnamon and raisins. I used all purpose flour and it turned out great! I find it more dense then traditional white bread but that may have been the AP flour (I’ll try cake or bread flour next time). I cooked it 35 minutes, so it may have needed more time in the oven as well to lighten it up. My partner has been looking for a cinnamon raisin bread like his mom used to make every Christmas and this is as close as I’ve come so far, he loved it. I’ve found the cinnamon raisin bread recipes I’ve used in the past took forever to rise and never quite got the height of a traditional bread but this rose nicely. I proofed my yeast in a small amount of warm water (it’s hard to break the traditional bread habit!) then continued with the rest of the recipe / ingredients. I didn’t use the egg wash but rubbed some butter on it afterwards and it created a soft crust. This has been pinned and will be my go-to cinnamon raisin bread recipe!
So happy to hear that you and your partner loved this Cindy!
The bread doesn’t require an egg, just for the finishing wash. Did it make a difference in denseness do you think?
Alida I’m planning on making this loaf very soon as it looks incredible. I was just wondering about the 3-4 cups of flour? Should I use 3 cups at the beginning (i.e. step 2) and then the rest (or however much is necessary (i.e. step 4)? Many thanks in advance!
I always start with 3 cups, since flour can have different levels of absorbency and you might not need the full 4th cup. If the dough looks too sticky, I add the rest of the flour until the dough comes together.
Your recipe casts to use a mixer. Can this be done by hand?
Of course, I would just start the dough in a bowl and then turn out onto a counter to knead.
why wwarm water or warm milk. bit confused
If you’d prefer to keep it lactose free, use warm water instead of warm milk.
Hi. Using warm milk or water helps the yeast to start working. The sugar feeds the yeast and the bubbles are what the yeast produces as it grows. Milk or water should be just warm on the inside of your wrist. Too hot your yeast will die. Cold and it will take a long time to activate your yeast.
is it 389cal for the whole loaf or just one slice?
The recipe makes 8 so it’s 8 thick-ish slices or 16 thin slices. The calorie count is per serving.
Thanks so much for the recipe!!! It came out beautifully!! I used all purpose flour, and it was super moist, light and fluffy. I will definitely making this again very soon.
So happy to hear that, Flora!
I’ve made it 3 times in the past few days and it’s incredible! The crumb is so soft and delicious, but my crust always turns out really “crusty”. Yours however looks amazingly soft, like store bought! What am I doing wrong? I eggwash towards the end of baking, is that the problem?
Thanks for this magical bread recipe ?
If you want it to be nice and soft, brush it with melted butter as it comes out of the oven. It will be perfectly soft. 🙂
I’ve made it a couple times now and it’s wonderful!
So happy to hear that Kelly. 🙂
I made this recipe and it tastes lovely. However, it is very heavy and dense? Why do you think this is?
That’s very strange. It shouldn’t be dense at all. Was it fully baked and cooled before you sliced into it?
I wonder if Lynn had the same mistake I did. I wanted to make 2 loaves, so when I printed the recipe there was an option to add to the serving size. I took it from the 8 serving one loaf is to 16 servings for two loaves. The recipe then said to use 20 grams of yeast and it listed “2 teaspoons” in parentheses. My packet of yeast did not list grams only 1/4 oz or 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast so I used one packet for the doubled recipe. The calculator for doubling the recipe did not change the amount in text apparently, so my bread was very heavy and dense because it used half the amount of yeast.