Homemade Cinnamon Babka Recipe

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A fluffy and buttery brioche like bread swirled with layers of cinnamon and brown sugar. A work of love and lots of patience. A perfect Easter dessert.

cinnamon babka loaf

How to make a Homemade Cinnamon Babka Recipe

Such an indulgent loaf with beautiful swirls of brown sugar cinnamon filling. Imagine a cinnamon roll in loaf form!

This Cinnamon Babka recipe has become a favorite in my house, especially as a Christmas breakfast treat!

close up of cut cinnamon babka

Cinnamon Babka recipe ingredients

All-purpose flour – Whichever all purpose flour brand you have on hand works fine. To get the most accurate measurement of flour, use a kitchen scale. I like to do this with most recipes that require flour, too much flour isn’t very tasty.

If you do not have a kitchen scale, Fluff your flour and using a spoon scoop into a measuring cup, then scape excess off with a butter knife.

Granulated Sugar – A monk fruit sugar sweetener will also work. The taste is the most similar to regular white granulated sugar.

Instant dry yeast – To check if yeast is still good add 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 packet of yeast to a 1/4 cup of warm water. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. If the mixture starts to get foamy and gives off a yeasty smell, then your yeast is still good.

Large Eggs – Room temperature eggs

Large Egg yolk – room temperature egg yolk.

Warm milk – The milk in this recipe can be replaced with water or any non-flavored dairy-free milk. If you’re unable to let the milk sit at room temperature, microwave in 10-second increments to warm milk.

If the eggs are still cold, add them to your warmed milk before mixing them into the dough.

Salt – Flavor enhancer!

Unsalted Butter – Room temperature butter is necessary for this recipe. I would recommend taking the butter out at least 30 minutes before to ensure a softened butter. This includes the melted butter for the cinnamon sugar filling.

Canola oil – Any tasteless and colorless oil works best. For oiling the bowl.

Vanilla – Pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Ground Cinnamon – In place of ground cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice or even apple pie spice will work beautifully.

Dark brown sugar – light brown sugar works just fine as well.

*see recipe card for detailed measurements

babka bread ingredients laid out
cinnamon and brown sugar filling ingredients
Vanilla icing ingredients laid out

Kitchen supplies you’ll need

Mix it, Roll it, & Bake it!

To prepare our Cinnamon Babka recipe, In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment sift together the all-purpose flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Mix on low until the dry ingredients are combined.

Add the eggs, egg yolk, warmed milk, and vanilla extract into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium for 2-3 minutes until the dough starts to come together.

Scrape the sides of the bowl when/if needed.

flour, salt, yeast, sugar in stand mixer bowl
eggs, and vanilla into the dry ingredients
mixing of ingredients in stand mixer

Turn the mixer to medium-low and add the softened unsalted butter one cube at a time. Allow each cube of unsalted butter to fully incorporate before adding the next cube.

After the unsalted butter has been added, turn to medium speed and mix for 10 minutes. Scrape bowl if/when needed.

The dough will come together, I promise, by the end of the 10 minutes. The dough should come away clean from the sides of the bowl and be smooth and stretchy.

mixing dough, it looks shaggy
continuing to mix dough
butter fully incorporated, dough is stretchy

Oil a large bowl. Dust your hands with flour so the dough doesn’t stick to you and move the dough from the mixing bowl to the oiled bowl. 

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1.5 – 2 hours at a warm room temp, a warm place, or a low oven temp.

*Rising in the oven: While mixing the dough, turn your oven to its lowest temperature, mine is 170. Let it preheat, then turn it off. By the time your dough is ready to let rise, the oven should have come down to a temperature perfect for the first rise.

ball of dough in an oiled bowl
dough after rising

After this dough rises place babka dough, covered with plastic wrap, into the fridge overnight. IF you need to make this wonderful recipe today, rest the dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours first.

Whether you’ve chilled overnight or just a couple of hours, let the babka dough rest and come to room temperature for 30 – 60 minutes before working with it.

Once chilled, grease two 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaf pans with oil, sides included. Line them both with a piece of parchment paper.

Make the parchment paper large enough for at least 2 inches to fold over the edge of each loaf pan. This will help you pull the loaf out of the pan after baking, icing, and cooling.

To make the cinnamon filling, in a small bowl combine room temperature butter, dark brown sugar, and ground cinnamon. Combine with either a wooden spoon, rubber spatula, or your hands until it combines fully and is easily spreadable.

Place your chilled dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the babka dough in half, and set one aside.

parchment lined bread pans
mixed together cinnamon and brown sugar filling
ball of dough divided into two

Roll the dough into a rectangle. Roughly 10 x 12 or 10 x 14 inches. 

Spread half of the cinnamon filling all over the dough with an offset spatula.

Starting with the shorter end, roll the dough tightly over itself creating a log.

Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet seam side down, while you prepare your next loaf.

rolled out dough
filling spread from edge to edge on rolled out dough
rolled from the right short end into a log

Cut the roll in half lengthwise down the center with a sharp knife.

Twist each roll around each other like a braid with the cut sides exposed. 

Pinch both ends together and place it in your greased loaf pan. 

log cut length wise in the center with sharp knife
both sections braided or twisted around eachother
placed in a parchment lined bread pan

Cover loaf pan with greased plastic wrap. Let the babka dough rise at room temperature for 1.5 hours.

This Cinnamon Babka recipe makes TWO loaves, so don’t forget to repeat the process for the second babka loaf.

Preheat oven to 350 F. 

Once the oven is preheated, Bake both of your loaves for 40-50 minutes or until the inside has reached an internal temperature of 190 F and the top is a beautiful golden brown. I use a meat thermometer for this. 

For the vanilla glaze, add melted butter to a small bowl, and add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk. Whisk together until combined.

vanilla glaze ingredients in a bowl

Pour icing on top of your cooling babkas. Allow to cool in their pans for at least 10 minutes before removing. 

Best if served warm.

Fully baked babka still in bread pan
vanilla glaze covering the top of the babka

Is Babka dough same as Brioche?

Brioche dough is a lovely enriched bread. Both Babka and Brioche are yeasted sweet breads.

While this Cinnamon Babka recipe is ALSO an enriched bread, the process of filling, rolling, and braiding the enriched dough then makes it a Babka.

two slices of babka with a milk

Is Babka supposed to be dense?

As stated above this Cinnamon Babka recipe is a yeasted sweet bread. Is Cinnamon Babka supposed to be dense? Yes, and no.

Because of its enriched dough and sweet cinnamon filling, it’s both fluffy and dense. A perfect mixture of the two makes this babka recipe a perfect tea or coffee companion.

Slice of cinnamon babka with a fork

Tips for Baking, Eating, & Storing

Baking

-This brioche dough can be used for your morning Cinnamon Rolls too! Use a piece of plain floss to cut the rolls 1 – 1.5 inches and bake in a greased 9×13 casserole dish or cake pan.

-A traditional Babka contains semi-sweet chocolate filling with simple syrup on top, check back for a recipe on that.

Check out these variations you can try out:

-For Nutella Babka, try a Nutella filling, replace the filling with 3/4 cup Nutella per loaf.

-Sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped nuts on top of your filling before rolling. Suggested nuts: Pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, or pecans.

-Slice the rolled babka dough into rounds for Cinnamon Buns. Baking time may vary.

Eating

-This brioche dough can be sliced and used for one of our family favorites, French Toast! If you find your bread has become a bit stale, this is perfect.

Storing

Store your homemade babka covered and at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Refrigerating your Cinnamon Babka isn’t recommended as it will dry out the loaves.

Freezing: Wrap babka loaf tightly in plastic wrap, then again in foil. Freeze for up to 1 month. Allow to thaw still wrapped. Warm the loaf in the oven, unwrapped, at 325 for 10 minutes until warmed throughout.

sliced finished babka

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sliced cinnamon babka

Cinnamon Babka

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  • Total Time: 14 hours 50 minutes
  • Yield: 2 loaves 1x

Ingredients

Scale

Dough

3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon instant dry yeast

2 large eggs

1 egg yolk

2/3 cup whole warmed milk

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup (10 tablespoons) butter (room temp, cubed)

canola oil (for oiling bowl)

Filling

10.5 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons cinnamon

Vanilla Glaze

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer sift together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.

  2. Add the dough hook to the stand mixer, and mix on low until the dry ingredients are combined.

  3. Add the eggs, yolk, milk, and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until the dough starts to come together. Scrape the sides of the bowl when/if needed.

  4. Turn the stand mixer to medium-low and add the softened butter one cube at a time. Allow each cube of butter to fully incorporate before adding the next cube. After the butter has been added, turn to medium-high speed and mix for 10 minutes. Scrape bowl if/when needed.

    butter fully incorporated, dough is stretchy

  5. Oil a large bowl. Dust your hands with flour so the dough doesn’t stick to you and move the dough from the mixing bowl to the oiled bowl. 

  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or tea towel and let rise for 1.5 – 2 hours at a warm room temp, a warm place, or a low oven temp. For rising in a warm oven: turn your oven to its lowest temperature, mine is 170. Let it preheat, then turn it off. By the time your dough is ready to let rise, the oven should have come down in temperature perfect for the first rise.

  7. After this dough rise, place the dough into the fridge overnight. IF you need to make this wonderful recipe today, rest the dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

  8. Whether you’ve chilled overnight or just a couple of hours, let the dough rest and come to room temp for 30 – 60 minutes before working with it. 

  9. While waiting for your dough to come to room temp, grease two 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaf pans with oil, sides included. Line them both with a piece of parchment paper. Make the parchment paper large enough for at least 2 inches to fold over the edge. This will help you pull the loaf out of the pan after baking, icing, and cooling.

    parchment lined bread pans

  10. To prepare our thick cinnamon filling, in a small bowl combine room temperature butter, dark brown sugar, and cinnamon. Combine with either a wooden spoon, rubber spatula, or your hands until it combines fully and is easily spreadable. I tend to use my hands as the warmth helps the butter mix more easily.

  11. Place your dough onto a floured work surface. Divide the dough in half, and set one aside.

  12. Roll dough into a rectangle. Roughly 10 x 12 or 10 x 14 inches. Spread half of the cinnamon and brown sugar filling all over the dough with an offset spatula. Starting with the shorter end, roll the dough tightly over itself creating a log. Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet seam side down, while you prepare your next loaf.

    rolled from the right short end into a log

  13. Repeat step 12 for the next loaf.

  14. Cut the roll lengthwise down the center with a sharp knife. Twist each roll around each other like a braid with the cut sides exposed. Pinch both ends together and place it in your prepared loaf pans.

    placed in a parchment lined bread pan

  15. Repeat step 14 for the next loaf. 

  16. Cover both loaf pans with greased plastic wrap. Leave out to rise at room temperature for 1.5 hours.

  17. Preheat your oven to 350 F. 

  18. Once the oven is preheated, Bake both of your loaves for 40-50 minutes or until the inside has reached an internal temperature of 190 F and the top is a beautiful golden brown. I use a meat thermometer for this. 

  19. For the vanilla glaze, melt the butter in a small bowl and add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Whisk together until combined. Pour on top of your cooling babkas. Allow to cool in their pans for at least 10 minutes before removing. 

  20. Best is served warm.

Notes

This brioche dough can be used for your morning Cinnamon Rolls too! Use a piece of plain floss to cut the rolls 1 – 1.5 inches and bake in a greased 9×13 casserole dish or cake pan.

Try a Nutella filling, replace the filling with 3/4 cup Nutella per loaf. Sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped nuts on top of your filling before rolling. Suggested nuts: Pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, or pecans.

This brioche dough can be sliced and used for one of our family favorites, French Toast! If you find your bread has become a bit stale, this is perfect.

Freezing: Wrap babka loaf tightly in plastic wrap, then again in foil. Freeze for up to 1 month. Allow to thaw still wrapped. Warm the loaf in the oven, unwrapped, at 325 for 10 minutes until warmed throughout.

  • Author: April Brown
  • Prep Time: 14 hours
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Breads
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: European

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 392
  • Sugar: 28.3 g
  • Sodium: 167.8 mg
  • Fat: 18.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 52 g
  • Protein: 4.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 79.1 mg

Keywords: cinnamon babka recipe

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By on March 28th, 2022

About April Brown

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5 thoughts on “Homemade Cinnamon Babka Recipe”

  1. Ooooooo… I need to have a slice of this with my coffee tomorrow morning! This looks amazing. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Enjoyed this for a Mother’s Day treat and it turned out perfect! So easy and flavorful; exactly what I needed to end my night with a bang!

    Reply

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