A fluffy and buttery cinnamon babka that is swirled with layers of cinnamon and brown sugar. Our cinnamon babka recipe is a work of love and lots of patience.
Enjoy a slice on Christmas, Easter, or Thanksgiving morning. Slices can also be used to make cinnamon french toast for breakfast. This cinnamon babka is a delicious twisted dough dessert bread that you'll definitely be making again.
Such an indulgent loaf with beautiful swirls of brown sugar cinnamon filling. Imagine a cinnamon roll in loaf form! This recipe prepares enough for two loaf pans. Enjoy one and wrap the other one up as a sweet treat for your friends or family.
This Cinnamon Babka recipe has become a favorite in my house, especially as a Christmas breakfast treat! We like to use the second loaf for french toast.
Important Ingredients with Substitutions
- Instant dry yeast - To check if you instant yeast is still good add 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1 packet of yeast to a ¼ cup of warm water. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. If the yeast mixture starts to get foamy and gives off a yeasty smell, then your yeast is still good. Note: Active dry yeast will need to be rehydrated before use. Our recipe adds the yeast directly to the dry ingredients so be sure to use instant dry yeast or a rapid rise yeast.
- Warm milk - The whole 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 the milk. If the eggs are still cold, add them to your warmed milk before mixing them into the dough
- 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.
- 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 the recipe below for the full list of ingredients and quantities.
Instructions for Cinnamon Babka
To prepare our Cinnamon Babka recipe, add the dough attachment to your stand mixer.
Step 1: Add sifted all-purpose flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Mix on low until the flour mixture is combined.
Step 2: 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.
Step 3: 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.
Step 4: After the unsalted butter has been added, turn to medium speed and mix for 10 minutes. Scrape bowl if/when needed.
Step 5: 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.
Step 6: 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.
Step 7: 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.
Step 8: After the dough doubled in size place the dough, covered with plastic wrap, into the fridge overnight. IF you need to make this recipe today, rest the dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours first.
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Hint: *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.
Step 9: 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.
Step 10: Once chilled, grease two 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaf pans with oil or nonstick cooking spray, sides included. Line them both with a piece of parchment paper.
Step 11: To make the cinnamon filling, in a small bowl combine room temperature butter, dark brown sugar, and ground cinnamon.
Step 12: Place your chilled dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the babka dough in half, and set one aside.
Step 13: Roll the dough into a rectangle. Roughly 10 x 12 or 10 x 14 inches.
Step 14: Spread the cinnamon filling all over the dough with an offset spatula.
Step 15: Starting with the shorter end, roll the dough tightly over itself creating a log.
Step 16: Cut the roll in half lengthwise down the center with a sharp knife.
Step 17: Twist each roll around each other like a braid with the cut sides exposed.
Step 18: Add the bread to the loaf pan and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let the babka dough rise at room temperature for 1.5 hours.
Step 19: REPEAT. This Cinnamon Babka recipe makes TWO loaves, so don't forget to repeat the process for the second Babka loaf.
Step 20: 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.
Step 21: Prepare the vanilla glaze. Add melted butter to a small bowl, and add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk. Whisk together until combined.
Step 22: Pour icing on top of your cooling babkas. Let the babka cool completely loaf pans for at least 10 minutes before removing.
- For Nutella Babka, try a Nutella filling, replace the filling with ¾ cup Nutella per loaf.
- Sprinkle ½ cup toasted 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. Check out these Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Pie Filling.
- 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.
- 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 9x13 casserole dish or cake pan.
Store your homemade babka covered and at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Refrigerating Cinnamon Babka isn't recommended as it will dry out the loaves. If you need to refrigerate, simply wrap tightly in plastic wrap to maintain freshness.
Can I freeze cinnamon babka? Wrap each cinnamon babka loaf tightly in plastic wrap, then again in aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 1 month. Allow thawing while still wrapped. Warm the loaf in the oven, unwrapped, at 325 for 10 minutes until warmed throughout.
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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.
Serve warm! Good luck keeping this around for longer than a day or two.
Traditional Babka is a sweet cake that originated in Eastern Europe and is popular in Jewish communities. It is made with a rich, buttery dough that is filled with sweet ingredients such as chocolate, cinnamon, or fruit and baked until golden brown and delicious.
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.
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.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
- 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
- 2 large eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- ⅔ cup whole warmed milk
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 10 tablespoons butter (room temp, cubed)
- canola oil for oiling bowl
- 10.5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 tablespoons milk
- In the bowl of your stand mixer sift together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.
- Add the dough hook to the stand mixer, and mix on low until the dry ingredients are combined.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Place your dough onto a floured work surface. Divide the dough in half, and set one aside.
- 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.
- Repeat step 12 for the next loaf.
- 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.
- Repeat step 14 for the next loaf.
- Cover both loaf pans with greased plastic wrap. Leave out to rise at room temperature for 1.5 hours.
- Preheat your 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, 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.
- Best is served warm.