As a kid, I chowed down on cinnamon raisin bread whenever I had the rare chance. I loved the stuff.
My health-conscious mom would, more often than not, use 100% whole-wheat bread for everything: to make our sandwiches for school lunches, for peanut butter and apple snacks at home, and for tuna fish sandwiches after church on Sundays.
So it was a special treat when she would surprisingly grab the cinnamon raisin bread instead of the usual bread at the grocery store.
It was almost like a silent agreement between my mom and the rest of the family – eat healthfully, most of time, and be rewarded with the occasional treat.
Of course, Mom would control when we would be gifted with this amazing prize.
She would never tell us when it was coming, though. Every grocery trip, we’d wait excitedly, yet quietly, in anticipation every time we went down the bread aisle.
A game of Russian roulette, turned on its head.
Is this the day? The day when we get to take home a sweet, fluffy loaf of bread with those thick swirls of brown sugar and cinnamon, studded with plump raisins? Or will we leave the store sad and disappointed, grudgingly holding yet another bag of whole wheat bread?
Yes, no? No, yes?
Here’s the sweet benefit about adulthood, friends: you can make the decisions now!
If I want, I can buy out the whole store’s supply of cinnamon raisin bread with a quick swipe of my credit card.
Or, I can choose to go the homemade route, and make these easy cinnamon raisin swirl muffins!
While I could make my own bread (we have a perfect vegan cinnamon bread recipe for you to try), it takes hours before you can finally enjoy a slice. Kneading, shaping, rising, baking…
I don’t want to wait! I want it now!
This batter only takes a few minutes to mix together, and it bakes within 15 minutes. With each bite, your mouth will be greeted by the delightful tastes of brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins.
Are they a healthy, mom-approved breakfast? Maybe not the healthiest, like some of our other recipes (have you tried our healthier oatmeal chocolate chip muffin?).
But at least I substitute some of the butter with Greek yogurt and applesauce.
It’s fine. She doesn’t have to know how often I make these. I’m a sugar-addicted adult, now.Print
With subtle swirls of brown sugar, cinnamon, and plump raisins, these homemade muffins will wake up any sweet tooth in the morning.
- Cooking oil spray
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar, divided
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 cup raisins
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners and spray any exposed metal on top with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Divide the brown sugar in half, and set aside 1/2 cup in a small bowl. Mix together the other 1/2 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins in a separate small bowl. Set aside.
- Cream together the butter and granulated sugar at high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add the eggs, yogurt, applesauce, and vanilla extract to the bowl. Mix together at medium-high speed until completely combined.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt before adding to the liquid mixture. Mix on low speed just until combined.
- Gently fold the brown sugar mixture into the batter by hand to create swirls, folding only 3-4 times. Do not completely mix together.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each well close to the top. Sprinkle with the reserved brown sugar.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to continue cooling.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Muffins
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Baked Goods
Keywords: cinnamon, brown sugar, raisin, muffin, cinnamon raisin
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a 12-cup baking pan with paper lines and spray any exposed metal on top with cooking spray. They will spread slightly onto the pan, and spraying with oil will help prevent any sticking.
Separate the brown sugar into two 1/2-cup amounts. Measure out all of the other ingredients.
You can choose to buy a store-bought applesauce, or you can make it from scratch! Try our stovetop or pressure cooker versions, and omit any sweeteners and seasonings if you want to keep the recipe unsweetened.
Step 2 – Make the Spice Mixture
In a small bowl, mix together half of the brown sugar, the cinnamon, and the raisins. Set aside.
Is your brown sugar clumping? Learn 3 simple solutions to soften brown sugar, plus some great storage tips!
Step 3 – Make the Batter
Add the eggs, yogurt, applesauce, and vanilla extract to the bowl. Mix at medium-high speed until completely combined.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt before adding to the liquid mixture on the stand mixer. Mix at low speed (you don’t want flour everywhere!) until just combined.
Like with all of our muffin recipes, be advised to not overmix the batter once you add the flour. To ensure the final product is soft and fluffy, keep gluten development to a minimum by only mixing until everything is just incorporated.
Step 4 – Fold in the Spice Mixture
Gently fold in the cinnamon raisin mixture into the batter by hand with a spatula, only folding 3-4 times to keep a visual display of swirls within the batter.
Mixing too thoroughly will incorporate the mixture too much into the batter, and you’ll lose any swirls.
Step 5 – Divide and Top with Brown Sugar
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, filling each one close to the top. Sprinkle the tops with the reserved 1/2 cup of brown sugar.
Step 6 – Bake
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool in pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to continue cooling.
Serve while still warm with butter.
A Cinnamon-Swirly Taste of Childhood
Yes, I understand that my mom had the health of her picky children to maintain, with her selection of whole wheat bread.
But she knew that we all deserved a sweet treat every now and then.
Inspired by the cinnamon raisin bread she would buy on occasion, these baked goodies will wake up any sweet tooth with their subtle swirls of cinnamon, brown sugar, and raisins.
Enjoy them for breakfast, brunch, or even dinner if that sweet craving still persists in the evening.
When Mom isn’t looking, of course.
And if you constantly struggle with the soggy muffin bottom blues, learn how to fix them with our help!
How are you transforming some of your favorite childhood treats into amazing homemade recipes? Share some of your favorites in the comment section below. Let’s chat soon!
Muffin recipes galore! Try a few more:
- Banana Chocolate Chip
- Gluten-Free Honey Lemon
- Classic Blueberry
- Vegan Whole Grain Maple Pumpkin
- Monkey Bread
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published March 4, 2011. Last updated: September 20, 2022 at 11:23 am.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is a full-time cheesemonger and specialty foods buyer living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.