Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Muffins

As a kid, I chowed down on cinnamon raisin bread whenever I had the rare chance. I loved the stuff.

Vertical close-up image of a cinnamon muffin surrounded by dried fruit, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

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.

Vertical image of a tray of baked goods topped with brown sugar, with one positioned on its side.

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.

Vertical image of a pile of muffins with knives, plates, and butter in the background.

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?

Vertical top-down image of muffins on a white plate next to a butter spreader and white towel.

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!

Vertical image of a breakfast treat on a slate with raisins.

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.

Vertical image of a stack of muffins, the top one with a bite taken out of it, in front of knives and a white towel.

Are they a healthy, mom-approved breakfast? Maybe not the healthiest… 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
Horizontal image of a pile of muffins in a bowl with a white towel, with plates, knives, and butter in the background.

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Muffins


  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins 1x

Description

With subtle swirls of brown sugar, cinnamon, and plump raisins, these homemade muffins will wake up any sweet tooth in the morning.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the eggs, yogurt, applesauce, and vanilla extract to the bowl. Mix together at medium-high speed until completely combined.
  5. 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.
  6. Gently fold the brown sugar mixture into the batter by hand to create swirls, folding only 3-4 times. Do not completely mix together.
  7. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each well close to the top. Sprinkle with the reserved brown sugar.
  8. 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.

  • Category: Muffins
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Baked Goods

Keywords: cinnamon, brown sugar, raisin, muffin, cinnamon raisin

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep

Horizontal image of a muffin pan with paper lines, a bowl of eggs, and a cup of yogurt.

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.

Step 2 – Make the Spice Mixture

Horizontal image of a white bowl with a sugar, spice, and dried fruit 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

Horizontal image of a white bowl with a thick, off-white batter.

Cream together the unsalted butter and granulated sugar at high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. This will take about 2 minutes.

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

Horizontal image of a batter and a spice mixture in the same white bowl.

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.

Horizontal image of a spiced batter mixture stirred by a spatula in a white bowl.

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

Horizontal image of batter in a muffin pan topped by 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

Horizontal image of baked muffins with brown sugar in a pan.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Horizontal image of scattered muffins on a slate surrounded by dried fruit.

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.

Horizontal image of a pile of muffins in a bowl with a white towel, with plates, knives, and butter in the background.

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:

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, 2019 at 19:09 pm.

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.

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About Nikki Cervone

Nikki Cervone is a hungry foodie 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 is not tearing through her city's best cheesesteaks, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

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