Dollywood Has the Best Cinnamon Bread Ever—Here’s How to Make It

Dollywood dishes up such comforting Southern food you might mistake it for home cooking. The most popular offering? This ooey-gooey Dollywood cinnamon bread.

On top of being a beloved country singer, movie star and entrepreneur, Dolly Parton is an avid fan of Southern cooking. At Dollywood, her Tennessee theme park, visitors line up for homey favorites like ham and beans, funnel cakes and hand-breaded fried chicken. But one food draws a particularly long line: Dollywood cinnamon bread. The park brags that it’s world-famous! Here’s why—and how to make it at home.

What’s in the cinnamon bread?

In front of a ravenous crowd, bakers at Dollywood’s Grist Mill slather fresh loaves with butter and cinnamon sugar, then bake until the bread is infused with melty, gooey, caramelized sweetness. The bread is served with creamy apple butter or buttercream. Cinnamon bread is a perfect cozy breakfast for a lazy weekend morning. For comfort after a day workin’ 9-to-5, try Dolly’s five-layer casserole or her chicken and dumplings, which she describes as her “signature dish.”

Dollywood Cinnamon Bread Copycat Recipe

Cinnamon bread is absolutely heavenly when made with homemade bread, but if you’re in a hurry, you can substitute a 1-lb. frozen bread loaf. Like Dolly’s stone soup, the recipe transforms a humble ingredient into something delicious.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1-1/4 cups warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)
  • 2-1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice or ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Directions

Editor’s Tip: You can use frozen bread dough for this recipe. Just skip down to Step 8.

Step 1: Proof the yeast

In a stand mixer bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm (not too hot) milk. The bread is a one-bowl recipe, making clean-up quick.

Step 2: Make a batter

Dissolve yeast in warm water, mix ingredients in to make doughTMB Studio

Add bread flour, butter, sugar, egg and salt. Beat on medium speed for three minutes.

Step 3: Add all-purpose flour

Stir in just enough all-purpose flour to form a firm dough. You may need more or less depending on the humidity, the size of your egg and other factors. The dough should be firm, not slack or sticky.

Step 4: Knead

Knead dough on a floured surfaceTMB Studio

Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about six to eight minutes. Here’s how to tell if you’re done kneading.

Step 5: Rise

Cover and let dough riseTMB Studio

Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about one hour.

Step 6: Prepare the spice

In a pie plate, combine the sugar and pie spice (or plain cinnamon, if you prefer the traditional recipe). Pour melted butter into another pie plate.

Step 7: Shape the loaf

Punch the dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a loaf.

Step 8: Slash and season

Roll dough in butter and sugar and spice mixtureTMB Studio

Using a sharp knife, make five slits across the bread dough. This will let the butter and sugar penetrate into the bread. Roll the dough in butter, coating all sides. Then, roll in the sugar mixture.

Step 9: Final rise

Place the dough in a parchment-lined 9×5 loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.

About halfway through the rise, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Step 10: Bake

Bake until golden brown, serve warmTMB Studio

Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. (Cover loosely with foil if the top is browning too quickly.) Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Serve warm with apple butter, jam or buttercream, if desired.

How to Store Cinnamon Bread

If you have leftover cinnamon bread, wrap it in plastic or foil and store it at room temperature for two to three days. Refrigerating cinnamon bread will make it dry out more quickly.

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Kelsey Dimberg
A former senior digital editor at Taste of Home, Kelsey now writes articles and novels from her home in Chicago. Since 2010, she’s followed a gluten-free diet, and especially enjoys the challenge of baking sourdough bread and pizza dough. As a contributing writer for Taste of Home, she covers a broad range of topics but with a special emphasis on gluten-free cooking and baking. Outside of her gluten-free experiments in the kitchen, Kelsey is also the author of the thriller novel “Girl in the Rearview Mirror.”