Spiced Apple-Pecan Swirl Bread


You're sure to impress when you pull this out of the oven.

Spiced Apple-Pecan Swirl Bread
Photo: Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner
Cook Time:
5 mins
Active Time:
40 mins
Cool Time:
1 hrs 25 mins
Chill Time:
8 hrs
Bake Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
11 hrs

This swirl bread looks impressive (and maybe even intimidating), but it's no harder than making cinnamon rolls. The dough has a really soft texture, and the crunchy nuts provide a nice contrast to the tenderness of the bread. The glaze is smooth and sweet—compared to a milk-based glaze, this apple cider version keeps it light and translucent, really showcasing the stunning folds of this intricate loaf.

The dough starts with a container of sour cream, which makes it extra tangy and tender. If you've never worked with yeast before, consider this recipe your introduction (check out this guide on how to bake with yeast when you're a total beginner). Chilling the dough overnight makes it very easy to work with in the morning. The butter in the filling helps everything hold together and stick when it's cut in half, but it's still quite delicate—be sure to handle the halved roll carefully to keep the spiral shape intact.



  • 1 (8-oz.) container sour cream

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt

  • ¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided

  • cup warm water (100°F to 110°F)

  • 1 (¼-oz.) envelope active dry yeast

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • 3 ¾ - 4 ¼ cups bread flour, divided, plus more for work surface


  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar

  • ½ cup finely chopped peeled Honeycrisp or Gala apple (from 1 small apple), plus 1 cup thinly sliced unpeeled Honeycrisp or Gala apple (from 1 small apple), divided

  • ½ cup toasted pecans, chopped

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)


  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar

  • 1 - 2 tablespoons apple cider, as needed


  1. Prepare the Dough: Cook sour cream, butter, kosher salt, and ¼ cup of the granulated sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until butter just melts, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat; cool to 110°F to 115°F, about 10 minutes.

  2. Stir together warm water, yeast, and remaining 1 teaspoon granulated sugar in a small bowl. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

  3. Beat sour cream and yeast mixtures and eggs with a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment on medium-low speed, gradually adding 3¾ cups of the flour until a soft Dough forms and pulls away from sides but still adheres to bottom of bowl, about 2 minutes.

  4. Turn out on a lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding up to remaining ½ cup flour in very small increments, if needed, to keep the Dough workable. (It should be tacky but not sticky.) Place in a lightly greased (with cooking spray) bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover and chill at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.

  5. Turn Dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a 20- x 16-inch rectangle. Coat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet with cooking spray, and place a round sheet of parchment paper in bottom of the skillet. Set aside.

  6. Prepare the Filling: Stir together granulated sugar, brown sugar, finely chopped apple, toasted pecans, softened butter, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger in a bowl until mixture is well combined and the texture of wet sand.

  7. Gently spread Filling over Dough, carefully pressing to adhere, leaving a 1-inch border on both long sides. Starting at 1 long side, roll Dough up, jelly-roll style, into a log (A). Using a serrated knife, cut log in half lengthwise (B). Arrange Dough pieces side by side, cut sides up, on work surface. Carefully twist together, keeping cut sides facing up (C). Shape twisted Dough into a 9-inch ring, tucking ends under. Place in prepared skillet. Toss together lemon juice and sliced apple in a small bowl to coat. Gently tuck apple slices in between layers of Dough and Filling. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let stand in a warm place until almost doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours.

  8. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in lower third position. Remove and discard plastic wrap from skillet. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, 50 minutes to 1 hour, tenting with aluminum foil after 30 minutes, if needed, to prevent excessive browning. Remove from oven. Let cool 15 minutes.

  9. Prepare the Glaze: Whisk together powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon apple cider in a bowl. Add remaining 1 tablespoon cider, if needed, until desired consistency. Drizzle Glaze over bread. Serve warm, or transfer bread to a wire rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

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