Swedish Cinnamon & Cardamom Kanelbullar

Traditional Swedish buttery pastry filled with Cinnamon & Cardamom filling. Anytime I am in Sweden, Kanelbullar is a must. These delicious pastries baked on every corner and smelling streets away and are a Swedish staple eaten for breakfast and as a part of a daily Fika.


Fika in Sweden is a kind of ritual, enjoyed religiously. It is a nice break in the middle of the day when everyone stops, takes a break, refreshes, and socializes – sipping on strong coffee and enjoying a piece of pastry like Kanelbullar. Funny fact – the word fika actually comes from a slang word for coffee (kaffi) used back in the days.


The major difference between Cinnamon Rolls popular in the U.S. and traditional Swedish Kanelbullar is that Cinnamon Rolls have glaze or icing on the top, they are stickier and sweeter while Swedish classics is baked with a pearls sugar, served without icing and cardamom is a part of the dough. Traditionally shaped Kanelbullar aren’t buns neither rolls but rather, swirls. These Cinnamon Swirls are made from a yeasted, enriched dough, rested for a few hours, then rolled shaped and baked. The whole baking process takes up to three hours (including waiting time while the dough rises) and is pretty easy even for beginners.


I tried a version of Kanelbullar with Cocoa filling too (then we wouldn’t call them Kanelbullar as Kanel in Swedish means cinnamon) and they are super delicious as well. One last note – do not expect your swirls to be very sweet and sticky as you’re used to with cinnamon rolls.  This pastry is rather on the denser side, yet with a great buttery-flavor and is more bread-like rather than cake-like. Amazing and delicious. Let’s bake

(yield ~ 16 Swirls)


80g Flour, white, All Purpose

100g Whole Milk, warm

15g Sugar 

15g Fresh or 7g Dry Yeasts 


420g Flour, white, All Purpose

120g Butter, unsalted, softened

80g Whole Milk

2 Eggs, whole

80g Sugar

5g Salt

1 Teaspoon of Cardamom 

+ Pre-ferment

Egg Wash

1 Egg, Yolk

2 Tablespoon of Milk

Cardamom & Cinnamon Filling

80g Butterunsalted, softened

60-80g Sugar

3-4 Teaspoons of Cinnamon

½- 2 Teaspoons of Cardamom

Pearl Sugar, optional


  1. Prepare a pre-ferment some 30 minutes before making the dough: In a small bowl combine together 100g of warm Milk with 15g of Sugar and 7g of Dry or 15g of Fresh Yeasts. Mix with your fingers or with a spoon to combine everything and to dissolve the sugar. Then add 80g of Flour and mix roughly to combine wets with dries (don’t worry about flour lumps). Cover the bowl with a plastic/ beeswax foil/ wrap and let it rest at room temperature for ~ 30 minutes until frothy and bubbly
  2. Mix the Dough: In a big bowl or a bowl of your standing mixer combine together all ingredients for the dough besides the butter (420g of Flour, 80g of Milk, 80g of Sugar, 5g of Salt, Teaspoon of Cardamom, 2 whole Eggs and Pre-ferment). Start kneading the dough with your hand or with a hook attached to your standing mixer (medium speed) for at least 10 minutes – test if the dough is well kneaded by stretching it without breaking right away (gluten-window test). If the dough is stretchy and does not tear fast, it’s time to add the butter
  3. Add 120g of Softened Butter and keep kneading the dough for some 10 minutes more, until all butter is nicely incorporated and the dough went from greasy, thru sticky, to an elastic and shiny well-incorporated dough. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover it with a plastic wrap and let it prove at room temperature for at least 1 hour or until double in size (the warmer the room, the faster the dough proves)
  4. After your dough is nicely proved and well-risen, it’s time to shape it. To shape Kanelbullar – dust your work desk lightly with flour and roll out the dough into a preferable rectangle shape thick around 5mm. Spread your Cinnamon Butter Filling  (that you made by combining all ingredients for the filling together) on top and fold the dough letter style – pick up one of the sides of the dough and fold it a third of the way over the rest of the dough. The second fold is like folding a letter. Pick up the opposite side of the dough that you folded and stretch it over the first fold, laying it on top. Now roll the dough carefully again to prolongate it slightly both – length and width-wise
  5. Slice the dough into ~ 3cm long strips. Cut each strip again thru the center leaving the top connected. Now wrap each strip twice around two of your fingers and hide the end of the dough in between your fingers shaping a knot
  6. Place your Swedish Buns on a baking pan lined with parchment paper and let it rest and prove for a second time for ~ 20 minutes. Then brush your buns with egg wash (1 Egg Yolk combined with 2 Tablespoons of Milk), sprinkle with some pearl sugar, and bake them for ~ 20-25 minutes at 180°C/350°F. Let your Kanelbullar cooldown and enjoy them with a cup of dark coffee

Dobrú chuť,

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