Swedish Cinnamon Buns (Kanelbullar) Recipe

Swedish cinnamon buns, also known as Kanelbullar, are a sweet and aromatic treat that's beloved all over the world. These delightful buns feature a soft cardamom-infused dough filled with a rich cinnamon-sugar filling, creating a beautifully layered and twisted pastry. Each bite offers a heavenly combination of sweet, spicy and buttery flavors, making them perfect for breakfast, coffee break, or dessert.

Swedish Cinnamon Buns (Kanelbullar) Recipe
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Most of the ingredients for Kanelbullar are fairly common in many kitchens. However, ground cardamom, a key flavour in this recipe, may require a trip to the supermarket if it's not a staple in your pantry. It's a unique and aromatic spice that adds depth and complexity to these buns. Also, you'll need pearled sugar for topping, which gives the buns a distinctive sweetness and crunch.

Ingredients for Swedish Cinnamon Buns (Kanelbullar)

Milk: This is a key component of the dough. It provides moisture and helps create a tender crumb in the finished buns.

Unsalted butter: This is used in both the dough and the filling, lending a rich, buttery flavor to the buns.

All purpose flour: This forms the base of the dough.

White granulated sugar: This provides sweetness to the dough.

Instant rise yeast: This leavens the dough, making the buns rise and become fluffy.

Ground cardamom: This aromatic spice infuses the dough with a distinct, warm flavor.

Fine sea salt: This enhances the other flavors in the dough.

Light brown sugar: This makes up part of the cinnamon-sugar filling, offering a rich, molasses-like sweetness.

Ground cinnamon: This is the main flavor in the filling.

Vanilla extract: This adds depth of flavor to the filling.

Egg: This is used as an egg wash to give the buns a golden brown color and glossy finish.

Sugar: This is used for topping the buns before baking to provide a sweet crunch.

One reader, Aubree Patino says:

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These Swedish cinnamon buns are absolutely divine! The cardamom-infused dough is so aromatic and the cinnamon-sugar filling is just the right amount of sweetness. The buns turned out soft, fluffy, and perfectly golden brown. I can't wait to make them again!

Aubree Patino

Techniques Required for Making Swedish Cinnamon Buns

How to prepare the cardamom dough: Combine warm milk and melted butter, then mix with flour, sugar, yeast, ground cardamom, and salt. Knead the dough until smooth, then let it rise until doubled in size.

How to prepare the cinnamon-sugar filling: Mix together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla extract until evenly combined.

How to roll out the dough: Roll the dough into a large rectangle, spread the filling evenly, fold the dough, and roll it out again to the desired size.

How to shape the buns: Slice the dough into strips, twist and stretch each strip, then form them into knots before placing them on a baking sheet.

How to bake the buns: Brush the buns with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake until golden brown.

How to serve the buns: Let the buns cool for a few minutes before serving warm.

How To Make Swedish Cinnamon Buns

Bite into the sophisticated twists of these Swedish Cinnamon Buns made from cardamom-spiced dough with a buttery cinnamon-sugar filling.

Preparation: 2 hours 45 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes
Total: 3 hours



For Cardamom Dough:

  • 1cupmilk
  • ¼cupunsalted butter
  • cupsall purpose flour
  • ¼cupwhite granulated sugar
  • tspinstant rise yeast,(7 g)
  • 2tspground cardamom
  • ¾tspfine sea salt

For Cinnamon-Sugar Filling:

  • ½cupunsalted butter
  • ½cuplight brown sugar,packed
  • 2tbspground cinnamon
  • 1tspground cardamom
  • 1tspvanilla extract

For Topping:

  • 1egg,whisked together with 1 tbsp water
  • sugar,pearled


Cardamon Dough:

  1. Combine the milk and butter in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to melt the butter, until the mixture reaches 110 degrees F. Measure the temperature with a cooking thermometer, but if you don’t have one, the mixture should be warm but not hot to the touch. If the mixture gets too hot, just wait a few minutes for it to cool.

  2. In a separate large mixing bowl, briefly whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, ground cardamom, and salt until combined.

  3. Add the warm milk mixture and stir until the dough begins to form. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and soft.

  4. Form the dough into a ball, place it in a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise in a warm space for 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size.

Cinnamon-Sugar Filling:

  1. Stir together the filling ingredients in a separate mixing bowl until evenly combined.

  2. Roll out the dough. Once the dough is ready to go, turn it out onto a large floured work surface.  Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 22×15-inch rectangle. 

  3. Carefully and evenly spread the filling mixture across the entire surface of the dough.  Then fold the left third of the dough in towards the center, and fold the right third of the dough over that towards the center, like you’re folding a business letter. 

  4. Gently run the rolling pin over the dough to press out any big bubbles. Then roll the dough out a bit more so that it forms a 15×8-inch rectangle.

  5. Using a pizza cutter, pastry cutter, or a knife, slice the dough into even 2×20-cm long strips. Take one strip and twist it several times, gently stretching it as you do so until it nearly doubles in length.

  6. Grab one end of the twisted strip and loosely wrap the dough around two fingers twice, like a bandage.  Then loop the rest of the dough perpendicularly around the dough so that it forms a knot, and tuck the loose end in at the bottom.

  7. Transfer the dough to a large parchment-covered baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining dough strips.

  8. Loosely cover the dough buns with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise for 45 to 60 minutes.

  9. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Brush each bun with the egg wash, then sprinkle with a pinch of pearled sugar.

  10. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the rolls reach your desired level of golden brown.

  11. Transfer to a wire baking sheet and let cool for 5 minutes.  Then serve warm and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

If you own a stand mixer, you can mix the dough using the dough attachment on low speed for 8 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and soft. If you find that the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl, just sprinkle in a bit of extra flour.


  • Calories: 251.78kcal
  • Fat: 11.10g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.73g
  • Trans Fat: 0.40g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 2.87g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.59g
  • Carbohydrates: 34.03g
  • Fiber: 1.67g
  • Sugar: 10.50g
  • Protein: 4.39g
  • Cholesterol: 39.31mg
  • Sodium: 140.39mg
  • Calcium: 46.14mg
  • Potassium: 84.40mg
  • Iron: 1.61mg
  • Vitamin A: 96.28µg
  • Vitamin C: 0.13mg

Technique Tip for Perfect Swedish Cinnamon Buns

When making your Swedish cinnamon buns, it's crucial to ensure the dough is properly kneaded. Kneading helps to develop the gluten in the flour, which gives the buns their characteristic chewy texture. If the dough is under-kneaded, the buns may turn out dense and heavy. Conversely, over-kneading can result in tough, dry buns. A good rule of thumb is to knead until the dough is smooth, elastic, and springs back when lightly pressed with a finger. If you're unsure, it's better to err on the side of under-kneading, as the dough will continue to develop gluten during the rising process.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Kanelbullar

Prep ahead: Make the dough the night before and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight. This will save time and allow the flavors to develop.

Use a stand mixer: Utilize a stand mixer to knead the dough instead of doing it by hand. It will save time and effort.

Bake in batches: If you have multiple baking sheets, bake the buns in batches to save time and ensure even baking.

Organize ingredients: Before starting, measure and organize all the ingredients to streamline the cooking process.

Freeze extra: Make a double batch and freeze the extra buns for later. Simply reheat and enjoy homemade cinnamon buns without the extra effort.

Substitute Ingredients For Swedish Cinnamon Buns (Kanelbullar) Recipe

  • all purpose flour - Substitute with whole wheat flour: Whole wheat flour can be used as a healthier alternative, adding a nuttier flavor and more fiber to the dough.

  • unsalted butter - Substitute with coconut oil: Coconut oil can be used as a dairy-free alternative, providing a subtle coconut flavor to the dough.

  • white granulated sugar - Substitute with brown sugar: Brown sugar can add a richer flavor and moisture to the dough, enhancing the overall sweetness of the buns.

  • instant rise yeast - Substitute with active dry yeast: Active dry yeast can be used as a substitute, but it needs to be activated in warm liquid before adding to the dough.

  • ground cardamom - Substitute with ground nutmeg: Ground nutmeg can be used to add a warm, nutty flavor to the dough, complementing the cinnamon filling.

  • fine sea salt - Substitute with kosher salt: Kosher salt can be used as a substitute, but it may need to be adjusted for the right level of saltiness in the dough.

  • light brown sugar - Substitute with maple syrup: Maple syrup can be used as a natural sweetener, adding a unique flavor to the cinnamon-sugar filling.

  • ground cinnamon - Substitute with apple pie spice: Apple pie spice can be used to add a blend of warm spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, to the filling for a more complex flavor profile.

  • vanilla extract - Substitute with almond extract: Almond extract can be used to add a subtle nutty flavor to the filling, enhancing the overall aroma and taste.

  • egg - Substitute with applesauce: Applesauce can be used as a binding agent and moisture enhancer in the dough, especially for those looking to avoid using eggs.

  • sugar - Substitute with honey: Honey can be used as a natural sweetener for the topping, adding a distinct flavor and glossy finish to the buns.

Presentation Ideas for Swedish Cinnamon Buns

  1. Elevate the dough: Gently twist and shape the cinnamon-sugar dough into intricate knots, ensuring each bun is perfectly formed and visually appealing.

  2. Create a stunning arrangement: Arrange the cinnamon buns on a sleek, modern platter, ensuring each bun is evenly spaced and visually striking.

  3. Garnish with finesse: Sprinkle a delicate dusting of pearled sugar over the freshly baked buns, adding a touch of elegance and sweetness to the presentation.

  4. Incorporate visual contrast: Pair the warm, golden-brown buns with a contrasting element, such as a vibrant edible flower or a sprig of fresh mint, to create a visually captivating display.

  5. Highlight artisanal craftsmanship: Present the buns on a handcrafted wooden serving board, showcasing the artistry and dedication that went into creating these delectable treats.

  6. Emphasize precision: Arrange the buns in a perfectly aligned row, showcasing the meticulous attention to detail and culinary expertise that went into crafting each individual bun.

  7. Curate a refined plating: Place each bun on a fine china plate, elevating the presentation and adding a touch of sophistication to the overall dining experience.

  8. Incorporate minimalist elegance: Embrace a minimalist approach by presenting the buns on a sleek, marble serving platter, allowing the natural beauty of the buns to take center stage.

  9. Embrace symmetry: Arrange the buns in a symmetrical pattern, creating a visually pleasing and harmonious presentation that reflects precision and artistry.

  10. Showcase attention to detail: Garnish each bun with a delicate sprinkle of edible gold leaf, adding a touch of luxury and sophistication to the presentation.

Essential Tools for Making Kanelbullar

  • Saucepan: A deep cooking vessel with a handle and often a lid, used for cooking food on a stovetop.
  • Cooking thermometer: A tool used to measure the internal temperature of cooked meat, poultry, and other dishes to ensure that they have reached a safe temperature.
  • Large mixing bowl: A large, deep bowl used for mixing ingredients, especially in baking and cooking.
  • Rolling pin: A cylindrical tool used to flatten and shape dough for baking.
  • Pizza cutter: A sharp utensil designed specifically for cutting pizzas and other flat doughs.
  • Pastry cutter: A kitchen tool with a series of parallel wires or blades used to cut butter or shortening into flour for making pastry dough.
  • Knife: A sharp-edged tool used for cutting or slicing food.
  • Baking sheet: A flat, rectangular metal pan used for baking cookies, bread, and other baked goods in the oven.
  • Wire baking sheet: A metal rack used for cooling baked goods or as a support for items being coated or drizzled with chocolate or icing.

Storing and Freezing Swedish Cinnamon Buns

  • Let the swedish cinnamon buns cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent them from becoming soggy or sticky.

  • To store at room temperature, place the kanelbullar in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. They will stay fresh for up to 3 days.

  • For longer storage, freeze the cinnamon buns:

    • Wrap each bun individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
    • Place the wrapped buns in a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag.
    • Label the container or bag with the date and contents.
    • Freeze for up to 2 months.
  • To reheat frozen swedish cinnamon buns:

    • Remove the desired number of buns from the freezer.
    • Unwrap the buns and place them on a baking sheet.
    • Cover the buns loosely with aluminum foil.
    • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • Bake the covered buns for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through.
    • Remove the foil and bake for an additional 2-3 minutes to crisp up the exterior, if desired.
  • Alternatively, you can microwave individual kanelbullar for 20-30 seconds, or until heated through. However, this method may result in a softer texture compared to oven reheating.

  • Avoid refrigerating swedish cinnamon buns, as this can cause them to dry out and become stale more quickly.

How To Reheat Leftover Swedish Cinnamon Buns

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover cinnamon buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until they are heated through and the cinnamon-sugar filling is gooey and aromatic. This method will restore the buns' crispy exterior and soft, fluffy interior.

  • For a quicker option, microwave the cinnamon buns on a microwave-safe plate for 15-20 seconds. If the buns are still cold in the center, microwave them for an additional 5-10 seconds. Be careful not to overheat them, as this can make the buns tough and rubbery.

  • If you want to add a touch of extra indulgence, slice the cinnamon buns in half horizontally and spread a small amount of butter on the cut sides. Place the buns cut-side down on a hot skillet or griddle for 1-2 minutes, or until they are lightly toasted and the butter has melted. This method will give the buns a delightful buttery flavor and a slightly crispy texture.

  • For a more decadent treat, warm up the cinnamon buns in the oven or microwave, then drizzle them with a simple glaze made from powdered sugar and milk. You can also add a pinch of ground cardamom to the glaze for an extra burst of flavor that complements the buns perfectly.

Random Fact About Swedish Cinnamon Buns

The Swedish cinnamon buns, also known as kanelbullar, are a traditional Swedish pastry enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea. They are a popular treat in Sweden and are often enjoyed during fika, a Swedish coffee break. The dough is flavored with cardamom, giving the buns a unique and aromatic taste. These buns are often topped with pearl sugar, adding a sweet crunch to the soft and fluffy texture. Enjoying kanelbullar is a cherished tradition in Sweden, and they are often made and shared with family and friends.

Is Making Kanelbullar at Home Cost-Effective?

The cost-effectiveness of this Swedish cinnamon buns recipe is quite high. The ingredients are fairly common and affordable, making it a budget-friendly option for households. The use of basic pantry staples and simple techniques ensures that the recipe is accessible to all. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $10-$15, making it an economical choice for a delightful treat. Overall Verdict: 9/10

Are Swedish Cinnamon Buns (Kanelbullar) Healthy or Unhealthy?

The Swedish cinnamon buns (kanelbullar) recipe, while undeniably delicious, is not particularly healthy. The recipe contains a significant amount of butter, sugar, and refined flour, which are high in calories and low in essential nutrients. The generous use of butter and sugar in both the dough and the filling contributes to the high calorie content of the buns. Additionally, the recipe lacks whole grains, fruits, or vegetables, which could provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals to balance out the indulgence.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following modifications:

  • Substitute a portion of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour to increase the fiber content and add a nutty flavor
  • Reduce the amount of sugar in the dough and the filling, or experiment with natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup
  • Use a lower-fat milk, such as skim or 2%, to decrease the overall fat content
  • Incorporate some finely grated carrots or zucchini into the dough for added moisture and nutrients
  • Serve the buns with fresh fruit or a yogurt-based dip to balance out the sweetness and add a healthier accompaniment

Editor's Opinion on This Swedish Cinnamon Buns Recipe

The Swedish cinnamon buns (kanelbullar) recipe is a delightful and aromatic treat. The use of cardamom in the dough adds a unique and exotic flavor, while the cinnamon-sugar filling provides a sweet and comforting touch. The step-by-step instructions are clear and easy to follow, making the baking process enjoyable. The final product, with its golden brown exterior and soft, fluffy interior, is a true delight for the senses. These buns are perfect for sharing with loved ones over a cup of coffee or tea. Overall, this recipe is a wonderful way to bring a taste of Sweden into your home.

Enhance Your Swedish Cinnamon Buns (Kanelbullar) Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Root Vegetables: Try serving the kanelbullar with a side of roasted root vegetables for a savory and hearty contrast to the sweet and spiced buns.
Grilled Chicken Skewers: For a protein-packed side, consider serving grilled chicken skewers alongside the kanelbullar. The smoky flavor of the chicken will complement the warm spices in the buns.
Berry Salad: A refreshing berry salad would be a delightful accompaniment to the kanelbullar. The juicy and tart berries will provide a nice balance to the richness of the buns.

Alternative Recipes Similar to Kanelbullar

Swedish Meatballs: These classic Swedish meatballs are juicy, tender, and full of flavor. They are perfect for serving over egg noodles or mashed potatoes for a comforting and delicious meal.
Apple Crisp: This apple crisp recipe is the perfect fall dessert. It features tender, spiced apples topped with a crunchy oat and brown sugar topping. Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a delightful treat.
Butternut Squash Soup: Creamy and comforting, this butternut squash soup is the perfect way to warm up on a chilly day. It's made with roasted butternut squash, onions, and a blend of warm spices for a delicious and satisfying soup.

Appetizers and Main Courses to Serve with Swedish Cinnamon Buns

Stuffed Mushrooms: These savory bites are perfect for any gathering. Filled with a delicious mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs, they are sure to be a hit with your guests.
Bruschetta: This classic Italian appetizer is a great way to start any meal. With its combination of crispy bread, ripe tomatoes, and fresh basil, it's a refreshing and flavorful option for any occasion.
Main Courses:
Chicken Alfredo: Creamy, indulgent, and oh-so-satisfying, this classic Italian dish is a favorite for a reason. The rich alfredo sauce pairs perfectly with tender chicken and al dente pasta, creating a comforting and flavorful meal that's sure to please any crowd.
Beef Stroganoff: Tender strips of beef, savory mushrooms, and a luscious sour cream sauce come together in this hearty and comforting dish. Served over a bed of buttery egg noodles, beef stroganoff is a timeless classic that never fails to impress.

Why trust this Swedish Cinnamon Buns (Kanelbullar) Recipe:

This recipe for Swedish cinnamon buns (kanelbullar) is a tried and true classic, featuring a traditional cardamom-infused dough and a luscious cinnamon-sugar filling. The dough is carefully crafted to achieve the perfect texture and flavor, ensuring a delightful baking experience. With step-by-step instructions and precise measurements, this recipe guarantees a successful outcome. The combination of cardamom and cinnamon creates an aromatic and irresistible treat that will surely impress anyone who tries it. Trust in the authenticity and expertise behind this recipe to create a batch of delectable Swedish cinnamon buns that will elevate any occasion.

Want to share your experience making these delightful Swedish cinnamon buns or have any tips to perfect the recipe? Join the discussion in the Baking and Desserts forum section and let's talk about all things kanelbullar!
Can I use active dry yeast instead of instant rise yeast?
Yes, you can use active dry yeast instead of instant rise yeast. However, you will need to activate the active dry yeast in warm water before adding it to the dough. Use 1:1 substitution ratio and dissolve the active dry yeast in the warm milk and butter mixture before adding it to the dry ingredients.
Can I make the dough in advance and refrigerate it overnight?
Yes, you can make the dough in advance and refrigerate it overnight. After the dough has risen, you can punch it down, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to use the dough, let it sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before rolling it out and shaping the buns.
Can I freeze the unbaked cinnamon buns?
Yes, you can freeze the unbaked cinnamon buns. After shaping the buns and placing them on the baking sheet, cover them tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to bake, let the buns thaw and rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours before baking as directed.
Can I use a different topping instead of sugar for the buns?
Yes, you can use a different topping instead of sugar for the buns. Some popular alternatives include pearl sugar, chopped nuts, or a simple glaze made with powdered sugar and milk. Get creative and customize the topping to your preference.
Can I substitute the cardamom with another spice?
Yes, you can substitute the cardamom with another spice if desired. Cinnamon buns traditionally use cardamom for its unique flavor, but if you prefer, you can use ground nutmeg or allspice as a substitute. Adjust the quantity to your taste preference.

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