Swedish Cinnamon Rolls (“Kanelbullar”)


Happy Cinnamon Bun Day October 4th!

Swedes grow up eating these soft, doughy rolls during their coffee breaks, or “Fika”.

Makes 24 buns


  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 (1/4 oz) packages active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 6 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, melted cooled 1 large egg
  1. To make the dough, heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until lukewarm* (110 degrees F). Add the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar and let stand until dissolved.
  2. Combine the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, the cardamom, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the milk mixture, the butter, and the egg.
  3. Mix on medium-low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm draft-free space until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  4. Divide dough in half and roll out each half into a rectangle about 9X12-inch wide and 1/4-inch thick.


  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons water pearl sugar (I use “Lars” brand)
  1. To make the filling, divide and spread the butter over each dough.
  2. Whisk the sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl.
  3. Divide in half and sprinkle over the butter.
  4. Roll up each dough lengthwise, starting with the long side.
  5. Using a sharp knife, slice each roll into about 12 (1-inch thick) pieces.
  6. Place the slices, cut side up, on two rimmed baking sheets.
  7. Cover each with a kitchen towel and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  9. Whisk the egg and water in a small bowl.
  10. Brush the rolls with the egg wash and sprinkle the pearl sugar over the tops.
  11. Bake the rolls in the oven until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool slightly and serve warm or at room temperature. The buns are best eaten within one day of baking. Once cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature.

*I use a candy thermometer to be sure the temperature of the milk is at 110 degrees. In order for the rolls to rise properly, the temperature of the milk must be exact when it interacts with the yeast.