23rd January 2018

Kanelbullar (Swedish Cinnamon Buns)

Kanelbullar (traditional cinnamon buns) Kanelbullar (traditional cinnamon buns) Kanelbullar (traditional cinnamon buns)

Last week I shared a recipe for traditional Swedish cakes, but you can’t get more traditional than Kanelbullar aka Cinnamon Buns. The Swedes even have a national Kenelbullar day (October 4th), a tradition which I can definitely get on board with.

I recently visited Sweden and Kanelbullar filled every bakery, coffee shop and market stall. I saw Kanelbullar the size of my head, beautifully lined up and filling the air with the most heavenly cinnamon scent. I have a pretty decent cinnamon bun recipe already, but I wanted to give the traditional Swedish cinnamon bun a go. And I may be biased, but the Swedes do it better.

When I first read the instructions to shape these, I have to admit I was confused. But it is pretty simple, once you have the dough in front of you. They have been adapted from the cookbook Fika and Hygge, a fantastic cookbook with the most incredible photographs. These may be more fiddly than the American cinnamon swirls, but these Swedish buns look so much prettier and are much more impressive! 

Ingredients for the dough:

For the filling:


  1. Warm the milk in a pan or microwave (not boiling), then mix in the yeast. Cover with cling film and leave for 15 minutes until it becomes frothy
  2. Add flour, sugar, cardamom and salt to a large bowl with a dough hook attached (if not, use your hands to combine all the ingredients)
  3. With the machine running, pour in the milk& yeast mixture, melted butter and the beaten egg. Beat until it comes together to form a sticky dough then knead in the machine for 5 minutes (if using your hands knead for 10 minutes)
  4. Put in a clean bowl and cover with a damp tea-towel. Leave to rise in a warm place for up to an hour or until doubled in size
  5. Meanwhile, make the filling by mixing all the ingredients together until well combined. Set aside. Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper and set aside
  6. Once doubled in size, knock the dough back and roll out on a floured surface, into a rectangle that is about 20cmx30cm. Spread the filling all over, taking care not to tear the dough
  7. Fold the dough in half, lengthways, then using a knife cut approx 8-10 strips, vertically
  8. Pick up a strip and twist from both ends (think like a cheese straw), then tie into a knot, tucking both ends underneath so it doesn’t spring open
  9. Place on the prepared tray and leave to rise again in a warm place for about 30 minutes
  10. When ready to bake, brush with a little-beaten egg and bake in a preheated 190oc oven for 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown
  11. Leave to cool completely before tucking in and enjoying with a cup of coffee!