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Classic Swedish Cinnamon Bun

This traditional Swedish kanelbullar (cinnamon buns) recipe is made with a perfectly soft and chewy cardamom dough!

3 Hours

20-25 buns

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How to do it


  • 25 g fresh yeast

  • 250 ml (1 cup) cold milk

  • 75 g (1/3 cup) fine cane sugar or granulated sugar

  • 1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground cardamom

  • 400 g (2 3/4 cups) all purpose flour

  • 1/2 tsp. flaky salt

  • 100 g very soft salted butter


  • 125 g very soft salted butter

  • 2 tbsp. ground cinnamon

  • 35 g (3 tbsp.) fine cane sugar or granulated sugar


  • 35 g (3 tbsp.) fine cane sugar or granulated sugar

  • 4 tbsp. water

  • pinch of salt

  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground cardamom


  • Crumble the yeast into a large bowl. Pour a little bit of the milk over the yeast and stir until the yeast is dissolved.

  • Add the rest of the milk, sugar and cardamom and stir until sugar is dissolved.

  • In a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, stir in most of the flour. Add the salt and the bits of butter and work until incorporated, then add the remaining flour.

  • Work the dough for about 10 minutes or until it’s smooth and elastic. The dough will be a little sticky to the touch, but don’t be tempted to add more flour – this will make the buns dry.

  • Cover the bowl with a damp, clean kitchen towel and let rise for 1 hour at room temperature, or if you want to use the cold rise method, cover the bowl with a lid, or plastic wrap and let rise overnight (about 8-10 hours) in the fridge.


  • While the dough is rising, combine butter, cinnamon and sugar in a medium bowl and stir until smooth. Set aside.

Shape the dough, make the syrup

  • Line two baking sheets with baking paper and set aside.

  • When the dough is ready, whether you’ve used the overnight method or room temp method, roll out the dough (do not knead it at this point) on a floured surface into a 51 x 35 cm (20 by 13.5 inches) rectangle. Spread the filling evenly over the dough, almost all the way out to the edges.

  • Tightly roll up the dough, brushing off any excess flour, starting from the 51 cm (20-inch) side. Seal the ‘seam’ by pinching together the dough.

  • Use a dough scraper or knife to cut the roll into 25 buns. Place the buns on the prepared baking sheets, leaving some space between each bun. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel. Let proof for 45 minutes at room temperature.

  • While the buns are proofing, prepare the syrup by combining sugar, water, salt and cardamom in a saucepan. Let the mixture come to a boil and swirl the pan until sugar has melted. Set aside to cool.

Bake the buns

  • Preheat the oven to 225°C (435°F).

  • Whisk together egg, water and salt in a small bowl. Brush the buns with the egg mixture and sprinkle with pearl sugar.

  • Bake one sheet at a time, for 9-11 minutes or until the buns are golden brown. As soon as you remove the baking sheet from the oven, use a clean pastry brush to brush the buns with the syrup. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

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