Swedish Cinnamon Rolls (Kanelbulle)

Cinnamon rolls or cinnamon buns are sweet rolls served throughout the Nordic countries as well as in Austria, Germany, and North America. They were the result of the Roman spice traders bringing cinnamon back to Europe from Sri Lanka. Cinnamon rolls consist of a rolled sheet of yeast-leavened dough onto which cinnamon and sugar are sprinkled over a thin coat of butter. The dough is rolled into a cylinder and sliced crossways into individual portions, and then baked. To give you an idea how much they are loved, both Sweden and Finland observe Kanelbullend dag (National Cinnamon Bun Day) on October 4 annually, and there is restaurant chain in America called Cinnabon dedicated to selling them warm.

Swedish cinnabon Cinnamon rolls

Kanelbulle- Swedish Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls or buns are special when homemade and served warm right out of the oven. They're not too difficult to make and this recipe makes enough to keep uneaten ones in the freezer to have later.
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Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: North Western European, Scandanavian, Sweden
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 18 buns
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Stand mixer with dough hook and paddle
  • 2 13×18-inch baking pans lined with parchment paper
  • small saucepan
  • Small bowl
  • Rolling Pin
  • Offset spatula
  • Pastry brush
  • Instant read thermometer



  • 6 tbsp Salted butter, melted
  • 1 cup Whole milk
  • tsp Active dry yeast (one ¼ oz packet = 2¼ tsp)
  • 4 cup All-purpose flour
  • tsp Baking powder
  • 4 tbsp Granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp Ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp Salt

Filling and Topping

  • 1 cup Unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup Granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 1 large Egg, beaten with milk to make egg wash
  • 1 tbsp Milk
  • ¼ cup Pearl or nub sugar for sprinkling (optional)


Make Dough

  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm milk to 105° – 110°F (40-43°C). Pour warmed milk and ½ the sugar into a small bowl and sprinkle yeast on top. Give it a quick whisk and let it sit for a few minutes for the yeast to dissolve and activate. Give a gentle whisk if yeast looks like it's clumping.
  • Combine the flour, sugar, butter, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook. Add milk/yeast mixture and stir 2 minutes on low to combine. Continue on low another 2 minutes to knead dough. It should go from shaggy and coarse to smooth and shiny. Remove dough hook and knead dough by hand a few more times to bring it together.
  • Cover bowl with kitchen towel and leave in a warm place for 1½ to 2 hours to rise. When dough has risen, punch it down and tightly cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 2 hours and up-to overnight to chill. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and roll out to 16 x 17-inch rectangle, about ⅛-inch thick. Roll with the shorter edge towards you.

Make Filling

  • Soften butter in a small bowl. Combine the sugar, cardamom, cardamom, and salt in another small bowl.

Assemble Kanelbullar

  • With an offset spatula, spread the butter evenly over the dough. Cover butter completely with the sugar mixture. Fold the top third of the dough down over the middle third (think of folding a letter). Then fold the bottom third up to cover the remaining dough. Go over dough with rolling pin to flatten the edges and stretch it a few more inches.
  • Roll dough sheet long ways to make a long cylinder. Slice cylinder into as many 1½-inch slices as you can. Place "snails" on baking trays well spaced. Cover both pans with kitchen towels and leave in a warm place for another 30 minutes to rise.

Bake Kanelbullar

  • Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Brush the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle a little pearl sugar on top, if using.
  • Bake one tray at a time for about 10 minutes each until golden brown and cooked through. Break one bun open from the first batch to be sure the middle is fluffy and not wet. When done, transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.


  • Buns can be reheated in the oven.
  • Completed buns may be frozen and reheated in the oven after defrosting for an hour or so.


Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 239mg | Potassium: 83mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 473IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 2mg

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