Swedish Cinnamon Rolls

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swedish cinnamon buns recipe
Photo: Matt Dutile/Styling: Erin McDowell

Step away from the canned dough. Swedish cinnamon rolls, or kanelbullar, have many more layers and swirls than the American version. Garnished with pearl sugar instead of a blanket of frosting, they’re designed to be devoured at fika, a traditional Scandinavian coffee break we’d love to incorporate into our daily routine.

“The finished rolls are incredibly beautiful, but the technique is easy to replicate, as strips of dough are twisted and formed into a knot shape,” explains recipe developer Erin McDowell. “Just like the cinnamon rolls you’ve loved for years, they are best served warm.”

May we suggest steeping a cup of your favorite tea to sip at the same time?



1½ cups (340g) whole milk

5 cups (640g) all-purpose flour

⅓ cup (61g) granulated sugar

1½ tablespoons (14g) instant yeast

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

Filling + Finishing

9 tablespoons (128g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ cup (106g) light brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

Egg wash, as needed

Pearl sugar, as needed


1. Make the Dough: In a small pot, heat the milk until just warm to the touch (about 95°F).

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, cinnamon and cardamom, about 15 seconds.

3. Add the milk to the mixer and mix on low speed for 3 minutes, then increase the speed to medium and mix for 3 more minutes. The dough should appear even and smooth.

4. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until nearly double in size, about 1 hour.

5. Meanwhile, Make the Filling: In a medium bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom.

6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 9-by-15 inch rectangle. Spread the filling evenly over the dough all the way to its edges.

7. Fold the dough into thirds, like you’re folding a letter to fit into a standard business envelope. Cut the dough into fifteen 1-inch strips (cutting along the short side of the dough).

8. Cut each strip in half vertically, leaving the top ½ inch of dough attached. Spread the ends in opposite directions to make one long strip of dough.

9. Wrap the dough around itself to make a twisted, knotted round. Place the knotted rolls on three parchment-lined baking sheets (five pieces to a tray). Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes. Toward the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 400°F.

10. Brush the pastries with egg wash and sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake until evenly golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts
  • 281 calories

  • 8g fat

  • 47g carbs

  • 6g protein

  • 12g sugars

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Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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erin jeanne mcdowell
Erin McDowell

Freelance Food Editor

Erin Jeanne McDowell is a recipe developer, food stylist and author of multiple cookbooks, including The Fearless Baker, which was named one of the Best Baking Books of 2017 by...
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