bread,diagrams,sweet — by Johanna

Yesterday was the day of Kanelbullen (the cinnamon bun) which Swedes celebrate by having ‘fika’ (a traditional coffee break in Sweden).  If you are as serious a bun eater as Anna Brones and myself, you will bake them yourself and have “fika” all day. Below is our last  article together on EcoSalon. It may be the end of EcoSalon, but it will not be the last time you see something from Anna and me, our collaboration will continue one way or another. This article was 1st published at EcoSalon, 4 October 2012.

Baking and Celebrating Swedish Cinnamon Rolls (on Cinnamon Roll Day!)
by Anna Brones (text & recipe) and Johanna Kindvall (recipe & illustrations)

Sweden is equated with many things, but there is nothing as iconic as the cinnamon roll. In Swedish culinary culture, every cup of coffee deserves to be served with a baked good. This tradition is called fika and at its core is the cinnamon roll.

I don’t mean the cream cheese frosting topped, so-sweet-it-makes-you-cringe version that is served in the U.S., I mean the classic Swedish pastry, with a hint of cardamom and just sugary enough. In a country where cinnamon rolls are a staple in every cafe and bakery, and every respectable Swede has made their own batch at least once in their lives, it should come as no surprise that Sweden is in fact the cinnamon roll’s presumed country of origin.

The beauty of the Swedish cinnamon roll is in its versatility. Depending on your mood, you can switch out a few key ingredients for a completely different taste. Cardamom infused filling instead of the standard cinnamon and sugar mix for example (kardemummabullar).

October 4 marks Kanelbullens Dag (Cinnamon Roll Day) – an entire day devoted the the baked good. Since you probably don’t have the chance to sit in a warm Stockholm cafe on a crisp autumn day and order a kanelbulle from the counter, here are a few versions you can make yourself. Just be sure to serve with coffee.

Kanelbullar – Swedish Cinnamon Rolls
Makes about 30-40 buns


2 1/8 cup (500 ml) milk
25g fresh yeast (or 2 envelopes dry active yeast)
2/3 cup (130 g) brown sugar
5 7/8 cups (840 g) flour
2 teaspoons whole cardamom seeds
½ teaspoon salt
5 ¼ oz (150 g) butter (at room temperature)

alternative 1: cinnamon filling
4 ½ oz (about 125 g) butter (at room temperature)
1/3 cup (65 gr) regular sugar
2 ½ teaspoon cinnamon

alternative 2: cardamom filling
4 ½ oz (about 125 g) butter (at room temperature)
1/3 cup (65 gr) brown sugar
4 teaspoons whole cardamoms
(optional: 1 teaspoon cinnamon)


one small egg (whipped together)
pearl sugar or sliced almonds

Prepare the dough: Crumble the yeast (if using dry yeast prepare it as required) in a big bowl. Heat milk until it is warm to the touch, about 100ºF (about 110ºF for dry yeast). Add the milk to the yeast and stir until yeast has dissolved.

Crush the cardamoms in a mortar and pestle.

Mix together flour, sugar, cardamom and salt before adding it to the milk and yeast mixture. Add in the butter in small cubes. Blend well, either by hand or by using a food processor. Knead it well for about 5-10 minutes.

Cover the dough and place in a draft free place and let it rise for at least 40 minutes.

Filling: Mix all ingredients for the filling to an even batter. It is important for the butter to be at room temperature so it’s easier to spread.

Divide the dough into two pieces and using a rolling pin (or a wine bottle), roll each of them out separately to the shape of a rectangle (see diagram above).

Spread half of the filling onto each piece of rolled out dough so that it covers the entire area. Roll the dough up beginning with the long side. Slice the roll into about 20 equal sized (about 1 inch wide) slices and place them with their cut side up on baking sheet. Repeat above procedure with the last piece of dough.

Let them rise for about 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg and brush all buns and sprinkle pearl sugar or sliced almonds on top.

Bake them in the oven at 225ºC (about 440F) for 8-10 minutes.

Note: You can also fold the dough as shown below which is more common when making the bun with cardamom filling.

This dough recipe was adapted from Mia Örn’s recipe on Kardemummabullar.

More Swedish baked classics

Semlor – cardamom rich bun is filled with almond paste and heavy whipped cream
Pepparkakor – Ginger Bread Cookies (at EcoSalon)
Lussebullar – Saffron Buns
Mazariner – Guest post by Anna Brones


  1. En liten kardemumma bulle vänligen | Zeb Bakes:

    […] I am so very bad at using cups, being an English sort of cook. She will put them on her blog later (here’s the link)  on if you want to have a go at making these and like me falter at […]

  2. Johanna:

    Thanks Joanna for the linking! And your post about Kardemummabullar is wonderful. Those buns looks amazing! Thanks!

  3. Rachel:

    Looks like I need to get back to my distant Swedish roots and make some cinnamon buns! The Swedish style sounds so much more appealing to me than American cinnamon rolls.
    I’d also love a recipe flowchart poster for Kanelbullar in my kitchen.

  4. Johanna:

    Hi Rachel,
    I’m actually planing to add this flowchart to my shop! I just need to add the filling :)

  5. Tiffany @thetriplecreme:

    These rolls look and sound so delicious right now. Your illustrations are adorable!

  6. Johanna:

    Thanks Tiffany! And these kinds of buns are absolutely fantastic! And you can never have enough of them :)

  7. spiceandmore:

    Thank you for this recipe – I made these this afternoon and they are so lovely and light. Delicious! A little too delicious given how many I ate….

  8. Johanna:

    Glad to hear Spiceandmore!

  9. Delishhh:

    The classic recipe – just awesome!

  10. Johanna:

    Yes Delishhh. It’s the classic recipe!

  11. Kardemummabullar – petits pains à la cardamome « Popotte entre Potes²:

    […] La recette est celle de Joanna… […]

  12. Kanelbullar (kaneelbroodjes) | Baker Man is Baking:

    […] te makkelijk naar binnen gaan. Maar op reis mag dat. (Thuis trouwens ook.) Ik vond het recept op dit blog, maar heb het, o.a. omdat ik geen kardemom in huis had, licht […]

  13. kanelbullar, or swedish cinnamon buns | the granola diaries:

    […] indulge in a homemade treat.  i found a recipe that was presented in the most fun fashion over at kokblog and since its a rather simple recipe to vegan-ise, i went ahead with it. how to make swedish […]

  14. Green Kitchen Stories » Green Lentil & Yellow Beet Salad:

    […] in south Sweden and New York City. On Kokblog she shares her funny, minimalistic and unique food illustrations (or diagrams, as she calls them). If you haven’t already seen her work you should head over […]

  15. Teiel:

    My mom has celiac disease, so it’s always hard for her to find something tasty she can eat. I lovingly prepared these little morsels with gluten-free products. They are currently scattered over the kitchen in all different stages of prep. I cannot wait to see if she likes them. She’s already eyeing them! Thank-you for sharing this wonderful recipe.

  16. Johanna:

    Great Teiel! I’m very interested to hear how it worked out. I’m sure your mother loved them. And also what gluten free flour did you use? Thanks for sharing.

  17. Lily:

    This recipe was amazing!!!! The illustrations were gorgeous!!!

    The only flaw I found was that I needed quite a bit more flour as the mixture was a bit wet!

    Aside from that they were perfect and I am eating a fresh one now and they taste great!!!!

    Thank you so much for this beautiful recipe

  18. Johanna:

    Great to hear Lily! Yes with a dough like this it sometimes necessary to adjust the flour, especially when not weighing the ingredients.

  19. Belinda:

    This has become my go-to recipe for kanelbullar. It is SO good. I’ve made it four or five times so far and will make it a lot more in the future. My family loves these delicious buns!

  20. Johanna:

    Thanks Belinda! Makes me very happy to hear. I love them too!

  21. Mazariner - a Swedish Pastry Classic (collaboration) | kokblog:

    […] – cardamom rich bun is filled with almond paste and heavy whipped cream Kanelbullar – Swedish Cinnamon Bun Lussebullar – Saffron Buns Pepparkakor – Ginger Bread […]

  22. Gingerbread Cookies (Pepparkakor) | kokblog:

    […] – cardamom rich bun is filled with almond paste and heavy whipped cream Kanelbullar – Swedish Cinnamon Bun Lussebullar – Saffron Buns Mazariner – Guest post by Anna […]

  23. Bids & Grace – a Kanelbulle baking session (Swedish cinammon buns) | Bids in Graceland:

    […] want to have to trawl through and struggle to decipher Amy’s scrawls, then click here or here for some kanelbulle recipes! […]

  24. Toscakaka med Apelsin (Swedish Almond Cake with Orange) | kokblog:

    […] Mazainer – Swedish Pastry Classic Lussebullar – Swedish Saffron Buns Kanelbullar & kardemummabullar […]

  25. Lemon and cardamom buns | Fish, chips & gelato:

    […] from Scandilicious and Kokblog. The idea of mixing cardamom with lemon zest has been taken from the quirky “The Scandinavian […]

  26. The joy of Fika – Swedish Kardemummabullar | nadel&gabel:

    […] photographs. Instead the recipes are beautifully illustrated by Johanna. Here I found (of course) a recipe for swedish kanelbullar and kardemummabullar. And I deeply recommend to turn to these illustrations […]

  27. Schokoschnecken | Chocolate Swirl Buns:

    […] “Finger” dann miteinander verdrehen. Kling kompliziert, ist es aber gar nicht. Hier ist wunderschön illustriert wie man das […]

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