Mr Nordic
brown donuts with chocolate sprinkles

Recipe – Authentic Swedish Cinnamon Buns: A Delicious Adventure

When you think of Sweden, your thoughts might naturally turn to snow-covered landscapes, ABBA, and IKEA furniture. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll discover a culinary gem that Swedes absolutely love โ€” the authentic Swedish cinnamon bun, or ‘kanelbulle’. Perfect as an accompaniment to a cup of coffee or a tea-time treat, it’s time to learn the secrets behind this delicious, yeasty delight – and make them ourselves.

Scroll down to find the recipe for authentic Swedish cinnamon buns.

“Cinnamon buns are not just a treat; they’re a testament to the rich tapestry of Swedish culinary history.”

baked breads

Table of Contents

A Brief History of the Swedish Cinnamon Bun

The ubiquitous cinnamon bun traces its history back to ancient Egypt and Rome, where cinnamon and sugar were prized as luxury ingredients. However, it wasn’t until the 1600s and 1700s that cinnamon became more accessible in Sweden, thanks to the country’s thriving spice trade.

“When you enjoy a warm kanelbulle, you partake in a Swedish ritual that celebrates the power of connection and nurture.”

brown bread on white paper

The first mention of the Swedish cinnamon bun, or ‘kanelbulle,’ appeared in the early 1920s. Some believe that its distinct cardamom flavor was inspired by the Ottomans, who introduced the spice to Sweden via their trading connections. As the Swedish spice trade with the East flourished, Swedes embraced the addition of exotic spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger to their baked goods, giving birth to a delicious new generation of pastries.

“The aroma of freshly-baked cinnamon buns wafts through Swedish culture, binding its people through the sweetness of shared experience.”

The Iconic Status of the Kanelbulle in Swedish Culture

Today, the kanelbulle holds a special place in the hearts of Swedes, symbolizing comfort, warmth, and nostalgia. It has undeniably become an integral part of Swedish culture, transcending culinary boundaries to weave itself into the social fabric.

bread on gray pad

Celebrated on October 4th annually, Kanelbullens Dag or National Cinnamon Bun Day, is a major event in Sweden. This tradition began in 1999, when the Swedish Home Baking Council sought to salute the beloved cinnamon bun and promote Swedish baking culture. Today, Swedes flock to bakeries to indulge in their favorite pastry in honor of the occasion.

“Fika breathes life into Swedish society, and the kanelbulle stands as its delicious, unifying symbol.”

The Basics: Ingredients and Approach

For a mouthwatering batch of homemade Swedish cinnamon buns, you’ll need the following ingredients:


  • 500g all-purpose flour
  • 250ml whole milk, warmed
  • 75g unsalted butter, softened
  • 75g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1.5 tsp ground cardamom
  • 7g (1 package) instant yeast


  • 100g softened unsalted butter
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon


  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Pearl sugar or coarse sugar, to sprinkle

Now, let’s dive into the simple six-step process for baking these delectable treats.

How to make Swedish cinnamon buns

Step 1: Prepare the Dough

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the warmed milk, softened butter, granulated sugar, salt, and ground cardamom. Sprinkle the instant yeast over the mixture and give it another gentle stir. Gradually add the all-purpose flour, stirring as you go, until a dough forms.

Step 2: Knead and Rise

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes, until it’s smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a clean cloth, and let it rise for 1 to 1.5 hours or until it has doubled in size.

Step 3: Roll Out the Dough

Once your dough has risen, transfer it onto a floured surface and roll it out to a rectangle shape of approximately 15″ x 20″ or 38 x 50 cm. The dough should be about 0.2″ or 5 mm in thickness.

Step 4: Add the Filling

In a separate bowl, mix together the softened butter, granulated sugar, and ground cinnamon to create a smooth, well-blended paste. Spread this cinnamon mixture evenly across the rolled-out dough, leaving a small border around the edges.

Step 5: Shape the Buns

While there are many ways to shape your cinnamon buns, the most traditional method is to fold the dough in half, lengthwise, with the cinnamon mixture on the inside. Then, cut the dough into 1-inch (2.5cm) wide strips. Take each strip and twist it, and then gently knot it, tucking the ends under the bun to create a compact, attractive shape. Place the buns on a parchment-lined baking tray, cover them with a clean cloth, and let them rise for an additional 30 minutes.

Step 6: Bake to Perfection

Preheat your oven to 400ยฐF (200ยฐC). Before placing the buns in the oven, brush them with the beaten egg to create a lovely golden color. Finally, sprinkle the pearl sugar (or coarse sugar) on top for added crunch. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the buns are a golden-brown hue.

The Warm and Delightful Result

With these simple steps, you’ll have a batch of 20 to 24 authentic Swedish cinnamon buns to enjoy, share, and be proud of. Serve them warm alongside a steaming cup of coffee or tea for the ultimate fika experience. It’s time to bring the Swedish cinnamon bun tradition into your kitchen and savor the deliciousness.

Last Updated on May 1, 2023

Mr Nordic

Mr Nordic

I'm a passionate travel blogger captivated by Scandinavia's stunning landscapes, diverse cultures, and Viking history. I explore offbeat destinations in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, providing authentic insights into Nordic life. When not adventuring, I share my experiences, photos, and love for Scandinavian cuisine. Join me as I uncover Scandinavia's hidden gems and magic!

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About Mr Nordic

Mr Nordic loves the Nordic.ย He travels all around Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden to find the greatest adventures, the most beautifull places and most exciting experiences. Here on you can read all about it. From food to living and from outdoor to culture, Mr Nordic covers it all.