Swedish cinnamon buns

Finally, the Swedish cinnamon buns or kanelbullar. It took me a while to work out the recipe by looking at various recipes in Swedish. Firstly, they were in Swedish and even with a translation, it is not always obvious what to do. Secondly, just like with any other popular recipe, there seem to be hundreds of versions. Thirdly, all the recipes suggest making a lot more than this recipe, and even here you get 24 buns! And they measure flour in litres, not grams! And I wanted to replace processed sugar with honey. I got there at the end.

Anyway, I thought they were nice, not too sweet, but this is the kind of sweet I am happy for my baby to eat. If you want them sweet, just add more honey/sugar in the filling (not the dough, as too much sugar prevents yeast from rising). If you cannot find the pearl sugar, that's ok, this is just for show and the traditional look. I bought mine in Sweden, but I'm sure you can get it online. It doesn't melt and stays white during baking and afterwards and looks a bit like little lumps of icing sugar.

* indicates that the ingredient is organic / easily available in the UK as organic

Prep time 1 hour 30 mins

Cooking time 10 mins each batch

Makes 24 buns


For the dough:

75g butter*

500ml full fat milk*

15g instant dried yeast

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

50g clear honey*

650g white bread flour*

For the filling:

ground cinnamon, about 2 tablespoons, or as much as you like

clear honey*, about 4 tablespoons, or as much as you like

75g butter*

For the top:

1 beaten egg for brushing

1 tablespoon pearl sugar for decoration (optional)


Make the dough by mixing all the ingredients which should be room temperature, or just warm milk and butter in the microwave, it's ok if butter melts. Kneading the dough until it is smooth and not sticky. This will take about 10 minutes, so you may prefer to use mixer. Let the dough rise covered with a cloth for about 30 minutes.

After it has risen, knead it on a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two parts. Roll out each portion into a rectangle, or as close as you can get on a rectangle :) Now spread it with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with honey (or use sugar). Roll up and cut into 12 equal pieces and place them cut side up in muffin cases. Let them rise under a cloth for about 40 minutes. Preheat oven to 225-250°C. Brush with mixed egg and sprinkle with pearled sugar. This is totally optional, but gives you that traditional look. Bake the buns in the middle of the oven for 7-10 minutes.

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