Kannelbullar, Swedish cinnamon buns

 Nordic baking session, part 1

cinnamon rolls

So here is a pastry that goes by many names: a cinnamon bun, a snail or a roll. No matter what you call this pastry, the Swedish cinnamon bun is truly delicious and super worth the effort to make at home. Why a Swedish pastry on a Greek food blog? Apart from the fact that I love cinnamon & cardamom, I have friends from up North visiting and we indulged in a Nordic Christmassy Bake off; it didn’t involve melomakarona this time.

Head straight to the recipe

cinnamon rolls @eatyourselfgreek

Reading through some of the essential literature on this sweet bun, I came across a few interesting facts worth sharing. The Swedish have been making these puffy delights since the 1920’s. However their spices, cinnamon and cardamom made their price somewhat prohibitive back then. Their popularity spiked in the 1950’s along with the resurgence of home baking and all things good.  This bun is so much loved it even has its own day to celebrate, the 4th of October. Kannelbullens dag, International Cinnamon roll Day was introduced by the Swedish Homebaking Council in 1999, to celebrate its 40th anniversary. And this is all nice and good, but the best bit is fika!

cinnamon rolls @eatyourselfgreek

Fika, pronounced fee-ka, means a short break you take during the day to socialise with friends or colleagues, picture it: coffee cup in one hand, cinnamon bun on the other. Coffee break that has become an institution and this to me sounds so much better than siesta. The only downside I do find is that I would probably stuff my face with cinnamon buns and not be really able to socialise (ahem) let’s make the cinnamon buns!

Ingredients (it makes approximately 40 pieces)

Kannelbullar, Swedish Cinnamon Buns

Course: Breads, Dessert
Cuisine: Swedish
Servings: 40 pieces


For the dough

  • 800 gr all purpose flour
  • 150 g butter
  • 0.5 lt milk
  • 50 dry yeast
  • 100 gr sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cardamom

For the filling

  • 150 gr butter at room temperature
  • 100 gr sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon


  • Warm up the milk at 37°C (it should be lukewarm, not boiled).
  • In a bowl, add the yeast and a tablespoon of sugar. Add a little bit of the warm milk and dissolve. This will activate the yeast, set aside for a few minutes and make sure it has frothed and bubbled before you go ahead.
  • Sift the flour in a large mixing bowl, add the butter in pieces, the sugar the salt and the cardamom.
  • Start incorporating the milk slowly. Work the dough for 5 minutes if using a blender, 10 if doing it by hand (we used the old fashioned way). You should stop when you get supple elastic dough.
  • Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes in a warm space.The dough should have tripled in size, and then you are ready to work on the rolls. Lightly kneed on a flour dusted surface, cut in 4 equal balls. Open each with a rolling pin so that you have a long, wide sheet of dough.
  • Mix the ingredients for the filling, butter, sugar and cinnamon, then smoother a thin layer on the dough. Roll it up and cut in equal bite sized pieces.
  • Place the small cinnamon rolls on a baking tray, and let them stand covered for a few minutes. This will help them rise again.
  • Bake at 180 C in a preheated oven, for 15-20 minutes. Once ready you can sprinkle with sugar on top.
cinnamon rolls @eatyourselfgreek
cinnamon rolls @eatyourselfgreek

I hope you are really enjoying your holidays this time of the year. There is another doughy Nordic goodness following soon!

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from Athens with love,

Vicky & Eugenia

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3 thoughts on “Kannelbullar, Swedish cinnamon buns

  1. Mandi Millen says:

    These are a seasonal favourite who arrives tomorrow evening from London. So I will be cooking up a batch whilst his yiayia is busy in her kitchen making a mountain of melomakarona.

    Wishing you another great year in 2018!

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