Swedish Cinnamon Rolls {Kanelbullar}

Although these heartwarming treats are a daily indulgence in most Swedish homes, there is one special day each year that the pastry is highlighted just a bit more than other days: October 4th is “Kanebullens Dag” (Cinnamon Roll Day)! I was reminded of the festivities this year by my little sister the amazing baker. Far more superior in the art of planning ahead than me, she actually made the treats back in the Motherland the day BEFORE the celebratory day and put up the recipe on her blog http://learningbydoing.bloggplatsen.se. By the time this stray Scandinavian caught on it was entirely too late in the evening to wing it. So, I decided to instead do the actual baking on the 4th, still being a good little Swede, but to share them a day late in the office and at school. And no one in the US knew they were celebrating a day late anyways so it worked out well, he he.

Here is my little helper and idle ears student of Swedish traditions.

Butter and cinnamon filling makes for a plump and moist roll!


It is almost impossible to just eat one…

G’s contribution to this post is featured below, her very first published photo

Swedish Cinnamon Rolls {Kanelbullar}
  • ⅔ cup butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 6 - 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 7 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Other items needed:
  • 1 egg, for brushing the rolls prior to baking
  • Baking cups
  1. Baking cups
  2. When baking it is good practice to mix your dry and wet ingredients respectively before combining the dough. As such, let's mix the salt, sugar, cardamom and flour in a bowl. If you are feeling fancy you can sift the dry mixture. Although not a necessary step, it will help your efforts to create a light and fluffy bun.
  3. Now melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Take care to not get so hot that bubbles start to form. Add milk to melted butter as slowly stirring the mixture with a whisk. Heat until reaching 115F. If you stick your finger in the milk it should feel hotter than your body temperature, but not too hot for your touch. (My grandma thought me the finger trick - I have to admit I have never actually taken the temp on my milk).
  4. Pour the melted butter/milk mixture into the bowl of s stand mixer, and add the active dry yeast. Give it a good stir with a fork or spoon to blend well.
  5. Use the dough hook attachment for your mixer and set to the lowest speed. I have a KitchenAid, and I start out with "Stir". As the mixer is going on low speed, slowly start adding the dry ingredient mixture (salt, sugar, cardamom and flour). Be patient and let the mixture blend well before adding more flour. When the dough releases from the sides of the bowl you have added enough flour. I usually end up with all 7 cups in the dough. Now it’s OK to speed up the mixer to 2 or 4.
  6. Keep mixing until the dough is smooth and elastic. I learned a tip from Michael Ruhlman's book "Ruhlman's 20" that has not never failed me - to truly test if dough is done mixing, take a piece of dough and stretch it. If you can stretch it to transparency without it breaking (don't get crazy - stretching it an inch or so will do it) you can set it to rise, if not - keep on kneading. For me this process takes roughly 15 minutes.
  7. Set bowl in a draft free place and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rise until doubled (about one hour).
  8. While the dough is rising prepare the filling. It’s a little tricky so pay attention: mix butter, cinnamon and sugar. That's it:-). Leave out on the counter so it stays soft.
  9. Punch down the dough with your fist, remove from bowl and knead on a floured surface for a few minutes. That's right - you get to take out your aggression over that jerk driving slow in the fast lane on your morning commute on the dough)
  10. Divide the dough in half and roll each half on a lightly floured surface to into a flat rectangle.
  11. Spread the filling evenly onto the dough, then roll up into a log. Cut into even slices
  12. Place one in each of the baking cups. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  13. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  14. Lightly beat and egg, then brush each bun. If you have it, sprinkle with pearled sugar. As you can see I didn't have any pearled sugar at my disposal. I live it a small town and this was a last minute decision. Even though it would have looked a lot prettier with little specks of white sweetness, the earth did not stop spinning and we went on with our baking sans the traditional pearled sugar.
  15. Bake in center of oven for 8 to 10 minutes, and you are now done and can start enjoying these little rolls of pure goodness.



  1. says

    These cinnamon rolls look fantastic and your instructions and recipe to produce them are excellent, thanks for posting can’t wait to enjoy these. :-)

  2. meg reider says

    It says “1 egg, for brushing the rolls prior to baking ” yet this step appears after baking. What otder for egg & sugar please.

    • Camilla says

      Hi Meg – thanks for your note. You preheat the oven, then brush buns with egg and sprinkle with sugar. When oven is at right temperature, you pop the brushed and sugared buns in the hot box and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. I have updated the recipe.

  3. Jessi says

    I have had the pleasure to eat these delectable cinnamon rolls, and no, you cannot eat just one. Mmm..thanks Ms. Swiss..lol

  4. Christine says

    Made these today…..they turned out FABULIOUS!!! If you have not tried… these are pure heaven… SERIUOSLY DELICIOUS!

  5. Belinda says

    I just made these. The directions are superb and easy to follow and the buns are fabulous! Thanks for posting this!


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