Salt & Wind Travel

{Kanelbullar} Swedish Cinnamon Buns Recipe

I traveled to Sweden recently — Stockholm, to be exact.

I’m of Swedish heritage, so I was excited to see where my family comes from, but I went in the middle of winter and was nervous about the cold weather, short days, and long nights.

Despite my concerns, Sweden exceeded my expectations, and I loved every minute. Stockholm is easily one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited– stunning in both light and darkness with gorgeous architecture and history dating back to the 1200s.

Uncovering A Love For Swedish Cinnamon Buns

Like so many of us, I travel because I love new food discoveries, and, in Stockholm, I discovered my love for kanelbullar, aka Swedish cinnamon buns. Before my trip, I had only ever tasted kanelbullar at Ikea, exhausted and starving after hours of shopping. Unsurprisingly, the authentic Swedish cinnamon buns in Stockholm were infinitely better than the Ikea version.

The Difference Between Swedish And American Cinnamon Buns

Before we proceed, we should clarify that kanelbullar are more cousins than siblings to American cinnamon rolls. They’re not as gooey or rich and never have icing.

Instead, these knotted dough buns are made with loads of cardamom and cinnamon and flecked with pearl sugar or sliced almonds.

Embracing The Fika Time

While in Stockholm, I did not hold back on the kanelbullar, especially since they were the perfect excuse to escape the cold and partake in the Swedish tradition of Fika, aka coffee break. Kanelbullar are such a part of Swedish culture that it’s estimated that the average citizen eats nearly 320 annually, so I think it’s safe to say it’s in my genes to need some Swedish cinnamon buns. Right?

Some of my favorites were at the amazing Saluhall food hall in central Stockholm’s Ostermalm district, and I had to recreate them when I returned home. These take a bit of time and patience, but they’re worth every minute!

Go stock up on all your cooking essentials, then head into the kitchen, make this, and share it with us by tagging @saltandwind and #swsociety on social!

{Kanelbullar} Swedish Cinnamon Buns Recipe

{Kanelbullar} Swedish Cinnamon Buns Recipe

I traveled to Sweden recently, Stockholm to be exact. I discovered my love for kanelbullar aka Swedish Cinnamon Buns. Some of my favorites were at the amazing Saluhall food hall in central Stockholm Ostermalm district and I had to recreate them when I returned home.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 16 Buns
Calories 71 kcal


For The Foam:

  • 1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons almond milk or whole milk
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup unrefined granulated sugar plus a pinch for the yeast
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 3 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

For The Dough:

  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for rolling the dough
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
  • pinch kosher salt

For The Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Toasted sliced almonds or pearl sugar, for garnish


  • Make The Foam: Heat milk to 110° to 115°F degrees, then combine with the yeast and a pinch of granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set aside until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes.
    Add the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, the egg and egg yolk, 2 teaspoons of the vanilla, 2 teaspoons of the cardamom, and 2 teaspoons of the salt, then whisk until eggs are broken up and well combined. 
  • Start The Dough: Slowly add 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour to the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and knead until a soft silky dough forms. (Only add as much flour as you need. The dough should be tacky, silky, and slack enough that it slightly falls on itself when you set it down.
    If the dough is sticking to your hands after 3 1/2 cups, add the remaining 1 cup flour in 2 tablespoons intervals until you have the desired consistency.) Mix in 4 tablespoons of the room temperature butter a few pieces at a time until well incorporated. Shape dough into a ball tucking the ends under so the top surface is smooth.
  • Let The Dough Rise: Lightly spray a clean bowl with nonstick spray and roll the dough ball in oil. Cover with plastic wrap or damp kitchen towel, set in a warm place, and allow to rise until doubled; about 45 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. 
    When ready to form the cinnamon rolls, prepare the filling by combining the remaining 4 tablespoons of room temperature butter, 1/4 cup of the light brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of the ground cardamom, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla bean paste, and a pinch of salt. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
  • Form The Cinnamon Rolls: Heat oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough a 12-inch-by-18-inch rectangle. Spread the butter-sugar mixture over the rectangle all the way to the edge.
    Along the 18-inch side, mark the dough every 6 inches, then use those marks as a guide to gently fold the dough in thirds onto itself, so it’s like a closed business letter. Turn the dough so the seam is in front of you and the open ends are to your right and left. 
  • Trim the edge of the dough slightly so the rectangle is even, then using a very sharp knife or pastry wheel, slice the dough lengthwise into 2 centimeter long strips (you should have about 16 to 18).
    To form a knotted roll, loop the two times rope over your first two fingers, then fold it under to tie it into a knot (check out Fix Feast Flair for pictures on how to tie the rolls). Let dough rise 30 minutes at room temperature. 
  • Make The Spiced Sugar Glaze: While the buns are rising, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of light brown sugar with 1/4 cup water, remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or a vanilla bean split lengthwise), the remaining 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon (or a 3-inch cinnamon stick), and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom (or 3 crushed cardamom pods). Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve, then sugar, then remove from heat. 
  • Bake The Cinnamon Buns: When the rolls are ready to bake, brush tops of each with the spiced simple syrup, then sprinkle with pearl sugar or sliced almonds.
    Bake cinnamon rolls in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom and almonds are toasted. Remove from oven, and brush again with the simple syrup; cool slightly before serving. 



Serving: 1 servingCalories: 71kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gTrans Fat: 0.003gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 303mgPotassium: 47mgFiber: 1gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 44IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 34mgIron: 0.3mg
Keyword Cinnamon buns
Tried this recipe?Mention @saltandwind or tag #swsociety!

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