Kanelbullar - Swedish Cinnamon Buns


Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Yields: 40 buns


For the starter dough

  • 500 ml milk
  • 500g all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 50g fresh yeast

For the buns

  • 200g muscovado sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground cardamom
  • Pinch of salt
  • 550g all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 egg
  • 200g butter, softened

For the filling

  • 200g butter softened
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 200g muscovado sugar
  • Ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Pearl sugar or coarse muscovado sugar to sprinkle


  1. Scald the milk by heating it in a small pan until it almost reaches boiling point, then allow it to cool. Scalding the milk makes the finished buns softer.
  2. Crumble the yeast in a clean bowl. Pour in some of the tepid milk and mix to dissolve the yeast. Add the rest of the milk and the sifted flour and stir everything together until the mixture comes off the sides of the bowl. Leave to proof overnight in the fridge.
  3. Once the dough has risen, remove from the fridge and work in the rest of the ingredients. Start by adding the sugar, cardamom, salt, flour and egg to the starter dough. Knead into a smooth and supple dough. It will take about 10 minutes if you are using a stand mixer, and longer if you knead by hand - about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Finally add the softened butter to the dough. This will be hard to work into the dough but it will eventually incorporate, leaving you with a smooth and glossy dough.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and place the dough back in the fridge for another 30 minutes. In the meantime make the filling by beating the butter with the sugar and the seeds of the vanilla bean.
  6. Divide the dough in half. Using one half, roll into large rectangle of about 1.5 cm in thickness. Using a spatula spread half of the filling over the dough dusting with ground cinnamon as desired. Fold the rectangle into thirds lengthwise: lift a third of the dough towards the middle, then fold down the top third as well, to make a very long and thin rectangle.
  7. On the short side of the dough cut about 16 to 20 strips of dough each about 2 cm thick. Take one of the strips and cut right the way through stopping at about 2 cm from the top. Pick up a strip of dough and twist the two ends in opposite directions two or three times and then coil the strip in on itself, tucking the ends underneath and sealing them in place with a dab of water. Once you have twisted all the strips, place them in paper muffin cups on a baking tray. Cover with a clean cloth and allow to rise for another 60 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  9. Brush each bun with a little bit of egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar or the coarser muscovado sugar. Bake the buns in oven for approx. 8-12 minutes or until light golden in color. Allow to cool on a wire rack before eating.


  • Butter usually prohibits gluten to develop in the dough so by adding it after the dough has been kneaded helps the gluten process to develop better.
  • These freeze well, all you have to do is wrap in aluminium foil and keep in the freezer. Reheat in the oven at 150° C.

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