kanelbullar (swedish cinnamon buns)


With each day that passes, I feel more and more blessed to be in Malmö, Sweden. Each morning, Aaron and I have woken to dappled light through curtains and the gentle sound of waves against the nearby pier.

Upon entering the kitchen, we’ve been met with a heaving table full of rye bread, cold cuts, various cheeses, jordgubbe marmelad (strawberry jam), fruit, butter and hot tea. The generosity of this spread has only been surpassed by the warmth of my Uncle and Aunt’s hospitality; they are truly the most beautiful of people and I feel blessed to call them family.


Despite suffering from a persistent cold over the past week, I’ve seen quite a lot of the Southern part of Sweden (Skåne). We’ve eaten fried herring and gravadlax (cured salmon) by the seaside, climbed the rocks of Ales Stenar in Kåseberga and toured the town of Ystad (of Henning Mankell’s Wallander fame). We’ve also taken multiple trips down to Malmö harbor to sit, breathe and watch the sun set. 

Last week, we also become acquainted with a Swedish specialty, Kalles Kaviar and uh… the video series below pretty much reflects my tasting experience. Let’s just call it ‘Swedish Vegemite‘.


However, despite the negative Kalles experience, there are many Swedish foods that I’ve actually loved. Surprisingly, one is Mimosa Sallad (a mixture of fruit and mayonnaise, to be eaten with cold cuts and bread) which I’ve pretty much eaten every morning since I arrived. Yes, I dislike mayonnaise, but… it’s good. Go figure.


Last Sunday, my Uncle and Aunt also treated me to a day of Swedish cooking lessons, beginning with Kanelbullar (Swedish cinnamon buns) and ending with Köttbullar (Swedish meatballs).

After an afternoon of kneading, mixing, frying, chatting and drooling in a cinnamon-scented cloud, the entire family came over for a traditional Swedish dinner: piles of köttbullar, boiled potatoes, peas, brown gravy and lingon sylt (lingonberry jam) followed by hot coffee and warm kanelbullar.


Aaron and I were in Swedish food heaven. So were the rest of the family, judging from the contented sounds and expressions around the table. By the end of the night, our table of seven adults and two children had devoured around thirty kanelbullar. It’s not our fault, they were baked whilst the köttbullar were frying, so… uh, we ate a few as an entree. And a few more with hot milk before going to bed.

Warm cinnamon buns can do that to you.

My Uncle and Aunt were both kind enough to share their recipes with me so that both you and I could reproduce traditional Swedish fare at home. Today I’m sharing my Uncle’s recipe for kanelbullar (which was passed to him from his friend Annette) so get ready to enter your own cinnamon scented cloud of sweet content…


Kanelbullar (Swedish Cinnamon Buns)

Makes 40

Please note: I had a little bit of trouble with metric conversions (as Swedish cooks tend to use ‘litres’ and ‘decilitres’ for measurement of dry ingredients) but hopefully the quantities below are correct; please let me know if you have any difficulties.


  • 50g fresh yeast
  • 150g salted butter or margarine
  • 500ml milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 175g white caster sugar
  • 1.5kg plain flour

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the milk, salt and sugar into the butter, then heat until ‘finger warm’ (lukewarm). Transfer into a large bowl and crumble in the fresh yeast. Stir until completely dissolved.


At this point you can either use your hands (old-fashioned kneading) or use a mixer with a dough hook attachment. If using a mixer, gradually add in the flour until the mixture forms a ball (there should be no visible flour left in the bowl). The dough should be smooth and non-sticky to touch. Cover with a clean tea-towel and leave in a warm, draught-free place to rest for 30 minutes.

If hand-kneading, turn the mixture out onto a clean, floured surface when the flour is thoroughly combined. Knead until the dough is smooth and non-sticky (my Finnish/Swedish aunty said that her mother used to ‘throw the dough on the table for the yeast to activate’). Return to the bowl, cover with a clean tea-towel and leave in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.


Whilst the dough is resting, make your filling as follows.



  • 120g salted butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla sugar*
  • 100g white caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp powdered cinnamon
  • to glaze: 1 free-range egg, lightly whisked

Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk by hand or with a whisk attachment until smooth, thick and creamy.

* If you can’t find vanilla sugar, just add in an extra tablespoon of caster sugar and about 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste.


Set aside in a cool place (not the fridge, as it’ll be too difficult to spread later) until the dough is thoroughly rested.

To assemble:

Set out two flat oven trays. Place 20 paper patty pan cases onto each, then set aside.

Prepare the kanelbullar: after 30 minutes, your dough should have doubled in size. Turn it onto a floured surface and punch out the air. Cut the dough into four pieces for easy rolling, then roll the first piece into a large rectangle (about 5mm thick).

preparingdough1 fillingspread

Evenly spread 1/4 of the cinnamon filling over the dough with a butter knife or spatula.

Roll the dough away from you into a tight cylinder.

roll cut

Cut into ten pieces (about 3cm for each), then place each piece into a patty pan case (cut side up).


Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling.

Cover each tray of kanelbullar with a clean tea-towel and leave in a warm, draught-free place for another 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Half way through the second resting time, pre-heat your oven to 225 degrees C (435 degrees f). When the kanelbullar have rested, use a pastry brush to glaze each bun with beaten egg.

glaze1 glaze2

Bake each tray for 8-10 minutes or until risen and light golden brown.

These buns are best eaten warm, straight out of the oven with a hot cup of coffee. They definitely won’t last long (the picture below is annoyingly out of focus as little fingers were moving too fast… but I love it anyway. My cousin’s five year old daughter managed to eat five kanelbullar on her own, with keen fingers and an excited grin. Impressive!).


If you don’t consume these buns within two days, freeze them in an airtight container or bag for up to one month (just microwave each bun for a few seconds until warm and soft again).


102 responses

  1. Oh my goodness Laura, these are so gorgeous! I don’t think I would ever stop eating them. Sounds like your are enjoying your family and the wonderful food beautiful Sweden has to offer.

    • Hello lovely! Sorry for being so absent, argh. I’m only just catching up on some of my blogging stuff! We had a beautiful time, I miss the family already. I hope you are well! Xx

  2. ow! so nice to see your photo! Miss you!! so glad you’r having a brilliant time though, thanks for taking time to post love, hope you’re cold buggers off so you can taste everything properly! Proper jealous over here! ;-)
    big love
    V xx

    • I’m only just starting to catch up on these comments, I miss you too lovely! I’m finally better (Aaron got sick too, Paul got sick and it sort of went around a bit), enough to traipse around England in the rain now! Love you xxx

  3. Okay get me to Sweden STAT please. All of this food sounds SO GOOD. I’m glad you’ve been able to enjoy a lot of the food in spite of your cold–I hope you feel better soon!!! And woman these cinnamon buns look INCREEEEDIBLE. So fluffy and delicious. Keep these wonderful trip updates coming please!! I love living vicariously through your posts–I want to come eat rye bread, herring and gravadlax (and cinnamon rolls!) with you!!

  4. Oh, my!! I want one of these so badly! I’m afraid that they wouldn’t make it to the freezer, however. I love the idea of putting them in the cups, rather than muffin tins. These look incredible. I hope you are enjoying your trip! xx

    • Oh lovely Julie, thanks so much! I have been thinking of you (prayers included!). The buns were definitely devoured quickly, straight out of the oven! The recipe makes a huge batch though, which made us feel like we had to exercise some self-restraint ;) Sending you hugs xx

  5. Laura, oh how I would love to visit Sweden! The fried herring and gravadlax (cured salmon) by the seaside sounds amazing! hope you are feeling better. . and haha love the video. . so what did the Kalles Kaviar taste like? or do we want to know? :) I love that you shared your Uncle’s recipe for kanelbullar . . they look soooo good!! and I love that you are having such an awesome experience right now! Enjoy it!!

    • The Kalles kaviar was really salty and… concentrated fishy flavour? Ick. Definitely not my thing. But we have been having an amazing time, thanks so much beautiful! Xx

  6. Well I know what Alia and I are doing tomorrow afternoon!!! Can’t wait to make these and then eat them with her straight out of the oven. Your time in Sweden sounds like the perfect balance of sightseeing with having time to take it all in and enjoying being surrounded by loving family and making wonderful memories. xx

    • Did you end up making some lovely? Ah, I am so behind on the blogging thing, travelling does not make for a good blogger! It’s been wonderful to catch up with family, I feel very lucky to have had this opportunity after so long. I hope you guys are well xxx

  7. These little cinnamon buns look amazing Laura and I can imagine it would be easy to keep on eating and eating them with reckless abandon! Sounds like a fabulous time you’re having in Sweden! Hmmm, I’ll take vegemite ANY day over the Kalles Kaviar – what is it exactly???

  8. Hej Laura! We have strong Swedish connections here too, my daughter lived in Skane for 12 months. We’re thoroughly ticked off with Ikea who no longer carry Kalle’s caviar, or Diam. Your kanelbullar look so light, mmm, we love them with cardamom too.

    • Hello lovely, I like your new avatar! And I am sorry that your IKEA no longer sell some of the Swedish icons, that’s completely wrong! Not that I like Kalles. But Daim? So delicious! Cardamom in the buns sounds fantastic, yum! Hej då! Xx

  9. The rolls are gorgeous and I love your description of your stay in Sweden it sounds just wonderful, so sorry your cold persists. The whole meal sounds so delicious and ending with those warm cinnamon buns is pretty heavenly,

    • Thanks beautiful, I appreciate it! I’m finally getting over the dreaded cold, I think it just comes with over stressing the body for many weeks. Never mind, it’s worth it! Hope that you and the pugs are well xxx

  10. You don’t like mayonnaise? You didn’t tell me you don’t like mayonnaise! It’s ok… I’ll work through this…
    I have been waiting for this recipe since yer insta pics, so I thank you and your family.
    Glad to hear you’re still getting out and about. Get yourself well, eh. Some kind of Swedish Vikingesque spirit should do the job!!
    Smiley face

    • Haha, I should probably clarify: I like some homemade mayonnaise (I make my own) and I definitely love aioli, but over here people just seem to eat this cloying shop-bought stuff that tastes pretty artificial. That’s the type of Mayo that I hate. Are we… Uh, still friends? Pretty please? Glad that you liked the post Graz!

  11. I dislike mayonnaise too, except for ali oli ;) My boss is Swedish and always showing me photos of his trips back to see his family. Gosh he shows me some tremendously beautiful scenery, so I’m glad you’re enjoying it there! xx

  12. Thanks for sharing the family recipe!! So glad you’re having such marvelous, memorable travels. These rolls do look just about perfect– I’ve never thought of baking cinnamon rolls in little muffin papers. I’d love to give them a try! thanks.

    • I’ve never been to Norway, we were considering it this time around but ruled it out as it is so expensive! It was such a wonderful time with family. I miss them already! X

  13. Cinnamon aromas bring back memories of family time for me too as my mum was an avid home chef – I wish I inherited her talent! It would have been hard to document this family moment without missing out on the fun yet you manage to bring us all write into your Auntie and Uncle’s kitchen! It must be so lovely to be with your family after being separated by so many kilometres, enjoy your magic time together xx

    • Aw thank you beautiful. It was definitely magical and I miss them already! P.S I do think you undersell yourself, you’re quite the home chef yourself! Love seeing your creations too xx

  14. Stunning post! I’m a huge fan of cinnamon buns and these Swedish ones, look all the more perfect! Love the snap of you gazing into that distant light across the lake, so whimsical! Look forward to catching up on the rest of your European soujurns!

    • Aw thanks lovely, Aaron took that one and I quite liked it (I rarely like photos of myself so it was a sign I should post it! Ha!). Hope that you’ve been well. I am so behind. I need to read your latest posts! Xx

  15. i am obsessed with kanelbullar.. they definitely bring back some childhood nostalgia! i’ve always been lazy and bought mine frozen from ikea.. but now that i have a recipe – i think i will have to try my hand at making a batch! thanks for sharing!

    • They are so much better than the IKEA version, I am obsessed with these light and soft ones! Definitely try the recipe if you have time. Thanks for the comment lovely x

  16. I saw this post at the beginning of the week and have been salivating since then, waiting till I had time off to read about the buns. I love buns like these much more than the orderly sweet ones we have in the U.S. Thanks to your aunt and uncle for sharing the recipe!

    • They’re definitely different to the American ones, light and not as sweet. So good straight from the oven! Thanks so much my friend, I appreciate it (I need to catch up on your posts, I am so behind on everything!)

  17. Goodness Laura, these look soooooo good and gorgeous and so comforting!! I just love all the perfect, pillowy tops on all of them! I’ve never been to Sweden, but you are definitely making me want to go there. I love all the photos and I can just imagine smelling these wonderful buns. Loved reading this post and how you describe your journies. By the way, I changed email marketing company, and I lost all my wordpress subscribers, so you may have not been getting several of my past emails, so just wanted to let you know if you wanted to still be subscribed to my blog, you would need to resubscribe.
    Thanks Laura!

  18. You are killing me with these cinnamon buns! Killing me I say!

    Cinnamon buns have a special place in my heart. Even though my mother would never make them from scratch, she served them out of a frozen food canister every Saturday morning when I was a kid. Just the smell now brings back great memories.

    I need these in my life.

    • I love how things like cinnamon buns bring back memories. I have a strong association with cinnamon too, mostly from my mums apple tea cake! Hope that you enjoy these. They were seriously the best cinnamon buns I have had in my life. No exaggeration! Thanks lovely xx

  19. I love hearing the details of your trip! Of course, “Laura descriptions” make me feel like I’m actually there seeing/smelling/experiencing it all, too. :) Family recipes are so special, and I’m thankful to you and your aunt and uncle for sharing this recipe! Though I wish I could have a personal Kanelbullar baking lesson from you. Perhaps someday!
    Blessings on the rest of your travels! xoxo

    • Haha, you are way too sweet Ali dear! Love your encouragement, I wish that we could have a baking session together, let’s put that in the ‘to do’ list!! And I definitely agree, family recipes are to be treasured. Sending you hugs lovely xoxo

  20. What an amazing trip Laura! I’ve always wanted to go to Sweden in the summer to watch the sun rise, then set in short sequence (I hear that happens in the northern part?). Your trip looks lovely, and there is nothing that speaks to my heart more fully than warm, homemade cinnamon buns!

    • Yes I do think you’re right but I haven’t seen it for myself! Sounds like quite an experience though! And cinnamon definitely speaks to the heart, particularly when wafting through the kitchen on a cold day. Thanks Erin! X

  21. I have so many things to say, I don’t even know where to begin! First, I’m sorry to hear that you are not feeling well. Colds are pesky AND annoying (have a glass of wine). Second, I love the ‘on location’ post. You go girl. Third, I have such a penchant for foreign food, especially packaging, so you know I’m staring at these baking products- think heart eyes emoji. Fun fact: I love to snoop around in grocery stores while on holiday abroad to have a peek at all of the different brands.

    What a real treat to cook with your family like this. And you captured it in such a beautiful way- one to treasure :) xx

    • Oh me too, I am obsessed with grocery stores in different countries! So interesting, I want to buy everything! And have you seen Brooklyn 99? If not I will not make any sense, but there’s a character on there who decided to incorporate emoji into her speech as words weren’t sufficient. Heart eyes emoji, ah! Me too, definitely me too! Xx

  22. It sounds like your wonderful holiday is only marred by your persistent cold. Loved your photos from Paris as well as this recipe for the cinnamon buns. Thanks for sharing the recipe. :)

  23. Lovely post and recipes as usual. The swedish cinnamon buns are torture to look at – there’s a pool of drool in front of me now.

  24. Oh my gosh, Laura, these look absolutely amazing. The dough looks so soft. Enjoy your time there, and hope you’re feeling better. A good friend of mine just returned from spending 3 weeks in Sweden and Denmark and just loved it.

  25. Ahhh. Such a scent of my childhood as well (I’m not Swedish at all but spent summers in Stockholm growing up), these look spectacular. Looks like you are having a fantastic sojourn! xx

  26. Pingback: Leaving Sweden + Gun’s Köttbullar (Swedish Meatballs) « Laura's Mess

  27. Sweden seems like a dream. I am so happy you are having a great time on your long-awaited adventure. I can’t wait to make some of these rolls and share them with my Danish family :)

    • Oh yes, I think they’d love them Amy! Danish and Swedish are quite similar in terms of food, the cinnamon roll and cured fish in particular! Hope that you and Chris are well xx

  28. Mmm. Sorry not many comments on your holiday posts but I am definitely reading and enjoying them (and my mouth is watering). I’m heading to Stockholm and Tallinn next month and can’t wait for the feasting!

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