Food,  Sweets

Swedish Cinnamon Rolls (Kanelbullar)

swedish cinnamon rollsNothing sounds better than having cinnamon rolls in January. And for the Swedes, nothing goes better than cinnamon rolls, or kanelbullar, at fika time. Why, you may ask? Well, smelling the spicy pastry baking in the oven while it’s snowing outside always makes for a great winter’s day.

Below is a recipe for traditional mini cinnamon rolls. Take note that these cinnamon buns are not as sweet as the regular North American cinnamon rolls. That’s how Sweden likes it.

Swedish Cinnamon Rolls (Kanelbullar)

Swedish Cinnamon Rolls (Kanelbullar)


  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 tsp. of ground cardamom
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. of yeast
  • 1/3 cup of melted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
    Filling and Frosting:
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tbsp. of butter
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. of milk
  • 1 tsp. of cinnamon


    Making the dough:
  1. In a saucepan, heat milk to a lukewarm temperature. Add butter immediately so it can become soft. If butter is not soft enough, heat in a saucepan.
  2. Add sugar, yeast, and cardamom to milk and butter mixture. Mix until all ingredients have dissolved and combined.
  3. Add eggs and salt. Continue mixing.
  4. Gradually add the flour. Mix after each addition of flour. As you continue adding flour and mixing, the mixture will become thicker. When it becomes very thick, you will have to keep adding the flour by hand. Don't be afraid to add more flour than required since this makes the dough less sticky and easier to knead. Start kneading the dough for a six minutes.
  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with towel, plastic, or aluminum foil. Preheat oven to 250°F and turn off once it's hot. Leave the dough to rise in the heat for 1 1/2 hours.
    Making the glaze:
  1. While the dough is rising, take the time to make the glaze. The glaze will be used for inside of the rolls as well as outside. Now, in a saucepan, melt the butter.
  2. Pour butter in a bowl along with confectioners' sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Mix until the mixture becomes thick.
  3. Add the milk gradually. You will notice that the mixture turns from a bright yellow to a pearly yellow color.
    Making the rolls:
  1. Remove the risen dough from the oven. Roll out the dough to make a rectangle. It can measure up to 6x12 inches. Once dough is rolled out to it's maximum, sprinkle cinnamon on dough.
  2. Add glaze sparingly until most of the rectangle is covered.
  3. Now you can roll the dough making a 12-inch roll. Cut the roll into smaller rolls. The size of the rolls is based on preference. If you want larger rolls, leave more space in between.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 250°F. Turn off oven after it turns hot. Place rolls on parchment paper in a baking pan. Cover with plastic or aluminum paper and place in warm oven for 1 hour. This is to allow the rolls to expand just like we did with the dough earlier.
  5. Before the hour is over, turn the oven on to 375°F. Bake for 25 more minutes or until they turn golden brown.
  6. Take out of oven and serve when they are warm. Enjoy!
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