How to make… Cinnamon buns / Kanelbullar

Posted by Bronte Aurell | Cafe, Food & Recipes, Scandi Life
kanelbullar cinnamon buns


Recipe: Lovely Cinnamon Buns

Kanelbullar, Swedes call them. Skillingsboller or kanelboller in Norway – kanelsnegl a Dane may say. Cinnamon buns. Those delightful soft rolls, perfect for a Fika afternoon cup of coffee or as a snack treat in your lunch box.

This recipe makes about 36 buns of medium size – or 18 buns and two longer ‘Kanellängd’ (longer versions for slicing).

There are as many recipes for cinnamon buns in Sweden as there are people who bake them. We like this one: it’s simple, it’s straightforward and it just works.

Over time, as you get a feel for the dough, you’ll develop your own version that only you can recreate. Try different fillings, spices and nuts.


  • 50g fresh yeast
  • 500ml whole milk, luke warm
  • 150g very soft butter (melted also fine)
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 1000 g plain bread flour (or between 800-1000g, depending on the flour)  – we always use Swedish Vetemjol flour for perfect results.
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 egg (keep the other half for brushing the top)


  • 150g butter (soft, spreadable)
  • 4-5tsp ground cinnamon
  • 120g sugar
  • 1/2 egg for brushing
  • 100g of pearl sugar for decoration (or finely chopped nuts)

Heat the milk to 36-41 degrees and add in a bowl with the yeast, stir until dissolved. Add the butter, sugar, salt, cardamom, egg and enough flour to make the dough combine. You’ll need about 700-800g of flour – but add a little at the time, keeping the mixer on continuously (using the dough hook). Keep the rest of the flour back  for kneading. Work the dough until it almost stops sticking and has a shiny surface – about 6-7 minutes with a mixer, longer by hand (add more flour if you need to). The dough should only just reach the point of not being sticky.

Leave to rise until it’s doubled in size (30-40 mins). Work through with more flour until dough stops sticking and can be shaped, then cut the dough in half and roll out the first piece in a rectangular shape (around 45cm x 35cm). Spread a generous amount of butter evenly, then dust over the cinnamon and sugar. Roll the piece lengthways so you end up with a long, tight thin roll.

Cut the roll in two pieces and place on lined baking trays with plenty of room to rise. To cut the ‘Kanellängd’, use a pair of clean scissors and cut sliced almost all the way through (but not quite) as illustrated in the photos below – and then alternative each piece to the side and press down gently until you have done both pieces.  Leave the cinnamon lengths to rise for 20 minutes.

photo 3-1     photo 4-1      photo 1-1

To make buns with the rest of the the dough:

Repeat the roll-out process, again ending with a rectangular piece of dough around 35 x 45 cm big. Spread the other half of the butter, add cinnamon and sugar and roll tightly lengthways until you have a long roll. Cut the roll into 18 pieces and place each swirl on a lined tray.  Leave to rise for 20 minutes.

Turn the oven to 220 degrees (a bit less if using a fan oven).

Brush all buns gently with remaining egg (you may need a bit more egg) and sprinkle a bit of pearl sugar on each bun. Bake at 220°C for about 8-10 minutes (turn the heat down a bit midway if you feel they’re getting too brown) for the buns – but for the longer rolls, turn the heat down slightly and bake nearer the bottom of the oven for around 20 minutes – take care not to burn them. As this dough contains sugar,t he buns can go dark brown in a split second so keep an eye on them.

As soon as the buns come out of the oven, cool down under a damp, clean tea towel to stop them going dry. If you prefer a stickier surface, brush with a light sugar syrup or even syrup as soon as they are baked.

The buns freeze well (freeze as soon as they have cooled).

photo 2-4


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