Kanelbullar (Swedish Cinnamon Buns) | The Recipe Critic


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These Swedish cinnamon buns, also known as Kanelbullar, are just the dessert to make if you’re craving something soft, sweet, and spiced to perfection! You’re not going to be able to resist going in for another bite, especially if they’re fresh out of the oven!

I love cinnamon rolls in every form. If you do too, you should try this Cinnabon cinnamon roll cake or cinnamon roll dessert pizza next! This cinnamon roll wreath is another great option, and perfect for the holidays!

Kanelbullar on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Swedish Cinnamon Buns

These Swedish cinnamon buns are like little swirls of happiness, with soft, pillowy dough wrapped around a gooey cinnamon filling. Kanelbullar feature a fun twisted shape instead of the traditional roll we see most commonly in the US. They’re also made with cardamom, so they have amazing spiced flavor. (Perfect for Christmastime!) You’re going to love them!

Kanelbullar are nice and golden brown on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside! You won’t be able to resist sinking your teeth into one. These buns are also topped with crunchy pearl sugar instead of a layer of icing. (You can definitely add some on if you want to, but I like the switch up!)

Kanelbullar Ingredients

Each ingredient plays a key role in creating these amazing Swedish cinnamon buns. The end result is soft and sweet and looks wonderful with its knotted shape!

  • Milk & Butter: Melted together, these make the kanelbullar dough smooth and soft.
  • Eggs & Water: Add moisture and help to bind all of the ingredients together.
  • All Purpose Flour: The base of the buns, giving them structure and that satisfying chew.
  • Instant Yeast: So the dough is fluffy and light.
  • Sugar: To sweeten up the rolls.
  • Salt: Just a pinch to balance the flavors!
  • Brown Sugar: Rich and deep, adding warm caramel notes to the filling.
  • Spices: You’ll need both ground cinnamon and ground cardamom to give your kanelbullar the best spiced flavor.
  • Egg Wash: A thin coating made from egg and water that creates a golden, crispy crust.
  • Pearl Sugar: Tiny, crunchy crystals that add a fun, sparkly sweetness.

Kanelbullar Recipe

Making these tasty cinnamon buns is a labor of love, and you won’t be able to resist them once they come out of the oven! They smell amazing and taste even better.

For the Dough and Filling:

  1. Butter and Milk Mixture: In a small bowl melt the butter and milk together in 30 second intervals.
  2. Add Water and Egg: In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the water and egg.
  3. Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.
  4. Combine: Fit the mixer with a dough hook and slowly add in the warm milk mixture and 1 cup of flour until the dough starts to form and become smooth.
  5. Rest: Once the dough is well mixed, cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Roll Out: On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a large 9×15 rectangle. About ¼-1/2 inch thick.
  7. Filling Mixture: For the filling, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom. Mix well.
  8. Add to Dough: Spread the butter on ⅔ of the kanelbullar dough. Spread and smooth the cinnamon mixture over the butter covered areas of the dough.

Assembly and Baking:

  1. Fold: Fold the dough into thirds, starting with the uncovered section of dough, fold it over the middle section, then fold the final covered section over the uncovered section.
  2. Cut: Take a pizza cutter and cut the folded dough into 12 equal strips. Take each strip and cut them in half lengthwise nearly to the end, but leaving the two pieces connected.
  3. Twist: Twist these sections together and roll them into a small knot shape. Place the buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, evenly spaced apart.
  4. Proof: Cover and allow the buns to proof until they are nearly double in size, about an hour depending on the temperature of the room they are in.
  5. Preheat Oven: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and make the egg wash by whisking the egg and water together in a small bowl. Once the buns are ready to bake, brush each one with egg wash and sprinkle them generously with pearl sugar.
  6. Bake: Bake the buns for 25 to 30 minutes, until they are all golden brown. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Sugar Glaze: For the glaze, in a small bowl whisk together the water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Brush kanelbullar with the sugar glaze and enjoy!
6-photo collage of the dough and filling being prepared.

Tips and Variations

  • Add Chopped Nuts: Feeling nutty? Sprinkle some chopped walnuts or pecans on top of the kanelbullar before they bake. Crunchy, toasty goodness in every bite.
  • Citrus Flavor: Add some orange zest to your dough or on top of each bun for some citrusy, holiday flavor.
  • Make Them Chocolatey: For some melty, chocolatey goodness, tuck mini chocolate chips into your knots before you bake them.
  • Let Your Buns Proof: Be sure to let your kanelbullar buns proof for about an hour so they can get all nice and pillowy. I recommend a warm, draft-free spot.

Brushing an egg wash on the buns.

Storing Leftover Kanelbullar

At my house, these Swedish cinnamon buns always disappear as soon as they’re out of the oven. If you’re lucky enough to have some left over, here’s how to keep them fresh:

Store the cooled leftover kanelbullar in a bag or airtight container on the counter for up to 4 days, in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze them for 2 months.

Closeup of kanelbullar buns topped with pearl sugar. One has been torn in half.

I Think You’ll Love These Other Cinnamon Desserts!

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  • Make the dough: In a small bowl melt the butter and milk together in 30 second intervals.

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the water and egg.

  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.

  • Fit the mixer with a dough hook and slowly add in the milk mixture and 1 cup of flour until the dough starts to form and become smooth.

  • Once the dough is well mixed, cover the bowl with a damp towel and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

  • On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a large 9×15 rectangle. About ¼-1/2 inch thick.

  • For the filling, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom. Mix well.

  • Spread the butter on ⅔ of the dough. Spread and smooth the cinnamon mixture over the butter covered areas of the dough.

  • Fold the dough into thirds, starting with the uncovered section of dough, fold it over the middle section, then fold the final covered section over the uncovered section.

  • Take a pizza cutter and cut the folded dough into 12 equal strips. Take each strip and cut them in half lengthwise nearly to the end, but leaving the two pieces connected.

  • Twist these sections together and roll them into a small knot shape. Place the buns on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, evenly spaced apart.

  • Cover and allow the buns to proof until they are nearly double in size, about an hour depending on the temperature of the room they are in.

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and make the egg wash by whisking the egg and water together in a small bowl. Once the buns are ready to bake, brush each one with egg wash and sprinkle them generously with pearl sugar.

  • Bake the buns for 25 to 30 minutes, until they are all golden brown. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for at least 30 minutes.

  • For the glaze, in a small bowl whisk together the water and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Brush each cooled bun with the sugar glaze and enjoy!

Calories: 329kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 6gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 198mgPotassium: 116mgFiber: 2gSugar: 24gVitamin A: 370IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 51mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.





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