Swedish Cinnamon Rolls

19 Jan

Cinnamon RollThis is a firm favourite with all Swedes, old or young. No self-respecting Swedish home is without cinnamon rolls lurking in the freezer in case a friend pops by unannounced (which is the norm in the north of Sweden where I come from). They’re more savoury than what people are used to having in Britain, but still seem to go down extremely well with all my friends. I’ve even had to have one-on-one tuition with some of my friends on how to make them! :-).

Here’s the basic recipe for approx 35 medium sized rolls:



  • 100g butter
  • 0.5l milk
  • 50g fresh yeast (dried yeast works fine too – approx 16-17g of dry Easy Bake Yeast)
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 150ml sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cardemom (might be tricky to get hold of in the UK, but give your pestle and mortar a use – it’s worth it)
  • 1 kilo flour (add more if needed)


  • 100g butter
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla infused sugar (can be found in bigger supermarkets in the home baking section – if not use vanilla essence mixed in with the soft butter)


  • Egg wash
  • Crystallized sugar (if available) / granulated sugar / almond slices


Melt the butter until just melted. Add the milk and heat gently until approx 37C. This is very important if you’re using fresh yeast as it may kill the rising element in it! If you’re using dry yeast, you can let the milk get slightly hotter as it can take the heat. Remember to stir and check the heat of the milk underneath the melted butter that tends to float to the top and can be a bit misleading.

Add yeast, salt, sugar and the ground cardemom + approx 2/3 of the flour to a large mixing bowl. Add the milk/butter mixture little by little while stirring until all has been used up. When the dough gets too dense to stir, roll up your sleeves and continue by using your hands. The kneading process is very important. If the dough feels too sticky, add more flour until it feels nice, smooth, soft and elastic. The dough is ‘ready’ when no mixture clings to the sides of the bowl and it’s all one big lovely lump of warm dough (feels almost like a living breathing entity at this stage :-)). Cover the bowl and leave the dough to rest in a warm place until twice the size.

Work the dough for a few minutes after the resting time is over. Take it out of the bowl and continue kneading it for a while on the kitchen surface, adding flour to stop it from sticking. Again, the dough is ready when it no longer sticks to your hands or the surface.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough over a flour covered surface until you have a thin layer of dough (approx 5mm thick). Spread out the filling mix evenly across the whole surface. Personally I like quite a decent layer of the filling – if you’re going to do it, do it properly! :-). Once this is done, just roll up the dough like a Swiss roll into a baguette like shape. With a sharp knife, cut 1.5-2cm wide ‘slices’ and place each roll on an oven tray with some non-stick baking sheet underneath to stop it from sticking. Swedes very often use greaseproof paper muffin cups as well.

Cover with egg wash and garnish with your preferred choice.

Swedes very often use ‘Nib sugar’ sprinkled on top of the buns, which I have never come across in the UK. A sprinkling of normal granulated sugar works too. Small almond slices is another option.

TIPS! Add some custard as topping before putting it in the oven.Gives it a bit of a luxurious feel. Add apple sauce to the filling mix for a bit of fruity feel to it!

Bake in the middle of the oven at 225C/gas mark 7-8/425-450 F until golden brown (c. 15 minutes depending on the oven).

Great for freezing and defrosts in less than an hour.



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