Slightly different from their American cousins, Swedish Cinnamon Rolls, known as Kanelbullar, are spiked with a little cardamom and topped with pearl sugar. These ones are on the jumbo side, because why not?

If you love creating cinnamon rolls from scratch try these Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls or these Strawberry Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls too.

A row of 3 cinnamon buns on a baking tray.

These giant, soft, fluffy cinnamon buns are out of this world, especially warm out of the oven for breakfast with a cuppa.

What are Swedish Cinnamon Buns (Kanelbullar)?

A soft, sweet bread lightly flavoured with cardamom , and a filling of butter and cinnamon, these buns are warming and cosy. They’re decorated simply with pearl sugar and normally twisted into a small knot shape.

While American cinnamon rolls tend to have a generous layer of frosting, just like my Pecan Cinnamon Rolls with Coffee Icing, the Swedish variety are much lighter.

While the flavour in my kanelbullar recipe is authentic, these are not exactly traditional in look.  

  1. For a start, I can’t easily get pearl sugar here which is normally scattered over the top, so I use coffee crystals which are large brown sugar crystals.
  2. Traditional Swedish buns are knotted. I chose to roll mine like a typical American cinnamon roll for simplicity.
  3. These are normally made quite small – smaller than your palm but I chose to make them jumbo for an ultra-decadent treat.

If you love a European breakfast treat try my easy danish pastry and custard danish pastries too.

A hand lifting a cinnamon bun off a grey plate.

Ingredients in Swedish Cinnamon Buns

With the exception of cardamom and pearl sugar, Swedish cinnamon buns contain all the usual suspects.

  • Butter: Just regular unsalted butter is perfect.
  • Milk: I use standard whole or full cream milk but you could substitute plant-based like almond if you prefer.
  • Flour: Plain flour or All purpose flour, depending on what it’s called where you are is all you need.
  • Yeast: Instant Yeast or Active Dry Yeast can both be used here. If using active dry yeast, make sure to add it to the warm butter and milk (after adding the cold milk) to activate for 10 minutes before using.
  • Sugar: regular white granulated sugar in the dough.
  • Cardamom: This is very important for a true kanelbullar and just gives a subtle warming spice flavour.
  • Salt: Always add a touch of salt to enhance the flavours.
  • Eggs: These make the dough nice and rich.
  • Brown sugar: For the filling, it’s caramelly flavour is wonderful with cinnamon.
  • Cinnamon: Also for the filling and it creates that classic cinnamon flavour you want in a cinnamon bun.