Swedish cinnamon buns (kanelbullar)

A few days ago I posted a video on my Instagram (click HERE to see the video). The video went viral with over 20 million views and a lot of people wanted me to post the recipe in english. So here it is! The best recipe on swedish cinnamon buns aka the best and most delicious buns in the world.

What’s a kanelbulle? It’s a wonderful, delicious cinnamon bun that every swede loves. A soft, fluffy and moist cardamom dough with a sweet, buttery and sticky cinnamon filling and topped with crunchy pearl sugar. It’s by far swedens most popular and beloved buns. You can find it at every café and grocery stores and even at gas stations. I, like most of the people in Sweden, has grown up with kanelbullar. It even has it’s own day! On october 4, the bun is celebrated and baked all over the country. It’s one of the most busiest day for the bakeries and cafés in sweden.

The recipe is pretty simple. The dough is easy to make and very easy to work with. I prefer to use cold milk when I bake buns, partly because the buns tastes better when they are left to rise for a little longer, but also because the dough is much easier to work with when the dough is cold. I also use room temperature butter in the dough instead of melted, which 1. makes the buns much more soft and moist and 2. the dough becomes ”nonstick”, which makes the dough easy to handle as it won’t get stuck on your hands or on the table bench when you roll it out.

In the recipe you will find two fillings to choose from: one slightly more luxurious filling and one filling thats a bit more simple. Both are amazingly good, but what’s the difference?

Filling 1- the ”luxurious” variant: This filling will give you the same buns as you can buy at pastry shops and bakeries in Sweden. This filling is thick, creamy, sticky and luxurious. The secret ingredients include almond paste, light syrup and starch (plus lots of butter, sugar and cinnamon of course!). The almond paste makes the filling creamy and a bit firmer. Light syrup also makes the filling extra creamy, but it also gives a wonderful caramel taste. The starch (cornstarch), keeps the filling together and prevent it from flowing out during baking. 

Filling 2 – the ”simple” variant:  Simple may sound boring, but not in this case. This is actually the traditional filling for making kanelbullar at home. I like to call it simple because that’s exactly what it is – simple and quick, but still incredibly delicious! For this filling you’re going to use a a lot of butter which is spread on the rolled out dough. Then you´re going to mix sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch in a bowl and this is going to get sprinkled on top of the butter. It should be a thick layer of sugar and butter, so don’t skimp! More filling = better buns.

Can’t find fresh yeast? – If you can’t find fresh yeast in your local grocery store, then you can use dry yeast instead. 50 g fresh yeast can be replaced with 14 g instant yeast. Mix the instant yeast with the flour before adding it to the wet ingredients.

Ingredients

50 g fresh yeast (or 14 g instant yeast, see more instructions above)

500 g whole milk, cold

150 g caster sugar

850 g all-purpose flour

1 tbsp ground cardamom

200 g butter, room temperature & cut in cubes

1 tsp salt

Cinnamon filling (option 1)

200 g butter, room temperature

150 g almond paste

105 g light syrup

100 g caster sugar (or light brown sugar)

25 g ground cinnamon

1 tbsp cornstarch

Cinnamon filling (option 2)

225 g butter, room temperature

200 g caster sugar (or light brown sugar)

25 g ground cinnamon

1/2 tbsp cornstarch

Topping

Eggwash (1 egg mixed with a splash of water and a pinch of salt)

Pearl sugar (or raw sugar if you can’t find pearl sugar)

Instructions:

  1. Crumble the fresh yeast in a large bowl. Then, add the cold milk and stir until the yeast has almost completly dissolved. (If you’re using instant yeast, then you should mix it with the flour before adding it to the wet ingredients).
  2. Add sugar, flour and ground cardamom. Start kneading the dough on low speed (use a kitchen assistent for best results) for about 5 minutes. The dough might look ”hard” and dry, but when the butter is added the dough will be soft and perfect.
  3. Increase the speed a notch and add the butter a little at a time. When all the butter is incorporated into the dough, add the salt. Then continue to work the dough for another 10-15 minutes at low or medium speed. The dough should be elastic and glossy when done kneading. The dough should be sligthly sticky, but it should not stick to your finger when you touch it.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then let the dough rest for about 10-15 minutes. We don’t want the dough to start to rise, we just want it to ”rest”. By allowing the dough to rest it will release tension so that it will be easy to work with when you roll it out. While the dough rests, you can make the filling.
  5. Filling (option 1): Grate the almond paste into a bowl. Add the other ingredients. Mix with a hand mixer until you have a smooth filling.
  6. Filling (option 2): Mix sugar, cinnamon and starch in a bowl. When the dough is rolled out you’re going to spread the butter on top and then sprinkle the sugar mixture on top of the butter.
  7. When the dough is done resting: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into a rectangle that is 50cm x 40cm. The dough’s thickness should be around 5-7 mm.
  8. Spread on the filling evenly. Starting with a long side, roll up into a tight spiral. Use a knife or a thread to cut the dough into 25 pieces or 30 for smaller buns. (Click HERE to see a video on how I shape and cut my buns).
  9. Place the buns on baking sheets lined with baking paper. There should be plenty of space between each bun so that they donät stick to eachother after proofing. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise for about 2-3 hours or until the buns has doubled in size and looks puffy. Proofing time depends on the temperature in your kitchen.
  10. When the buns are almost done rising, preheat the oven to 200°C / 375°F. (If you’re making small buns, preheat oven to 225°C/450°F).
  11. Brush the buns with eggwash (1 egg mixed with a spalsh of water and a pinch of salt.) Sprinkle with pearl sugar (or raw sugar).
  12. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 15 minutes or until a golden brown color. (If you’re making small buns, bake at 225°C for 8-10 minutes).
  13. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving (the buns are best served while still warm and with a glass of cold milk).
  14. Store leftover cinnamon buns in an airtight container at room temperature or in the freezer up to 3 months.

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