Something Swedish

Kanelbullens Dag: Cinnamon Roll Day! And…100th Blog Post!


Did you know that cinnamon roll originated in Sweden? Neither did I!

Not only is today  Kanelbullens Dag,

but also the 100th Something Swedish post!!

What better way to celebrate the 100th post than to research, bake, buy, photograph, and eat this beloved Swedish treat and then blog all about it!?

From the first time I visited Sweden I noticed that cinnamon buns were a big part of the culture, especially when it was time to fika [here]. While many pastries are enjoyed with coffee in Sweden, cinnamon rolls are the traditional choice. They’ve been popular in Sweden since the 1920’s, but it was in the 1950’s when baking them at home became a big deal.  In 1999 an organization called Hembakningsrådet (Home Baking Council) [here] created the day to highlight this especially Swedish pastry and to “kick off” the Autumn season, when home baking is best.

I’ve never baked cinnamon rolls before, so I gave it a shot! Thankfully, my oh-so-Swedish husband has made kanelbullar many times in his life, so I had some help. I always knew that kanelbullar and cinnamon rolls were very different, but it wasn’t until I started making them that I saw why my husband doesn’t even consider them to be the same pastry.

American Cinnamon Rolls vs  Swedish Kanelbullar

Kanelbullar are a lot less sweet than cinnamon rolls (as are most pastries here, Swedens sweet tooth is not nearly as decadent). The sugary sweet icing I salivate over when I crave a cinnamon roll isn’t what you will ever find in Sweden – instead a simple sprinkle of pearl sugar is the topping of choice.

Kanelbullar are baked with  kardemumma (cardamon – a popular pastry spice here) into the dough, giving it a very distinct flavor.

The cinnamon roll recipe called for almost twice the amount of sugar and twice the amount of filling, with a lot of brown sugar – which is not used at all in kanelbullar.

Instead of baking the cinnamon rolls squished together in one pan like in the U.S., kanelbullar are baked completely separate, like muffins or cookies.

Overall, both kinds were really yummy, but really too different to compare.

Kanelbullar are a lot easier to make (less sticky, less filling, no icing, less clean up) and you can easily eat more than one. + points for being a lot more photogenic, too.

Having American cinnamon rolls was very comforting as they reminded me of home – an overly sweet bite of NYC.


25  g of yeast
75g butter
1  cups milk
0.5 cup granulated sugar
1 pinches of salt
1 tsp ground cardamom (If you don’t have cardamom, then add a little bit more cinnamon to the filling to make up the lack of flavor – although it’s not the same at all.)
7 cups flour

50g butter (softened)
0.5 cup granulated sugar
0.5  tablespoon cinnamon

Brushing:  1 egg

Garnish: Pearl sugar

1. Crumble the yeast in a bowl .
2. Melt the butter, add the milk until lukewarm (Test with your finger, should feel comfortable). Make sure to stir and that it doesn’t get too hot or the yeast dies.
3. Add yeast until it is dissolved and then salt, sugar and cardamom. Stir.
4. Start adding and mixing the flour into the liquid (use an electric mixer with dough hooks)
5. Let the dough sit and rise until doubled in size (30-45 minutes ).
6. Meanwhile, whip the filling ingredients together until smooth.
7. When the  dough is ready , knead it into a flat rectangle on a floured surface.
8. Spread on the filling and roll up
9. Cut about 1 ½ cm thick slices and place them in the muffin forms.
10. Let sit so that dough can rise again (30-40 minutes).
11. Meanwhile, whisk the egg and turn on the oven..
12. Gently brush on the whisked egg  and sprinkle with pearl sugar .
13. Bake in oven at 400 ° F  for 9-10 minutes  until a golden brown color.


29 thoughts on “Kanelbullens Dag: Cinnamon Roll Day! And…100th Blog Post!

  1. Congratulations on your 100th post – love it!
    Those pictures made my mouth watery… I think I have to make some cinnamon rolls myself! Any chance you’d be willing to share the recipe for the Swedish version?

  2. Yes congrats on your 100th Post! AND A Yummy Post at that!!!! =)

  3. My family used to make cinnamon rolls every weekend! They looked more like the Swedish ones, we didn’t smoosh them all together on the pan, but of course we slathered them in icing and filling. And yes, share the recipe!

    • Well, mine looked retarded and didn’t fluff up properly but I’ve always had them squished together so you had to pull or cut them apart (Not that I had them too often). It was pretty yummy to slather the American icing onto the Swedish ones, though. The recipe is posted in the next post. 🙂

  4. I’m finding that American pastries are now way to sweet for me. That icing–yuck. Give me kanelbullar any day. Also hastbullar.

  5. Congratulations on you 100th post! I like the Swedish style cinnamon rolls better, but once in a while, I will make the Swedish style and put American style icing on them.

  6. Keep up the good work! 100 down, 1000 to go!

  7. Never a great lover of cinnamon rolls, your Swedish-style buns look very tempting! Congratulations on making so many people happy with your posts!

  8. Yummy! I knew Sweden had a cinnamon roll day and I wondered if you’d make a post about it. I haven’t had a cinnamon roll in years!

  9. Congrats on the 100th post! I had no idea it was cinnamon roll day. I shall have to celebrate a day late, I suppose (but any excuse for eating cinnamon rolls is a good one).


    • Thanks! I will have to bake some for you 🙂 Cardamon is really hard to describe except that it is a strong flavor in the ginger family (Some people say its a little minty) and has a very intense aroma. Its used as a savory spice in India, a coffee and tea spice in Asia (I’ve also seen it used like that here in coffee shops) but mostly as a pastry spice in Scandanvia. Can be bought as a whole pod or ground down.

  11. Congrats on your 100th post! That is exciting 🙂 I wish I had known about cinnamon roll day – like I need another excuse to eat carbs and fat nowadays 😛

  12. 100 posts! That’s commendable. And you have to love a country that names a special day for cinnamon rolls. Love you and miss you : ) Keep cooking and keep writing. I love that we get to experience your journey vicariously.

  13. Pingback: Friday Foodie Finds: Kanelbullar (Swedish Cinnamon Buns) | Stay, Eat & Drink

  14. Pingback: Celebrating Cinnamon Rolls in Sweden | Something Swedish

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