Traditional Swedish Cinnamon Buns Recipe- The real deal!

A recipe for Traditional Swedish Cinnamon buns isn’t hard to come by, all it takes is a quick google and you’ll find a lot of different versions. For me, no matter how many cinnamon buns I’ve tried over the course of my life time, the classic Swedish cinnamon bun one is the best. Period. Ok, I am Swedish so maybe I am a tad bit biased…anyways.

No matter what you prefer, if you want to give a real go at the classic traditional Swedish cinnamon bun it’s important to remember that a REA traditional Swedish cinnamon bun do not have any other topping than sugar, preferably pearled sugar, but under no circumstances is it covered with any sort of icing.

Photographer: Linda Lomelino

If you make cinnamon buns with the traditional Swedish recipe you’ll end up with smaller, really soft and sweet buns that are not overly sweet, but still sweet enough to satisfy your sweet tooth. There are some tricks and tips to make your Swedish cinnamon buns soft and perfect. Here’s what you need to remember when making them!

The trick to the perfect cinnamon buns are:

  1. Do NOT add too much flour during the process of making the dough. Always start with the smaller amount of flour just so it ”comes together” and then, if necessary, add more flour when making the rolls.
  2. There should be plenty of filling (meaning a mix of butter, sugar and cinnamon). If you want to you can substitute the cinnamon for cardamom, I actually love that and always make a mix of both spices. Be sure to spread the filling all the way out to the edges before starting to roll or fold your dough to make the buns, otherwise the end buns will have no filling.
  3. They should be baked at a high temperature to not become dry, a long time in the oven and it will resemble dry biscuits rather than soft cinnamon buns.
  4. Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT cover the buns with any icing or other topping than pealed sugar and sliced almonds, or maybe granulated/caster sugar. if done correctly, you do not need anything else. The bun will be a masterpiece in itself.
  5. Knead the dough thoroughly to get soft and ”fluffy” cinnamon buns.
  6. REAL CLASSIC Swedish Cinnamon buns are not huge, like you can see at some cafes these days. They are actually much smaller and instead of having one gigantic Cinnamon bun, it’s better to just eat 2, or 3, instead. Smaller buns means less risk of ending up with larger dry boring buns.
Photographer: Linda Lomelino

Here is the most classic recipe I know, follow the steps carefully and I promise you’ll end up with soft and perfect cinnamon buns.

Classic Swedish Cinnamon Buns

about 40 small buns

Oven: 250 Celsius/480 Fahrenheit


  • 150 gram soft butter
  • 5 dl milk (preferably about 3%) 5 dl (deciliter) is approximately equal to 2.11 cups or 2 cups & 2 tablespoons
  • 50 gram fresh yeast (preferably for sweet pastries, available in Sweden. if not in your country than choose the ”regular” one)
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 dl/100 ml/90 gram granulated sugar
  • 1400 ml/14 dl/800 gram all purpose flour


  • 175 gram soft butter (let butter sit in room temperature to become soft)
  • 1 dl/100 ml/90 gram granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon

Egg wash & topping:

  • 1 egg, slightly beaten with a fork
  • pearled sugar or granulated sugar if you cannot find pearls
  • sliced almonds (optional)


  1. Heat the milk to 37 degrees Celsius / 98.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Use your hands and crumble the fresh yeast into a large bowl /bowl of you stand mixer and pour the luke warm milk over the yeast. Add the butter, granulated sugar, salt and cardamom, stir until dissolved.
  3. Measure the flour, pour it directly from the bag into a measurement cup of your choice but do not use any pressure when adding the flour to the measurement cup. If you do, the amount of flour will not be correctly and the buns will end up dry.
  4. Add the flour, gradually, to the milk-yeast-sugar mixture, put aside about 1/4-1/2 a cup to the actually making of the cinnamon rolls/buns. Work the dough 5 minutes with a machine or a minimum of 10 minutes by hand, until the dough feels soft and elastic.
  5. Cover the bowl (with the dough) with a kitchen towel and leave to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. While the dough rises, mix the ingredients for the filling.
  6. When the dough is done rising, knead it slightly on a clean surface and divide into 4 equally large pieces. Working with one piece of dough at a time; sprinkle some of the saved flour on top of the surface you’re working on and use a large rolling pin to make a large rectangle about 30×40 cm (11×15 inches).
  7. Spread 1/4 of the filling on top and roll it up into a firm roll. Use a sharp knife and cut into 10 equally large pieces (cut gently to not squish the dough too much) and place each piece of cinnamon roll on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper OR into small paper molds used to make cinnamon buns.
  8. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for about 30 minutes. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Meanwhile; heat oven to 250 degrees Celsius/480 Fahrenheit. When ready, brush each bun with beaten egg and sprinkle pearled sugar and sliced almonds on top.
  9. Bake for about 5-10 minutes, depending on your oven (ovens can vary a lot). Then buns are ready when they have a soft golden brown surface. Let the cinnamon buns cool on a wire rack under a kitchen towel.

If you want to create the shape in the photos above, this is how you do it:

Instead of rolling up the dough, fold the dough in the middle. Use a pizza slicer to cut into 2 cm wide stripes. Make a peace sign with your middle and index finger and use the other hand to gently twist the dough around your fingers. Fold the end into the middle and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Follow the rest of the steps above. If this feels complicated, watch this YouTube clip : https://youtu.be/_iLG3bDxJkQ?t=140 (from 2:20) where a Swedish pastry chef shows how to make these type of buns.

Good luck and happy cinnamon bun day!

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  • Reply
    11 oktober, 2019 at 21:11

    I made your buns and they turned out beautiful, I followed your direction to the letter, thanks so much, best wishes from northern Ontario Canada

    • Reply
      17 oktober, 2019 at 08:23

      That makes me so happy, thanks for sharing your experience! <3

  • Reply
    31 oktober, 2019 at 06:37

    Thank you!! My father and his parents came to the United States from northern Sweden when he was a boy. I am very happy to have found you from your you tube Christmas traditions and look forward to making the cinnamon rolls like I remember having as a small child once again.

    • Reply
      31 oktober, 2019 at 13:11

      You are most welcome, I hope they turn ut great and that you can enjoy some classic Swedish cinnamon rolls and great childhood memories in the process! <3

  • Reply
    15 december, 2019 at 18:00

    They look yummy. I would definitely like to try… 🙂 thank you so much for sharing

  • Reply
    Karen Jones
    20 december, 2019 at 04:46

    Hi Maria! So nice to meet you! Can you freeze these buns , like make them ahead and warm up on Christmas day?

  • Reply
    Tony Osborne
    1 mars, 2020 at 15:35

    I made these for Christmas and everyone really loved them. This morning, lying in bed in south-west France, listening to the wind and rain, I decided that it was the prefect weather for another batch! Thank you for posting the recipe 🙂

    Hope that this year improves and that life can be kind to you. X

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