Swedish Kanel & Kardemumma Bullar (Cinnamon & Cardamom Rolls)

Mamma was born and raised as a Swede.  She became a naturalized American when she was in her late 20’s.  Having the desire for me and my siblings to know our grandparents and extended family, my parents made it a point to take us to Sweden every few years to visit.  I always loved these visits.  They opened my eyes to a beautiful country with beautiful people and delicious food.

Mamma would make special Swedish dishes for us and teach us about traditions and proper Swedish etiquette.  One of these traditions is known as Fika—aka, coffee time.  My grandparents would have Fika every day in the morning and in the afternoon.  It was a special time when we could visit with family and friends, enjoy coffee (or tea for those tea lovers out there), conversation, and delicious pastries.  These Cinnamon and Cardamom buns are a very common pastry to eat when it is time for Fika, and they are to die for!

This is Mamma’s recipe for these delicious buns.  Unlike many other recipes out there, this one calls for potato flakes.  You might be thinking to yourself “potato flakes? Really?”  Yes! Really! Trust me!  It makes them so light and fluffy!  Potatoes and potato water can do magical things in the world of baking.

I’m a big fan of making bread by hand.  There’s something very therapeutic about kneading dough.  But, stand mixers work great too! Just keep a close eye on how much flour you use so your bread doesn’t come out too dry.

When it comes to forming the bread, oh my goodness!  There are SO MANY OPTIONS!!!!  This is the fun part because you get to choose however you want them to look.  I love the knots.  I grew up making these knots because that’s what Mamma made the most often (I’ve attached a short video at the end of this post showing how I tie the knots).  She also makes beautiful tea rings and braided candy canes out of the dough around the holidays or for special occasions. 

This bread freezes really well for several months (if they last that long in your freezer).  If you have a hankering for one, just put a frozen one on a plate in the microwave for 25-30 seconds, and it is almost as good as if it were coming fresh out of the oven.  I hope you enjoy making and eating these buns as much as my family does!

Swedish Kanel & Kardemumma Bullar (Cinnamon & Cardamom Rolls)

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  • 1 cup warm Water (110 Degrees F) (235 mls)
  • 2 Tablespoons Yeast (20 grams)
  • 2 cups Milk (470 mls)
  • 3/4 cup Sugar (150 grams)
  • 3 tsp Salt (17 grams)
  • 2/3 cup Butter (150 grams) + ~1/3 cup Butter for spreading on the dough
  • ¼ cup Potato Flakes (15 grams)
  • 2 Eggs + 1 Egg for egg wash
  • 1 Tablespoon ground Cardamom (6 grams)
  • 8-10 cups Flour (1300-1500 grams)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup Cinnamon and Sugar mixture
  • Swedish Pearl Sugar


In a small bowl, pour 1 cup of luke-warm water (about 110 Degrees F) and add 2 Tablespoons of yeast.  Stir until it’s well mixed, then set aside.  As the yeast dissolves, it will start to foam and bubble.

Meanwhile, put the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium sauce pan on the stove.  On low heat, bring the milk mixture until just before boiling (around 160 degrees F), and make sure to stir it often so the milk doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and add the butter and potato flakes.  When the butter has melted, add the 2 eggs, slightly beaten.  Let the mixture cool until it’s around 110-115 degrees F, then add the yeast mixture and cardamom (sometimes, I get impatient and put the pan in the freezer to cool it down faster, or, if you live in a cold climate, you can stick it outside for a little bit too. Just make sure to keep checking it so that it doesn’t get too cold).

Add 4 cups of flour and whisk it until it’s smooth.  Slowly add the remaining flour.  Too much flour will make the bread dry, so use as little as possible, but enough to still be able to handle the dough.  Knead the dough for about 8 minutes.  It should spring back when you gently poke it.

Place the dough in a large, lightly greased bowl.  Cover it with plastic wrap or a tea towel so that the dough doesn’t dry out during the rising process.  Let the dough rise in a warm spot for 1-1.5 hours (or until double).  Punch it down, and turn it onto a floured work space.  Divide the dough into 3 equal parts.  Set 2 parts aside while you work with the first.

At this point, I start to pre-heat the oven to 350 Degrees F.

These directions are for creating knots: roll the dough into a rectangular shape (roughly 12 inches x 18 inches).  The dough should be about ¼ inch thick.  Spread about 2 tablespoons of softened butter evenly over the dough.  Sprinkle with a cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Carefully fold the dough in half length-wise (hotdog style).

Cut the dough in 12 strips (half, then half, then thirds).  Gently tie each strip into a knot and place on a greased baking dish (I recommend airbake pans). I put short video at the end of this post to show how I do the knots. 

Directions for creating a large candy cane: Follow the knot directions above up until you sprinkle the buttered dough with cinnamon and sugar. Next instead of folding the dough in half, leave it open and cut it into 3 strips, lengthwise. Gently roll each strip so that you have 3 log-shaped rolls of dough. Pinch the edge to itself to help prevent it from opening up while it’s baking. Braid the 3 dough strands together and curl the braid into a candy cane shape. Pinch the ends together and fold them under.

Mix 1 tablespoon of water with an egg and lightly brush the egg wash onto each knot.  Sprinkle the tops with Swedish pearl sugar.  Allow the buns to rise for about 10-15 more minutes more while the oven finishes heating up.  Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes, or until they are alight golden-brown color. 

Once they’re done baking, remove the buns from the pan and place them on a cooling rack (I love these Pampered Chef stackable cooling racks).  These are the most irresistible buns when they’re hot out of the oven.  If you’re going to freeze them, make sure that they are cooled completely before placing them in containers or Ziploc bags.

*Music by Hagood Hardy: Anne’s Theme, Anne of Green Gables