Leila Lindholm’s Classic Swedish Cinnamon & Cardamom Buns Recipe on Food52 (2024)


by: The Curious Pear



9 Ratings

  • Makes approximately 18 buns

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Author Notes

What has made Leila such a famous name in Sweden is her dedication to the traditional food of the country. Though she has explored foods from all corners of the globe (she was preparing for a visit to Morocco as we spoke), a passion for Swedish home cooking is at the core of what she does.

Through giant mouthfuls of cinnamon bun, we ask Leila her trick for making them so perfect: “A lot of cardamom is an absolute must for me. And I take them out of the oven before they are fully baked, so they are very soft.” —The Curious Pear

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

What You'll Need

  • For the dough:
  • 1 tablespooncardamom pods
  • 300 milliliters(1/2 pint) milk
  • 135 gramssuperfine sugar
  • 7 grams(1 packet) fast-action dried yeast
  • 150 gramsunsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoonfine sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 660 to 720 gramsbread flour
  • For the cinnamon filling:
  • 200 gramsunsalted butter, softed
  • 90 gramssuperfine sugar
  • 1 tablespoonground cinnamon
  • Beaten egg, for brushing
  • Golden syrup and water, for brushing
  • Ground cardadmom, for sprinkling
  • Superfine sugar, for sprinkling
  1. Open the cardamom pods and crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle or electric spice grinder until fine.
  2. Pour the milk into a pan. Add the cardamom and gently heat until around 115° F (45° C).
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, briefly mix sugar, yeast, salt, butter, and egg. Don't worry if the butter is still a bit lumpy.
  4. Add the milk and cardamom, mix briefly, and add most of the flour.
  5. In a stand mixer, use the dough hook and knead for a few minutes, until the dough is glossy, smooth, and soft. (Alternatively, knead by hand for 5 minutes.) The dough should be a little sticky: Don’t add too much flour at once, as you don’t want to end up with a dry or hard dough.
  6. Cover the bowl with the tea-towel and leave the dough to proof until doubled in size.
  7. In the meantime, make the filling: Mix all three ingredients until well combined and smooth.
  8. Once the dough is well risen, tip it onto a floured work surface and divide it in two.
  9. Roll half the dough into a large rectangle and spread half the filling on top, covering the whole rectangle.
  10. Fold the dough into three like a business letter (fold the top long side down to the middle, then fold the bottom long side over the top).
  11. Cut the dough into 3/4-inch (2-centimeter) strips, then cut every strip down the middle, leaving one end intact (so they look like a pair of trousers). Twist the two “legs” into a knot (this does not have to be very precise, you can go a bit freeform).
  12. Place the buns on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and leave to rise until almost doubled in size, about 40 minutes. Repeat with the other half of the dough and filling.
  13. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200° C). Brush the buns with lightly beaten egg and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden.
  14. Brush the still-warm buns with golden syrup mixed with water and sprinkle with ground cardamom mixed with superfine sugar.


  • Bread
  • Swedish
  • Cardamom
  • Cinnamon
  • Milk/Cream
  • Breakfast
  • Snack
  • Brunch
  • Dessert

Recipe by: The Curious Pear

Best friends Issy and Meg have spent the last decade sitting across tables from each other, travelling the world knife and fork in hand. Photographing bowls of steaming noodles, exotic street food and some of the world's most exciting cooks, Issy makes up the photography side of the duo, while Meg records each bite in words. Considering their equal obsession for food and each other, it was inevitable that the two would eventually combine to become The Curious Pear, intent on bringing you reviews, food features and interviews with the culinary crowd, as well as pieces on their favourite eating spots from around the world. The Curious Pear are the contributing Food Editors at SUITCASE Magazine, bringing you a weekly food column at suitcasemag.com, as well as contributing for Time Out, Food52, Life & Thyme, Trends on Trends, Guest of a Guest and more!

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19 Reviews

merthebear February 19, 2024

Can someone please tell me which yeast they are using for this? I haven't found a US product labeled as "Fast action dried yeast". Thanks!

Momika January 6, 2024

I followed the recipe, except I used ground cardamom and I didn't use the egg wash or golden syrup. Having just come back from Denmark I was craving something akin to their cardamom buns, these exceed my expectations. I also simplified the shaping process by just cutting 3/4 inch strips, after the folding process, taking each strip twisting it, looping it around my fingers and tucking in the ends in a sort of knot.

janey January 13, 2020

Excellent recipe! The buns turned out soft and fluffy. I love how the cardamom infuses the dough and I also added some ground cardamom to the filling. I will definitely make these again. I even prefer these to traditional cinnamon rolls (which are too sweet IMO).

swheb November 27, 2019

Epic failure for me. Perhaps it was the conversion, but the dough didn't rise, came out like pan cakes.

Sarah December 9, 2018

I’ve made these three times now—love them. I finally tried using a mix of bread flour and AP and I think they were a bit more tender—I may go all AP next time. I also glaze them with maple syrup which seems to work just fine in lieu of Lyle’s or making sugar syrup.

ella December 13, 2017

Hmmmm. Are you supposed to mix the yeast with warm water or milk first (the usual) or just toss it in with the dry ingredients? Can you use all purpose flour instead of bread flour?

ppelton December 25, 2017

I just toss it in with the dry ingredients, and it works fine. I've made them a couple of times now and no issues.

lynne November 24, 2017

I made these yesterday, they were the tenderest sweet rolls I've ever made! I ate three of them in a row! I added chopped pecans to the filling; also was running out of butter, so spread coconut oil instead in the filling- excellent taste and no dripping out while baking. This is my new go to recipe!! Also loved the warming cardamom in the milk--really ups the flavor!

tia October 22, 2017

I just made this recipe and no problems (not quite sure how long they baked; my sister baked them off for me because I had some errands to run). My notes:
The amount of butter called for here is close enough to two sticks of butter, divided.
I used the lowest amount of flour listed, plus a little to keep it from sticking to my work surface.
Spreading the filling was a bit of a pill so for the second half, I dabbed scoops of it all over the dough before I started spreading.

I would really have appreciated more instructions related to shaping. I wasn't sure of the dimensions for that "large rectangle." Or even how thin I should be rolling the dough. I rolled mine pretty thin, 1/4" thick or so. If you're supposed to get 18 of them, and the strips are supposed to be 3/4" wide, the side you cut should be 6.75" across but which side are you cutting? I cut parallel to the long side, but maybe it was supposed to be from fold to fold?

Despite the shaping issues, they turned out fine; everyone liked them and they vanished quickly. They were a bit denser than I'd been expecting but they weren't tough or overly chewy or anything. I liked working with this dough and it tasted good so I'll probably make these again.

Vermont K. March 14, 2017

Very poorly written recipe! Followed metrics to tee and still had to tweak it substantially. The bake time is egregiously off. I have a good oven that has never been wrong before so I suspect this has something to do with ingredients/oven styles from Sweden. Want a better cinnamon-cardamom bun recipe? Try the Violet Bakery recipe. Way more reliable.

ppelton December 25, 2017

I don't think it's 'egregiously' off. I've made these a couple times now (in the US, with US ingredients and equipment) and the only tweaks I've made have been to use a little less butter in the filling, and add about 3-5 minutes to the baking time. They are great every time.

rolandsilverstein December 25, 2018

I found this recipe absolutely impossible. Grrrr. What a waste.

cheryl L. November 5, 2016

I saw a version of these yummy looking rolls on you tube but instead of the cinnamon/butter filling, they used marzipan and butter (or so it appeared) and possibly other ingredients. As the video was in Swedish, I cannot make them but absolutely want to. Does the marzipan version of these cinnamon rolls have a name and if so, can you tell me or give me the quantities of almond paste used? Thanks for any help you can give me.

jane January 11, 2016

I'd love to see this in a video so I can really see visually how they're made , and a conversion of the recipe would also be nice ... Cheers !

Tracie December 29, 2015

I made this today and I would say that the second rise is very important to the butter not melting out everywhere! I did my initial proof overnight in the fridge as well and it was great. My one complaint is the measuring units provided! It took a while to convert everything - can you provide volume measurements as well?? Overall a veryyyy delicious recipe! Can't wait to make it again!

Salpino December 21, 2015

FYI, salt is absent from the ingredient list, yet is called for in the instructions. I put 1/2 tsp in my latest batch and it turned out great.

Betsy December 16, 2015

I have been trying to make "bullar" here in the U.S for years for my Swedish husband--and he has tried too. We never get the dough to rise enough and the rolls have more of the consistency of bagels. Have tried regular flour and bread flour. Fresh yeast and dry. Tried Lilly White flour recently and they tasted too much like biscuits. Any suggestions specifically of what flour most mimics Swedish flour?

Salpino December 12, 2015

The cardamom/cinnamon combo is amazing. These rolls are easy enough to make--I did proof them overnight in the fridge and I feel that the second rise probably suffered because of it. With no Golden Syrup to be found at local grocery stores, I used a blend of 50% honey and 50% corn syrup cut with a little bit of water. I left some rolls without the glaze and it was clear that everyone preferred the glazed version.

This recipe was a winner--we had several people ask where to find the recipe, and the presentation makes them look fancier than they really are.

Corinn B. December 4, 2015

These are so delicious. Next time I think I may allow them to rise the second time in the fridge so the butter in the filling doesn't melt out so readily. The cardamom makes them so special!!!

Leila Lindholm’s Classic Swedish Cinnamon & Cardamom Buns Recipe on Food52 (2024)


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