These Swedish cardamom buns are just the thing for when you need a special treat to serve your family or friends. Roll up your sleeves and let’s get baking!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links. This means that at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase I will earn a commission.
Swedish Cardamom Buns
Ok, friends. You asked for it. I guess sharing pretty pictures of my homemade Swedish cardamom buns wasn’t enough, so I am excited to finally share the recipe with you too.
Swedish cardamom buns, known as “Kardemummabullar” in Swedish, have been a part of my life since I was little. Growing up, I would often come home from school to find that my mom had made a fresh batch of “bullar.” I would probably eat 3 or 4. Never just one. They are so incredible when they are fresh.
What about Cinnamon Buns?
Cinnamon buns (“Kanelbullar”) are also popular in Sweden, and you could use either filling in this recipe. My mom is one of the few people I know who doesn’t like cinnamon, so needless to say, she always made cardamom buns instead, and that became my preference too.
Let’s Get Baking
Like anything, getting these just right can take a little practice, but the more you do it the better they will turn out. Here are some tips to get you started:
Working with Yeast
- Make sure your yeast is fresh. Check the expiration date and test it make sure it’s active.
- Use a thermometer to make sure the water is at just the right temperature.
- Let your dough rise in a warm, draft-free place. If your kitchen is cold, consider using the proofing feature of your oven.
Working with Flour
- Use all-purpose flour (not whole wheat).
- Ideally, measure the flour using a scale. If you don’t have that, gently spoon flour into measuring cups and level with a knife.
Working the Dough
- I love to make these in my Kitchen Aid Mixer. However, you could also simply mix the ingredients together with a spoon and then use a hand to knead the dough. This is definitely the more therapeutic method!
- Either way, don’t overwork the dough. Mix it just enough.
- Cardamom is, of course, essential for these buns. Whether you choose to buy ground cardamom or cardamom seeds is up to you, but the latter definitely requires more work. Lately, I have been doing a combination, grinding up about a tablespoon of cardamom pods with my mortar and pestle and then supplementing with ground cardamom for the rest.
- Yeast. This is the kind I have been buying. It’s the kind my mom uses too, and she is an expert when it comes to baking these. Fresh yeast (not dry) is also wonderful to work with, if you can find it.
- Swedish Pearl sugar! What is pearl sugar? It’s a coarse sugar, almost like mini pearls, that is a staple in Swedish baking. I often use it on other baked goods too, like these Strawberry Oat Muffins and these Cardamom Muffins.
- Mortar and pestle – if grinding your own cardamom, kind of fun, but a bit of work–not the right choice if you are looking to cut minutes from this recipe!
- Kitchen scale – helpful for measuring the flour, but you can also just use measuring cups, being sure to carefully spoon the flour so it doesn’t get packed down
- Paper muffin liners – these are environmentally friendly and slightly larger than standard ones, but regular cupcake liners will work too
- Rolling pin
- Pastry cutter – for dividing the dough and slicing it into strips
- Pastry brush – for brushing on the egg yolk
Ok, now it’s really time to get baking. Be sure to enjoy these as part of a traditional Swedish fika with your friends or family.
If you love fika, you may even want to get one of these cute tops from my merch store. Half of my profits go to No Kid Hungry.
Finally, I also recommend this fun cookbook called Fika by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall. My recipe is actually adapted from this cookbook and there are so many other wonderful recipes in there too. Not to mention the illustrations, which are fantastic!
Swedish Cardamom Buns
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter vegan or dairy free? use vegan butter spread
- 1 1/2 cups milk plain oat milk works well too!
- 2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
- 4 1/2 cups (640 grams) all-purpose flour plus extra for kneading and rolling out the dough
- 1/4 cup cane sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, not Kosher or coarse
- 1-2 teaspoons ground cardamom (grind/crush whole cardamom seeds with a mortar and pestle) if using seeds, grind extra for filling
- 6-7 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1/3-1/2 cup cane sugar
- 3-4 teaspoons ground cardamom (you can use cinnamon instead or use both!)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2-4 tablespoons pearl sugar
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the milk and let warm until it reaches 90-110 degrees F (or the temperature listed on the package). A thermometer is helpful.
- Pour a small amount (about 3 tablespoons) of the butter and milk mixture into a small bowl. Stir in the yeast and let sit for 3-5 minutes, until bubbles start to form. Use a little spatula to scrape down the sides.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine flour, sugar, cardamom, and salt. Add the yeast mixture and the rest of the milk and butter mixture. Combine with the standing mixer set to medium speed or using a wooden spoon. Continue kneading the dough with the dough hook attachment until it releases from the sides and is smooth and elastic, about 1 minute. If using your hands, transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for 3-4 minutes.
- Leave the dough in the bowl, (or place the dough back in the bowl), cover with a tea towel, and let rise until doubled in size, this could take anywhere from 30-60 minutes depending on the temperature of your kitchen and the quality and quantity of the yeast.
- Place 30-34 paper muffin liners on the rimmed baking sheets. (See recommendations in blog post). Or, simply line with parchment paper.
- When the dough has finished rising, transfer it to a lightly floured counter surface. Knead it for a minute or two and then cut it into half. Roll out each half into a large rectangle, about 10-12 inches by 16-18 inches.
- With the shorter side of the rectangle facing you, use a small spatula to spread half of the softened butter onto the rolled out dough. Next, sprinkle with half of the sugar and half of the cardamom. (Add more or less butter, sugar, and spice as desired).
- TO MAKE TWIRLS: With the short side facing you, fold the dough in half and cut into 15-17 pieces. Use a pastry slicer or knife and start in the middle and then keep dividing each section in half. (See image). Next, pick up one strip at a time. Hold at each end and twist and twirl one side around the other, tucking the final end piece underneath and placing it one of the muffin liners on the baking sheet. Repeat with each strip. TO MAKE ROLLS (easier!): Roll up the dough and then slice into 15-18 pieces.
- Roll out the second piece of dough, top with butter, sugar, and cardamom, and shape as desired per directions above.
- Once all the buns are on the baking sheets. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for about 30-40 minutes, until you see they have risen a bit more.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- One the buns are done rising, brush with the beaten egg and then sprinkle with pearl sugar. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until golden brown. (Monitor oven closely as cooking time can vary.)
- Once done, transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Enjoy! These are best when fresh, so freeze leftovers once fully cooled and take them out as needed.