Recipe: Swedish Cinnamon Rolls

Recipe: Swedish Cinnamon Rolls
These rolls are baked with a spiced simple syrup. (Kate Wood/Wood and Spoon)

These Swedish cinnamon rolls are lookers for sure, and I think you’ll enjoy the taste as much as the style. Let’s chat all about them.

The overnight cinnamon rolls that I posted near the end of 2018 continue to be a hit on my site, for reasons that are perfectly understandable. They’re fluffy, flavorful and convenient with their make-ahead capabilities. These Swedish cinnamon buns are similar in preparation and ingredients, but their twisted forms and cardamom-scented innards give them a special feel. Still, the dough begins the same with milk, yeast and water, followed by butter, eggs and loads of dry ingredients. These rolls are baked with a spiced simple syrup for an extra bite of sweet that compensates for the lack of frosting or glaze. Of course, you could always add a frosting at the end anyway. Who am I to stop you from living your best life?

The twisting for these Swedish cinnamon buns is a little tricky at first. Practice a bit on your first strip of dough until you come up with a knot that you’re fond of. Keep in mind that the doughy buns will fluff upon rising and fill out a bit, so don’t be sad if they look a little funny right after you twist them. Nothing is going to look gross with that beautiful pearl sugar on it.

Speaking of which, if you’re wondering, “What the heck is this pearl sugar?” you’re not alone. It’s exactly what it sounds like, little pearls of sugar, and you can find it in specialty stores, boujie grocery stores and on Amazon. The sugar on top is entirely optional, but don’t you think it looks adorable?

Happy baking.

Swedish Cinnamon Rolls

Prep time: 30 minutes

Finish off this doughy roll with pearls of sugar. (Kate Wood/Wood and Spoon)

Cook time: 20 minutes

Serves: 17


For the dough:

  • 1 cup (240 gm) milk, lukewarm
  • ¼ cup (60 gm) water, lukewarm
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 6 tablespoons (85 gm) unsalted butter, melted but not too hot
  • 1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup (50 gm) brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (50 gm) sugar
  • 2–3/4 cups (385 gm) all-purpose flour
  • 1–1/2 cups (210 gm) bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the glaze:

  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup (50 gm) brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • Swedish Pearl Sugar

For the filling:

  • 5 tablespoons (70 gm) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ cup (100 gm) brown sugar


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, combine the milk and water and sprinkle the yeast over top of it. Allow the yeast to dissolve, about 5 minutes. Stir in the butter, egg, egg yolks, brown sugar and sugar until smooth. In a small bowl, combine the flour, bread flour, cardamom and salt. Dump about half of the dry ingredients into the yeast mixture and stir until combined. Pour in the remaining dry ingredients and knead in the bowl using the dough hook attachment until smooth and slightly tacky, about 7 minutes. If you notice your dough isn’t pulling away from the sides of the bowl or it’s too wet, add flour 2 tablespoons at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a little dough “tornado” around the dough hook. Once done kneading, place the dough into a large, lightly greased bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap to double in size, about 1-1/2 to 2 hours. (Tip: I like to allow mine to refrigerate overnight so that the dough is easier to work with. This is totally optional but is great if you’d like to let it rise in the fridge overnight instead of on the counter.)
  2. In the meantime, prepare the glaze. Combine the water, brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stirring regularly, bring the mixture to a boil and then remove from heat to cool completely.
  3. Once the dough has risen, dump it out onto a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a large rectangle about 12 inches x 26 inches in size. Pour the melted butter and spread it out over the top. Combine the cinnamon, cardamom and brown sugar and sprinkle evenly over the buttered dough. Fold the dough in half lengthwise to form a 9-inch x 10-inch square and roll or pat it out to thin the folded dough a bit. Using a sharp knife, cut 1/2-inch strips of dough (approximately 12 total). Take one strip of dough and wrap it around your index and middle finger twice. Remove the double loop from your fingers and tuck both ends of the dough back through the center loop to form a bit of a twisted knot. Place each knot on a prepared sheet or dish about 2 inches apart, being sure to keep the loose ends on the underside of the bun. Cover the baking sheets with plastic wrap and set aside to rise while you let the oven preheat to 350 degrees. (Alternatively, you can let the buns rise in the fridge overnight.) Once the knots have risen, about 30 minutes, brush the tops with the cooled syrup and sprinkle generously with pearl sugar. Bake in the oven for about 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before eating.

Kate Wood’s recipes can be found on her Wood and Spoon blog and on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

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