Cinnamon Buns: A Swedish Tradition


Today (October 4) is National Cinnamon Bun Day in Sweden! This day was created back in 1999 as a way for Sweden’s ‘Home Baking Council’ to celebrate their fortieth birthday. Autumn in Sweden is very similar to autumn here in the US. It is the harvest high season and home baking is something occurring in many homes across the country. There is just nothing like a fresh, hot, gooey cinnamon bun on a crisp autumn morning. I will admit that this sweet treat is one of my all time favorites!  I have fond memories of hot cinnamon buns, fresh from the oven, coated in cream cheese icing being served every Christmas morning. This Christmas tradition is still carried out at my parents home and now my own home each year. Because this is one of my favorite desserts, I have created several variations over the years. This newest creation I believe will be one of your favorites as well.

As I mentioned, I have come up with many different flavor combinations over the years and this one is no slouch. In a recent post “Not Your Grandma’s Apple Butter”, Carmi shared an amazing apple butter recipe that had both our wheels spinning as to ways we could use this sweet yet savory condiment. Of course when creating this cinnamon bun recipe, I had to put my Southern girl spin on it by adding pecans. I also decided to make just a traditional apple butter. Once I strained my apples using the Berry Strainer attachment to my Ankarsrum Original, I added about 1 tsp ground cinnamon (for each pound of apples used) to my apple puree and continued with the baking directions. It turned out beautifully! What a perfect marriage of two Autumn foods, Apples & Cinnamon Buns!!

Typically I use “My Favorite Yeast Bread Recipe” for my cinnamon bun dough. This batch of dough makes about 2 dozen standard cinnamon buns. Below you will find a new dough recipe for making a traditional Swedish Cinnamon Bun. No matter which dough you use, here are a few tips for getting the size bun you want. The trick to making SUPER FAT cinnamon buns or small bite size ones, is all in how you roll out the dough. Rolling the dough into a rectangle that is tall, top to bottom and narrow, left to right, will give you more layers creating a larger cinnamon bun log which results in a fatter cinnamon bun. The opposite is also true. If you roll the dough into a rectangle that is short, top to bottom and wide, left to right, you will have less layers and a smaller cinnamon bun log, resulting in a smaller cinnamon bun. I prefer just a standard size. I always feel guilty after eating a BIG one and the small bite size ones always tempt me to eat more. I also find it easier to work with half the dough at a time. For a standard size, roll your ball of dough about 13 inches wide, and about 8 inches tall. I think everyone is pretty familiar with what a cinnamon roll looks like but here are the three phases of a traditional American cinnamon bun.

L-R dough rolled out with filling, dough rolled up into a log, dough cut into rolls and put in pan to rise
L-R dough rolled out with filling, dough rolled up into a log, dough cut into rolls and put in pan to rise


Now, I want to show you the traditional Swedish way to make a cinnamon bun. These are a bit different but turn out so beautiful. I’ll be honest, I may end up making cinnamon buns this way from this point forward. 🙂

You will start by rolling your dough out just like you would for American style cinnamon rolls. Spread the dough with whatever filling you would like. I chose 1/2 cup of the cinnamon apple butter I made, followed by 1 cup of freshly grated apple (using my Vegetable Cutter attachment for my Ankarsrum Original) and about 1/2 cup chopped pecans.

Now you are going to fold the dough in half, bringing the top edge down to the bottom edge. Next, cut the dough in strips about 1 inch wide.

L-R: L-Dough with filling. Center-Fold dough in half from top to bottom. R-Cut into 12 even strips.
L-R: L-Dough with filling. Center-Fold dough in half from top to bottom. R-Cut into 12 even strips.

Next, pick up each strip by the ends and twist the ends in opposite directions. Then bring the ends around and pinch together to form a twisted ring.


Place each ring on a lightly greased or non-stick cookie sheet. Let rise until double in size (this time will vary depending on the warmth of your kitchen. I like to let my breads rise in a warm oven, about 170° for 15-20 minutes) They are now ready to bake.


A traditional American Cinnamon Roll is iced with a delicious cream cheese icing. Swedish cinnamon buns however, are traditionally topped with pearl sugar only. My southern sweet tooth found a happy medium. I created a Spiced Rum Butterscotch sauce that was the perfect finish. I hope you enjoy this twist on a classic favorite and Happy Cinnamon Bun Day!!


Cinnamon Bun Dough

1 1/2 cup warm milk*

5 Tbsp. butter, softened

1/3 cup honey

2 tsp. salt

1 egg

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract (vanilla bean paste may also be used)

1 Tbsp wheat gluten

4  1/2 cups bread flour**

2 Tbsp. yeast


Preheat oven to 350º

Position stainless steel bowl on the Ankarsrum and put scraper and dough roller into place. Dough roller should be resting against the side of the bowl. Start by adding warm milk, honey, salt, egg, gluten and vanilla into the stainless steel bowl. Turn machine on, allowing liquids to mix on the slowest speed (speed knob set to 12 o’clock) for about 1 minute.

Add about half the amount of flour, softened butter and then yeast. Turn speed up to a low/medium speed (about 2 o’clock)  and another cup of flour. Adjust the arm/roller away from the side of the bowl so that the roller is applying gentle pressure to the dough as it passes between it and the side of the bowl, locking the arm in place. Add the last cup of flour and adjust speed to a medium speed (about 4 o’clock), setting the timer on the Ankarsrum to about 4-6 minutes. The Ankarsrum will turn off automatically when the timer runs out.

Once the dough has been kneaded, let it rest in the stainless steel bowl for 10 minutes. *Click HERE to watch a video on how to use the Roller and Scraper*

Once rested, divide dough in half for easier handling. Roll each portion of dough into a rectangle about 15 inches wide and 10-12 inches tall. Spread filling ingredients over the dough. Take the top edge of the dough and fold it over, taking it to the bottom edge. Trim the edges to create a nice even rectangle. Using pizza cutter or very sharp knife, divide the rectangle in half and then each half in half again. You should now have 4 equal sections. Divide each section into 3 strips. You should now have 12 strips of dough with the fold at the top of the strip. Pick up each strip by the ends and twist in the opposite direction, then bringing each end around and pinching together to form a twisted ring.

Place each twisted ring on a non-stick cookie sheet and allow to rise for 15-20 minutes in a warm place. Once risen, place in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes or golden brown on top. Once baked, remove from oven and drizzle with Spiced Rum Butterscotch Sauce. Best served warm!

Yield: About 24 Cinnamon Buns.

*Cook’s Note: Any type of milk can be used. Soy, rice, coconut, almond….

**Cook’s Note: Freshly milled Hard Red or Hard White wheat flour may also be used for this recipe in equal proportions.


1 cup cinnamon apple butter

2 large apples, grated

1 cup pecans, chopped (walnuts also work great)

Divide each item in half to work with half the dough at a time.

Yield: Enough for 1 batch of cinnamon bun dough = 24 cinnamon buns

Spiced Rum Butterscotch Sauce

1 cup sugar*

1/2 cup butter

1 egg, beaten

2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 cup spiced rum

In a medium sauce pan combine butter, sugar, egg and vanilla. Stir over medium heat until butter and sugar are melted. Add spiced rum, stirring well. Remove from heat and pour into a small pitcher. While still warm, drizzle over Apple Butter Cinnamon Buns. This is the perfect topping for ice cream as well!

Yield: About 1 1/2 cups

*Cook’s Note: May also use 1/2 cup Honey Granules (aka Sucanat w/ Honey) in place of the white sugar.



Check out my fellow blogger Dana Eiremo who married into a beautiful Swedish family and has spent her life passing on fantastic Swedish recipes and traditions to her children!

Published by

Ashley McCord

Ashley has personally used the Ankarsrum for over 20 years, receiving her very own as a wedding gift in 1999. Continuing in the foot steps of her mother and grandmother, she enjoys cooking and baking for her busy family. She has a passion for whole grains, clean eating, and enjoys making everything from scratch. In 2012, Ashley became the Product Manager for the Ankarsrum Original Assistent here in the USA.