Bread, Sweet Bread

Swedish Cardamom Buns: Kardemummabullar

“Pass the kardemummabullar, please.”  There’s a reason why the Swedes insist on having sweet breads like these cardamom buns for their fika, or coffee break.  They’re beautifully twisted, pillowy soft buns with a delicate flavor of cardamom.  Fortunately, these buns are pretty easy to make!

plate of Swedish cardamom buns

How do you make cardamom buns?

Start by measuring out the ingredients for the bread dough.

dough ingredients for Swedish cardamom buns

Pour the milk, butter, lard, sugar, salt, cardamom, and orange zest in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the fats are melted.

butter and lard mixture for Swedish cardamom buns

Pour the liquid into a stand mixer and add the flour, mixing well between each addition, until a sticky dough forms.

adding flour to mixture for Swedish cardamom buns

Knead on medium-low speed for 3-5 minutes until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl, is smooth, and passes the windowpane test (see the recipe below for an explanation of this technique).

kneaded dough for Swedish cardamom buns

Place the dough in a buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it prove in a warm place until doubled in size.

proving the dough for Swedish cardamom buns

Roll out the dough to a large rectangle and brush with softened butter, then sprinkle with a mixture of brown sugar and ground cardamom.

the filling for Swedish cardamom buns

Fold the dough in thirds, like you would for a business letter.

folding dough for Swedish cardamom buns

Roll out the folded dough to make a larger rectangle, then cut into 24 strips.

cutting strips of dough for Swedish cardamom buns

Twist two strips of dough together, then wrap the twist around your hand once.  Tuck the end underneath and poke it up the center to shape the bun.

shaping Swedish cardamom buns

Let the buns prove for 20-30 minutes, until they’ve increased in size and the dough springs back when prodded with a fingertip.

Swedish cardamom buns before baking

Bake the buns at 375 F for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.  Immediately brush the buns with sieved marmalade and sprinkle with pearl sugar or sliced almonds.

decorating Swedish cardamom buns

Enjoy your delicious, homemade cardamom bun!

holding a Swedish cardamom bun on a plate

Whether you’re enjoying your cardamom bun at fika or some other time, you’ll be glad you made this gorgeous Swedish bread.  (Secret: these buns make a fabulous addition to a special breakfast, like Christmas morning.)

Pro Tips for Making Amazing Cardamom Buns

  • If you add too much flour to the dough, just add a little water or milk to make it sticky again.  A dry dough will make tough buns.
  • Let the dough rise (aka prove) in a warm, but not hot, place.  Otherwise, it will take a long time to prove.
  • If the butter in the filling is melting, place the buns in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
  • You can make the buns the night before and let them prove in the fridge overnight.  Let them warm up to room temperature for 20 minutes before baking.
  • Don’t worry if the buns don’t look the same.  It gives them character!
  • If the buns are browning too quickly in the oven, cover them with aluminum foil.

Your family and friends will devour these delicious sweet breads at coffee time!

loaf of pulla, Finnish cardamom bread St. Lucia bun on a white plate with candle and greenery a loaf of Swedish cinnamon bread, called kanellängd, drizzled with icing

Did you make these Swedish cardamom buns?  Share your thoughts in a recipe rating below.

plate of Swedish cardamom buns

Swedish Cardamom Buns: Kardemummabullar

  • Author: Emma
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 large buns
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Swedish


These beautiful Swedish cardamom buns, or kardemummabullar, are the perfect sweet treat for your next coffee break (fika).  Learn how to make these mouthwatering homemade yeast rolls with this recipe.


For the Dough

  • 1 1/4 cup whole milk (300 ml)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50g)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (43g)
  • 3 tablespoons lard (30g)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon fast-action yeast (10g)
  • 5 cups bread flour (600g)

For the Filling

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (43g)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed (100g)
  • 3 teaspoons ground cardamom

For the Decoration

  • 1/3 cup orange marmalade (107g)
  • 1/4 cup pearl sugar or sliced almonds


Making the Dough (25 minutes + 1 1/2 hours proving)

  1. Pour the milk, sugar, butter, lard, cardamom, salt, and orange zest in a medium saucepan set over low heat.  Stir frequently until the fats have melted and the mixture is warm.  Remove from the heat, place on the counter and allow the liquid to cool to 115 F.
  2. Pour the liquid into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, then add the eggs and yeast.  Dump in the flour one cup at a time, mixing well between each addition, until a sticky dough has formed.  You might not need all the flour, or you might need a little extra, depending on the brand of flour and the humidity.
  3. Switch to a dough hook and knead for 3-5 minutes on medium-low speed.  The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl and become smooth.  It will still be a little sticky.  Test the dough by stretching a lump of it between the thumb and forefinger of each hand to create a windowpane.  The dough should stretch to be translucent without breaking.  If it does break, knead for a minute longer and check again.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a buttered bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Let the dough prove in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Shaping the Buns (20 minutes + 20 minutes proving)

  1. Line two 11 by 17-inch rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix together the brown sugar and ground cardamom until well blended.
  3. Roll the dough out to a 13 by 17-inch rectangle and spread it evenly with the softened butter.  Evenly sprinkle the sugar mixture on top, then smooth it out with your hand.
  4. Fold the dough as you would a business letter, then roll it out to at least 7 by 14 inches.  Cut the dough into 24 strips.
  5. To shape a bun, stack two strips of dough on top of each other and twist them together tightly.  Wrap the twist around your left hand once, then tuck the end underneath and pull it through the center to form a knot.  (See the instructional photos in my post for a visual demonstration.)  Repeat with the remaining strips.
  6. Space the buns evenly apart on the prepared cookie sheets, then place the trays inside of a large, clean garbage bag.  Inflate the bag and tuck the loose ends under the tray to seal.
  7. Let the dough prove in a warm place for 20-30 minutes, until the buns have noticeably increased in size and the dough springs back quickly when gently poked with a fingertip.
  8. About 10 minutes before the buns have finished proving, preheat the oven to 375 F.

Baking the Buns (40 minutes)

  1. Stack each tray of buns on top of another tray to insulate the bottom.  This will help prevent the buns from burning in the oven.
  2. Bake the trays one at a time for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.  The buns should be a beautiful golden brown and have an internal temperature of 190-200 F on a meat thermometer.

Decorating the Buns (20 minutes)

  1. While the first tray of buns is baking, heat the marmalade in a small saucepan set over medium heat.  Stir constantly until the marmalade has melted.  Push the jam through a sieve using a spoon to remove the chunks of orange peel.
  2. As soon as the buns come out of the oven, place them on wire racks to cool and brush them with the sieved marmalade.  This will add to the flavor, enhance their golden color, and give the buns a glorious shine.
  3. Sprinkle the buns with pearl sugar or sliced almonds, then leave to cool.  Store at room temperature in a zip-top bag, or freeze for later.


  • If you accidentally add too much flour to the dough, add milk or water a little at a time until the dough is sticky again.
  • If the buns’ filling is melting while it rises, let the buns prove for 20 minutes in the fridge, then let them prove for 10 minutes out of the fridge.
  • If the buns are getting too dark while they bake, cover them with aluminum foil.

Keywords: swedish cardamom buns, kardemummabullar

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