Classic Swedish cinnamon buns or Ikea cinnamon roll recipe. An easy-to-make kanelbullar recipe resulting in soft, aromatic cardamom and cinnamon buns, perfect to have with coffee.
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What are kanelbullar?
A Swedish cinnamon bun or cinnamon roll or kanelbullar are rolled pieces of yeast-leavened dough, coated with butter and sprinkled with a generous amount of sugar and cinnamon. The rolls get cut into smaller pieces, which resemble snails.
They were made famous all over the world by Ikea.
What sets the Ikea cinnamon roll recipe apart from other cinnamon buns is the use of cardamom, which imparts the kanelbullar their distinctive taste.
How to make Ikea cinnamon rolls?
Well, it is all about the yeast-leavened dough and the rolling. But that's easy stuff, don't worry about it.
Fresh or active dry yeast
- I have made the kanelbullar and other similar rolls or buns many times. Really, lots of times! I have made the rolls either using fresh yeast or active dry yeast, and although both are good, I prefer working with fresh yeast.
- However, I remember from the time we used to live in London that fresh yeast was not available everywhere. I have no idea why; it is such a cheap product (one cube costs 9 cents here). So, if fresh yeast is not available, you can use active dry yeast instead.
- It is the kind of yeast I used to make the Swedish cinnamon buns I photographed, and you can see in the pictures that they are nice and fluffy as well. And totally delicious!
- When using fresh yeast, I would normally use a whole cube to make this kanelbullar recipe, which weighs 42 g/ 1.5 oz. If I replace that with active dry yeast, I use two sachets of it, each weighing 7 g/ 0.25 oz.
- Dough made with fresh yeast will need less time to rise, about 30-40 minutes, depending on the temperature in your kitchen. The dough for these particular cinnamon rolls made with active dry yeast needed about one hour until the ball of dough had doubled in size.
- Either way, keep an eye on the dough and continue with the recipe as soon as the dough has doubled in size. If you leave the dough for too little time and it doesn't have enough time to rise, the end product will be rather flat and not fluffy. But if you leave the dough to rise too much is not good either, the dough will lose its power and sink during the baking process. So, leave it until about doubled in size.
Knead the yeast dough
You can mix and start kneading the ingredients in the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. I do that with my Thermomix, but any good stand mixer will do.
- I let the machine do most of the kneading, then I turn the dough onto the floured working surface and only knead in as much flour as the dough can take. In the case of this kanelbullar recipe, I measured 1 kg/ 2.2 lbs/ 8 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour at the beginning but ended up using about 930 g/ 2 lbs of it; the dough was then perfect; it was elastic and would not stick to the hands anymore.
- Use a little more flour if the dough keeps sticking to your hands, but just little by little, to make sure that you don't add too much.
Let the dough rise
- After kneading the dough, place it into a large bowl and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size. As mentioned above, dough made with fresh yeast will probably need between 30 and 40 minutes, while dough made with active dry yeast will need about one hour. Keep checking.
Shape the kanelbullar
- When the dough has risen, punch it down, knead it very shortly again, and divide it into three equal parts.
- Lightly flour the working surface and roll one dough ball into a large rectangle, about 35x45 cm/ 14x17 inches.
- Divide the soft butter into three parts as well and smear the rolled rectangle with ⅓ of the butter.
- Sprinkle it generously with ⅓ of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Roll the dough starting at the smaller end and cut it into 3-4 cm/1.2-1.6 inches thick pieces. Place the Swedish cinnamon buns onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. You will need two baking trays for this amount of cinnamon buns.
- Cover the trays with clean kitchen towels and let the buns rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes (probably a bit longer when using active dry yeast) or until doubled in size.
- Beat the egg and the milk in a small bowl. Brush the cinnamon buns with the mixture and sprinkle them with some pearl/nib sugar.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven and bake the cinnamon buns, one tray after another, for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
- To make sure that the cinnamon buns are cooked through, I always take one and break it in the middle to see how it looks on the inside.
- Let the kanelbullar cool slightly on a wire rack and serve warm or cold.
Can you freeze and reheat them?
- If you have too many Ikea cinnamon rolls, when cold, cover them well and place them in the fridge.
- To serve them the next day, you can reheat them in the oven; they will be just as soft and lovely as the day before.
- The cold cinnamon buns or kanelbullar can be frozen as well, slightly defrosted, and reheated in the oven, as mentioned above.
More yeast recipes
Kanelbullar - Ikea Cinnamon Roll Recipe
Yeast dough (Note 1):
- 150 g unsalted butter scant ⅔ cup
- 500 ml milk 2 cups
- 42 g cube fresh yeast OR 14 g/ 0.5 oz/ 2 sachets active dry yeast
- 150 g granulated sugar ¾ cup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 kg all-purpose flour 8 ⅓ cups, a bit more or less as needed
- Melt the butter and pour it in a large bowl or in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the milk (room temperature) and stir well.150 g unsalted butter/ ⅔ cup + 500 ml milk/ 2 cups
- Yeast: Sprinkle the crumbled fresh yeast or the active dry yeast on top and stir a few times until the yeast is dissolved.42 g cube fresh yeast or 14 g/ 0.5 oz/ 2 sachets active dry yeast
- Combine: Add the granulated sugar, salt, cardamom, and 500 g/ 4 cups of flour. Mix well. Add almost all of the remaining flour, leaving 100 g/ ¾ cup flour aside. Knead the dough well.150 g granulated sugar/ ¾ cup + 1 teaspoon salt + 1 teaspoon ground cardamom + flour
- Knead dough: Turn the dough onto the working surface. Start adding the remaining flour, about 1 tablespoon at a time, and kneading the dough with your hands until it is elastic and doesn't stick to your hands anymore. You might not need to add all the flour; stop when the dough feels as described above. If the dough is still very sticky after adding all the flour, you can add a little more flour, but always only a little at a time.If you are making the dough without a machine, add almost all the flour from the beginning, leaving the above-mentioned 100 g/ 3.5 oz/ ¾ cup flour aside.
- Elastic dough: Knead the dough with your hands, adding the remaining flour little by little until the dough is elastic and doesn't stick to your hands anymore.
- Let rise: Place the dough into a large bowl, cover it with a kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This will take about 30-40 minutes if you use fresh yeast and about 1 hour if you use dried yeast. But keep checking after the first 30 minutes or so.
- Knead again: When the dough has risen, punch it down, knead it very shortly again, and divide it into three equal parts.
- Roll dough: Lightly flour the working surface and roll one dough ball into a large rectangle, about 35x45 cm/ 14x17 inches.
- Smear with butter: Divide the soft butter into three parts as well, and smear the rolled rectangle with ⅓ of the butter. Sprinkle it generously with ⅓ of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.75 g soft unsalted butter/ ⅓ cup + ⅓ of the cinnamon sugar (130 g granulated sugar + 1 ½ tablespoons cinnamon)
- Roll the dough starting at the smaller end and cut it into 3-4 cm/1.2-1.6 inches thick pieces. Place the cinnamon snails on baking trays lined with baking paper.
- Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. You will need two lined baking trays for this amount of cinnamon buns, you will have between 35-40 cinnamon rolls.
- Let rise again: Cover the trays with clean kitchen towels and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Brush: Beat together the egg and the milk in a small bowl. Brush the cinnamon buns with the mixture and sprinkle them with some pearl/nib sugar.1 egg + 1 tablespoon milk + some pearl/ nib sugar
- Bake the kanelbullar, one tray after another, for about 10 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. To make sure that the cinnamon rolls are cooked through, I always take one and break it in the middle to see how it looks on the inside. It should look fluffy and not wet.
- Let the cinnamon rolls cool slightly on a wire rack and serve warm or cold. The cinnamon buns can be reheated in the oven. They can be frozen as well, then slightly defrosted and reheated in the oven.