Swedish kanelbullar differ from American cinnamon rolls in that the Swedish versions are bready, not very sweet, flavored with cardamon and cinnamon, and sprinkled with pearl sugar. They are usually baked as individual pieces.
American cinnamon rolls are baked together, the rolls rise next to each and stick. They have a brown sugar and cinnamon filling and are topped with icing, buttercream, or cream cheese frosting. Think of Cinnabon on less crack for the typical American version.
Thanks to friends on Twitter, I went to four bakeries in Stockholm that claim to have the best kanelbullar in Stockholm.
Porbjórn and I tasted each one and reviewed them. The top bullar were nearly a tie and really up to personal preference of gooey, yeasty, cinnamony, enough cardamom, and fluffiness.
All the bullar are worth tasting and hail from different districts in the city. Go outside, smell the yeasty goodness, and eat a bulle. For a fika, for breakfast, or just because, you should eat one.
One of the classic bakeries of Stockholm known for their semlor, afternoon tea, and funky tables and chairs, Vetekatten doesn’t disappoint. The bullar were soft, gooey, and cinnamon-y (that is now a word).
Vetekatten’s kanelbullar are baked in muffin tins and wrapped in waxed paper. Opening one is like opening a little present, just for you.
Rating: 4 stars
For making the largest bullar ever, Saturnus doesn’t deliver on the freshness. Too often do the buns become dry and hard after sitting on the counter the entire day waiting for a customer to eat them. When they’re fresh and hot, they are delicious, otherwise not.
Rating: 2 stars
Tucked away in SoFo, is a tiny little cafe reminiscing of the past years. Lisa’s cafe is a family owned business and you may meet Lisa or the hilarious grandson. Their kanelbullar are weaved, like soft pretzels, so you can tear off a little piece for every bite.
Their bullar are soft, sweet, and cinnamon-y. If they out too long though, the edges become hard but the inside gets soft, offering a veritable pretzel experience.
Lisa’s Cafe boasts that it has the best bullar in the city. And we agree. They are the best!
Rating: 4 stars
One of the oldest bakeries in the city, Gunnarssons lies along the hustle and bustle of Götgatan in Södermalm. From 16hr onwards, you can expert it to be a zoo and on a day like today, mass chaos.
Gunnarssons overall has good fresh bread, cakes, treats, and cookies. Recently it seems their over-popularity is contributing to uneven results. Sometimes I get an amazing kanelbullar, sometimes not. The bullar can have too much cardamom at times, but if cardamom is your thing, then you’ll be happy.
Rating: 3 stars
If you can avoid the bullar from grocery stores, 7-Eleven, and Pressbyrån (not that they’re bad, just not amazing), then you will get a great bulle.
And no, most cafes don’t discount for kanelbullendags as I naïvely thought when I celebrated my first one in Sweden.
If you have a recipe that you want to share, post it below, I only know American style bulle.