The Irresistible Finnish Cinnamon Rolls: Pulla Recipe (2024)


Take one bite and you’ll understand why cinnamon buns are a staple of the Finnish cuisine!

The scrumptious and soft Finnish pulla is an everyday sweet treat here in Finland. It comes in many forms: twirls, rolls, braids, and butterfly-like shapes called korvapuusti.

The core is always the same: the sweet, buttered, cardamon-dotted bread dough. In fact, a good dough is the only secret behind an amazing pulla.

Baking pulla is super easy and cheap. You don’t even need a mixer!

The Story Behind This Pulla Recipe

I’m sharing the same pulla recipe which my mom wrote in my recipe book when I was 11. I’ve been using this recipe religiously ever since.

This small batch of Finnish cinnamon rolls is suitable for beginners because kneading a bigger dough may feel like a workout.

You’ll makearound 25 buns with this recipe. Empiric studies show that two adults and two school-aged kids eat that amount easily in a day. At least in this household.

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In Finland, we use deciliters but I have converted the amounts to American cups. To avoid weird conversions like ”0,38 cups”, the American version is slightly bigger than the Finnish version.

I have put the names of the ingredients in Finnish. If you want to learn a bit of Finnish, this is a funopportunity to do so!

The Finnish names are also handy if you are in Finland, and trying to find the ingredients in a Finnish grocery store.

So roll up your sleeves and be prepared for some kneading!

Ingredients to Finnish Cinnamon Rolls

Dough with Finnish measurements(Taikina suomalaisilla mitoilla)

  • 2,5 dl milk or oat milk (maito tai kauramaito)
  • 25 g fresh yeast* (hiiva)
  • 1 dl regular sugar (taloussokeri)
  • 2 tsp vanilla sugar (vaniljasokeri)
  • 1 tbsp cardamom (kardemumma)
  • 1 tsp salt (suola)
  • 75 g butter or vegan butter (voi)
  • z. 7 dl all-purpose flour or plain flour (puolikarkea vehnäjauho)

Dough with American measurements(Taikina amerikkalaisillamitoilla)

  • 1 generous cup milk or oat milk(maito tai kauramaito)
  • 1 oz fresh yeast*(hiiva)
  • 1/2 cup regular sugar(taloussokeri)
  • 2 heaped tsp vanilla sugar(vaniljasokeri)
  • 1 heaped tbsp cardamom(kardemumma)
  • 1 tsp salt(suola)
  • 2/3 stick butteror vegan butter (voi)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour or plain flour (puolikarkea vehnäjauho)

Filling (täyte)

  • 2/3 stick or 75 g butter or vegan butter (voi)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (kaneli)
  • 1/4 cup regular sugar (taloussokeri)

On top (päälle)

  • 1 egg, whisked (muna)**
  • pearl sugar (raesokeri)

*In Finland, you can buy fresh yeast (next to milk in shops) or instant yeast powder (in spices). Both work! Check the instant yeast package for the exact amount you should use for this amount of liquid. In Finland, this dough requires one sachet of instant yeast (11 g = 2 tsp).

**To substitute egg, use water with dark syrup tinting the water brown. This will make the vegan bun look deliciously golden brown.

Baking Instructions for Pulla

Add yeast to warm milk and mix well. Milk needs to be 99°F / 37°C to activate the fresh yeast. If you are using instant yeast, the milk should be 108°F / 42°C.

I heat the milk in a microwave and check the temperature with my finger. If the milk doesn’t feel cold or hot, it’s perfect for fresh yeast.

Whisk in sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, and cardamom. Stir in flour one cup at a time and a dough begins to form.

Use your hands to knead the dough in the bowl. It should become elastic. Add butter and continue to knead the butter in.

In total,around five minutes of kneading should be fine. Now you have a smooth dough ball in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a towel and leave in a warm place.

I often use a microwave, but off-mode! Preheat the microwave by heating a cup of water. Take the cup away. Then put the bowl with the towel into the microwave and leave to rest.

Wait for at least 30 minutes so that the dough rises. The dough should double in size. Put the dough to a well-floured surface and roll out into a 15×15 inch (40×40 cm) square.

Spread softened butter evenly over dough. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top. Roll up the dough. Cut into 1/2 inch or 1,5 cm sections with a knife.

The Irresistible Finnish Cinnamon Rolls: Pulla Recipe (2)
The Irresistible Finnish Cinnamon Rolls: Pulla Recipe (3)

Place the cinnamon rolls on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Cover them with a towel and let rise again for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 390°F / 200°C.

Whisk one egg and brush it to the tops of the cinnamon rolls to help them brown. Sprinkle pearl sugar on top. Then bake the rolls for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Allow the buns to cool a bit under a towel and eat immediately!

The Irresistible Finnish Cinnamon Rolls: Pulla Recipe (4)

Have you baked Finnish cinnamon buns yet?

PS. If you love pulla, check my tutorial for Finnish winter buns with whipped cream and jam!

Looking for more Finnish recipes? Check out some of my other Finnish food posts:

  • Finnish Pancakes on a Stove or Open Fire (‘Lettu’ Recipe)
  • The Super Yummy Finnish Oven Pancake
  • The Finnish Chanterelle Pie
  • The Classic and Simple Finnish Salmon Soup

Finnish baking magic

The Irresistible Finnish Cinnamon Rolls: Pulla Recipe (5)

My praised Finnish Baking Magic eCookbook & bonus videos Recreate Finnish bakes in your own kitchen hassle-free!⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Irresistible Finnish Cinnamon Rolls: Pulla Recipe (6)

About Varpu
I’m the founder of Her Finland. I love cultural tidbits, aha moments, Finnish folklore, and cinnamon buns. My newest interest is learning bird songs. Read more about me..

The Irresistible Finnish Cinnamon Rolls: Pulla Recipe (2024)


What are the different types of Pulla? ›

Other types of pulla include small round buns that resemble English scones but have a sugar and butter topping, and larger cinnamon rolls called korvapuusti. The outside typically has a shiny, brown glaze, formed by a coating of egg white, milk or a mixture of sugar and brewed coffee.

Why are my cinnamon rolls not fluffy? ›

There are a lot of variables that go into the consistency of dough, even down to the weather and humidity. But the most common reason cinnamon rolls don't turn out fluffy is because the dough didn't have enough time to rise.

What is the best cinnamon for cinnamon rolls? ›

While Ceylon cinnamon falls on the savory side of the flavor profile scale, Saigon cinnamon is much sweeter. It doesn't bring a lot of spice to the flavor. This characteristic makes it a great choice for cinnamon for baking recipes.

What's the difference between cinnamon rolls and cinnamon rolls? ›

Structurally, cinnamon buns share the same spiral shape. They are sometimes thinner and more delicate. The most significant difference between cinnamon rolls and cinnamon buns is the inclusion of nuts. Cinnamon buns often have pecans, walnuts, or even raisins in the filling.

What is the difference between Pulla and Nisu? ›

“It's English. This bread is pulla.” Some American Finns still call it nisu, which stems back to the old Finnish word for wheat. Wheat was such a precious commodity in the Scandinavian countries that it was only used to make fancy breads and cakes for the holidays.

What do you eat with pulla? ›

We love to enjoy pulla in many ways. We like to eat it with butter or toasted with a spread of peanut butter and jam or a chocolate spread.

Is melted butter or softened butter better for cinnamon rolls? ›

It can definitely be tempting to just stick that butter in the microwave if you've been storing it in the fridge, which can easily lead to accidentally melting it, but ensuring that your butter is softened will make all the difference: It will make it easier to evenly spread the filling on top of the dough.

What is the secret ingredient in Cinnabon? ›

Cinnabon's Secret Ingredient

This special Indonesian cinnamon, called Makara, is trademarked by Cinnabon. And because of that trademark, you won't find this product in your local grocery store spice aisle.

What kind of flour is best for cinnamon rolls? ›

Bread flour is hands down the best option when making cinnamon rolls. Any good cinnamon rolls recipe is going to usually call for bread flour instead of other kinds of flour. This is because bread flour is high in protein, usually containing 11% to 13% more protein than other kinds of flour.

Which country has the best cinnamon rolls? ›

They are most popular in Sweden. There's even a National Cinnamon Roll Day (Kanelbullens dag) on October 4 that is celebrated in Sweden. Cinnamon rolls are typically enjoyed with afternoon coffee. In the U.S., they are also eaten at breakfast or for dessert.

Which cinnamon has the most flavor? ›

Saigon cinnamon is usually considered strongest in flavor and routinely has the highest volatile oil content. Korintje comes in second place for high volatile oil content, with a smoother finish and less bite compared to Saigon and cassia.

What is slang for cinnamon roll? ›

(slang, neologism) A person perceived as good, gentle and kind. Often a fictional character who undergoes emotional suffering.

What is the fancy name for cinnamon rolls? ›

A cinnamon roll (also known as cinnamon bun, cinnamon swirl, cinnamon Danish and cinnamon snail) is a sweet roll commonly served in Northern Europe (mainly in Nordic countries, but also in Austria and Germany) and North America.

What are cinnamon rolls called in Britain? ›

Here are the best cinnamon buns in the UK and where to buy them. Cinnamon buns are also known as cinnamon rolls and kannelbullen, and in Denmark they are even called Kanelsnegl; 'cinnamon snail'.

Why are my rolls dense and not fluffy? ›

Too much flour, or not the right kind, could be to blame. Dough made only from flour with a high or even average amount of protein (like bread flour or all-purpose flour) can become tough from overmixing. Protein gives bread structure in the form of gluten—the more you mix and move the dough, the more gluten you get.

Why are my homemade cinnamon rolls dense? ›

Randhawa said if the room the cinnamon rolls are in is cold and dry, the rolls could take longer to proof/ferment, resulting in denser rolls that did not rise to their desired potential in the time assigned by the recipe before the next step.

Why are my buns not fluffy? ›

Simply put, you have to control the temperature of the bread. Allowing ample time for your bread dough to rise and the yeast to form will create the holes in the bread that give it a lighter texture. Letting your dough get puffy and grow before it goes into the oven is critical.

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