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Cinnamon roll (also cinnamon bun, cinnamon swirl, cinnamon Danish and cinnamon snail) is a sweet roll served commonly in Northern Europe (mainly in Scandinavia) and North America. In Sweden it is called kanelbulle, in Denmark it is known as kanelsnegl, in Norway it is known as Skillingsboller, Kanelbolle and Kanelsnurr, and in Finland it is known as korvapuusti (see Origins) and is a form of Viennese bread (wienerbrød) . [1][2] [3]


A cinnamon roll consists of a rolled sheet of yeast-leavened dough onto which a cinnamon and sugar mixture (and raisins or other ingredients in some cases) is sprinkled over a thin coat of butter. The dough is then rolled, cut into individual portions, and baked or deep fried. Its main ingredients are flour, cinnamon, sugar, and butter, which provide a robust and sweet flavor

Loaf of raw cinnamon roll dough being cut into individual rolls prior to being baked
Uncooked cinnamon roll buns


Roman spice traders introduced the Sri Lankan cinnamon spice to Europe.

Much later, Sweden began using it in its pastries, developing the kanelbulle (lit. ''cinnamon bun'').[4] Since 1999,[5][6] October 4th has been promoted as Cinnamon Roll Day (Kanelbullens dag).[7][8] Swedish kanelbulle dough typically also contains cardamom (powder or buds), giving it a distinctive flavour.

The size of a cinnamon roll varies from place to place, but many vendors supply a smaller size about 5 centimeters (2.0 in) in diameter and a larger size about 10 cm (3.9 in) to a side. The larger variety can be found in Finland, called korvapuusti (lit. 'a 'cuff on the ear'', fig. "pulling someone's ear for disciplining"), where it can be up to 20 cm (7.9 in) in diameter and weigh up to 200 g (7.1 oz).[9]

Haga, a district in Gothenburg, Sweden, is well known for their very large cinnamon rolls. These cinnamon rolls are called hagabullar or 'Queen of the kitchen'. Hagabullar are usually 30 centimeters (12 in) or more in diameter and are, despite their size, not considered a communal roll. Each person usually orders one each.[10] The swedes use pearl sugar to top their cinnamon pastries, not icing as is common in North America.[11]

National variations

In Northern Europe, nib sugar is usually used with a glaze instead of icing. The Swedish Butterkaka and Finnish bostonkakku ('Boston cake') is a cake made by baking cinnamon rolls in a round cake pan instead of baking them separately, so that they stick together to form a large, round cake.[12]

A German variety, which closely follows the form of the Scandinavian pastry, originating in Hamburg and its surroundings is the Franzbrötchen, a cinnamon pastry inspired by the non-cinnamon French croissant.

The British version is an approximation of the Danish butter type, known as the Chelsea bun, which they introduced in the 18th century.[13] It is now available in cafes, supermarkets, and bakeries across the UK.

American cinnamon rolls are frequently topped with icing (usually confectioners' sugar-based) and are sometimes fried, finished with glaze, and served as a variation of a raised donut. There are also regional variations: in the American Midwest, especially Kansas, cinnamon rolls may be dipped or smothered in chili.[14]

In Canada, they are known as cinnamon buns. They are usually self-glazed and not iced, nor do they usually have raisins.[15][16] They can have so much cinnamon that they are spicy and hot to the taste.

Cinnamon roll traditions

In Sweden, cinnamon rolls are traditionally enjoyed during a coffee break, or fika which is a get together with friends. National Cinnamon Bun Day (Kanelbullens dag) is observed on October 4.[17].

In North America, it is commonly eaten for breakfast or dessert. When eaten for a breakfast in the U.S., it may be served with cream cheese.[18]


See also


  1. ^ The Free Dictionary. "cinnamon snail". Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  2. ^ Carlson, Jen. "Why The Cinnamon Snail Vegan Food Truck Is The Best Food Truck In Town". The Gothamist. Archived from the original on April 7, 2013. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
  3. ^ "Kanelsnegl, The Danish answer to Cinnamon buns". Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  4. ^ "The History of the Cinnamon Roll". Goldenrod Pastries. April 9, 2017. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  5. ^ "Om oss". Hembakningsrådet (in Swedish). September 12, 2014. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  6. ^ "Så blev kanelbullen det mest svenska av alla bakverk - DN.SE". DN.SE (in Swedish). October 4, 2017. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  7. ^ "Kanelbullens Dag 4 Oktober". Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  8. ^ "Kanelbullar". Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  9. ^ Korvapuusti in Finland Archived February 26, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "". Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  11. ^ "What is the origin of cinnamon rolls? - Quora". Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  12. ^ "Boston cake". Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  13. ^ "Before they were canned: the origins of the cinnamon roll – A new history thing for curious kids". 2 New Things. April 20, 2015. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  14. ^ "Chili and Cinnamon Rolls, is this a Kansas Thing?". Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  15. ^ Tagliafierro, Angelina. "UBC Cinnamon Bun". Retrieved January 12, 2019.
  16. ^ Lugonja, Valerie (December 19, 2016). "Helen McKinney's Canadian Prairie Homemade Cinnamon Buns". Retrieved January 12, 2019.
  17. ^ Kanelbullens dag
  18. ^ "Screamin' Cinnamon Rolls With Cream Cheese Frosting". Retrieved July 20, 2016.