Swedish Semlor Buns

Swedish semlor buns are a treat traditionally served on Shrove Tuesday in Sweden. Making them was a way to use up eggs before the austerities of the Lenten season. Today, semlor buns are available from January until Easter.

Serves: 16Hands-on: 45 minutesTotal: 3 hours 15 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 16


  • 1 package active dry yeast (2¼ tsp.)
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, divided
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cardamom
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 oz. almond paste
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 3 Tbsp. confectioners' sugar, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. grated orange zest


  • Stir the yeast into the warm water and allow to proof until it bubbles, about 15 minutes.
  • In a small saucepan, heat ¾ cup milk over medium heat until just before it boils. Remove from heat and cool to about 100°F.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the warmed milk, butter, sugar, 2 eggs, salt, and ground cardamom. Stir in the yeast mixture. Stir in flour, ½ cup at a time, until dough is firm and pulls away from the side of your mixing bowl. Knead until smooth and shiny.
  • Place the dough in a greased bowl and roll it over once, bringing the greased side up. Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm spot to rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, then remove from bowl. On a floured counter, knead dough lightly until smooth and shiny.
  • Divide dough in half, then divide each half into 8 equal portions. Shape the portions into spherical buns and place on a greased baking sheet. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let to rise for 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, whisk remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water. With a pastry brush, coat tops and sides of the buns with the egg wash. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and cool on racks.
  • After the buns have cooled, slice off the top ⅓ of the buns horizontally. Scoop out the interior of the buns, break into crumbs, and place into a small bowl. Add just enough of the remaining ½ cup milk to moisten the crumbs, then mix in the almond paste. Whisk the crumbs and paste together and add remaining milk so the mixture has the consistency of pudding. Spoon the almond mixture back into the buns.
  • Combine whipping cream with 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar and whip to stiff peaks. Stir in orange zest. Pipe into the buns over the almond paste filling. Place the lid of each bun down, and sprinkle with the remaining powdered sugar.