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? ›

The different varieties of pulla include voisilmäpulla (butter eye pulla), Dallas pulla (origins of this name are unbeknownst to me), and korvapuusti (pulla with cinnamon). The cardamom gives pulla its distinct flavor and is the common link among the various types.

Why do you pour milk over cinnamon rolls? ›

Pouring heavy cream over cinnamon rolls before baking will add richness and moisture to the roll. As the cinnamon rolls bake, the cream will combine with the cinnamon and sugar to create a caramel-like sauce that will coat the rolls, adding a creamy texture with the fluffy roll.

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? ›

Pulla is also common in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Northern Ontario, areas in the United States and Canada which have large Finnish populations. There it is also commonly known as nisu, an old Finnish word still in use with the same meaning in some dialects, despite originally simply meaning 'wheat'.

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.

Why are my cinnamon rolls not gooey? ›

Let the dough have its full rise time: Yeasted dough requires some extra time and planning but it's so worth it for homemade cinnamon rolls. Make sure you give the dough the full rise time for the ultimate soft and fluffy dough. If you try to rush the process you can end up with sad, dense rolls.

Should I pour heavy cream over cinnamon rolls before baking? ›

The cream adds a tenderness to the rolls as they soak it up as they bake. The other key is a mixture of butter, brown sugar, and a bit of cream that you pour over the raw rolls. This TikTok Cinnamon Roll recipe creates a delicious topping on the rolls and also creates a sauce that you can drizzle over the baked rolls.

Is heavy cream and heavy whipping cream the same thing? ›

Is Heavy Cream the Same as Heavy Whipping Cream? Yes, heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are the exact same thing. The confusion lies in the fact that they're sold by different brands under two different names.

Can I use evaporated milk instead of heavy cream? ›

Evaporated milk is an ideal heavy cream substitute in recipes that use heavy cream as a liquid. It won't whip well, but it's a great way to add moisture to baked goods. Substitute an equal amount of evaporated milk for heavy cream. Best for: baking.

What do you pour over cinnamon rolls before baking? ›

I can't explain the chemistry but I can tell you that they are exponentially more moist, light and fluffy when you pour a cup of heavy whipping cream over them before baking. This hack truly takes the viral Tik Tok cinnamon rolls to the next level!

What is slang for cinnamon roll? ›

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

Is bread flour or all purpose better for cinnamon rolls? ›

Bread flour has more protein than all-purpose flour, making it a better option for pastries. Most people recommend baking cinnamon rolls with bread flour, as this creates a fluffier and softer cinnamon roll. Though all-purpose flour will also work to create tasty cinnamon rolls.

How do you make store bought rolls better? ›

Use fresh herbs. Brush melted butter onto your dinner rolls and add your choice of fresh herbs—I like fresh thyme leaves. Bake until the herbs and rolls are toasted, then sprinkle on some flaky sea salt. Now you have herby rolls that pair wonderfully with that holiday lasagna.

How do you calm down cinnamon flavor? ›

Add a touch of acidity

Acidic ingredients can help cut through the richness of cinnamon and reduce its dominance in a dish. Consider adding a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of apple cider vinegar to balance out the flavor.

Do you put icing on cinnamon rolls before or after baking? ›

The mixture should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle frosting over warm rolls after you pull them out of the oven.

How do you keep Pillsbury cinnamon rolls moist? ›

Canned Cinnamon Rolls: I use and love a can of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls here! But different brands should work just the same. Heavy Cream: Heavy cream is a slightly optional ingredient here, but I do not think it is. I find that adding a splash of cream to the cinnamon buns before cooking keeps them extra moist.

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