Swedish Braided Cardamom Bread

Breakfast, Holiday

This Swedish Braided Cardamom Bread recipe is a traditional holiday loaf that’s a delicious enriched dough that’s topped with pearl sugar. This puffy braided dough is perfect when paired with warm coffee.

Swedish Cardamom Braided Loaf

I’m leaving you with this beautiful braided Swedish Braided Cardamom Bread from Scandinavian Gatherings.

This beautiful holiday Swedish bread is laced with fragrant cardamom and topped with crunchy pearl sugar (here’s a link if you want to make your own!). A lot of Scadinavian countries actually make lots of desserts with cardamom.

Swedish Cardamom Braided Loaf

Spices in Scandinavian Baked Goods

When I was in Copenhagen a few years ago, a woman, who was an ardent baker, told me that people in Scandinavia used A LOT of spices because years ago it was indicative of how much money you had. The more spices you used, the more money you had. Spices came from far away places and it signified that you could afford such spices. Interesting fun fact, eh?

That’s why you’ll find cardamom cookies and cardamom breads with a really liberal amount of spice added to them. And I’m absolutely down.

Swedish Cardamom Braided Loaf

How to Make Swedish Cardamom Braided Bread

  1. Warm and combine the milk, sugar, butter and yeast. This will make the yeast all foamy and perfect.
  2. Pour the wet mixture into the bowl of a stand-up mixer with the hook attachment.
  3. And then add some of the flour, salt, ground cardamom and egg.
  4. Next, add 1 more cup of flour and it’ll all come together.
  5. Transfer the dough to a well oiled bowl and let it rise for 1 hour. As a result, it’ll double in size.
  6. Punch down the dough and knead it for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Divide the dough into 6-equal pieces.
    Swedish Cardamom Braided Loaf

How to Braid the Dough

Braided dough seems a lot harder than it looks. It’s truly not that difficult. You divide the dough into six (because we have two loves). And then you braid those strands into three. It’s a wonderfully soft dough that is super easy to handle.

Swedish Cardamom Braided Loaf

Swedish Cardamom Braided Loaf

Swedish Cardamom Braided Loaf

I made it on a day when I was doing a million things. But when it was done baking, I sat down, watched Real Housewives and ate a piece of this Swedish Braided Cardamom Bread while sipping some warm tea. Just like Scandinavians intended!

Swedish Cardamom Braided Loaf

Swedish Braided Cardamom Bread Recipe

4.5 from 14 votes
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Rising Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Serving Size: 2 braided loaves
Calories: 298kcal
Swedish Braided Cardamom Bread is a traditional holiday loaf that's a delicious enriched dough that's topped with pearl sugar.


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 packets active dry yeast or instant yeast
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons Swedish pearl sugar


  • In a small saucepan, combine the milk and sugar; whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Add the butter, and heat over medium low, stirring gently, until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat.
  • Allow the milk mixture to cool to the temperature of a warm bath (not hot!), and stir in the yeast. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes to make sure the yeast is active and alive. You should see bubbles on the surface (don't be alarmed if it's not super foamy), and the mixture should grow in volume.
  • When you are certain the yeast is working, in a large bowl with a wooden spoon or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the milk mixture. Add 2 cups of the flour, and the salt, cardamom, and 1 of the egg. Mix until combined.
  • Add 3 more cups of the flour and stir until it is completely incorporated. Add the remaining 1 cup of flour a little at a time until the dough forms a ball and is no longer super sticky when lightly touched with your finger. You might not use the entire cup of flour.
  • Transfer the dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  • Punch down the dough, knead by and for 1 to 2 minutes on a well-floured surface, and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into six equal portions. Roll each portion into a skinny rope about 15 inches long. Line up three dough ropes side by side on the counter in front of you. Pinch one end of the rope together, then gently braid the three ropes into a loaf. When you reach the end, pinch the remaining dough together and tuck it under the loaf slightly. Repeat with the other three dough ropes to make a second loaf.
  • Place each loaf on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and let it rise for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • To make an egg wash, in a small bowl, whisk the remaining 1 egg and the milk together. Brush the top and sides of both braided loaves with the egg wash, then sprinkle each loaf with 1 tablespoon pearl sugar.
  • Bake the loaves until browned on top, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool before slicing.
CourseBread, Breakfast
CuisineAmerican, Swedish
Keywordswedish braid bread, swedish cardamom, swedish cardamom bread, swedish christmas bread, swedish recipes, traditional swedish bread
Calories: 298kcal
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Recipe Rating

  • Reply Anna September 16, 2020 at 11:20 am

    1 star
    I have tried this recipe multiple times and it has never once turned out correctly. Loaves come out of the oven completely raw.

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme September 20, 2020 at 2:36 pm

      sounds like it might be your oven?

    • Reply Aaron October 10, 2020 at 5:39 pm

      4 stars
      I bought a inexpensive oven thermometer just to make sure my oven was calibrated correctly. Perhaps that might work. Also, the directions says to bake “about” 20 minutes but the cook time in the beginning says “cook time: 30 minutes.” I made this for the first time, baking the loaves at 20 minutes. I think I’ll leave it in for 30 minutes the next time.

  • Reply KC May 31, 2020 at 3:09 am

    5 stars
    Just made this and it turned out wonderful! I grew up with “vetebröd” and this is pretty much the real deal!

    I halved the recipe easily (just used an egg white I had left over for the egg wash) and only had 2% milk on hand, which worked fine. I also don’t have a stand mixer so just mixed it via hand and then kneaded it out on a floured surface for about 10 minutes, adding the last bit of flour in and to adjust the “stickiness”/elasticity quotient. I love the taste of cardamom so next time will use more of it or try to find some seeds to crush manually to give it more potency.

    P.S. The pearled sugar link/recipe was perfect, thank you for that!

  • Reply Kath May 19, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    Hiiii! I’m excited to make this. Any idea what would happen if you added pearl sugar to the dough? I know that it’s used in waffle batter so I’m wondering if it’ll make little yummy sugar pockets in the bread?

  • Reply Jennifer Lofquist May 4, 2020 at 7:04 am

    5 stars
    This was WONDERFUL. Sven and Gustaf (I name my bread and that is completely normal) are delicious! I went full Swede and spread lingonberries on top of my slice. OMIGOD. Thank you for such a delicious recipe. I’ve shared it with a lot of people.

  • Reply Rachel Fancy April 28, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    5 stars
    Hello! I am hoping to make this bread today, but was wondering if I used 2% milk instead of Whole Milk it wouldn’t turn out?

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme April 28, 2020 at 3:25 pm

      yes that should be totally fine!

    • Reply K July 16, 2020 at 9:55 am

      I laughed so hard at “Sven and Gustaf” I almost pee’d my pants! . Thank you for a welcome belly laugh during this stressful COVID time!

  • Reply Eleanor April 22, 2020 at 9:19 am

    5 stars
    While stuck at home during the pandemic, I’ve been stress baking this bread and dropping the loaves off on friends’ porches. It’s been a great stress relief activity, a good arm workout and a nice treat for friends! All have said it’s the best bread they’ve ever had!

  • Reply Michael Hansen-Patronas April 3, 2020 at 1:40 pm

    You wouldn’t have the ingredients list in metric?
    Thanks in advance 🙂

  • Reply Nancy March 25, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    5 stars
    Absolutely perfect. Two huge loaves of sweet, lightly spiced bread. If you’re looking for a recipe to try while we’re all at home, this is it! I baked them on parchment on a stone at 375 for 25 minutes. Perfect for breakfast or any time of the day with a cup of coffee or tea. Thank you for this excellent recipe!

  • Reply erin c January 19, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    Hi! Can I make these the dough the night before (step 5) and let them rise in the fridge overnight?

  • Reply Karen December 21, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    This is a yearly Christmas tradition (Swedish) in our family. It’s not Christmas without it. Delicious! We top ours with a drizzle of icing and a couple of maraschino cherries, so festive.

  • Reply Kim Meyer November 22, 2019 at 11:48 am

    4 stars
    The worst recipe ever. I made this 4 times and the bread never turned out. Either the directions are wrong or I am doing something wrong. I bought all new ingredients and followed this to the T!!!! Horrible….. I am
    Very disappointed.

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme November 22, 2019 at 2:46 pm

      hi kim, can you tell me what went wrong? what happened? what did the dough look like? what part didn’t work specifically?

  • Reply Robin October 22, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    5 stars
    I grew up on this bread! This was my first time baking it and it turned out beautiful. So tasty! My son and husband said I can’t give away the second loaf! All for them I guess! Thanks!!

    • Reply Joan Koski December 17, 2019 at 5:35 pm


    • Reply Joan Koski December 17, 2019 at 5:37 pm


  • Reply Mily October 12, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    Can I use bread flour?

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme October 12, 2019 at 4:50 pm

      I don’t advise that because the recipe was tested with all-purpose and bread flour has a different hydration rate. You can surely try it but you may need more liquid!

  • Reply Beth March 9, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    Can I substitute almond milk for whole mill?

  • Reply Jessica December 11, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Do you know if this bread freezes well? I made it, and it is delicious, but I’m worried I won’t be able to eat it all quick enough while it’s still fresh.

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme December 11, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      Oh I’m not sure actually but if you try it please let me know. I don’t see why it wouldn’t freeze well.

      • Reply Jessica December 16, 2017 at 3:06 pm

        Update: this bread does freeze well.

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