Swedish Braided Cardamom Bread

Breakfast, Holiday

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.

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?

Swedish Cardamom Braided Loaf

Swedish Cardamom Braided Loaf

Swedish Cardamom Braided Loaf

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.

How this Dough is Made

This dough is an enriched dough. It’s very soft and supple. An enriched dough is a word to describe a dough that has a large amount of milk, sugar and eggs compared to a “lean dough” such as, say, pizza dough.

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

After it rises, you brush it with egg wash and sprinkle on pearl sugar. And then it gets baked. When it comes out the entire house will smell fragrant and delicious!

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

4.5 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
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 sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 packets active dry yeast or instant yeast
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon table 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
Nutrition Facts
Swedish Braided Cardamom Bread
Amount Per Serving
Calories 298
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen

In the mood for another enriched dough recipe: Funfetti Brioche right over here!

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Leave a Reply

  • Reply Debra Soderquist September 30, 2016 at 4:25 am

    This recipe only goes to the stage where you have the dough rise – what about baking temp and time?

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme September 30, 2016 at 8:29 am

      It’s updated now. Thanks for pointing that out!

  • Reply Elle September 30, 2016 at 5:19 am

    This looks amazing and I plan on making it today…but I believe the second half of the directions are missing!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme September 30, 2016 at 8:29 am

      OMG I messed that up. It’s updated now, thank you!

  • Reply Leslie R. September 30, 2016 at 9:59 am

    This sounds so great! It will be my weekend project, and I’m sure i’ll eat it by Monday haha!


  • Reply laura September 30, 2016 at 10:02 am

    I’m coming to your pie workshop tomorrow with a girlfriend. So excited!

  • Reply Allison // Always Eat Dessert September 30, 2016 at 11:30 am

    I have been obsessed with all things cardamom since I spent a semester studying abroad in Copenhagen during college (I actually just posted a recipe for cardamom ice cream on my blog this week), and this bread is BEAUTIFUL! I definitely need to get my hands on Melissa’s book and give this recipe a try! Thanks for the tip 🙂

    xx Allison

  • Reply Christen Barua September 30, 2016 at 11:31 am

    I made these as individual rolls and they were heaven. Love the braid- so pretty!

  • Reply Brooklyn Murtaugh September 30, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    I’ve never had this type of bread before but it looks REALLY good!


  • Reply Heghineh October 2, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    These look incredible . Beautiful poictures

  • Reply Megan (Cozy Eats) October 4, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    Love!!! This recipe is perfect timing for me, I bought a bottle of ground cardamom when I was in Tokyo. It was about $4 there, and everywhere I have found it here (Oregon) it is stupid expensive! I need a chill baking day soon so I can try this. 🙂

  • Reply Jessica Lee October 10, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! Turned out great, but the braid didn’t hold. Any idea why?

    • Reply Anne December 28, 2016 at 11:45 am

      I had the same problem, so I baked the bread in loaf pans – worked perfectly!

  • Reply Julie October 15, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    This recipe is identical to one that was given to me by a dear friend from Sweden.
    She was a caterer well into her eighties and this was one of her most requested breads
    when catering breakfasts. In more than forty years I have seen many variations but this one is by far the best. It is moist, light and is perfect for either knot rolls or braided. You have shared a gem with your readers that they will enjoy for many years to come.

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme October 16, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      Ahhh! YAY! I really want to make an iteration where I put melted chocolate in the middle and make ’em into knots!

  • Reply Lydia November 15, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Do you think this would be terrible with raisins? Or maybe 1 tsp. cardamom and 1 tsp. cinnamon? I’m thinking of the french toast/bread pudding possibilities…

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme November 15, 2016 at 9:47 pm

      i think it would be delicious with raisins! i wouldn’t add THAT much cardamom. it’s so strong. but i think 1 teaspoon cinnamon would be amazing.

      • Reply John December 29, 2016 at 2:55 pm

        Confused that you call 1 tsp of cardomom “THAT much cardomom” since your recipe calls for 2 tsp of cardomom.

  • Reply talking granola : food that speaks – lynnelorentsen.com December 12, 2016 at 6:27 am

    […] Swedish Cardamom Braid […]

  • Reply Linda December 27, 2016 at 5:38 am

    I am so glad I found this recipe. My favorite aunt used to bake this bread when I was a child and I’ve always been obsessed with cardamom. She died some years ago and I lost the recipe. While there are many versions of this on the internet, this one comes the closest as to how she made it.
    We aren’t even Scandinavian! We’re Mexican!

  • Reply Kristin April 27, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    This turned out beautifully! So incredibly delicious. Thank you!

  • Reply Kelsey May 14, 2017 at 7:16 am

    I just made this for my mom for Mother’s Day and it was as fun to make as it was to eat 🙂 We enjoyed it with a side of ice-cream for dessert last night, and then turned it into French toast for breakfast this morning. Such a neat recipe – thank you for sharing!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme May 14, 2017 at 7:01 pm

      aww this makes me happy to hear! happy mother’s day to your mama! xo

  • 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.

  • Reply Holiday Traditions: Family, friends, and feasts | Vermont Craft Tours December 28, 2017 at 11:58 am

    […] and ideas mentioned in this episode: Rick's Spiced Solstice Porter Holiday Hats Braided Cardamom Bread Hand-knit stocking patterns from: Faye Kennington, Meg Swansen, Nancy Bush In the US, Parkers […]

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

    Can I substitute almond milk for whole mill?

  • 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 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 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 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 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 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!