Swedish Braided Cardamom Bread



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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 homemade hot chocolate or a gingerbread latte.

Swedish Cardamom Braided Loaf.

I’m leaving you with this beautiful braided Swedish Braided Cardamom Bread from Melissa’s new book, Scandinavian Gatherings.

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. (I obviously love spices; see my Chewy Chai Masala Snickerdoodles.)

Swedish Cardamom Braided Bread on a trivet.

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.
Dough for bread.

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.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make these loaves ahead?

Absolutely. Bake them the night before you want to serve them. I like to wrap them in plastic wrap and store them at room temperature. And then you can warm them up just before serving.

How to I warm these up before serving?

You don’t need to serve these warm but if you’d like to wrap them in foil and place them in a 200F oven. Keep them in there for 10 minutes until warm.

Swedish Cardamom Braided Bread on a baking sheet with pearl sugar.

More Cozy Christmas Recipes to Make

If you tried this Swedish Braided Cardamom Bread Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below. Thanks for visiting!

4.72 from 39 votes

Swedish Braided Cardamom Bread Recipe

Prep: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Rising Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total: 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 2 braided loaves
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.


Calories: 298kcal

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Bread, Breakfast
Cuisine: American, Swedish
Like this Recipe? Please Rate & comment below!

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Hi! I'm Adrianna and this is my cozy space on the internet that is super-charged by butter, flour and copious amounts of pasta. Stay awhile, will you!

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  1. Hi, this looks delicious and I’ve ordered pearl sugar to make it, but can you please include flour weight instead of just volume? I’m grinding my cardamom from pods, so clearly I need precision in my efforts to create tasty joy.

  2. My Nanna born in Sweden came right off the boat with her parents and siblings. They arrived in Boston Ma. They raised their family in a town in the north shore. My Nanna raised her family in Weymouth Ma. As a small child I loved going to house and smell all her breads she would be making. As I grew she taught me how to make swedish bread, candy,cookies. I loved spending time with her. Well when I married we moved I lost all her recipes. Thank you for posting swedish bread recipe. One thing my Nanna never put sugar on top. It was cinnamon sugar.

  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe! We made this dairy free using Chobani oat milk and Country Crock vegetable butter. It was a huge hit and all the Swedes in our family loved it. Thank you!!

  4. 2 stars
    The recipe is fine but I take issue with the lay out of this page, not only do I have to read a novel to get to the recipe but then the step by step comes first and the ingredient list is way down the page. Can’t you do like everyone else and put a “jump to recipe” link.

    1. If you look at the very top of the page there is a “jump to recipe” link. It’s literally under the “Title, published, last updated”

  5. 5 stars
    My husband is Swedish and the Swedish Bakery up North closed after many years shipping him this bread for the Holidays. I baked this today and it’s absolutely delicious. I followed the recipe exact and the bread turned out perfect. While the dough was resting my husband said the aroma was taking him back to his childhood when his Nona made this during the holidays. Thank you for sharing.

  6. 5 stars
    This is my first year ever making homemade bread (breadmaking has intimidated me my whole life and now I absolutely love it)! This was one recipe I really looked forward to trying, and it turned out fantastic! I did make a couple of my own changes– because I’m trying to cut back on processed sugar, I substituted 1/2 cup of all-natural maple syrup in place of the white sugar (still added the pearl sugar on top, though… couldn’t resist!). Because the substitution was liquid, I cut back on the milk to only 1 and 3/4 cups. And, looking at some of the other reviews, I decided to add more cardamom than what the original recipe calls for. I added 2 and 1/2 teaspoons of cardamom, but looking back I probably could have even added 3! Definitely set aside a lot of time to make this recipe, since this was nearly an all-day process! But it was so enjoyable and the bread turned out beautiful AND delicious!! Definitely adopting this recipe as a new Christmas tradition!

  7. when making this loaf is it ok to refrigerate the dough after the first rise and divided into 6 diffrent balls? I was hoping to bake this say around 2 in the afternoon but i will be gone all morning. was hoping to just refrigerate for about 5 hrs or so. any tips?

  8. 5 stars
    Have made your cardamom bread twice now… turned out perfectly and delicious! Thank you for sharing your great recipe!