Finnish Cinnamon Rolls Korvapuustit

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Many people have been asking me for the recipe of “pulla” or the delicious Finnish cinnamon rolls I’ve mentioned a few times on the blog.  The word pulla basically refers to any kind of sweet pastry made from this particular dough which makes the most moist and delicious cinnamon rolls you’ve ever tasted. Pulla and especially korvapuusti, the cinnamon rolls made from it are very popular in Finland. Pulla could be called the ‘ultimate coffee bread’ because Finns always serve some variation of pulla pastries with their coffee. Read about the quirky traditional way of drinking Finnish Coffee and eating your pulla in this post: Saudi Dude’s Guide To Finnish Coffee Drinking Ceremony.Korvapuustit-Finnish cinnamon rolls recipe

Korvapuustit, the Finnish cinnamon rolls, translates to “ear buns” because of their appearance which resembles an ear. When folding the buns one pinches the dough in the same manner as when giving a child a korvapuusti, meaning pinching their ear if they were naughty.

What makes the Finnish cinnamon rolls special is the delicious, fluffy dough which is made into milk, using fresh yeast and lots of ground cardamon giving it a unique taste and appearance.  The filling is rich in taste but less messy and not overly sweet like the american version of cinnamon rolls (think Cinnabon). The dough is rolled, cut and moulded in a specific way before baking to complete the typical look of a korvapuusti. You can even make a “cake” with the cinnamon rolls called “Boston Cake”, which is basically cinnamon rolls loaded into a baking tray. Finnish cinnamon roll cake "Boston Cake"

There are many variations to the recipe out there and over the years I’ve made some small adoptions I found makes the rolls as fluffy and moist as possible!  I always make the dough into milk because I think it makes the result more moist, but they are delicious if made with water as well. If available, I will use fresh yeast to make them. If anyone knows where to get it in Saudi please do let me know!

Another important factor is the cardamon. It has to be roughly ground, so that small black parts can be seen and of course free of any residue from the pods. Yet another spice I haven’t been able to find in Saudi-Arabia, they only seem to have finely ground cardamon which looks like a powder. After trying and testing, I can say this won’t work well in the pulla. After a few failed attempts of crushing the cardamon seeds myself and sifting the pods out, I continue to bring my cardamom from Finland. This is what it looks like:

When making the dough the temperature of the liquid has to be carefully measured for best results. I always use a thermometer to check. For fresh yeast it needs to be a bit warmer than your hand temperature, +38c and for dry active yeast +42c for the yeast to “awaken”. This way the dough will raise the best. The pulla is actually raised on two separate occasions before baking! If the liquid was too hot the yeast will die and the dough will become like a heavy rock. If the milk was too cold it will take many hours if not until the next day to properly raise. The dough should double in size before you start baking. Make sure all the ingredients are room temperature too!

So here are the ingredients for approx 25-30 korvapuusti depending on what size you cut them. (PRINTABLE RECIPE AT THE END OF THIS POST)


5 dl milk
50g fresh yeast or 15g active dry yeast
2 dl sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg
2 tbsp roughly ground cardamon
150g unsalted butter or baking margarine
12-15 dl flour

for the filling
100-200g butter or margarine

brown sugar (white works fine too)
optionally cardamon

If you prefer to use the american measurements (cups instead desilitres) then Noor over at Ya Salam cooking has made pulla several times and she converted the recipe for you, find it here!


Start with warming up the milk in a bowl in the microwave. Make sure the temperature is right for the type of yeast you’re using, then dissolve the yeast into the milk until the liquid is clear of clumps. Add the sugar, salt, cardamon and egg and mix well with hand whisk.
Next start adding the flour by first whisking in about 5-6 dl in to make the dough airy. Then mix in 5-6 dl more into the dough by hand. Knead well. Now add the melted butter and continue kneading. Lastly add just enough flour to make the dough come off from the bowl, but not too much, otherwise it will make dry buns that won’t raise well. It should be soft and easy to handle.

Leave it to raise covered in a warm, draft-free place. I use the top of the oven or inside the microwave is good too because there’s no draft. The dough should double in size in about half hour to an hour if the yeast has had optimal conditions. To speed up the raising time you can put the oven on very low heat (30-50c)and place the bowl there or place a cup of hot water inside the microwave.

When the dough has doubled in size take it out and start kneading it again thoroughly. Divide it into two sections. Take one and start rolling it out into a thin layer. Next spread a layer of soft butter all over the dough. Then sprinkle some sugar, again using your own taste of how much you want to add. I sprinkle generously! Next sprinkle plenty of cinnamon on top to cover the rest of the filling and for cardamon lovers you can sprinkle a little bit additional cardamon too.

Start rolling the dough from the top toward you trying to make the roll as tight as possible and leave the seam on the bottom.
Now cut the roll into pieces with a knife into shapes like this:

Then take each piece and press your index finger in the middle so that the “ears” of the roll pop out. Then press gently on the ears so that the top stays closed.

Place them on a baking tray on a baking sheet to raise in a warm draft-free place while you do the next batch. When the korvapuusti’s have risen to about double their size use the beaten egg to swipe them and decorate with pearl sugar. If you don’t have pearl sugar you could use large-grained sugar. Bake in 200C for about 6-8 minutes or until golden brown from top.

Enjoy with a nice cup of coffee or cold milk! The rolls are delicious even the next day, just pop in the microwave for 10 seconds (if you have any left at that point)!

Finnish Cinnamon rolls

here is the printable recipe:


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  • ربة منزلAugust 14, 2012 - 11:30 pm

    This looks really good. mmmmm
    I don’t have a kitchen scale at home. Can you add the volume to the weight measurements?


    • LaylahAugust 15, 2012 - 1:16 pm

      You don’t need a scale just convert the (dl) deciliters to cups!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousAugust 15, 2012 - 3:40 am

    what form of measuring are u using…dl??ReplyCancel

    • LaylahAugust 15, 2012 - 1:18 pm

      1 dl is 100 ml. We use these in many european countries, rather than cups.. It’s a more logical system :)
      You can easily convert the milliliters or dl to amount in cups online.ReplyCancel

  • Karen KingAugust 15, 2012 - 11:44 am

    Instead of buying pulla from the finnish ladies in town, i might try my own this fall. But pulla made from older finnish women in fitchburg is just perfect, so I’m torn as to what to do!

    Sending you love from the Finnish-American city of Fitchburg,

    • LaylahAugust 15, 2012 - 1:19 pm

      Hi Karen!Yes you should definitely try your own, nothing beats the aroma that fills your home after you’ve made these!ReplyCancel

  • LaylahAugust 15, 2012 - 1:20 pm

    karimakene-yes that smell is amazing!ReplyCancel

  • karimakeneAugust 15, 2012 - 12:49 pm

    awwwwwww i love them and i remember when we was small and our mom baked them … this smell when she just took them out from owen mmmm yummie with cold milk !ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousAugust 15, 2012 - 3:05 pm

    Thank you very much for the recipe. Always when I saw a picture of it in your blog, I wanted to try it. So now I will do. It is very similar to a recipe my mother here in germany use to make.
    I enjoy reading your blog and I hope you keep on :)


    • LaylahAugust 17, 2012 - 12:21 am

      thanks, hope that you like them!ReplyCancel

  • FarooqAugust 15, 2012 - 3:07 pm

    yum yum. I knew I shudnt have read that post while I was fasting hehe. when can we hope to taste a sample of your pulla?ReplyCancel

    • LaylahAugust 17, 2012 - 12:22 am

      Farooq-maybe I should start a Finnish home bakery lolReplyCancel

    • FarooqAugust 18, 2012 - 12:37 pm

      I’d have a repeat customer card. Love baked goodies lolReplyCancel

  • AnonymousAugust 16, 2012 - 12:26 am

    yesssssss! thank you!! i’ve waited for this, inshAllah i’ll serve these for Eid!
    you made my day sister!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahAugust 17, 2012 - 12:22 am

      you’re welcome, hope that they are a hit!ReplyCancel

  • KaroliinaAugust 16, 2012 - 5:50 am

    Morning! I have a small blog award for you in my blog :)ReplyCancel

  • NoorAugust 16, 2012 - 11:11 pm

    Now you know I will have to try these :)ReplyCancel

    • LaylahAugust 17, 2012 - 12:21 am

      Noor please do let me know how you liked them and feel free to share the recipe on your blog if you like them!ReplyCancel

  • Sandra-DXBAugust 17, 2012 - 6:52 am

    Thanks for the recipe! Will def. try it!
    For the yeast, maybe you can try some local bakeries (French bakeries if there are any). I know that in Dubai, I can get some in Paul ( or Le Pain Quotidien ( but it doesn’t look like they have branches in KSA.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahAugust 21, 2012 - 9:59 pm

      I will try that Sandra, thanks!ReplyCancel

  • SufraAugust 17, 2012 - 12:23 pm

    Hi Laylah,

    When I was living in Riyadh I saw fresh yeast for sale in the Carrefour in Granada. Maybe try there?ReplyCancel

    • LaylahAugust 21, 2012 - 9:58 pm

      Thanks Sufra for the tip!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousAugust 21, 2012 - 6:08 am

    Hi Layla,

    Celebration of the Eid in Odense Denmark: the celebrating people stabs and shoot a man. When the ambulance and police arrives, the celebrating starts throwing stones at the rescueteam. The glass of the ambulance is broken. Afterward 60 – 70 men armed with bats and sticks continues the celebration at the hospital. They demand to see the man, so they can kill him and demolish the waiting room. The staff hides and calls the police. The men hit the police. During the attack another policeman takes his gun and says he will shoot, if they don´t stop immediately (he doesn´t) The party finally stops.

    What do you think of this?ReplyCancel

    • LaylahAugust 21, 2012 - 10:01 pm

      Well I don’t know what to say to this! Sounds awful, I am wondering what was going on and where these people came from?ReplyCancel

  • HopeAugust 21, 2012 - 10:38 pm

    My fav dessert in all of RIyadh :-) but u gotta have them with the Finnish coffee … plus the large grained sugar is a must, gives them a nice sweet crunch.. good luck finding something similar in RIyadh lolReplyCancel

    • LaylahAugust 27, 2012 - 1:12 am

      ohh yes the sugar is a must, you can always crush sugar cubes to make something similar! When will you bake some ;)ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousAugust 23, 2012 - 10:32 am

    Hi layla!
    I love your blog, i have this dream of visiting saudi arabia for years but as a single female for now this is not allowed… Hopefully someday! About the lovely recipe, i cant seem to find conversions from dl into solid measurement like grams. You used dl for sugar and flour. Do you know how much they are in grams? Im ok with the liquid conversion.
    Take care and tanks forReplyCancel

    • LaylahAugust 27, 2012 - 1:08 am

      hi there and thanks for the comment! I don’t know exactly how much they would weigh in grams, but one dl is 100 mls which I would assume is 100g in liquid. Does this make sense?ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousAugust 23, 2012 - 2:43 pm

    I made them! Sooo delicious! In grams, in case anyone wonders, it would take about 200g of sugar and 700g of flour for that recipe. I used fresh yeast which made them so soft!. It made 40 buns!!! I ll half the recipe next time as its far too much for a single person! ;)

    • LaylahAugust 27, 2012 - 1:10 am

      I am so glad you liked them so much!! and thanks for the tip on the grams. Now that I think of it, I usually use a 1 kg (1000g) pack of flour for these.ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousAugust 26, 2012 - 9:00 pm

    thank you for sharing, I made them today for my friends and all are gone :-)!
    For sure not the last time I baked them, already shared the receipe.
    I follow your blog since short time, congratulations on this great work!
    Regards from Germany,

    • LaylahAugust 27, 2012 - 1:11 am

      Hi Malina! Did you find pearl sugar also? You can crush sugar cubes and try substitute it!ReplyCancel

  • Madame KissankulmaAugust 28, 2012 - 4:19 pm

    My children just love them as I did when I was a kid and my mum baked them. This is defenately one of the finnish things you miss when you live abroad. Thanks for your great blog!ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousNovember 9, 2012 - 7:18 pm

    Ensinnäkin suuret kiitokset aivan mahtavasta blogistasi!
    Toiseksi vinkki korvareihin: kokeile joskus laittaa voin, sokerin ja kanelin lisäksi omenahilloa puustin väliin, toimii mainiosti!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahNovember 9, 2012 - 8:41 pm

      Kiitos kommentista ja vinkista taytyypa kokeilla ensi kerralla :)ReplyCancel

  • Korvapuustit | Ya Salam CookingJune 10, 2014 - 3:10 pm

    […] took the recipe that Layla gave me and had to convert the recipe into my American system so I could understand it […]ReplyCancel

  • […] This is sweet coffee bread which Finns always have with their coffee. You must take one! They are sort of like the Cinnabons you eat in Saudi, but about hundred times better. Consider yourself a lucky man to be able to experience this culinary masterpiece. Secret Recipe can be found here. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Something we all look forward to every summer is devouring some Finnish delights. Our favourites are mom’s blueberry pies, Karelian pies, rye bread, fresh berries (forest strawberries, blueberries, raspberries all grow in the wild at the summer house), fresh fish from our own nets, baby potatoes, salad from the garden and of course ice cream! This summer I made Finnish sweet cardamon bread ‘pulla’ and cinnamon rolls with my nieces. Recipe for this delicious treat can be found here! […]ReplyCancel

  • […] These reminds me of the Finnish pulla! […]ReplyCancel

  • Christine Anderson KnowlesOctober 4, 2014 - 11:37 pm

    It would be helpful and greatly appreciated if you would include a link to print the recipe.ReplyCancel

    • LaylaOctober 8, 2014 - 5:48 pm

      Christine, thanks for the suggestion!That didn’t even come to my mind, and I’m not sure how to do it but will definetly try to :) I already disabled the right click on this particular post, hope you are now at least able to copy paste the text!ReplyCancel

  • mick malthouseMay 29, 2015 - 6:51 am

    greetings from tasmania…….google figbat oswald and see if you can work it out.ReplyCancel

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