Swedish Vanilla Buns

As a result of making hot cross buns for Oscar over the last few weeks, I have a large container of yeast that has hardly been used.  Last year, in the same situation it didn’t get used and was thrown out when the best before date passed (in December!).  This year I’m going  to make an effort to use it up, so there will (hopefully) be some baking recipes posted in the coming months.

I decided to start off by pulling out my pile of Swedish recipes (I was an exchange student there when I was 16) and found a nice simple recipe for custard filled buns – Vaniljbullar (Vanilla buns).  Swedish baking is wonderful; they have some of the best buns because of all the spices they use, but this one has only vanilla.  The recipe is from a pamphlet called “Svenska Folk Baka Mera”! (Swedish People Bake More!) and it was a good work out for my brain to translate it into English, which must have been OK as the buns turned out delicious.  I took most of them to work the next day and they were all gone in 10 minutes.  There was no problem substituting dry yeast for fresh, and I also made them with Nutelex since I had run out of butter (and was too lazy to go get some).  The recipe is very simple, and while the entire process takes a long time, there is nothing difficult about it.  The buns look more difficult than they are, so they are good for impressing people.

This recipe uses vanilla sugar, which I had completely forgotten about, but is really yummy in baking and easy to make.

Oscar helped me make the buns, and showed that he takes after his Mum, by photographing the process as we went.




Vaniljbullar (Swedish Vanilla Buns)

Serves 20
Prep time 2 hours, 15 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 30 minutes
Allergy / Intolerance Amines, Artificial Addititives, Artificial Colours, Glutamates, Preservatives, Salicylates
Suitable for RPAH Elimination Diet - Low Chemical / Failsafe
Meal type Sweet Things
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Occasion Easter, Special Occasions
Region Swedish
From book Svenska Folk Baka Mera!
Swedish Vanilla Buns, easy and yummy.


For the bun

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Lowan's Instant Dried Yeast (or 25g fresh yeast)
  • 75g butter or Nuttelex
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 100ml white sugar
  • 900ml plain white flour (sifted)
  • pinch salt

For the filling

  • 200ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon Castor sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Sugar (refer to recipe, or use 1/2 tspn vanilla essence)

To decorate

  • 2 tablespoons butter or Nuttelex
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar (approximately)


Bun Dough
1. Place the yeast into a medium sized bowl. If using fresh yeast, crumble it.
2. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Pour in the milk and heat until it is "finger warm" (about 37 C or body temperature).
3. Pour the milk mixture over the yeast. Add the egg, salt and sugar and mix together.
Stir in all but 50ml of the flour, and work into a smooth dough. Let the dough rise uncovered at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Dough for Swedish Vanilla Buns
5. While the dough is rising, make the filling. Whip together the milk, egg, cornflour and sugar in a saucepan. (Avoid using a steel whisk in an aluminium saucepan.)
6. Simmer until it thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
Let the custard cool, then mix in the vanilla sugar.
Custard fr Swedish Vanilla Buns
Make the Buns
Knead the dough on a floured surface (using the left over flour) then roll out to 1cm thick.
Dough for Swedish Vanilla Buns
Cut a round out of the dough about 8cm to 9cm in diameter.
Cutting out Swedish Vanilla Buns
10. Stretch the round out a little bit.
Place 1 tspn of filling on the round.
Filling Swedish Vanilla Buns
Fold the dough around the filling and close.
Filling Swedish Vanilla Buns
Place the bun, smooth side up, on a tray lined with baking paper.
Making Swedish Vanilla Buns
14. Repeat until all the dough is used up. Allow the buns to rise uncovered at room temperature for about 30 minutes, until they are light and porous.
15. Preheat the oven to 225 C. Bake the buns for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. (The cooking time is almost half this in a fan forced oven).
Cool the buns on a wire rack under a cloth.
Swedish Vanilla Buns
17. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Place the castor sugar into a small bowl or plate.
18. Brush the buns with the melted butter, then dip in the castor sugar.
Best eaten on the same day, but these buns keep well in an airtight container until the next day.
Swedish Vanilla Buns


Low Chemical / Failsafe

Refer here for the Vanilla Sugar recipe.


Vanilla Sugar

Prep time 5 minutes
Allergy / Intolerance Amines, Artificial Addititives, Artificial Colours, Glutamates, Preservatives, Salicylates
Suitable for RPAH Elimination Diet - Low Chemical / Failsafe
Meal type Ingredient
Misc Pre-preparable
Region Swedish
Vanilla sugar is easy to make and can be used in all types of baking and desserts.


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean


1. Split the vanilla bean and remove the seeds. Cut each piece in half.
2. Place the sugar into an air tight container. Add the vanilla beans, and cover in the sugar.
3. Seal the container tightly and leave in a cool dark place for at least a week.
4. Use as required.


Low Chemical / Failsafe

Vanilla beans that have been cooked can be reused to make vanilla sugar.  Once the vanilla bean is removed from cooking, rinse it and pat it dry, then place into the container of sugar.


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5 Responses to Swedish Vanilla Buns

  1. David Cottrell says:

    Sorry, I think vanished is a better spelling. 🙂

  2. David Cottrell says:

    As I am a novice cook I have a novice question about the Swedish Vanilla Buns. I made these as exactly to your recipe as I could. The buns are very good indeed and mine looked like yours. However, I was hoping to find a center that was clearly vanilla pudding – like a Berliner bun, or a donut tht had been filled by injection. I found that my pudding filler had vanashed into the dough itself. Did I do something incorrectly or is this to be expected? I want to try again but improve upon my start. Congratulations on your site. I do hope to have some advice. Thanks

    • Oscars Mum says:

      Hi David, the buns should have a custard filling as you described. I had this happen to a few buns as well, and I think your problem may be with the sealing of the buns. The bun has to be closed with a good seal and placed sealed side down, otherwise the custard leaks out and gets absorbed by the dough. Hope this helps with your next attempt.

  3. Tortoise Mum says:

    Yum! They look good. I just literally finished a disasterous experiment where I tried to get TT to “help” me transform a Miss Roben’s sugar cookie mix into a dough that could be rolled out and used with cookie cutters to make shapes. Epic fail on every count 😀

    • Oscars Mum says:

      LOL! Don’t worry, we have disasters too, and sometimes that little helper is just too helpful.