Perfect Finnish Semlas


Happy Shrove Sunday! (Can I call this the Semla Sunday?)

Some years ago semlas were just a thing we Nordics enjoyed on specific dates in every February. Then they became a hit in social media and now I can see people baking them all around the year, all around the world. And I love that this very nordic tradition has spread around the globe and people are enjoying these cardamom buns filled with whipped cream and jam. Because who wouldn’t love a semla!

Even though I’m a very active home baker, so far I’ve bought these treats from bakeries every year. But this time, while traveling in this winter wonderland in Lapland, I wanted to make my own. And oh I must say that they tasted even better homemade, freshly baked and filled.


Perfect Finnish Semlas



  • 5 dl (500 ml) milk
  • 50 g fresh yeast
  • 2 dl (170 g) granulated sugar
  • 2.5 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp salt
  • about 1415 dl (about 910 g) semi-coarse wheat flour (if not available, use all-purpose flour)
  • 150 g butter (soft, room temperature)
  • 1 egg for greasing


  • whipped cream
  • raspberry jam

On top:

  • powdered sugar


  1. Warm the milk over medium heat until. (The milk shouldn’t boil, it needs to be just lukewarm.)
  2. Pour the warm milk into a big bowl and crumble in the fresh yeast. Mix until combined.
  3. Add sugar, ground cardamom and salt. Mix.
  4. Add about 4 dl of the flour and mix well. Add 4 more dl of the flour and knead. Knead in the soft butter. Then add rest of the flours 1 dl at a time.
  5. Knead the dough about 10-15 minutes on a floured surface. The dough should be smooth and elastic and only slightly tacky to the touch.
  6. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise twice of its size in a warm place, for about 1 hour.
  7. Preheat the oven to 225°C.
  8. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes. Separate the dough to about 10 pieces and roll into balls between your hands. Place them on a baking paper on a baking tray, cover with clean kitchen towel and let rise again at least 20 minutes.
  9. Bake the buns in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until they’re beautiful golden brown and cooked inside. Be careful not to burn them on top!
  10. Let the buns cool on a baking rack.
  11. Cut the top of each bun. Spoon about 1-1.5 tbsp raspberry jam into the middle of each bun. Then pipe whipped cream around and on top of the raspberry jam. Cover with the top of the bun. Finish with powdered sugar and enjoy!


I baked super big semla buns with this recipe, so you can make at least 15-17 smaller buns with it too! Notice that making smaller buns also affects the baking time!

Author: Viola Minerva

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