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Swedish 'semlor' in the making
Swedish 'semlor' in the making
The cream buns known as 'semlor' are historically tied to Shrove Tuesday, as the 'semla' was the last festive food before Lent.
Photo credit: Susanne Walström/

Fat Tuesday-buns ('Semlor') – recipe

Bake your own Fat Tuesday-bun ('semla') with this easy traditional recipe. A Swedish 'semla' is a delicious sweet bun with an almond paste and whipped cream filling. Traditionally eaten for Lent (the Christian fasting period), 'semlor' are now consumed from New Year's until Easter.

Makes 16-18 buns.



  • 50 g of fresh yeast
  • 1 cup of room-temperature whole milk
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 350 g of all-purpose flour


  • 2.5 dl of room temperature whole milk
  • 150 g of granulated sugar
  • 200 g butter cut into pieces
  • 10 g of salt
  • 750 g of all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs freshly ground cardamom

Almond paste:

  • 100 g sweet almonds
  • 100 g of granulated sugar


  • 200 g almond paste
  • 100 g toasted almonds with peel, coarsely chopped
  • 50 g of granulated sugar
  • 10 g vanilla powder
  • 1-2 grated bitter almonds or 1 tsp bitter almond oil
  • 50-100 g of whole milk (start with the smaller amount and add more if you need)


  • Whipped cream
  • Powdered sugar (icing sugar)


  1. Begin with the starter. Dissolve the yeast in the milk by hand or in a stand mixer. Add the sugar and flour and work everything to an elastic dough, about 5 minutes in the stand mixer or 10 minutes by hand. Cover the dough and leave to rise to double size at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  2. Add the finish ingredients to the starter and work until the dough is shiny and elastic, about 15 minutes by hand or 10 minutes in a stand mixer. Don't cheat with this, you want a lot of gluten in the dough and a really elastic dough. On a floured surface, divide the dough into small pieces weighing about 70 grams each. Round-roll* to smooth round buns and gently transfer them to a baking sheet covered with baking paper. Make sure to leave some space between the buns as they will grow. Leave the buns covered to rise to about double the size.  
  3. Meanwhile, make the almond paste. Toast the almonds gently, let them cool and then mix almonds and sugar into a smooth almond paste. If it's too dry, add just a little water. With this almond paste as a base, then make the filling. Mix (not in machine) all ingredients for the filling until it has come together to a nice smooth paste with some chunky almond bits.   
  4. Bake the buns in the middle of the oven at about 225°C (430°F) for about 10-13 minutes until golden. Let cool on a wire rack.  
  5. Cut the lids of the bun with scissors or a knife. Make a small well in the middle by taking some of the inside out with a fork. Fill this hole with the filling; the larger the hole, the more filling. Top with as much whipped cream as desired. Put the lid on gently and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve your delicious Fat-Tuesday buns immediately. 

* Tip! 

How to make the buns round and smooth: Using your palm, press each ball of dough against the table and roll in circles until the bun is smooth and shiny, as if you are massaging it. Cup your hand around the bun without too much pressure and swirl it around in a circling motion to shape it into a round ball.

Recipe provided by Lisa Lemke

Article sponsored by

EU and Swedish Board of Agriculture