Try my grandmother’s traditional recipe for Norwegian sweet rolls. These easy cardamom rolls are beautifully spiced and have the perfect soft dough texture. 

When my mom and her siblings were children, “Bestemor” (grandma) made sweet rolls every Friday night. They could smell the sweet rolls as they came home from school; the whole house smelled delicious and welcoming.

Check out my video below, where mom, aunt, and grandma show us how to make these excellent sweet rolls. They have not had this treat together for years, and it brought back many fond memories.

Sweet Rolls served with icing and shredded coconut

Looking for more baking recipes? Try my favorite vegan soft pretzels or my whole grain bread recipes.

Why you’ll love these Norwegian sweet rolls

  • Cozy flavors: Norwegian sweet rolls are infused with the warming essence of cardamom, which sets them apart from traditional sweet rolls. 
  • Sweet and crunchy topping: The combination of sugar, cinnamon, and bread crumbs in the topping creates a lovely, crispy layer that adds both texture and flavor to the rolls. It’s the perfect contrast to the soft, pillowy dough.
  • Homemade goodness: One of my top tips is to bake something homemade when having friends or guests over. It adds something unique to the meal.
  • Versatile treat: These Norwegian sweet rolls make a fantastic addition to brunch, a comforting snack with tea, or a delightful dessert for special gatherings.
  • Cultural connection: Trying these rolls provides a glimpse into Norwegian culinary traditions. 
  • Customizable: You can adjust the level of sweetness and add optional ingredients like shredded coconut to suit your personal preferences. Make them your own!

Ingredients and substitution notes


  • Almond milk: Ensure the almond milk is at the correct temperature, around 110°F, to activate the yeast properly. Warm it on the stovetop, but be careful not to overheat it.
  • Vegan margarine: Use a good-quality vegan margarine for the dough.
  • Sugar: The sugar adds sweetness and helps activate the yeast. Granulated sugar works well for this recipe.
  • Yeast: Use active dry yeast or instant yeast. Ensure the yeast is fresh and not expired for a good rise.
  • Cardamom: Cardamom is a key flavor in Norwegian rolls. Use ground cardamom for convenience, but you can also grind whole cardamom pods for a fresher taste.
  • Flour (more if needed): The exact amount of flour may vary, so add it gradually while kneading until you achieve the right consistency. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky but manageable.


  • Bread crumbs: The bread crumbs are used in the topping to add a delicious crunch. You can use regular or panko bread crumbs.
  • Sugar: Use granulated sugar for the topping. It will caramelize and create a sweet, crispy layer on the rolls.
  • Cinnamon: This adds a warm and aromatic flavor to the topping. Adjust the amount to your taste preference.
  • Melted vegan margarine: Melt the vegan margarine for dipping the rolls before rolling them in the sugar-cinnamon mixture. This step adds to the flavor and helps the topping stick.
  • Powdered sugar: Use powdered sugar (or confectioner’s sugar) for the icing.
  • Shredded coconut: Shredded coconut is an optional addition. If you like a touch of coconut flavor and texture, sprinkle it over the icing while it’s still wet.

Recipe variations and add-ins

You can totally use this recipe as a base and then add to it. Get creative and play around with flavors! I always recommend making recipes your own. 

  • Orange zest: Add some fresh orange zest to the dough for a citrusy twist. It goes well with the cardamom. 
  • Raisins or currants: For a classic touch, incorporate raisins into the dough. Soak them briefly in warm water before adding to the mix to plump them up.
  • Lemon glaze: Instead of traditional powdered sugar icing, drizzle the rolls with a lemon glaze made from lemon juice and powdered sugar.
  • Nuts in the topping: Add chopped nuts like slivered almonds, pistachios, or hazelnuts to the topping mixture for extra crunch and nutty flavor.
  • Flavored icings: Experiment with different flavored icings, such as almond, vanilla, or maple, to create unique taste combinations.

Top tips

  • Use fresh yeast: This is super important, and in my experience, most baking flops happen because the yeast is stale.
  • Properly activate yeast: Give it enough time to activate properly.
  • Temperature control: Pay close attention to the temperature of your almond milk. It should be around 110°F (43°C) to activate the yeast effectively. If it’s too hot, the milk will kill the yeast, and your dough won’t rise.
  • Roll the dough evenly: When rolling out the dough, aim for an even thickness to ensure all the rolls cook uniformly.
  • Watch the baking time: Keep a close eye on the rolls while baking. They can go from perfectly golden to overly browned quickly. Bake until they’re just golden.

Storage instructions


They can be stored at room temperature for 2-3 days. Keep them in an airtight container or well-sealed plastic wrap.

You can reheat them briefly in the oven before serving.

You can freeze these rolls if you want to. Package them individually and store them for 2-3 months.  

Serving suggestions 

This is an anytime, every-time kind of treat. You can serve these at breakfast, as a tea time treat, or as a sweet treat after a meal. 

I recommend serving these fresh and slightly warm. 

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Sweet Rolls served with icing and shredded coconut

Bestemor’s Norwegian Sweet Rolls

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  • Author: Chef Ani


When my mom and her siblings were children, “Bestemor” (grandma) made sweet rolls every Friday night. They could smell the sweet rolls as they came home from school, the whole house smelled delicious and welcoming. These easy cardamom rolls are beautifully spiced and have the perfect soft dough texture. 




  • 1 1/4 cups almond milk, warm (110F)
  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine
  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 2 1/4 teaspoon yeast

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon cardamom

  • 3 cups flour (more if needed)


  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
+ 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons melted vegan margarine (for dipping)
  • powdered sugar for icing
  • shredded coconut (if desired)


  1. In a small sauce pan heat milk and margarine until warm (110 F). Pour into a small bowl. Add about half of the sugar to the milk mixture and sprinkle the yeast on top.
Let sit for about 5 min. to activate the yeast.
  2. In another bowl mix flour, the rest of the sugar, salt, and cardamom.
Then make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the wet mixture to the dry mixture. Stir to combine.

  3. On a slightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 5 minutes, adding flour as needed. (Be spearing on the flour as too much will make the end product dry). Place in a slightly greased bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise until the dough has doubled in size.
  4. Divide the dough into 16 pieces. Flatten each piece into a rectangular shape. Dip in melted vegan margarine and then in the topping mixture. Twist and place on a baking tray. Cover with a towel. Let rise another 30 min. or so, until nice and puffy.
  5. Bake at 375F for about 20 minutes.


Mix powdered sugar with a few drops of water to make a thick paste. Drizzle on slightly cooled sweet rolls. For a variation, use lemon juice instead of water. Then dip the sweet rolls in shredded coconut for an additional flavor punch. 

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