Set your Christmas table with a Swedish Tea Ring adorned with red and green cherries! Bite into the sweet cinnamon-spiced bread and enjoy as the brown sugar filling melts into your mouth. This treat is made with yeast, but it doesn’t even have to rise overnight. Make this pastry wreath your centerpiece this year – it’ll bring a smile to everyone’s faces!
Why I Love This Swedish Tea Ring
The country of Sweden has given the world a lot of tasty treats like my yummy Swedish Butter Cookies, but I think this recipe is my favorite! This authentic Swedish Tea Ring holds a lot of love in my heart because my mother made this pastry for us every single Christmas Day.
My mom passed away suddenly and the holidays are hard without her, but I love to honor her every year by making her tea ring recipe and sharing this part of her with my children. Though she can’t sit at the table with us, her tradition does.
Swedish tea rings are delicious circular pastries that have a cinnamon and brown sugar filling, and a light icing on top. It’s similar to a Danish Kringle! You can leave off the icing, add your own toppings, or change the flavoring to your heart’s content, but this recipe is the way my mom made it.
Swedish Tea Ring History
Funnily enough, the history of this Christmas day pastry is sparse. All we really know is that it’s a tradition in Sweden to serve a tea ring on Christmas day along with a warm beverage and conversation with your loved ones. Don’t forget the Swedish Meatballs for dinner!
Swedes also have a daily tradition called “fika,” which essentially means “coffee break,” but it’s so much more than that. It’s about taking time out of one’s day to sit down with a warm beverage and a sweet treat (often a tea or coffee ring!) to be present and connect with the people they’re with. I love the idea of a truly intentional break – and I think we could all use some more of that in our lives!
Ingredients to Make a Swedish Tea or Coffee Ring
Don’t be intimidated by the yeast! The only note I have to share about the yeast is to make sure the warm milk you add to the mixture is very warm – preferably around 120 degrees F so the yeast will activate.
- Bread Flour
- Active Dry Yeast
- Very warm milk (120 degrees F)
- Butter – softened
Tea Ring Filling
- Butter – softened
- Brown Sugar
- Candied red and green cherries (optional)
How To Make This Fika Recipe
Step 1: Make Dough
In the bowl of your stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, combine two cups of the flour, along with the sugar, salt, and yeast. Add warm milk, egg, and butter until it’s all well combined. Slowly add in the rest of the flour until the dough starts to come together. Change to your dough hook and knead the dough for about 5 minutes, and then cover it in a warm place to allow it to rise until it has doubled for about 25 minutes.
Step 2: Mix Filling
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, white sugar, and cinnamon for the filling of the tea ring. Set this aside and lightly grease a large baking pan. Set the pan aside for later.
Step 3: Spread Filling
Punch the dough down and on a lightly floured surface, roll it out to a 20”x12” rectangle. Spread it with softened butter and then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on top. With the long side facing you, begin rolling up the dough into a long log. Seal the seam by pinching the dough together. Bring the ends together and pinch the dough together to seal so it’s in a ring formation. Place the log in a prepared baking sheet – seam side down.
Step 4: Twist the Tea Ring
Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut the dough in 1 to 1 ½ -inch sections around the ring, but be careful not to cut all the way through the log. Gently pull up each section and give it a small twist, then lay it back on the pan. Cover the ring and let it rise until it doubles.
Step 5: Bake
Bake your Swedish tea ring in a 350 degree F oven for 25-30 minutes, or until it’s lightly browned. Decorate it with candied cherries, or drizzle it with a powdered sugar glaze (optional).
You can make a Swedish tea ring, bake it, and then when it cools, wrap it up tight and freeze it. Then, when you’re ready to enjoy it, just defrost it at room temperature and reheat it in the oven for a few minutes at 350, or in the microwave.
You can enjoy a Swedish tea ring either hot, cold, or room temperature. To heat it up, make sure you use small intervals so you don’t dry out the dough. I prefer to enjoy it at room temperature with a hearty cup of coffee. Let me know how you like to enjoy your tea ring!
Variations of Swedish Tea Rings
You can make your tea ring truly your own. Like I said, this is my mom’s recipe, but there are different options out there – including Betty Crocker’s recipe – and once you have the dough down you can make pretty much anything you want.
- Add lemon zest and a little juice to the icing for a sweet lemon tang.
- Fold various nuts and candied fruits into the filling of your tea ring.
- Use pumpkin pie spice in the dough for more flavor in the bread.
- Smooth on a cream cheese filling for a cheese danish type of tea ring.
- Make a chocolate glaze to drizzle on top instead of just powdered sugar icing.
- Get creative!
More Recipes To Try
- Lemon Blueberry Scones
- Brioche Cinnamon Snowflake
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones
- Rustic Berry Tart
- Cinnamon Twists
Swedish Tea Ring
- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 cups very warm milk 120 degrees F
- 1 egg beaten
- 3 tablespoons butter softened
- 5 tablespoons butter softened
- 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- candied red and green cherries optional
- In the bowl of your stand mixer using the paddle attachment combine 2 cups of the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add warm milk, egg and butter until well combined. Slowly add in remaining flour until the dough starts to come together. Change to your dough hook and knead for 5 minutes. Cover and allow to rise until double in a warm place. (About 25 minutes)
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon for the filling of the tea ring, set aside. Lightly grease a large baking pan and set aside.
- Punch dough down and roll out to a 20″x12″ rectangle. Spread with softened butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. With the long side facing you begin to roll up the dough into a long log. Seal the seam by pinching the dough together. Bring the ends together and pinch the dough together to seal. Place on prepared baking sheet seam side down.
- Using a pair of kitchen scissors cut the dough in 1 to 1 1/2″ sections around the ring be careful not to cut the whole way through. Gently pull up each section and give it a small twist and lay back on the pan. Cover and let rise until double.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Decorate with optional candied cherries. Also may drizzle with a powdered sugar glaze.