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Swedish Tea Ring for Christmas

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This Christmas Swedish Tea Ring, filled with cinnamon, sugar, and raisins and topped with a simple powdered sugar glaze, is a beautiful and delicious Scandinavian recipe for the holidays! This simple Swedish sweet bread recipe is perfect for the festive season – and I’ve included step-by-step photos so anyone can manage this beautiful bake!

Side closeup view of Swedish Tea Ring with Christmas evergreens in the background

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It wouldn’t be Christmas without tea… and a Swedish Tea Ring!

Made from a simple but delicious sweet roll dough, much like the cinnamon rolls we all love… or my Almond Cinnamon Babka Star Bread. But then it’s drizzled with the simplest powdered sugar glaze and sprinkled with sliced almonds.

Oh my! Seriously, warm from the oven, it’s such a joy. A Christmas kind of joy!

Christmas Tea Ring on a cake stand with tea

Christmas Swedish Tea Ring Traditions

If you’ve never made one — or had one — a Swedish Tea Ring is a vintage-inspired Scandinavian treat most often enjoyed at Christmas. It’s served on Christmas morning, or Christmas Eve, perfect for a Christmas Tea.

Or Fika! If you’re not familiar with this coffee custom, see our post on Fika: A Swedish Coffee Ritual that Feeds the Soul.

It’s also deceptively easy to make. If you’ve made yeasted bread before, like cinnamon rolls, it’s almost exactly the same.

Essentially, you do these three things:

  1. ROLLING THE DOUGH: roll the sweet dough into a rectangle, spread the filling, roll up and form into a circle
  2. SLICING THE RING: cut one-inch sections around the circle with a scissors
  3. TWISTING: fan or twist each cut section so it looks pretty
Top view of Swedish Tea Ring with tea

How to Make a Swedish Tea Ring

This is a quick summary of the recipe steps. More details are provided in the recipe card below!

Step 1: Make the Dough

Begin by proofing the yeast. Then add the milk, sugar, salt, egg, and butter to the yeast and combine. Then stir in the flour until smooth but still slightly sticky.

Knead the bread for 4 to 5 minutes.

Step 2: First Rise

Let dough rise in a well-oiled bowl, in a warm spot of the kitchen, until doubled; about 1½ hours. Deflate gently after rising.

Rolling out Swedish Tea Ring dough on a measuring mat.

Step 3: Roll and Form Dough Into Ring

Roll the dough into a rectangle and spread it with butter and cinnamon sugar. Top with raisins and roll up the dough, jelly-roll style, and pinch the edges to seal.

Remove the uneven ends from the dough and form into a ring or circle shape, seam side down, and pinch the edges together.

With scissors, make cuts around the circle at 1-inch intervals. Rotate each slice to its side. Cover and let rise until double; 35 to 40 minutes.

Forming Swedish Tea Ring dough into a circle and making slices

Step 4: Bake the Tea Ring

While the dough is rising for the second time, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned.

Glaze the bread while still slightly warm and decorate with sliced almonds or nuts of choice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make a Swedish Tea Ring with pre-made dough?

For a quicker version of this tea ring, 2 cans of crescent roll sheets pressed together can be substituted for the dough. Proceed with the recipe, filling the dough, forming it into a ring, and making 1-inch cuts. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake for about 20 minutes.

Can I make a nut free version of this recipe?

Yes! Instead before placing the ring in the oven give it an egg wash glaze and sprinkle it with pearled sugar which is another traditionally Scandinavian way to finish baked goods. And if you can’t find any at the store, you can always make your own!

Closeup view of Swedish Tea Ring

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Side closeup view of Swedish Tea Ring with Christmas evergreens in the background

Swedish Tea Ring: Festive Sweet Bread

Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Christmas Swedish Tea Ring, filled with cinnamon, sugar, and raisins and topped with a simple powdered sugar glaze, is a beautiful and delicious Scandinavian recipe for the holiday season!

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 pkg active dry yeast (about 2¼ tsp)
  • 3/4 cups lukewarm milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons softened
  • 3 ½ to 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons milk
  • sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) add warm water (not hot but 110 to 115 degrees) stir in the active dry yeast until dissolved. Let proof 5 minutes.
  2. Once proofed, add the lukewarm milk, sugar, salt, eggs, and butter. Then stir in 1 ½ cups of flour until smooth. Add enough of the remaining flour until the dough is pulling away from the sides of the bowl and can be handled. The dough should be slightly sticky, but easy to handle.
  3. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface (or in the bowl of the stand mixer) for about 5 minutes. Form into a ball and place in a well-oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let rise in a warm spot until double; about 1 ½ hours. Deflate gently after rising.
  4. Transfer dough to a well-floured surface and roll into a rectangle, about 15x9-inches. Square the sides if necessary. Spread the dough with 2 tablespoons of softened butter. Then sprinkle 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1/2 cup raisins over the dough.
  5. Roll the dough tightly (jelly-roll style) beginning with the long end. Pinch the edges to seal, cut the uneven ends off, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet; seam side down. Bring the ends together to form a ring; pinch the ends together.
  6. With clean scissors, make cuts 2/3 of the way through the ring at 1-inch intervals. Rotate each slice to its side. Cover and let rise until double; 35 to 40 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F while the bread is rising for the second time. Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. It's better to underbake rather than overbake.
  8. Glaze the bread while still slightly warm and decorate with sliced almonds or nuts of choice.

Notes

Want to Make This Swedish Tea Ring Quicker?

For a quicker version of this tea ring, 2 cans of crescent roll sheets pressed together can be substituted for the dough.

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Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 339

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