I’m not really sure how a Swedish Tea Ring recipe became a holiday tradition in a German/Irish/English household but my mom has been making tea rings for Christmas morning breakfast since I was a kid. Swedish Tea Rings tastes sort of like cinnamon rolls but even better. Like many breads, it’s a make-ahead project that you can either bake the day before or let rise overnight and bake in the morning. My mom starts making her Swedish Tea Ring on Christmas Eve. It’s delicious. And I think that Swedish Tea Rings look super pretty and festive, too.
A Christmas Breakfast Tradition
This is my mom, the Master Swedish Tea Ring Maker.
And this is her well-worn Swedish Tea Ring recipe card that she makes every year for our Christmas breakfast…
…and here’s the back. (Note the super basic frosting recipe, ha! Don’t worry; I’ll show you more details on how to ice and decorate your Swedish Tea Ring for Christmas breakfast.)
A Swedish Tea Ring is like a cinnamon roll wreath
A Swedish Tea Ring tastes like a cinnamon roll but better, and it’s in a traditional wreath shape. The nice thing is that you can’t really mess it up. No matter whether you make a full recipe or a half recipe, this delicious Swedish Tea Ring tradition pleases both kids and adults.
Low-stress, make-ahead Christmas breakfast tradition
This make-ahead Christmas breakfast idea rises overnight to bake in the morning, which makes for a super easy and low-stress Christmas morning breakfast. And the smells! There’s nothing like cinnamon and bread smells on Christmas morning. I highly recommend it for your Christmas morning family breakfast tradition!
A Swedish Tea Ring became an Indiana Christmas staple, and I plan to keep up my mom’s tradition with my own family. Mmm, cinnamon rolls. What foods and smells remind you of being home at Christmas?
Keep reading to see how to make a Swedish Tea Ring – it’s an easy Christmas breakfast recipe tradition that both kids and adults look forward to each Christmas morning.
Swedish Tea Ring Recipe for Christmas morning breakfast
Swedish Tea Ring Recipe for Christmas morning breakfast
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup warm water not hot!
- 2 packages yeast 4-1/2 teaspoons
- 2 eggs beaten
- 5 to 5-1/2 cups unsifted flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Melted butter
- 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
- 1/3 cup raisins or nuts
- Powdered sugar and milk
- Red cherries
- Scald milk. Stir in sugar and butter until melted. Cool to lukewarm (tip: be patient and make sure to cool it or you’ll kill the yeast and/or cook the eggs, neither are good).
- Put water in a large bowl, sprinkle yeast on top. Add milk and mix.
- Beat 2 eggs and mix in.
- Add salt and 2 cups of flour.
- Beat until smooth. Stir in remaining flour one cup at a time.
- When it begins to form a ball, put it onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes.
- Place in a greased bowl, turn over once like so.
- Cover with a wet towel. Rest 1-1/2 hours until doubled in size.
- Punch down and roll into a 14″ x 18″ rectangle and brush with melted butter.
- Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle. Add nuts or raisins (optional).
- Roll up from one end, bend into a circle and tuck ends together best you can.
- Snip every inch 2/3 the way and twist open.
- Lay a towel on top and allow to double in size. We usually let it go overnight but if you live in a warmer climate that may be too long.
- Bake 25-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Make frosting and top with cherries.
Ready to make this Swedish Tea Ring recipe? My mom is going to walk you through it step-by-step…
Step 1: Combine scaled milk, sugar, and butter and cool to lukewarm
First, scald 1 cup of milk (here’s why). You basically do this by putting milk into a saucepan and heating it until about 170 degrees or when a skin starts to form on the top. Do not boil the milk – that’s too hot.
Stir in the sugar and butter until melted.
Cool the milk/sugar/butter mixture to lukewarm, about 110°F (tip: be patient and make sure to cool it or you’ll kill the yeast and/or cook the eggs, neither are good). Put 1/2 cup lukewarm (not hot) water in a large bowl, sprinkle 2 packages of yeast on top. (NOTE: Be sure to use a large bowl for this step. We did this step in a small bowl and then remembered it should have been in the large bowl, so had to pour it into the large bowl).
Step 2: Add milk and eggs to yeast
Add milk to the yeast/water mixture and stir. Beat 2 eggs in a separate bowl.
And mix the eggs into the milk/yeast/water mixture.
Step 3: Add salt and flour and knead
Add salt and 2 cups of flour to the milk/yeast bowl.
Beat until smooth. Stir in remaining flour one cup at a time.
When the Swedish Tea Ring dough begins to form a ball like so…
Put the Swedish Tea Ring dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. This is a fun step for kids to help too.
Place the Swedish Tea Ring dough into a greased bowl, turn over once like so.
Cover the Swedish Tea Ring dough with a wet towel. Rest 1-1/2 hours until doubled in size.
Step 4: Roll out the dough and form the Swedish Tea Ring
Once the Swedish Tea Ring dough has doubled in size, punch it down once in the middle. This is a fun step. My mom used to let me do this when I was little.
Roll the Swedish Tea Ring dough into a 14″ x 18″ rectangle if making one large tea ring, or split the dough into two pieces if you’re making two small rings.
Brush the Swedish Tea Ring dough with melted butter. Leave at least a half inch border on the edges so the dough will stick together when rolled.
Mix the topping – sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle with the sugar. Again, leave a little bit of border on the edges so the dough will stick together when rolled.
And then add optional nuts or raisins, really as much or as little as you’d like.
Roll up the Swedish Tea Ring rectangle from one end.
Bend the dough into a circle and tuck ends together best you can.
Snip the dough every inch 2/3 the way and twist open. Doesn’t it resemble cinnamon rolls?
Step 5: Let rise, bake, and decorate the Swedish Tea Ring
Lay a towel on top of the Swedish Tea Ring and allow to double in size. We usually let it go overnight in a cold spot in the house, but if you live in a warmer climate that may be too long — so in warm climates, you can it make ahead by baking it now and re-heating it in the morning.
Bake 25-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Make frosting and top with cherries, nuts, M&Ms, or your family’s favorite treats.
How do you store a Swedish Tea Ring?
A Swedish Tea Ring is best left at room temperature for up to 3 days (if it lasts that long!) under a cake dome, in an airtight container, or covered with plastic wrap.
Be sure to pin my mom’s traditional Swedish Tea Ring recipe for later:
Ho! Ho! Ho! Here are some more Christmas DIYs and recipe traditions:
Copyright stuff: You’re more than welcome to use this free recipe for your family and friends. You are not allowed to copy this recipe on your own blog or make for commercial use.