Semlor (singular: semla) Lenten buns were traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday but are now available from January until Easter so if you're in Gothenburg during this period don't miss the chance to sample these creamy, cardamom-scented delights. In recent years, bakeries have begun to play around with semlor, creating new variations on the classic bun - a development which has divided semla fans. Whether you belong to the old-school faction who think semlor should only ever consist of a cardamom bun with almond paste and whipped cream or the more experimental team who are happy to try creations such as kremla - a cinnamon bun and semla hybrid - this guide to Gothenburg's best semlor will point you in the right direction.
Where to find the best "semlor" Lenten buns in Gothenburg
In this guide
The best Lenten buns in Gothenburg
- Konditori Kampanilen – Gothenburg's best semla 2023!
- Ahlströms Konditori – Historic konditori with creative semlor
- Cum Pane – The pros' favourite
- Bullen & Brödet – Tuck in early
- Lasse-Maja – Classic favourite
- Nordgårdens Bageri – Organic semlor
- Brödfabriken i Jonsered – Local buns
- Cederleüfs & Svenheimers – Award-winning semla
- Alvar & Ivar Surdegsbageri – Popular sourdough semla
- Lilla Sur – Fancy a kremla?
- Koopmansgatans Bageri – Queues down the street
- Da Matteo – Coffee or traditional?
- Portens Bageri – Bread to buns
- Brogyllen – Traditional or creative?
- Steinbrenner & Nyberg – Easily accessible
- Mr Cake – Semlor, Fares-style
- Arket – Swedish semla meets Danish pastry
- Nova Bakery – Vegan princess
- Margaretas – Different variations
- Löfgrens Bröd & Fika – Classic and creative
- Vegofika – Vegan semla
The best Lenten buns in Gothenburg
Gothenburg's best semla 2023!
Top-quality ingredients are the name of the game at this little bakery in Majorna. Everything they use is organic and locally-produced. Naturally, their semlor are baked from scratch and are filled with lashings of whipped cream and almond paste. Kampanilen's semla was voted best semla 2023 in Thatsup's major blind taste test.
Historic konditori with creative semlor
Gothenburgers have been enjoying sweet treats at Ahlströms Konditori since 1901. You'd be forgiven for thinking this might make them strict semla traditionalists, but don't be deceived - Ahlströms are among the city's most progressive semla bakers. In recent years they've made saffron semlor, vanilla semlor and Wiener semlor and they also make gluten-free semlor.
The pros' favourite
This organic baking workshop has previously won an industry award for Gothenburg's best semla. And the bakery appears to be gearing up to take first place this year again. No short cuts here, they use all organic ingredients and the flour they use is stone-milled.
Tuck in early
This little hole-in-the-wall bakery begins baking semlor in the beginning of January and many semla fans make the pilgrimage up the hill in Masthugget to begin their semla season. Bullen & Brödet sticks to traditional semlor and the cardamom-scented buns are baked using sourdough, like everything else in the bakery.
Lasse-Maja is a classic café and a go-to bakery for semlor for many Gothenburgers. They've previously won a major newspaper's prize for best semla, which resulted in long queues at the little bakery, where they start baking semlor in January. Buns are baked in a stone oven and, just like everything else they bake as Lasse-Maja, are cold-proved, French-style. Enjoy your semla with a cup of coffee in the little café or buy one to take home with you.
Nordgårdens Bakery in Billdal bake their cakes and pastries using organic rye and wheat flour. Master baker Susanne Winroth runs this popular café where the semlor are always a big draw.
Despite the name - which means “the bread factory” - it's not just bread that's baked here, but also, to the joy of many, fabulous semlor. And they do them so well in fact that they were voted Gothenburg's best semla 2023 in an online poll. The secret is a bun full of local ingredients, with a filling of toasted almonds mixed with almond paste from Valdéngården, sprinkled with toasted, chopped almonds and topped with freshly whipped fluffy cream. All this inside a bun baked with milk from Kåhögs farm, free-range eggs from Furulund farm and flour from Limabacka mill. If you want to be sure of bagging a bun, you can pre-book your semla by email.
Cederleüfs & Svenheimers are famous for their ambitious cakes and pastries and their semlor are no exception. According to the local newspaper Göteborgsposten's jury, Cederleüfs & Svenheimers's semlor are the best in town, several years in a row. Try one and decide for yourself; you won't have to wait long as the konditori starts selling semlor earlier than most bakeries, just a few days into the new year.
Popular sourdough semla
Alvar and Ivar are famous for their sourdough - and naturally their popular semlor are also baked using sourdough. All the ingredients they use are organic and their eagerly awaited semla premiere usually falls close to Shrove Tuesday.
Fancy a kremla?
There are long queues for the artisan bakery Lilla Sur in Kålltorp. The reason? Their “kremlor” draw in the crowds from near and far. A kremla is a hybrid of cinnamon bun and semla - two Swedish favourites in one. Get here in good time!
Queues down the street
Koopmangatans Bröd och Bakverk, or Boulangerie Ducoin, is a favourite with many Gothenburgers. Their Majorna buns are really moist and packed with generous amounts of almond paste and whipped cream, which often results in queues down the street.
Coffee or traditional?
Semla season is short but sweet at da Matteo, an artisanal bakery that uses only organic flour. Occasionally they get a bit wild and crazy here and make coffee semlor alongside their classic ones.
Bread to buns
Portens specialises in rustic sourdough breads, combining classic and modern styles. Their selection varies according to the season - so around February you'll find plenty of freshly-baked semlor on the shelves.
Traditional or creative?
Many regard Brogyllen as making Gothenburg's best pastries and they do their very best to live up to their reputation during semla season. The bakery has created trendy variations on semlor over the years, like a princess- semla - a hybrid between a semla and prinsesstårta cream cake. Traditionalists can of course go for one of their classic semlor.
Steinbrenner bakes popular semlor which are also easily accessible, as there are several outlets around town. Choose from ordinary semlor and vanilla semlor, and there are also gluten- and/or lactose-free alternatives.
Roy Fares-owned Mr Cake is probably best known for their fabulously decadent American-style cakes, but their semlor are made to a Swedish recipe. If you'd rather compose your own semla at home you can also buy the almond filling separately here.
Swedish semla meets Danish pastry
A slightly unexpected semla top spot in Gothenburg is Arket - yes, the clothes shop - which also sells semlor. But don't expect classic semlor; they make them here with inspiration from Danish Tebirkes pastries. Soft on the inside, crisp on the outside and with a poppyseed topping.
These days you'll find vegan and unusual semlor all over the place, but unique semlor that also happen to be vegan are much rarer. At fully vegan Nova Bakery, they serve a plant-based princess semla with marzipan and lightly-whipped oat cream. Naturally, they also offer more traditional variant with almond paste lightly toasted for an extra almondy flavour.
This almost one hundred year-old bakery has had plenty of time to master the art of making semlor. Enjoy their artisanal baking skills in the form of classic semlor, vanilla semlor and crisp Kouign-amann semlor. They also have gluten-free buns.
Classic and creative
When you buy bread and pastries from Löfgrens in Mölndal you can count on them always being organic and always made from scratch. Naturally, this also applies to their semlor, which are made with almond paste made from toasted almonds and smooth cream. From time to time they experiment with the beloved pastry and have offered both pina colada semlor and saffron semlor.
Do you want a completely vegan semla? Vegofika serves plant-based semlor, both traditional-style and raw-food semlor. Just like everything else they serve in this konditori, they're animal friendly, plant based and sustainably produced.