Eating and baking semlor is a widespread tradition in conjunction with Shrove Tuesday. The tradition has existed since the Middle Ages, although the name, preparation method and contents have changed over the years.

Location: Nation wide


The semla that is consumed in Sweden today is made from a brioche bun that is garnished with almond paste, whipped cream and icing sugar. There are also other varieties available. The semla also has many other names depending on how it is eaten. If it is served with hot milk it is instead called hetvägg. This name is a hangover from the 18th century when it was boiled in hot milk.

Semla i tallrik med mjölk.

The way it looks has changed as ingredients such as wheat flour, sugar, yeast and almond paste have become more common. The tradition of eating cakes and biscuits with coffee has also contributed to the current form of the semla. The semla has continued to be reimagined, and a number of new varieties have popped up over the course of the 2000s .

On Shrove Tuesday more than five million of these buns are consumed in Sweden and not many other baked goods receive the same attention. Their marketing culminates on Shrove Tuesday, but sale of these buns has, in recent years, been starting increasingly early. One thing that promotes the tradition is the number of taste tests that are used to compare the buns offered by different bakeries. There are also many recipes for those who want to make their own.