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Heather Brown - Food writer, photographer, website help and recipes


This is fabulously versatile sweet or savoury swirls recipe and can be made with a multitude of fillings and I’ve given two alternatives below. The base dough is the same for all, which really helps to make this recipe so useful! This recipe makes 12 rolls but the recipe is super easy to double up if you need to feed more people.

Heather Brown - Versatile sweet or savoury swirls recipe


  • 500g Strong white flour

  • 1tsp salt

  • 1 x 7g packet of instant yeast 300ml milk

  • 40g butter

  • 1 egg (beaten)


In a jug, warm the milk and butter in the microwave for 20-30 seconds until the milk is luke warm and the butter has melted. Tip in the yeast and give the mixture a little whisk to combine. Leave for 5-10 minutes for the mixture to start to get bubbly.

In a big bowl, combine the flour and the salt. Pour the warm liquid mixture into the bowl and add the beaten egg. Mix together until it forms a soft dough and turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.

Knead the dough until it becomes lovely and smooth. This takes about 10 minutes by hand, or 5ish minutes in a stand mixer with a dough hook.

Wipe a little oil around the mixing bowl and put the dough back in, cover with a clean tea towel or cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour. The dough should double in size.

Grease and line a 9” x 13” baking pan (about 1” deep).

After an hour, take the dough and on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle using a rolling pin. The dough will be quite springy, so this will take some work. The dough needs to be about 1cm thick.

Spread your filling* across the dough evenly. Then roll the dough into a sausage shape, starting with the longest edge off the dough rectangle, rolling the filling inwards. This makes the ‘swirl’ shape.

Cut the cylinder of dough into 2 inch pieces and place them into the baking pan, swirl side facing up. You should get 10-12 swirls, depending how large you cut the pieces. Cover with a clean tea towel or cling film and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes to rest. Pre- heat the oven to 180fan/Gas 5.

After 45 minutes, bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes until the swirls are a golden brown and no longer soft in the centre.


This recipe works really well as cinnamon swirls. This involves mixing soft, light brown sugar and lots of ground cinnamon together and then spreading over the dough, as much or as little as you like. I also drizzle over some icing sugar mixed with water to finish too.

You can also make this into seasonal, savoury versions using turkey (pre-cooked, if I don’t have any leftovers, I usually slow cook turkey breasts in chicken or vegetable stock to keep it lovely and juicy), stuffing and dried cranberries. Its a great way to use up leftovers after Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Really you can add any combination of fillings (Nutella, jam, sultanas for sweet options, or perhaps a samosa filling or a spicier jerk chicken for savoury options). Just remember to make sure any meat is pre-cooked as the baking time might not be long enough to cook the meat all the way through.


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