Inspired by munkki, the cardamom donuts eaten in Finland to celebrate Vappu (the first of May celebration), Munnki Muffins (Cardamom Donut Muffins) have an intense cardamom flavor and come together in minutes. This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that I get a commission if you take advantage of the offer (thank you!).

Munkki Muffins (Cardamom Donut Muffins)

Hyvää vappua! It’s Vappu in Finland (Finnish May Day)! On the first of May, Finns eat munkki (donuts) to celebrate, often with sima (Finnish mead) or champagne. Munkki are most tasty, and I miss them. However, I long ago promised myself that I would never l would never learn how to make them. Donuts don’t lend themselves to small batches, and, well . . . I don’t need to eat a dozen donuts. Muffins, however, those I can make, so I decided to make a batch of donut muffins and flavor them with cardamom and sprinkle some with pearl sugar. Behold, Munkki Muffins (Cardamom Donut Muffins).

They have made my first of May most happy.

Donut muffins

Donut muffins are a neat trick—they resemble a cake donut, but they come together in far less time and aren’t deep fried. Dipping them in melted butter and rolling them in sugar enhances the donutesque qualities. Full disclosure—Munnki Muffins are not donuts, but they are delicious.

Unlike regular muffins in which overmixing is the enemy, you are going to do a fair amount of mixing with Munkki Muffins. This makes them rise higher. Over baking will dry these right out, so start baking at 425 F for about five minutes to get them to rise and then reduce the temperature to 350 F for the remainder of the baking time. I got this trick from the Kitchn.

Havis Amanda, Vappu. Helsinki, Finland
Celebrating Vappu in Helsinki

Grind your own cardamom

To get the intense cardamom flavor that is the hallmark of Finnish baked goods, I encourage you to grind your own cardamom for Munkki Muffins. I’m new to this, and I have seen the light.

Grinding your own spices is a cinch if you have a mortar and pestle. Just take a handful of cardamom pods (1 pod is about the equivalent of 1/6 tsp of ground cardamom), and open them to reveal the seeds (squeeze them or even tap them with your pestle), and then grind them with a mortar and pestle.

When you taste your delicious Munkki Muffins, you will thank yourself.

Credit where credit is due for Munkki Muffins

The recipe for Munkki Muffins owes a great debt to this recipe from King Arthur Flour. I looked to it, because it uses brown sugar, which addresses that weird taste that can come from using baking soda in recipes. I substituted fresh-ground cardamom for the nutmeg, used pearl sugar for half the muffins, added more vanilla and salt, and altered the baking temperature. Thank you, King Arthur Flour, for a great template.

Munkki Muffins aren’t just for the first of May

Whether you are celebrating Vappu or just making yourself a breakfast treat, the intense cardamom flavor of these delicious Munkki Muffins will delight. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Looking for recipes without all the jibber jabber? Subscribe today, and get access to the Wonder & Sundry Recipe Box—every recipe in one place, as well as bonus recipes!

Munkki Muffins (Cardamom Donut Muffins)

Munkki Muffins (Cardamom Donut Muffins)

Munkki are traditional Finnish donuts that are eaten on Vappu, or Finnish May Day. They are delicious, and I've been missing them. However, I've also promised myself that I would never learn to make donuts, because I would do nothing but eat donuts. So, mini donut muffins it is. They definitely work, and for more than just Vappu!
If you can, try grinding your own cardamom from pods in a mortar and pestle, as this gives a more intense flavor, bringing these closer to Finnish baked goods. To do this, simply open the pods (you can do this by squeezing them), add the seeds to your mortar, and then grind them with the pestle.
These are very much based on the King Arthur donut muffin recipe, but changes the baking method to ensure that we have golden muffins that are not overcooked. I've also added optional pearl sugar, which, while not traditional, is certainly Nordic.
You'll have extra melted butter and cardamom sugar. Gee, I wonder what that would be good for?
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American, Finnish Inspired
Servings 15 mini muffins



For the muffins

  • 2 tbs butter, softened 28.5 grams
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 49.5 grams sugar 1/4 cup
  • 35.5 grams light brown sugar 2 ⅔ tbs
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cardamom, freshly ground, using a mortar and pestle if using pre-ground cardamom, you may wish to use a little more
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 160 grams all-purpose flour 1 ⅓ cups
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • pearl sugar, optional

For the topping


  • Preheat oven to 425 F. Prepare a mini-muffin tin by lightly greasing it with vegetable oil or cooking spray (I don't like the latter, either, but we do want to make sure that these get out of the tin easily)
  • In a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars until smooth
  • Add the egg and mix to combine
    Munkki Muffins (Cardamom Donut Muffins)
  • Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, cardamom, salt, and vanilla. Scrape the bowl with a spatula to ensure that everything is mixed
    Cardamom Donut Muffins
  • Alternating between the flour and the milk, beginning and ending with flour, add flour and milk and mix to thoroughly combine, scraping the bowl with a spatula to make sure that everything is mixed, watch overmixing
    Munkki Muffins (Cardamom Donut Muffins)
  • Spoon batter into the prepared muffin tin. Top half the muffins with pearl sugar, if using.
    Munkki Muffins (Cardamom Donut Muffins)
  • Bake for 5 minutes at 425, and then lower the heat to 350 until the muffins are lightly golden and a cake tester comes out clean, another 5-7 minutes
    Munkki Muffins (Cardamom Donut Muffins)
  • Cool for a couple of minutes in the pan, and melt the butter. When you can handle the muffins, remove from the tin (you want them to still be warm)
  • Lightly dip the top of each muffin in the melted butter, and then roll in the cardamom sugar mixture
    Munkki Muffins (Cardamom Donut Muffins)
  • Serve warm, or cool completely, transfer to an airtight container for a day or so (consider grilling them the next day)
    Munkki Muffins (Cardamom Donut Muffins)



I have a 12-muffin mini-muffin tin. This makes a bit extra. 
Keyword cardamom, donut muffins, donuts, muffins
Tried this recipe?Let me know what you think!

For more information on affiliate links, please see the Disclosure Statement.