The Best Fastelavnsboller in Copenhagen

Best Fastelavnsboller in Copenhagen

Here’s a secret the Copenhagen guidebooks won’t tell you why YOU SHOULD visit Copenhagen in January and February –  it’s fastelavnsboller season!

If you haven’t lived in Scandinavia before, you’ve probably never heard of the holiday Fastelavn, or tried a fastelavnsboller before. I spent a week in Copenhagen in search of the best fastelavnsboller, and I was not disappointed! But first, here’s the background on the Fastelavn and fastelavnsboller

What is Fastelavn?

Fastelavn is best understood as a pre-Lent carnival  (similar to Fat Tuesday in New Orleans) dating back to medieval times.  It is celebrated seven weeks before Easter in Denmark and Norway. In 2023, Fastelavn is on Sunday, February 19th.

Fastelavn is mostly a children’s holiday, and kids LOVE IT. Children dress up and hit a barrel until it cracks open with candy spilling out. It’s traditional for the barrel to have a painted cat on it (more on the cat part later!).

The person who breaks open the barrel is “Queen of the Cats,” (kattedronning) while the person who breaks the bottom of the barrel is “King of the Cats” (kattekonge).  After the barrel is broken, everyone gathers around to eat fastelavnsboller (Fastelavn buns).

What does a cat have to do with Fastelavn? 

Years and years ago, a REAL cat (the cat was supposed to represent the dark side) was inside the barrel, and people would take turns hitting the barrel. Yes- hitting it. This was done to ward off evil spirits. People dressed up in costumes so that evil spirits would not recognize them. The barrel would eventually break, and the cat would run away. It was very morbid as you can imagine, and luckily for cats everywhere today, the barrel is now filled with just candy.

What does a Fastelavnboller taste like? 

Fastelavnsboller (singular, fastelavnsbolle) are fluffy-cream filled pastries dusted with powdered sugar. It’s popular now to add a thin layer of chocolate ganache on top, or a jam filling inside. Bakeries start making them as early as the middle of January up until Fastelavn. 

In Copenhagen, every bakery has its own unique take on its fastelavnsboller which has made finding “the best” one all the more exciting!

Do all three Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark) make fastelavnsboller

Norway and Denmark make fastelavnsboller, but in Sweden they make semlor (singular, semla). One of the big differences between semlor and fastelavnboller are the semlor buns are filled with marzipan. I’m not a big marzipan fan. I prefer when selmor are made with lots of cardamom flavor. Swedes go nuts for semlor – you can even find semlor milkshakes in Sweden! 

The Best Fastelavnsboller in Copenhagen

5. Bagt Bakery – Best Value for Money 

Best Fastelavnsboller in Copenhagen

Bagt is one of the new members of the bakery family in Copenhagen. They describe themselves as a French bakery with Danish roots. I’ve had great Danish pastries here before and I was interested to try their fastelavnsboller. 

Overall the taste of the fastelavnsbolle was good. I liked the dusting of powdered sugar at the top, and the pastry was very fresh. I would have preferred more jam, or custard filling on the inside to make it a bit more unique. The inside of the bun was mostly hollow, and I wish the whipped cream could have had an added flavor to it.

The presentation was simple but tastefully decorated with berries, a small chocolate piece and a swirl of cream. The size of the bun was huge, and Bagt had a nice variety of fastelavnsboller. 

You’ll get your best value and size for your money at Bagt! It was the cheapest fastelavnsbolle on this list at only 25 DKK. A great price considering the size and quality. 

4. Sankt Pedars Bageri – Best Traditional 

Sankt Pedars is in the Latin Quarter of Copenhagen. This small little store actually holds the title of Copenhagen’s oldest bakery. They’re famous for their giant cinnamon rolls that are always sold on Wednesday’s (“onsdagssnegle”) which translated means “Wednesday’s Snail”.  I was curious to see if their fastelavnsboller were just as mouthwatering.

I was pleasantly surprised when I saw all the flavor options! You could choose from fastlavnboller filled with whipped cream made from chocolate, vanilla, raspberry, or caramel. You can also try a more traditional style of fastlavnboller called “gammeldags  fastelavnsboller” or a Swedish selmor here too.

Hands down the best fastlavnboller at Sankt Pedars is their caramel flavor. The caramel infused whipped cream was absolutely amazing. The drizzle of chocolate with nougat and crunchy caramel toppings adds an extra layer of texture that makes this fastelavnsboller almost taste like a candy bar.

3. Hart Bageri

Hart is one of the most popular bakeries in Copenhagen. You can’t go wrong with any pastry here, and they’re known to sell out fast!

The pastry dough on their fastelavnsbolle was flaky and made a perfect crunch biting into it. Hart’s unique twist on their bun was a blackcurrent jam filling. The blackcurrent jam filling was bold and powerful, but if you’re not a fan of blackcurrant, I would reconsider this one.  I really enjoyed it, and I thought the ratio of vanilla cream to jam in Hart’s fastelavnsbolle was perfect. 

The presentation was beautiful, but the cost higher for one given the size at 40 DKK. They’re known to sell out fast, and I recommend emailing them to preorder in advance.

2. Buka – Best for Chocolate Lovers 

Buka is one of the newest bakeries in Copenhagen that is quickly gaining popularity!  If you are a chocolate lover, this is the fastelavnsbolle you need to try! Buka infuses their buns with a whipped milk chocolate ganache! The whipped cream to bun ratio is perfect. Buka adds a layer of chocolate ganache on the top of the fastelavnsbolle for an extra dose of chocolate -along with a dusting of cocoa powder and sugar.

Buka wins the title of the friendliest cafe we visited. They just opened over a year ago right in the heart of Copenhagen near Nyhavn. The decor was warm and welcoming, and they have the friendliest service of all the bakeries in Copenhagen. 

The price for one fastelavnsbolle is 38 DKK. Which is about average price for a gourmet bakery in Copenhagen.

1. Andersen Bakery – Best Presentation and Flavor! 

Can a pastry that looks so beautiful really taste just as good as it looks- at Andersen Bakery it can! Andersen Bakery is a Danish/Japanese bakery that has become Copenhagen’s most talked about bakery in 2021 for their “luxury” fastelavnsboller. 

What makes Andersen’s luxury fastelavnsboller so mouthwatering is the buttery croissant bottom! They have six unique and colorful flavors that are unlike any traditional Danish fastelavnsboller Copenhagen has seen before. You can choose from a salted caramel and nougat,  apple and yuzu, raspberry and matcha, black currant and lemon, mascarpone cream……. but the best of all was the rhubarb with a vanilla cream!

The buttery croissant bottom paired with the rhubarb jam and vanilla cream filling leaves you with a consistency of a rhubarb pie – perfection! I also tried the salted caramel and nougat fastelavnsboller which were also delicious! The whipped cream in the middle was infused with cocoa powder and nougat. The thick whipped cream filling almost gave this fastelavnsboller a chocolate mousse-like flavor.

These are the most expensive fastelavnsboller that we tried, but so worth it! Good luck sharing…… because you won’t want to anymore after one bite. Andersen’s sells out of their luxury fastelavnsboller fast! To ensure you get the flavor you want, order online at least 24 hours prior.

*Bonus* Two Best Swedish Selmor in Copenhagen

 Fastelavnsboller is more commonly found in Denmark and Norway. Just across the bridge, Sweden has their pre-Lent bun called Semla (plural Semlor). A few bakeries in Copenhagen have taken a traditional Swedish Semlor recipe and made it their own. The top two Swedish Semlor you can find in Copenhagen are at Juno and Bageriet Brød. 

2. Juno 

If you search for the best bakeries in Copenhagen, Juno constantly tops the list. Swedish pastry chef, Emil Glaser, opened Juno the Bakery in December 2017 in the trendy Copenhagen Østerbro neighborhood. Juno is famous for their cardamom buns (which I can attest are worth the hype!), but I was looking forward to trying their very traditional approach to Swedish Semlor.

I personally struggled with their semlor because I’m not a marzipan fan. The bun itself was outstanding, and the whipped cream was so light and fluffy; however, the marzipan was a little too overwhelming for me. I would have preferred if the bun would have brought out more of the cardamom flavor, instead of the almond flavor from the marzipan. 

1. Bageriet Brød

It was love at first bite at Bageriet Brød! If you’re a cardamom lover, this is the semla you need to try! The balance of cardamom to almond flavor is perfection. The filling has large chopped almonds which gives the bun a really nice texture when you bite into it instead of the traditional paste. 

The presentation of the semlor is more traditional, but what it lacks in presentation it makes up for in flavor. The price is right, and the quality sets the bar high!

Looking for more Denmark inspiration? Explore my other Denmark guides here! 


Have you ever heard of fastelavns before, or tried a fastelavnsboller? If you live in Denmark what is your favorite semla or fastelavnsbolle in Copenhagen? Let me know in a comment below.


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Best Fastelavnsboller in Copenhagen

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  1. They look delicious! And I am also not a fan of marzipan so I’d stick with the fastelavnsboller as well. What an interesting celebration, I can totally see why kids love it.

  2. Wow how kewl ! Never heard of this carnival
    ! I have sooo much more exploring to do in Europe – pandemic please end ! Love your photography – stellar !!


  3. As a sweets person, all of these look so delicious! Copenhagen has been on my bucket list for years and hopefully one day soon I’ll be able to visit.

  4. I was introduced to fastelavnsboller last February when I visited Denmark. I was in the town of Odense rather than in Copenhagen at the time. They are so yummy! This post brings back happy memories 😊

  5. An entire festival around pastries? And beautiful pastries like that? Sign me up. What a delicious looking snack. I am definitely going to have to try some of those one day

  6. How did I not know about this??? I loved my one trip to Copenhagen and all the delicious danishes. I really want to go back in January or February now. These all look so delicious, especially the chocolate ones!

  7. So interesting Linnea! I have never heard about this festival before but I would love to discover it! Also as a foodie I am definitely super hungry right now and would love to try those fastelavnsboller!

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