caramelized onion and gruyere buns

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Buns

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A few weeks ago I was watching the Great Canadian Baking Show and during the bread week episode, one of the contestants baked some buns that were swirled like cinnamon rolls but had a filling of caramelized onions and Gruyere cheese. They sounded absolutely delicious so I decided to replicate them!

I already have a fantastic base dough recipe that I used for my Maple Bacon and Pecan Sticky Buns. The dough is not overly sweet so I knew that it would work well for a savoury bun as well. All I had to do was figure out the filling! I decided to caramelize 4 sliced onions and add some thyme and balsamic vinegar to them when they were finished for added flavour.

After rolling out my risen dough into a rectangle, I spread 2 tbsp of melted butter over top. This is less than I do for the sticky buns, but I figured adding cheese would add fat and moisture so less butter was needed. After spreading the top of the dough with butter, I then spread the cooled caramelized onion mixture and topped that with some grated Gruyere cheese. Then I rolled everything into a cylinder and cut 12 even rounds. After a second rise, they were ready to bake.

Just before the baking time was up, I sprinkled a bit more cheese over top of the buns. Then once they were out of the oven, I brushed a bit of melted butter over the top. All that was left to do was to wait for them to cool enough for me to try one!

The resulting buns were delicious! The dough was so wonderfully soft and moist and the combination of Gruyere cheese and caramelized onions was fantastic. I served them for dinner with soup and the whole family loved them. We didn’t eat them all that night, so I separated the leftover buns and froze them in a Ziploc. They make for a lovely savoury breakfast treat as well!

caramelized onion and gruyere buns
Yields: 12 Servings Difficulty: Medium Prep Time: 4 Hr Cook Time: 25 Mins Total Time: 4 Hr 25 Mins
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These savoury swirled buns are soft fluffy with a delicious swirl of caramelized onions and gruyere cheese. Optional extra grated cheese on the top helps to boost the cheesy flavour.


0/17 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
    For the Dough
  • For the Filling
  • To Finish


0/12 Instructions
    Prepare the Dough
  • These savoury swirled buns are soft fluffy with a delicious swirl of caramelized onions and gruyere cheese. Optional extra grated cheese on the top helps to boost the cheesy flavour.
  • Add remaining milk, flour, eggs, sugar, yeast, butter, and salt. Using the dough hook, mix until dough is combined and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Once the dough has come together, increase the speed to 4 and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes more. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and add your dough. Spray the top of the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm environment until doubled in size about 2 - 2 1/2 hours.
  • Prepare the Filling
  • In a large saucepan, heat butter and oil over medium heat until butter has melted.
  • Add sliced onions and salt. Cook, stirring frequently until onions have softened.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until onions have reduced in volume and are caramel in colour, about 45 minutes. If you start to get too much solid material on the bottom of the pan, add 1 tsp of water and stir to liquify the residue.
  • Once onions have caramelized, stir in the balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the chopped thyme. Let cool to room temperature.
  • Roll and Shape the Buns
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Lightly flour the top and roll to a rectangle that is about 1/4 inch/1 cm thick. Brush the surface of the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with the caramelized onions and gruyere cheese, leaving a 3/4 inch/2 cm border at the top. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, tightly roll the dough into a cylinder. Press the seam to seal the dough and roll the dough seam-side down. Using a serrated knife, cut the cylinder into 12 equal pieces. Place the pieces cut side down in your prepared pan in 4 rows of 3. Cover the pan with plastic wrap.
  • Let dough rise for 8-12 hours in the fridge then remove from fridge and let rise for 1-2 hours until puffy. OR, let rise in a warm environment until the buns are puffy and touch each other, about 1 - 1/2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
  • Remove the plastic wrap and place the pan in the oven. Bake until golden brown and the internal temperature of the dough reads 180F/82 C about 25-30 minutes. If desired, add 1/4-1/2 cup shredded gruyere over top during the last few minutes of baking.
  • Once baked brush the tops of the buns with 2 tbsp melted butter. Let cool at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan and serving.


  1. Please tell what happened to the softened 2 tablespoons of butter? It became melted butter it seems. Is that for the very last part, or for covering the dough? And also where did the “glaze” come from? What is this glaze you speak of?

    1. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I used to use softened butter, but switched to melted since it’s easier/quicker and must have forgotten to change that in my written recipe. The buns are the same base recipe as my sticky buns so I copied and pasted then adjusted a lot of the instructions and must have missed removing the part about the glaze. I have edited and fixed the recipe!

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