Anisgrisar (Anise Pigs)

Just in time for Christmas, here’s a Swedish festive special for you all. “Anisbröd”, or Anise Bread, which is sometimes called Anisgrisar (Anise Pigs). I have absolutely no idea why they are called the latter. Apparently someone, once upon a time, decided that the shape of these resembles little piggies and thus the name stuck. Whatever name they go by, they’re delicious! Fluffy, sugary – but not too sweet, moreish little mouthfuls that are great for dunking in your morning coffee.

Normally I can’t stand the flavour of aniseed but I’ve discovered through my Swedish baking, both in this recipe and this one that when it’s in food like this it’s actually really good.

Whether you’re able to make these in time for Christmas or not, I do recommend them at some point. Grab a couple, snuggle up on the couch with some hot cocoa and watch the snow fall outside… cosy, huh?


20th of December eh? Yikes… where did the year ago? I shall keep the post short and sweet since I guess pretty much everyone is gearing up for Christmas already and if you’re anything like me you probably don’t have a whole lot of time on your hands right now!


Have a very merry Christmas to everyone who’s celebrating it, and a warm, safe new year. I’ll be taking a slightly longer pause than normal between posts while my family is here over the holiday period, but I’ll be back in 2014, raring to go with some new posts. Take care everyone and enjoy the recipe, and the video!

Anise pigs

Anisgrisar (Anise Pigs)
Yields 50
A Swedish Christmas favourite - a sugar coated, mildly-flavoured bread, perfect for eating with, or dunking in, a warming cup of coffee.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
2 hr
For the bread
  1. 100g Butter
  2. 500ml Milk
  3. 100g Caster Sugar
  4. 2tbsps Anise Seeds
  5. 850g Plain Flour
  6. 12g Quick-activating Yeast
  7. 2tsps Salt
You'll also need
  1. 500ml Canola/Sunflower Oil for frying
  2. 100g Caster Sugar for dusting
  1. Start off by melting the butter in a large pan. Once melted, add in the milk, sugar, and the anise seeds.
  2. Heat the milk through stirring gently until quite warm, but not too hot.
  3. Mix the flour, salt, and yeast together in a large bowl and then pour in the milk mixture.
  4. Mix well to form a dough and then turn out onto a floured surface. Knead for about 5 minutes and then place into a bowl.
  5. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise for about one hour.
  6. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two halves.
  7. Roll out one half to a thickness of about 1cm and cut the dough into rectangles of roughly 6cm x 3cm. Make two cuts of about 1.5cm into one of the long sides of the rectangle, spaced evenly apart, and then bend the uncut side backwards to spread out the "legs".
  8. Repeat until all the dough has been prepared in this fashion. Cover the cut dough and allow to rise for about 30 minutes.
  9. Heat a pan with the oil until it reaches a temperature of about 160 degrees Celsius. Carefully fry the risen dough 4 or 5 pieces at a time for a minute or two on each side until a rich golden brown.
  10. Remove and allow to drain on kitchen towel for a few minutes before rolling in sugar and enjoying.
  1. "Anisgrisar" freeze very well. If you intend on freezing them do not cover them with sugar. Freeze them as soon as they have cooled after frying. When you decide to eat them, simply defrost, warm slightly and then coat with sugar.
Five Euro Food



  1. the Wife says

    Love the video; your warn voice and the music you picked really put me in a great Christmas mood! Willy was pretty fascinated by his daddy’s voice too.

      • says

        Hope you lot had a wonderful Christmas :) And that you’ll have an amazing 2014 in front of you. May (not so) little Willy grow even bigger and start his professional drumming/ chefing career soon enough x

  2. says

    What a funny name! When I first saw them I thought they reminded me of mini doughnuts I used to love as a child and I was right! Except for anis seed, which is not used in Polish doughnuts.
    I love anis seed (in spite of the winter now you have got me craving some pastis… I will have a glass tonight I think 😉 ) so I’m sure I’d like anis aroma in these doughnuts too (oops sorry I meant pigs!). They look so homely and warming… perfect for cold winter days or a festive breakfast? By the way, I think it would be a good idea to add a pronunciation for every Swedish dish you prepare. (Or perhaps I’m the only linguistic pedant here… I hate when people mispronounce foreign dishes, so I’d hate myself for this too).
    Merry Christmas, Charles! Have a wonderful time with your family and say hello to your mum :-)

    • says

      Thank you Sissi – you can keep your pastis… damn that stuff is terrible! I bought some for when I made my bouillabaisse and ended up giving almost the whole bottle to my neighbour when I moved because I didn’t touch it after that!

      As for the pronunciation – I say it in my video in the introduction, if you’re curious! 😀

      • says

        Oh, so you don’t like pastis. Many foreigners don’t like it. I don’t remember having never met anyone in France who would hate it. I hope you haven’t tried to drink it without water… only some rare brave people in the South do it.

        • says

          One drinks it with water? I didn’t know that… I tried it neat. To be honest, the idea of diluting it somehow makes it seem even worse 😀

        • says

          Well, diluting with water makes it simply delicious and the most refreshing alcohol drink I know. (I have never tasted it without water and apart from some “legends” about Southern drinkers, I have never seen it drunk alone). Whether you like it or not, I find it amazing you have never tasted it before in a café (or at a French friend’s house), having lived so many years in France: apart from wine and beer, this is the only alcohol you will find at 100% in every single tiniest bar/café throughout the whole country (I know because I drink it all summer long and often in the autumn and spring :-) ). For me it has always been such a typical drink (among others) one has to taste at least once when in France (and diluted + ice of course 😉 ). On the other hand, maybe you drink alcohol very rarely, so you are not interested in the alcohol menus exploration.

        • says

          Perhaps if it was diluted with water “homeopathy style”, so about 1 part per million then it might be palatable, but sadly I’ll never be a big fan of that overpowering aniseed flavour, neither in summer nor winter :D. Good to know how it’s actually supposed to be drunk though, I never knew before.

  3. says

    I like anise seeds so know I would enjoy these little pigs while they are still warm with their sweet crunch. I hope it has started snowing so that you will be able to have the white Christmas you were wishing for. Enjoy this special holiday with your family all gathered together. After the first of the year, I hope you will share some photos of your new home. I think all of your readers would enjoy seeing where you have settled in Sweden. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    • says

      Hi Karen, I hope I can share some photos, indeed! At the moment we’re living with my parents-in-law, but once we’re more settled down I’ll see what I can do 😉

  4. says

    That is certainly a very festive little bread Charles. As you know, I’m not a huge lover of deep frying but the wonderful Anise flavour might just tip the scales in its favour! Merry Chistmas too you too and I wish you a safe, happy and healthy 2014! XOXO to William and The Mrs.

  5. says

    I do like the look of these. How yummy. And what a cute name. I’ve never made a doughnut. Must correct that. How lovely that your family will be with you for Christmas. I’m sure it will be white, too! Today is hot but not as hot as yesterday (35C). We are about to walk down to the beach with a picnic and attend Carols by Candlelight. Such a contrast from one end of the world to another xx

    • says

      Sitting on a beach listening to carols must be nice, though it seems to weird to me if it’s not freezing cold. Must be such an experience to have Christmas in the middle of summer!

  6. says

    Hello Charles, very cute name for your delicious little anise flavoured donuts. I know I would love these as my sister makes and anise flavoured cookie that I just adore. These would be great straight off the griddle. Wishing you a super holiday. I hope Santa is good to you. Take Care, BAM

  7. says

    They look beautiful and delicious, Charles. I like yeast breads and things flavored with anise. Unfortunately, I suffer a fear of frying, so I can only look at them. Today is the second (and final?) day of my annual Christmas baking spree.

    • says

      Hi Sharyn. I have a “healthy respect” of frying. The idea of that hot oil freaks me out but you have to be careful. Take precautions and it’s very safe. You can shallow fry them… just make sure there’s enough oil to come up to half way up the edges! :) Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

  8. says

    Unfortunately I don’t have time to add these to our Christmas baking list (which is very short this year as time has gotten away from me), but these are too good not to make at some point this winter. They look fantastic and sound fantastic. I have no doubt these would make a very tasty breakfast treat and the kids would LOVE them. Have a very Merry Christmas Charles! Enjoy the visit with your family and have a blast with William. Many hugs to you all. :)

    • says

      Hi Kristy, isn’t it sad… we spend what seems like the last two months gearing up for this and then it’s over in one day. That’s it… Christmas is done and dusted for another year. Well, it was fun while it lasted… I hope you all had a wonderful time and thank you for your card too – I hope mine arrived in time.

  9. says

    Charles, you do such a good job with your video presentations and this particular holiday edition is beautiful — love the soft Christmas music in the background, everything well explained and laid out. This is William’s second Christmas but I suspect he has a bigger clue this year that there is plenty of excitement in the air… so much fun!! With the whole family there as well. Has he been doing a little bit of Christmas baking with you? Hope your taking lots of pics for us :).

    May you relish the holidays with your family and enjoy every single moment. All the best to you, the ‘wife’ :) and your beautiful son. Merry Christmas! (hope to see the wife do a post again in the new year!! cheers you three – xo).

    • says

      Hi Kelly, he’s definitely more “aware” this year… perhaps too aware because he freaked the hell out when “Santa” came along and started screaming… Poor guy :(.

      He’s mainly been in charge of “Consumption and Demolition” this Christmas… perhaps next he’ll be responsible enough to be tasked with “Baker’s Helper” :D.

  10. says

    Sorry about being late to the tea party. Have been on vacation. I love anise seed in every way shape and form so I know I would love a few of these with my afternoon tea or cocoa. What tasty little bites! Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season with your lovely family! See you in 2014!

  11. says

    I have never heard of these before….they look like mini doughnuts! I love that aniseed flavour in cooking so I think I would like these. Happy Christmas to you Charles and a very happy new year xx

    • says

      Hi Anneli, they’re rather cute – best eaten fresh. I decided to make them after seeing them for sale in a local café. Loved the name – so cute :)

  12. says

    Maybe the ‘pigs’ here refer to the greedy people scoffing them. HA!

    They look amazing, and I for one, love the flavour of anise so I probably am going to love this even more. Video is gorgeous too, great clean editing. Good one chef 😉

  13. says

    Very interesting name! I love how the dough rise so beautifully. I’m scared to work with yeast because I have fear that it may not go up like that (which happened before – maybe my house was too cold!). I love homemade treats like this, and it was fun to see anise seeds in it!

    • says

      Hi Nami… don’t you live in California or something? I doubt there’s a risk of your house being too cold if that’s the case, lol! It can be hard though… perhaps you killed the yeast by making the water too hot or something?


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