Lussebullar – simple and delicious saffron buns from Sweden

Lussebullar are prepared and eaten specifically to celebrate St Lucia’s day on the 13 December. The fact that they contain saffron (more expensive than gold by weight) proves they are a celebration bun – eaten on special occasions and and shared with special people.

Lussebullar (Swedish saffron buns)

Simple recipe for seasonal saffron buns.
Prep Time 3 hrs
Baking time 15 mins
Course Breakfast, coffee, tea
Cuisine Danish, Norwegian, Scandinavian, Swedish
Servings 13 buns


  • dough scraper
  • Pastry brush
  • baking trays
  • non stick baking parchment



  • 400 g Plain (all purpose) white wheat flour
  • 225 g Whole milk heated to just below boiling point and allowed to cool completely
  • 2 g Instant yeast OR 4 g dry yeast OR 8 g fresh yeast
  • 8 g Salt
  • 1 pinch Saffron threads Large pinch!
  • 50 g Sugar
  • 50 g Qwark OR plain yoghurt OR plain keffir OR buttermilk
  • 75 g Butter room temperature, cubed


  • Chocolate chips or raisins or currants or cranberries or marashino cherries or mixed peel or nuts or seeds


  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Water
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 pinch Sugar


  • Crush the saffron threads in a mortar and pestle.
  • Heat the milk to just below boiling point and add the crushed saffron. Allow to cool right down. Heat at least 250 grams and then cool it. Milk evaporates when you heat it and if you heat 250, you will end up with 225 more or less. Always heat more milk than you need.
  • Measure the flour into a bowl and make a well in it. Measure in the yeast.
  • When the milk is cool, measure 225 grams on the yeast and then flick some flour on the milk to cover the well. Wait for 15 minutes for the yeast to dissolve. If you don't have enough milk, after heating it, add some cold milk to make up what you need.
  • Add the sugar, salt, and qwark and knead for 10 minutes by hand or machine.
  • Add the butter and knead for a further 10 minutes.
  • Cover the bowl with a cloth and allow the dough to rise for 1-2 hours in order to double in bulk.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl onto a non floury surface. Divide the dough into portions of 60 grams.
  • Shape each portion of dough into a tight ball.
  • Starting with the first tight ball you have shaped, shape the dough into a rope about 20 cm in length
  • Curl one end "under" the rope to the centre.
  • Curl the other end "over" the dough until you have an elaborate S shape.
  • Using a scraper, move the bun to a baking tray that is lined with non stick parchment.
  • Repeat for all the balls and then cover the trays with cloths and let them sit for 40 minutes.
  • Heat the oven to 230 degrees C (450 degrees F).
  • While the oven is heating, beat together the ingredients for the glaze and brush it on each bun. Place one of the decoration options in centre of each curl of the S.
  • Pop the buns in the oven and bake them for 12-15 minutes. They will be a wonderful golden colour when they are done, they will sound hollow if you tap the bottom of one bun and the internal temperature will be 98 degees C.
  • Remove them from the tray and place them on a wire rack to cool.
  • Delicious with coffee, tea or mulled wine!
Keyword Bread, Buns, Celebration bread, Holiday baking, rolls and buns, Saffron, Sweet bread