Swedish Saffron Buns a.k.a. Lussebullar

Lussebullar / Saffron buns by iHanna of www.ihanna.nu

Cookie Recipe Swap Every year about this time we make a batch of yummy saffron buns. It is one of my favorite traditions even though I otherwise avoid the kitchen. This year I have decided to share the recipe here on my blog. It is because of Pam’s International Winter Holiday Cookie Recipe Swap (love the festive name!), something that she is hosting right now. I have been especially invited to participate so of course I am exited about it. I even made the swap-button because every online event needs a button and I love making blog buttons!

Saffron buns with a tall glass of milk makes perfect, photo by iHanna
My preference: a tall glass of milk with my buns. Yummy indeed!

I got a bit carried away with this so I took a lot of photos and even video footage (since I still get comments on my fun youtube video about baking cinnamon buns!). I haven’t gotten around to edit the video yet but I will post about it once I upload it. What I did tonight though was to create a few pdf:s with printable recipe cards as a gift for my dear blog readers. I hope you’ll like them!

I also hope this will inspire some of you to try to bake a few saffron buns, or as we say in Sweden; lussebullar for Saint Lucia Day. Or check out any of the other fun recipes in the swap!

Now, let’s bake shall we?

The ingredients
The ingredients. Assemble 50 gram yeast, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 1/2 dl sugar, 110-150 gm butter or margarine, 1/2 liter milk, about 1,5 liter wheat flour and
1-2 gm saffron. 1 dl raisin for decoration and one egg.

The yeast with a nice greeting
This time of year the yeast package says God jul which means Merry Christmas. :-)

The mixing machine
Mom’s mixing machine makes the baking so much easier.

Pack of saffron
Saffron is the most expensive herb on earth, and comes in tiny packages. I guess that makes this bread luxurious and special.
First you crush the saffron with a sugar lump (for sweetness) in a mortar. Crumble the yeast in a bowl & dissolve it in some of the cold milk.

Melting butter
Then you melt the butter on the stove, and poor in the rest of the milk, and heat that until it is finger warm/luke warm; about 98.6 degrees Farenheit.

Mix the dough
Mixing the dough. Poor the liquid over the dissolved yeast. Add salt, sugar & saffron. Work in the wheat flour.

Mix it some more

The dough
Ah, how beautiful is that!

Yeast cloth - j?sduk
Mom”s yeast cloth is so cute!

Now leave the dough alone (cover the dough with a cloth to keep it warm) and let it rise for about 15 minutes. Then knead out the dough and make “lussebullar” (the saffron buns). Cover with whipped egg (using a brush) and add 2 raisins/bun. The video will demonstrate the “making” much better than I can explain here. But you understand, make ’em the way you want them. Then you bake your saffron buns in 480 degrees Farenheit
for about 7 minutes.

Lussisar redo f?rgr?ddning
Roll and swirl two ways, and you get the typical look. Waiting to be baked.

In the oven
In the oven finally. And then they are out;


Saffron buns are also called lussekatt which translates to lusse-cat. At first they had nothing to do with celebrating Saint Lucia though, but were just buns coloured with saffron to scare away the devil, a.k.a. Lucifer. And they do not look like cats, right? Lucifer often came to bad children in Germany in the shape of a cat… In 1600 the lussekatt came to Sweden but first around 1800 we started celebrating Saint Lucia and associated the bun with the celebration. So now you know.

I think traditions are such strange things, and the history behind how it “all started” is always unexpected and twisted. But it is interesting to know a bit about your own traditions and where traditions and the words we use come from.


Recipe card for lussebullarFree Printable Recipe Index Card

Like I said, I made a PDF with this recipe as a printable card (in English or Swedish) and also some empty ones that you can print and cut apart, and then fill in your own favorite recipe and share them with friends and family! Maybe you will find some new recipes to try in Pam’s yummy cookie recipe swap?


If you’re into Christmas celebration you simply must visit Pam’s blog over on her blog Gingerbread Snowflakes, you can almost tell by the name what it is about…

Feel free to grab the button I made for the swap and link it to Pam’s blog to spread the warmth of December around the globe, one cookie at a time.

Light my fire by iHanna

Merry December to all of you!

8 Responses

  1. Wow! Looks extremely tasty! I’ll give this recipe a try! Thanks a lot for sharing this

  2. Oh Hanna, what a beautiful tutorial for making Saffron buns. I have downloaded the recipe card for reference in the kitchen, but i am bookmarking the post because it is so beautiful!

    I love that God Jul is printed on the yeast packet during the holidays. I just love it!

    And the Saffron packets! I am going to check to see if Cost Plus World market imports these. I like the idea of the packet so much better than the tangled mess in a tiny jar which is the way Saffron is usually available here.

    Thank you also for the beautiful button you created. Very, very sweet of you to go to all that work.

    Happy St. Lucy Day. I will think of you as I make your Saffron Buns!

  3. Lussebullar *suck*

    Tried making them several years in a row after I got my own home, but failed miserably. Think it’s got something to do with the difference in flour. I have the same problems with Swedish breads. I keep meaning to look up the Swedish embassy site to see if their recipes differ from Swedish ones to see where I go wrong. Thanks for remninder. Yours look truly yummy though. Send some my way, and some kanelbullar, please!

  4. Yum yum yummmm!!! I eat these every year, sadly, this will be my first year without. My apartment doesn’t have an oven and I don’t think these would work by cooking in the microwave. Oh well, next year. :)

    Thanks for sharing, great photos!

  5. Hanna! Hanna!
    I’m glad you’re in the swap too. I have never heard of these I don’t think. I am going to try them, maybe not before Christmas, but I hope!

  6. Hi Hanna

    I made them this afternoon with my 4 children, they were fabulous…and they are almost all gone!!!
    Thanks for the recipe!

  7. Hi Hanna,

    I tried making the Lussekatter following your recipe and it came really well . This is the first time I made saffron buns and really liked the result. Thanks much!

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