Swedish Saffron Buns

Also known as Lussebulle, these saffron buns are a Swedish Christmas tradition. Make yours at home with this tasty recipe by Jenny Rockstrom
Swedish saffron buns by Jenny Rockstrom
ITP Images
Swedish saffron buns by Jenny Rockstrom
December 17, 2018
Level Intermediate
Preparation Time 2-2.5 hours
Cooking Time 10 minutes
Serves Makes 24 buns

When Swede Jenny Rockstrom stays in Dubai for Christmas, she goes to Black Palace Beach on the 24th of December for a breakfast of julmust (like a frothier version of Coca-Cola) and these delicious saffron buns called lussebulle.

What’s the story behind this recipe?
These sweet buns are eaten all through December in Sweden. And they're linked to Lucia, which is a celebration of light that takes place on 13 December. It is the darkest month in Sweden and St Lucia, an Italian saint, is believed to bring light to the Swedes during the darkest time of the year.

Who taught you to make these buns?
Saffron buns are what everyone bakes for Christmas in Sweden, so you learn how to make them pretty early on. This is even more popular than fudge.

PHOTO BY Efraim Evidor
RECIPE BY Jenny Rockstrom


1g saffron powder
1 tbsp spinneysFOOD White Sugar
100g raisins
2 tbsp water
2¼ tsp active dry yeast
175g butter
500ml full-fat milk
180g spinneysFOOD White Sugar
½ tsp spinneysFOOD Salt
800g spinneysFOOD All-Purpose Flour
1 spinneysFOOD Organic Free Range Egg, for the glaze


  • 1

    Grind the saffron powder along with the tbsp of sugar and a little water

  • 2

    Soak the raisins in water and set aside

  • 3

    Put the yeast into a big bowl

  • 4

    Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the milk to it. Heat until warm. Remove from the heat and pour over the yeast. Stir until the yeast dissolves. Add the 180g sugar and the saffron mix and stir gently

  • 5

    Add the rest of the ingredients, except the raisins, to the bowl and knead by hand for 10 minutes

  • 6

    Cover the dough and let it rise for 60-90 minutes (until doubled in size) at room temperature

  • 7

    Once risen, turn the dough out onto the counter and knead it a few times. Divide the dough into 24 roughly even pieces

  • 8

    Roll each piece into a 25cm ‘snake‘. For each snake, spiral the ends in opposite directions to form a scrolled ‘S’

  • 9

    Place the scrolled ‘S’ onto a baking sheet

  • 10

    Drain the raisins and put one raisin in the middle of each spiral

  • 11

    Let the buns rise in a warm, draught-free place for at least 30 minutes, or until the buns are puffy and have nearly doubled in size

  • 12

    Beat the egg and brush onto each bun

  • 13

    Pop the buns in the oven and bake at 220°C, gas mark 7, for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool on a baking sheet

  • 14

    Serve with a glass of milk or warm Belvoir Spiced Winter Berry Cordial



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