Saffron buns
Saffron buns

Saffron buns also called Lussebullar in Sweden, are a staple of the Swedish Christmas tradition and the celebration of St. Lucia’s Day, a winter-solstice celebration. This sweet bun is yellow from the saffron and smells wonderful and traditionally are shaped like an S and are decorated with raisins. They are a must have for my family as we celebrate the four Sundays of Advent and with our Christmas breakfast. 


  • 2 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 ½ c almond or oat milk
  • 2¼ tsp active dry yeast 
  • ¾ c sugar
  • 6 Tbsp vegan unsalted butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 6 -6 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour 


C5D797 Close-up of hands preparing saffron buns with dough in foreground
F7K2X7 Baking of buns
  1. Place the saffron threads  and sugar in a spice grinder and mix until all threads are mixed with the sugar (you can also use a small bowl and carefully grind them into a fine powder using the back of a spoon) (or use a mortar and pestle). 
  2. Melt butter in a sauce pan and add saffron and milk and heat until temperature reach 80°F
  • In a large mixing bowl mix 2 cups of the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. 
  • Pour the butter, milk mixture into the mixing bowl and use a spatula to mix everything. Keep adding flour one cup at the time. Add just enough flour so that the dough comes together to a knead-able consistency. Really work the rough either in a kitchen aid or by hand until sides are letting go and you have slightly sticky dough. 
  • Set bowl aside to rise covered with a kitchen towel for 40 minutes. 
  • The dough should grow in size and become fluffy. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured countertop and knead for 5-6 minutes, adding more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. Once the dough is smooth and soft, shape it into a ball.
  • Divide the dough into 24, roughly even, pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Then, roll each ball into a 6 inch snake. Finally, roll each snake longer, to about 13-14 inches. For each snake, spiral the ends in opposite directions to form a scrolled “S”. Place the scrolled “S” onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.
  • Place one raisins each into the creases of the scrolled s.
  • Let the buns rise in a warm, draft free place for 30 minutes, or until the buns are puffy and have nearly doubled in size.
  • Brush each bun carefully with some room temperature milk
  • Near the end of this last rising time, preheat your oven to 425F.
  • Bake the buns for 8-10 min minutes, until golden.
  • Remove the buns from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before enjoying the warm rolls!

Learn more about Swedish Christmas traditions check out this post and to read what we usually eat for our vegan Christmas dinner go to this post

Fredrika Syren


  1. Reply

    Michelle Davis Levy

    December 22, 2020

    This is beautiful. Thank you. May I use white raisins and or cinnamon sugar topping before presenting them? Also is this more like a soft dinner roll bread?

    • Reply

      Fredrika Syren

      December 22, 2020

      You can add anything to them that sounds good to you. Traditionally in sweden we decorate them with raisins before we bake the. They are suppose to be soft like a dinner roll but slightly sweet. We eat them with breakfast or as a treat.

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