Lussekatter: Make your own Saffron Buns

It’s fair to say that Swedes definitely always have a food (at least one) to accompany each season and Advent is no different…

You won’t have to look hard in Stockholm at this time of year to find these saffron-flavoured baked goods. For Swedes, lussekatter (or lussebullar) are saffron buns,  baked in the shape of the letter S, with a raisin in the middle of each swirl. They are enjoyed throughout advent, and especially around the mid December Lucia celebrations.

And now, thanks to a great recipe from my sister-in-law (which I only adapted slightly) you can easily make your own saffron buns and enjoy them throughout the season.

(Due to food intolerances in our house, I made these dairy free and they turned out great. The original ingredients are listed with dairy free alternatives in brackets. And to make them completely vegan, just substitute the egg wash for almond milk!)

The Recipe (Makes around 15/25/25 medium sized buns)


50/100/150g butter (we used Carlshamn to be dairy free)
50/100/150ml Quark (Oatly iMat)
150/300/450ml milk (almond or oat milk)
0.5/1/1.5 packets dried yeast
100/200/300g sugar
1/2/3 pinches of salt
400/800/1200g flour (may be slightly less depending on your dough)
0.5/1/1.5 packets saffron

1 egg (for glazing) and raisins (if desired)


Preheat oven to 250°C (this may seem high but it it is necessary due to the rapid cooking time)
Melt the butter in a pan.  Add the milk and heat to around 37°C (lukewarm).
In a separate (and large) bowl, place the yeast and slowly add the butter & milk mixture to it.

To this add the sugar, saffron, quark, salt and most of the flour.
Mix the dough together using a dough hook in a mixer or by hand, adding the rest of the flour slowly until the dough reaches a consistency that is easy to work with.

Knead the dough on a floured surface before leaving it to rise in a bowl for 15 minutes.

Put the dough onto a floured surface, and create the desired shapes. There are many ways to do this but I found it easier to first split the dough into small balls that would form each lussekatter. Then I took each small piece, rolled it into a long sausage before moulding it into the signature S shape.

Place your shapes onto a baking tray, cover with a towel and leave to rest & rise a little for 15 minutes . Don’t worry if they still look small at this point – the oven will do its magic!

Brush over each shape with egg, placing raisins at the centre of each swirl is desired.
Bake for 6-8 minutes (no longer) in the hot oven. (You can *carefully* break one open to check that the dough is cooked through – if not, simply return to the oven for 1-2 minutes more – as the baking time will depend on the thickness of your lussekatter).

This was my first attempt at making saffron buns (lussekatter) and I have to say my saffron buns turned out pretty well – I really do think anyone could make these whether you are a baking novice or a bake-off contestant  – so why not have a go at your own homemade lussekatter a go this Advent!

All photos © 2016 Anita Tatlow.

30th November 2016

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