Swedish Lucia Saffron Buns & Video

Two reasons why we are excited about this post.

Reason number one. The recipe. These traditional Swedish Christmas buns have a wonderful warm saffron flavor and additions of sweet raisins. They are easy to make and fun to shape. This spelt version is slightly more wholesome than the original recipe, but still very moist, indulgent and rich. We usually eat them for St. Lucia’s Day (December 13) and Christmas. But if you ask us, any day in December is a good saffron bun day.

Reason number two. This video.

A few days ago we had some friends over to help us shoot this. We wanted to simply give you a feeling of our Saturday morning bun baking. Hopefully it inspires you to try these buns at home. You will find the recipe at the bottom of this post. Let us know if you like the video and we’ll try to do it again sometime.

Directed and shot by Albin HolmqvistStyling by Belén Vazquez Amaro. (Thank you guys!)
The song is ‘Sort of revolution’ by Fink


Swedish Lucia Saffron Buns “Lussebullar”
Makes around 15 buns (can easily be doubled)

During the weekend we have also been experimenting with a vegan version, and it came out really delicious too. Just replace the butter with coconut oil and turkish yogurt with soy yogurt (non GMO). Add a little more almond butter for extra yum.

1 tbsp dry active yeast (or 25 g fresh active yeast)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 g (2 sachets) saffron powder
60 g organic butter
1 cup soy milk (non GMO)
6 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp almond butter (optional)
5 tbsp turkish yogurt or quark cheese
4 cups / 1 liter (450 g) spelt flour (we use half whole and half light)
30 raisins
1 egg yolk, beaten (for brushing)

Stir dry yeast, salt and saffron in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Melt butter in a medium size sauce pan, then add milk, maple syrup and almond butter and heat until 100F (40°C). Whisk vigorously to dissolve the almond butter. Pour the mixture into the mixing bowl with yeast. Add yogurt and stir around until dissolved. Add 2/3 of the spelt flour. Stir around with a wooden spoon until it is thick enough to knead with your hands. Add more flour until the dough is easy to work with and has formed into a round ball that doesn’t stick to your hands. Cover the bowl with a kitchen cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until double in size and full of air pockets.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute, form it into the shape of a baguette. Divide it into 15 equal pieces and, using your hands, roll each piece into a long 1/2-inch ( about 1 cm) thick string. Then roll both ends tight in opposite direction into an S-shaped bun. Place buns, well spaced apart, on 2 baking sheets, cover with a cloth and set aside in a warm spot to rise for about 30 mins. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Brush the buns with an egg yolk or water and then place one raisin in each circle. Bake the buns until golden brown on top, about 7-9 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to let cool slightly. Serve. Preferably with freshly brewed coffee, tea or glögg.

Store buns in an airtight container for up to a week, but of course they taste best fresh from the oven.

120 Comments

  • josie
    Hello! Lovely recipe & video - thank you so much. Quick question: will the buns be less moist/fluffy if the almond butter is left out? I know it is marked as optional but I'm wondering if it brings anything to the recipe beyond flavouring... should I try and substitute something? God jul! :)
    • Hi Josie, You can skip it and still get a nice fluffy texture. If you bake the vegan version I would defectively add almond butter. God jul! /Luise
  • Just a lovely video. It really created a wonderful ambiance and put me in the mood for Christmas baking in a gently nostalgic way. Thankyou - and I hope there are more to come!
  • Konni
    Hi there, the recipe sounds lovely. My only problem is I don't know what saffron powder is. I could only find saffron threads. A whole package of saffron threads, as I can get it in the supermarket, weighs 0,12g. Do you know how many threads are equivalent to the 1g of the powder? Kind regards from Vienna
    • Hi Konni! Found this: Add 3 tsp. of hot liquid for every teaspoon of saffron threads and allow to soak for two hours before you use them in your dish. Use twice the quantity of saffron threads if you are substituting threads for powder. Avoid using a wire whisk when cooking with saffron threads. Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/511870-saffron-threads-vs-powder/#ixzz2F98Vm4We Happy baking Luise
  • elaine glynn
    Beautiful video please please do more. Elsa is a star so cute x
  • they remind me of seahorses! island saffron seahorses... hmm, maybe that's a bit bizarre... well before i made it weird, they looked totally delicious. :-)
  • TanteMele
    We made them yesterday for celebrating Santa Lucia. We used soy yogurt as we had to make them casein-free. And we used half the saffron, but it was for sure more than enough (I powdered the threads which maybe has a more intense flavor than the powder bought as such). They were just great and a lot of fun to shape. Thanks for the recipe
  • Rosalie
    Love the video en the buns! The family feeling and love get's right through the hart. I'm really looking forward to see your next video. Warm greetings, Rosalie
  • Camille
    Those buns look wonderful! I really want to try this recipe out, but I'm gluten-intolerant. Do you have any recommendations as to what gluten-free flour I can use to replace the spelt?
    • Thanks Camille! I would go for a gluten free flour mixture, they tend to rise better than just one gluten free flour. Let me know how it turns out! Happy baking Luise
  • Dmitri
    Åh, nom nom nom! Fantastiskt underbar film med, man vill bara springa till köket och börja baka.
  • Manu
    Hi, I am following your blog since I found it last year. I am one of the silent readers but I liked your video so much, I have to comment :) What a beautiful and wonderful video. It is so great to see you "live", Luise, you have such a beautiful natural smile and Elsa is sooo sweet. Maybe there will be a next video and we will also see David? Unfortunately my English is so bad I can´t express my joy. I´m looking forward buying your book, so please go on publishing :) Best wishes from Germany Manu
    • Manu!! We love when the silent readers write a comment, thanks a lot! Sure, David will be 'live' in the next video ;-) Btw; your english is just perfect! All the best Luise
  • Hi, many thanks for this very rich post. It reminds me that I one day had those buns in Norway... Now I know how to manage them. Thank you so much !
  • Absolutely love this!!! A friend of mine just brought over some 'Santa Lucia Boller" for a Christmas party...they are so unique... What a beautiful video/photography accompaniment! Looked like the perfect Weekend Baking event :)
  • hej david, luise, och elsa! how funny, i made lussekatter last night and after tasting mine, i thought they were of course delicious, but much too ... rich tasting, if that's the right way to describe it. then i thought to myself, "i wish there was a lussekatter recipe on gks!" it's like you read my mind! these lussekatter are now number one on my to-make list. tusen tack!
  • Tack så mycket! Beautiful video, beautiful Elsa. And perfect timing for me because today my little niece is coming over to make Lucia Buns together for the first time ~~ I'll show her your video and we'll use your recipe. Trevlig Lucia!
  • hello! Greetings from a Swede in oz. Here's one for you, I'll be making lussekatter today with my 22 month old daughter and both her and my 4 month old cannot have soy either! So I will be experimenting with a vegan and soy free version. will let you know how I go! warm regards, Sophie
  • Sara
    Digging the video! Although I won't be able to enjoy these buns myself (lactose intolerant) I can't wait to bake & share them with friends and family for a holiday treat. Much love, you guys are awesome!
    • Thanks! -for a vegan alternative: "During the weekend we have also been experimenting with a vegan version, and it came out really delicious too. Just replace the butter with coconut oil and turkish yogurt with soy yogurt. Add a little more almond butter for extra yum."
  • Beautiful! And Elsa is so unbelievably precious, good job guys ;)
  • Ah, these bring back so many memories! I used to make them for my students when I taught 2nd grade and we visited holiday traditions around the world. (I'm Swedish) They're beautiful!
  • Sini
    Wow! The video is amazing. More, please! Lucia saffron buns are a real christmas treat. I love them.
  • Deniz
    Beautiful Video! Great Song choice!
  • gmlmadrid
    Is there any way these could be made gluten free? Any suggestions? They looks so nice. By the way congratulations, your site is beautiful and the recipes always turn out right. I get a lot of praise thanks to you!
    • Jo
      Wonderful. such a great video. I'm also looking for a gluten free (and vegan) version of these. i don't think anyone uses yeast with GF flours...does anyone know? thanks.
    • Hi, I think you get the best result by choosing a gluten free flour mixture, they tend to rise better than only one GF flour substitute. Let me know how it turns out! -and for the vegan version: "During the weekend we have also been experimenting with a vegan version, and it came out really delicious too. Just replace the butter with coconut oil and turkish yogurt with soy yogurt. Add a little more almond butter for extra yum." Happy baking Luise
  • OMG, it´s amaizing! So sweet... Kisses from Spain SaraLu
  • i love this warm feeling seeing the film. its if i could smell the saffron. thank you and have a warm lucia day!
  • The video was amazing! It was pro, it was cosy, it made me feel wanna jump in the kitchen to roll these babies (against the fact that I'm gluten-free). Please bring us some more vids!
  • Dee Dee
    Enjoyed the video and the buns look fabulous. Our family will definitely give them a try this season. Merry Christmas!
  • Liz
    What a gorgeous video. You guys are so very clever :)
  • I love it! So nice to get a real life feeling if your cooking. Yes please more...
  • ooops! I just read about the vegan substitutions... I'll definitely try that for my friend :)

Leave a comment