St. Lucia Saffron Buns - Lussekatter

SaffronBuns-Lussekatter -0034 by Meeta K Wolff

Ho ho ho and getting into that Christmas vibe here! Every weekend I have been taking out a few select favourite decoration pieces, adorning the various corners of the house..

Every year, I buy new pieces and mix them up with some of my very cherished older ornaments. ⁠

In the kitchen, I have to admit we have been baking and cooking up a storm almost every weekend. Do you already feel the clothes tightening around the waist?⁠

SaffronBuns-Lussekatte-0025 by Meeta K. Wolff

With the gyms closed my motivation to get upstairs to our workout space has been rather low, instead, I find myself heading into the kitchen to experiment and try some classic recipe. Beef bourguignon, Stroganoff, Osso Bucco - we are spending weekends in the kitchen tackling these classic, long-cooking recipes. It's quite a bit of fun as I have dug up my old handwritten cooking journal where I wrote these recipes down several years ago during my kitchen training at hotel management school.

SaffronBuns-Lussekatte-0029 by Meeta K. Wolff

These Scandinavian saffron buns called St. Lucia buns or "Lussekatter" are one of those Christmas time classics that I have really come to love. I think it is the wonderful addition of saffron, which not only gives this sweet yeasty dough their vibrant colour but also makes it beautifully sublime. ⁠

St. Lucia Day, falls on 13 December and is celebrated throughout Scandinavia. They symbolize the light of Christianity throughout the darkness of the world. These saffron buns are a Scandinavian custom that has become a permanent baked-good tradition during the holiday season and leads up to Christmas.⁠


I have often wondered how saffron came to be a part of this recipe. A thought behind the addition of saffron is that apprently is was to symbolize the sun and the light. They are shaped in various forms, but the traditional spiral “S” shape is an ancient symbol for the sun and life. It is tradition today to also adorn each one with a raisin or two.

Recipe: St. Lucia Saffron Buns - Lussekatter

Prep Time:
Total Time:
Makes: 15 pieces


  • 150 g butter
  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon milk
  • 50 g fresh yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads, gently crushed
  • 150 g granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 900 g all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  • Raisins, for decoration
  • 1 egg, for egg wash


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the milk, yeast and saffron and remove from the heat. Add in the sugar and combine. Whisk in the 2 eggs and pour the mixture into a large bowl. Add in the flour and salt, and mix to form a sticky dough. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes. Cover with a tea towel and let it rest for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  2. Divide the dough into 14 or so equal portions. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out into a strand, roll up one end into the middle, and roll the other end into the opposite side, forming an S-shape (see photos for inspiration). You can also shape them as desired. Place the buns on two large parchment-lined baking trays. Let the buns rest, covered with a tea towel, for another 15-20 minutes, until doubled.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C. Decorate the buns with raisins. In a small bowl, whisk the egg for the egg wash and, using a soft-bristled brush, lightly brush the egg on top of the dough.
  4. Bake the buns, one tray at a time, for 10-12 minutes, until golden.
You’ll want to eat these buns on the day while they are still fresh or possibly the day after. Use any leftovers that have gone stale to make a bread pudding.

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