Sweet • Sour • Savory

Food blog on scandinavian style food done right.

St. Lucia buns

St. Lucia Buns

Bread, Brunch, Christmas, HolidayTove Balle-PedersenComment
St. Lucia buns

St. Lucia buns

December 13th is Saint Lucia day.

St. Lucia buns aka lussekatter aka lucia breads, is a classic Swedish bun. Served on St. Lucia Day, december 13. in celebration of the light coming back. Young girls dressed in a white dress and a red sash (as the symbol of martyrdom) carrying a candle in their hands. One girl (the Lucia bride) wears a crown or wreath of candles on her head, all of them singing the Lucia song.

These St. Lucia buns are light, sweet with a nice saffron taste. I have to make these again soon. These buns reminds me of my moms version of birthday buns, a recipe lost forever.

Makes 24 lussekatter.


  • 300 g (1¼ cup) milk 
  • 25 g live yeast or 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 100 g (½ cup) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon saffron
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 100 g butter, room temperature
  • 500 g  (5¼ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg + some for egg wash


Put the saffron in a mortar and pestles with about a tablespoon of sugar, and pulverize the saffron-sugar.  In a saucepan heat the milk, saffron-sugar together until  the sugar dissolves and the milk warm to the touch, but not hot. 

Disolve the yeast in the warm milk, and add the rest of the milk. 

Add  the milk-mixture to the bowl of a stand-up mixer and mix in butter, egg, sugar, salt and most of the flour. Save some flour for the shaping of the Lucia buns.

Knead the dough for about 5 minutes. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for about 40 minutes until almost doubled  in size.

Pour the dough onto a flour dusted workspace and divide into 24 small balls. Roll the balls out into snakes, about 14 inches long. Then curl the ends in opposite directions, forming an "S" with spirals at each end. Place the buns on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and repeat. Cover the buns and place in a warm spot to rise until the dough shapes double in size, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 440°F (225°C). Brush the buns with some egg wash (beaten egg). Place raisins in the centers of the "S" spirals. Bake the Lucia buns  for about 8 to 10 minutes, until the buns are light golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool covered by a kitchen towel for 5 minutes before eating.

Serve the buns warm with cold butter.