Saint Lucia buns - Lussekatter - Saffron buns

Total Time
1hr 8mins
Prep 1 hr
Cook 8 mins

A Swedish Tradition On 13 December the Swedes celebrate the Italian Saint Lucia with a remarkable enthusiasm, surpassing any Italian festivities devoted to the same lady. One mandatory constituent in the celebrations is a saffron-flavoured bun, in Swedish called a lussekatt, a "Lucia cat". The shape of this bun might vary somewhat, but is always based on bread designs dating back to earlier Christmas celebrations in Sweden. A Swedish Traditional Recipe from The Santesson Family,


  1. Melt butter or margarine in a pan and add the milk and the saffron.
  2. Warm the mixture to 37 oC (100 oF).
  3. Use a thermometer; the correct temperature is important!
  4. Pour the mixture over the finely divided yeast; then add the remaining ingredients (except for the egg and the raisins), which should have a temperature of 21-23 oC (72-75 oF).
  5. Mix into a smooth dough.
  6. Cover the dough with a piece of cloth and let it rise for 30 minutes.
  7. Knead the dough, divide it into 25-30 pieces and form each piece into a round bun.
  8. Let the buns rest for a few minutes, covered by a piece of cloth.
  9. Form each bun into a string, 15-20 cm long, then arrange the string in a suitable shape, e.g. an S or double S. Regardless of the shape, the ends of the string should meet.
  10. Press a few raisins into the dough.
  11. Cover the"Lucia cats" with a piece of cloth and let them rise for 40 minutes.
  12. Whip the egg together with a few grains of salt, and paint the"Lucia cats" with the mixture.
  13. Bake them for 5-10 minutes in the oven at 250 oC (475 oF) until golden brownish yellow.


Most Helpful

I love them and can eat all the time. I added dried sour cherries instead of raisins.

OlciaK November 06, 2012

I have made these for years, the "Traditional Swedish" method of grinding the saffron is to grind it (after it has been toasted) with a sugar cube. these are wonderful. I have used cardamom in place of saffron for a traditional, but less expensive treat.

twinkie456 December 04, 2008

Great recipe, although I had difficulty measuring out a 1g portion of saffron, and subsequently it wasn't very pronounced. Also, I think I'll try 450 next time as I it was just barely done on the inside and yet the raisins were singed at the top. The instructions are great and easy to follow - thanks for posting!

Techie Pet March 24, 2008

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