St. Lucia Buns (Lussekatter)

St. Lucia Buns

Malcolm P Chapman / Getty Images

  • Total: 2 hrs 15 mins
  • Prep: 2 hrs
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 20 buns (20 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
156 Calories
11g Fat
12g Carbs
2g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20 buns (20 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 156
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 15%
Saturated Fat 7g 33%
Cholesterol 49mg 16%
Sodium 210mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Protein 2g
Calcium 48mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

It's a Swedish tradition that your eldest daughter serve St. Lucia buns on December 13th. The buns may be made ahead of time, frozen, and quickly reheated in the microwave before serving. Follow the recipe to enjoy this time-honored tradition. 


  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads (finely crumbled, or 1 teaspoon powdered saffron)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoon) dry active yeast
  • 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs (beaten), plus one egg white
  • Raisins or currants to decorate

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Crumble saffron threads into melted butter. Let sit 30 minutes to an hour. This intensifies the saffron flavor.

  3. Heat milk to a light boil, turning off the heat when it reaches the scalding point (with small bubbles across the top). Stir in melted butter, sugar, and salt. Pour mixture into mixing bowl and allow to cool until “finger-warm” (still quite warm, but just cool enough to touch). Stir in yeast and let sit for 10 minutes.

  4. Mix 3 1/2 cups flour into the liquid. Stir in two well-beaten eggs. Add enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough (just until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You don't want to add too much flour).

  5. Transfer dough to a large greased bowl and turn to coat all sides. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

  6. Punch down risen dough. Lightly knead two or three times on a floured surface. Pinch off small handfuls of dough (about the size of a racquetball) and roll into "snakes." Shape snakes into "S"-shaped buns or other desired shapes (please see my photo gallery of Lucia buns for traditional examples). Place on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover with the towel again and allow to rise until doubled (about an hour).

  7. Preheat oven to 375 F.

  8. Decorate buns with raisins, brush with egg white, and bake about 15 minutes, just until brown.