Gluten free Swedish saffron rolls

saffron rolls on plate

Success. Gluten free saffron rolls.

Swedish saffron rolls are traditionally baked during the Advents period – the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas – and are a must-have on for Santa Lucia, (Saint Lucys Day) on December 13th. We all get exited each year when M declares that it’s time to bake ‘lussekatter’ (the Swedish name for the rolls). This time, he gets top marks, because he decides weeks in advance that it’s time to start figuring out how we are going to make lussekatter gluten free.

We dig out our trusty Swedish cookbook and ponder the ingredients. I’ve had a few baking successes with Bobs Red Mill all purpose gluten free flour, so we decide that that’s the flour we’ll use for our experiment. The saffron rolls are traditionally made in an s-shape, but given that the kids have decided to be involved in the process, we make our first batch in all shapes and sizes using our stash of cookie cutters.

Making saffron rolls

The kids enjoyed making their own version

The process of making the rolls is fun. M sits huddled infront of the oven waiting to take out the precious gluten free rolls at precisely the right moment. We all drool as the trays come out of the oven and it doesn’t take long before we are devouring the results of our first experiment. These rolls taste amazing when they first come out of the oven, but they are a little more dense and drier than they should be. The kids don’t seem to mind, but we decide to keep going and start with experiment number two.

freshly baked saffron rolls

freshly baked saffron rolls

The results of our second round are delicious. M (the biggest gluten free baking sceptic there is), declares that these taste like the real deal. They really do! We decide that they are perfect for Thanksgiving too. We’ve just decided to ski over the Thanksgiving weekend, so we’ll be taking a box of these with us to have on hand as gluten free snacks when we are on the mountain. I’m linking this post to the great Thanksgiving round up over at Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. Heaps of links to inspirational things to make – all gluten free – at this time of year.

This is how we made the rolls:


Margarine or butter – 6oz
Milk – 2 cups
Yeast – 2 pack active yeast
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Sugar – 3/4 cup
Finely crushed saffron – 1/2 oz
Egg – 1
Gluten Free, All Purpose Flour -  6 1/2 cups
Baking Soda – 2tsp
Baking powder – 2tsp
Xanthan gum – 2tsp

How to make
1. Melt the Butter in a saucepan, mix in the milk.
2. Use a pestle and mortar to grind the saffron, this is crucial for any saffron dish you make as it releases the flavor.
3. Mix the sugar, yeast, salt and saffron in a separate bowl.
4. Ensure the Milk/butter is ‘finger warm’ and gradually start mixing it with the 4 cups of the flour the bowl.
5. Gradually add the remaining flour by mixing it with a spoon, work it in until there is a smooth mix.
6. Sprinkle some flour on top and put in a non-drafty location with a kitchen towel on top, let it stand for 30min to rise.
7. Take out two oven trays and smear them with butter or margarine, alternatively use parchment paper
8. Empty the dough on a clean surface with some sprinkled flour, mix it with your hands to get a smooth mix.
9. Take inch sized pieces of dough and add roll them out with both of your hands until they become worm-like.
10. Roll them into S-shapes and put on the oven tray.
11. Once done, cover the trays with kitchen towel and let stand for 30 min.
12. Set the oven to 460˚F
13. Add a raisin in the upper and lower “S”
14. Beat 2 eggs in a cup and using a brush, gently brush the saffron rolls with the egg until covered.
15. Bake in the oven for approximately 10 min, but start monitoring them closely after 8 mins – depending on how chunky your saffron rolls are they will take vastly different time in the oven.
16. Remove from oven and leave covered on the stove for 5-10min


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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by nicola stockmann, nicola stockmann. nicola stockmann said: Yay. We did it. Gluten free saffron rolls – Lussekatter – that taste great. [...]

  2. Deanna says:

    Beautiful! I made these for my son’s class in preschool and haven’t made them since. (I wasn’t gf then.) I kind of forgot all about them. But, yum!

    • nstockmann says:

      @Deanna. We will be making them again this weekend. Worth every minute of time spent and the kids love them – even gf. Phew.

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