Swedish Saffron Rolls

My husband, who was born and raised in Sweden, makes these pretty, warm sweet rolls each winter. Swedish Saffron Rolls are a traditional, sweet bread served at the holidays, but I think they are delicious year round—especially in the cold weather. I also love them around Easter time, as a delicious sunny, spring treat. Sweet, earthy saffron provides the warm, yellow shade, as well as sweet, spicy aroma in these yeasty, wheat rolls, which can brighten up the dreariest day. It’s amazing how the exotic, expensive spice saffron has worked its way into food cultures around the world. And these Swedish traditional yeast rolls are a perfect example. They are rolled into scalloped, curvy shapes before the rolls are baked. You can also decorate these saffron rolls with raisins before baking, as is traditional in Sweden.

Peter got this recipe from his mother, which we revised into a completely vegan version quite easily. My kids just crave them, and they disappear in our house very quickly. These Swedish Saffron Rolls are just delicious served warm with coffee for a snack or dessert. Pop them in the microwave before serving for a few seconds to fluff and warm them up. Make a big batch, and freeze them in airtight containers to enjoy all season long.

Step-By-Step Guide:

Let dough rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Section dough into pieces, roll out into 1-inch ropes, cut into 8-inch lengths, and shape into a curled S-shape figure.
Place on baking sheet, brush with melted margarine, and rise. Then bake 5-10 minutes and enjoy!


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These classic yeasty, vegan sweet rolls—filled with the golden aromas of saffron—are traditionally served in Sweden during the holidays.

  • 1 ½ sticks (3/4 cup) dairy-free margarine sticks (i.e., Earth Balance)
  • 2 cups plant-based milk, unflavored
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 gram saffron threads
  • About 6 cups all-purpose, wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon active dry yeast

  1. Slice margarine sticks into pieces, reserving one tablespoon for brushing rolls before baking. Place in a small pot and add plant-based milk and heat just until lukewarm (about 110 F).
  2. Measure salt and sugar into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Grind saffron, using a mortar and pestle, and add to the bowl.
  4. Add 5 cups of flour, the yeast, and the warm liquid from the pot. Use the electric mixer and blend. Add additional flour, ¼ cup at a time, until you achieve a soft dough that is not sticky to the touch (avoid too much flour so that it isn’t too dry). Place some of the remaining flour on a clean surface. Remove the dough and knead on the floured surface for 5 minutes.
  5. Place dough in a clean bowl, cover, and rise in a warm (but not hot) place for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the dough, divide it into smaller sections, and roll the dough into ropes about 1-inch in diameter. Cut the ropes into 8-inch lengths. Shape into curled rolls (see photo).
  7. Place the rolls on baking sheets sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
  8. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon margarine and brush rolls lightly with margarine.
  9. Allow to rise in a warm (but not hot) location for 30 minutes, until they have enlarged.
  10. Bake at 400 F for 5-10 minutes, until golden and tender.
  11. Cool and store in an airtight container.


May garnish rolls with raisins before baking in step 10.

To make this recipe gluten-free, substitute a gluten-free flour blend for the wheat flour.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Bread
  • Cuisine: Swedish


  • Serving Size: 1 roll
  • Calories: 135
  • Sugar: 8 g
  • Sodium: 75 mg
  • Fat: 4.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 22.5 g
  • Fiber: 0.6 g
  • Protein: 2.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: swedish rolls, vegan rolls

For other traditional plant-based Swedish recipes, check out these:

Peter’s Pepparkakor
Jansson’s Temptation
Swedish Beet Potato Apple Salad


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