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Nick’s Cornish saffron buns recipe


In this recipe, our Executive Chef Nick Hodges walks us through how to bake the perfect Cornish saffron buns. These buns are a staple in bakeries throughout Cornwall and have been popular since the 1800s. You can enjoy this ‘cake’ sliced and served with butter, or even with clotted cream.

Nick says: “This is the ultimate recipe to stir up some nostalgia. With an addition of clotted cream on the side, you can’t get better than this. Perfect to bake on a Sunday with the family, you can pass this recipe down for generations and tweak the process to suit your kitchen. A Cornish classic!”


  • Saffron (1 jar)
  • Milk (250ml)
  • Clotted cream (100g)
  • Butter (50g)
  • Flour (500g – sifted)
  • Cornish sea salt (1 teaspoon)
  • Caster sugar (100g, use half for the glaze and half for dough)
  • Cinnamon (1 teaspoon)
  • Yeast (7g sachet)
  • Raisins (100g)


  • Preheat your oven and place it on a low heat. Roughly 120°C or 100°C. Place your desired number of saffron strands on a baking sheet and leave in the oven for between fifteen to thirty minutes. You’ll want your saffron strands to go a darker colour and to become dry. But make sure to keep an eye on them, so they don’t burn! When ready, take them out the oven – let the strands cool down and then crumble them in your hands.
  • Heat some milk in a small pan. Once the milk has begun to steam, add your crumbled saffron in and give it a stir. Once your saffron has mixed nicely with the milk, you can add your clotted cream and butter (we like to use Trewithen for both!) and leave to infuse for roughly twenty minutes. Make sure to gently whisk to ensure it’s combined.
  • Sift your flour into a bowl along with your salt (we like Cornish seasalt), sugar (just 50g), cinnamon, and yeast. Spread your dry ingredients around the side of the bowl, leaving a good amount of space in the middle, where you will then pour in your saffron infused milk. Combine until a soft dough. Knead on a low speed for roughly five minutes.
  • You can now add your raisins. Continue kneading until your dough is bouncy and elastic.
  • Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to rise. You’re looking for it to roughly double in size, which should take around an hour.
  • When this is done, knock back the dough and then turn onto a floured surface where you can knead it for a few more minutes.
  • Divide your dough into ten equal, circular pieces. Arrange onto a baking sheet with plenty of space given between each bun.
  • Put your tea towel back over the buns and leave them to prove for around twenty to thirty minutes. Whilst they prove, pre-heat your oven to 200°C or 180°C  (fan).
  • Bake your buns for twenty minutes or until they’re golden. Whilst they bake, start to make your glaze.


  • Add your caster sugar and two to three tablespoons of water into a saucepan. Combine and bring to the boil for one minute before brushing over the warm buns.


  • Remove your buns from the oven to cool. Slice in half and enjoy with some butter or clotted cream.

We’d love to see how you’ve been getting on making your own saffron buns. Please send in a photo of your creations to

Image: Good To Know

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