Hot Cross Buns

By • April 8, 2014 11 Comments

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Author Notes: Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday; legend has it than a bun baked on this day will never go mouldy (although I don't recommend that you try it!). They're made from a rich yeasted dough, full of spices and dried fruit to mark the end of Lent. I prefer them toasted myself, and with a faint smear of butter and jam. londonbakes

Makes 12 buns

For the buns

  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup mixed dried fruit
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour

For the glaze

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons boiling water
  1. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, whisk together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.
  2. In a small pan, heat together the milk and butter until the butter has melted and the milk is warm to the touch (the temperature at which yeast is activated).
  3. Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients and add the milk and butter mixture, followed by the egg. Bring the mixture together with a wooden spoon or your hands and then knead until smooth and elastic (about five minutes with a stand mixer; slightly longer by hand).
  4. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Put the bowl somewhere warm and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about an hour or so.
  5. When risen, remove the dough from the bowl and lightly knead in the spices and mixed fruit until evenly distributed. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and shape into a bun. Place the buns on a baking tray, lined with parchment paper, allowing a little space between each. Cover the buns with plastic wrap and allow to rise again for an hour or so, until they have puffed up and doubled in size.
  6. Preheat the oven to 425° F (220° C).
  7. When the buns have risen, make a smooth paste by mixing together the flour and a little cold water (about 1to 2 tablespoons). Pipe a cross onto each bun.
  8. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. As they are just about to finish cooking, combine the sugar and boiling water and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the buns from the oven when baked and brush them with the sticky syrup until they look all shiny and appetizing.
  9. The hot cross buns are best eaten the day they are baked, but can be kept in a cool, dark place for a couple of days and revived in the oven if they get a bit stale. The baked buns also freeze nicely, so you can have a taste of Easter all year long.

More Great Recipes: Bread, Rolls & Muffins|Bread

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Comments (11) Questions (0)


5 months ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

These buns are so good! To please the masses, I used chocolate chips instead of fruit, and went without spices. Delicious. Happy Easter!


5 months ago Marianne Hamilton

Any recommendations for a traditional blend of dried fruits? I'll be making these for the first time (instead of buying!) this week and would love to keep them fairly authentic but still tasty!


over 1 year ago Timeforacake

Because I don´t come from a country, where there is a tradition to make hot cross buns for Easter and because I´ve heard only good things about these lovelies, I wanted to give these a try. I was inspired by your recipe and must say, that I got myself a new tradition. These were really nice and soft, full of spices and amazing flavours. Thank you!

This is how they turned out: http://mygreenwonders.blogspot...


over 1 year ago Amanda Brooke

These turned out great! I used a mix of cranberries, cherries and apricots as well as some sliced almonds (and whole wheat bread flour). They were soft and slightly sweet. A very nice breakfast treat.


over 1 year ago russeaime

I re-hydrated the dried fruit and it seemed to help a lot when kneading them into the dough, giving a little extra moisture to help them adhere.


over 1 year ago lfm

Had a lot of trouble "lightly kneading" in the spices and currants - the currants flew all over the place and had to be forced in - barely adhering - couldn't manage to get the whole cup in. Is there a better way? Also, is adding the spices in this way to create veins of spices v having them evenly distributed?


over 1 year ago Kaitlyn

This recipe sounds awesome, thanks for sharing! But I am a bit concerned about the yeast...I usually proof my yeast before adding to a recipe, but your directions don't call for that. Are you using an instant yeast? If I am using a traditional, active dry yeast, would you suggest I bloom the yeast in the milk (without butter because I know fat can screw up yeast) before adding it to the rest of the ingredients? Suggestions/help would be much appreciated. Thanks!


over 1 year ago MarTe

Cross from flour and water? Should be powdered sugar+milk per my ethnic heritage.


over 1 year ago londonbakes

I'm not sure where you are from but here in the UK, it's definitely traditional to use a paste made from flour and water. Sugar and milk would have seemed very extravagent!


over 1 year ago Christina @ Christina's Cucina

MarTe, hot cross buns are British and definitely the tradition is a flour/water paste cross. I think nowadays some people do the sugar and milk cross as a shortcut and perhaps to make them a bit sweeter-I happen to like it, but it's not authentic.


over 1 year ago MaryAlice

Happy to see these. They look more official than the recent hot cross buns I've seen which are plain dough, smooth tops, just not official looking.