Hot Cross Buns

April  8, 2014
3 Ratings
  • Makes 12 buns
Author Notes

Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday; legend has it that 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

What You'll Need
  • 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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lauren Chitwood Schauf
    Lauren Chitwood Schauf
  • Katrina Tan
    Katrina Tan
  • mrslarkin
  • Marianne Hamilton
    Marianne Hamilton
  • MaryAlice
Kathryn writes the baking blog London Bakes (www.londonbakes.com) and likes a proper English biscuit to dunk in her cup of tea.

23 Reviews

Lauren C. April 17, 2022
These turned out great! We used fruitcake fruit and it worked really well and also gave the buns a colorful jeweled look. I made the rolls and let them rise the night before Easter, refrigerated the uncooked rolls overnight, and baked in the morning. Worked beautifully.
Greeny May 1, 2021
I saw a song about hot cross buns once XD.
Jillian W. April 1, 2021
Did a line of directions get left off this recipe. It doesn't mention when to add spices and fruit!
MaryGehling April 1, 2021
See step 5 : )
sparkycooks April 19, 2019
Wonderful! And easy to make. Made exact to recipe and they came out excellent. I did plump the raisins and bit of dried apricot. Definitely will make again.
Katrina T. April 1, 2018
Fantastic. Both proofs an hour long in a cold oven (I live in a tropical country, so that's 27C), bunged in the fridge overnight and baked it the next morning after letting it rise 45min. I added some ground cloves and orange zest, plumped the raisins in orange juice. And mixed the spices with the flour. It was amazing. My husband ate half the batch for breakfast 😊 Looks like I'll be making it again.
Vicki April 6, 2017
Can you make this dough a day ahead of baking and keep it in the refrigerator?
mrslarkin April 6, 2017
I have done that several times, with great success.
Vicki April 7, 2017
Thanks for your input. Did you complete both rises before refrigerating?
mrslarkin April 8, 2017
You're welcome! Yes, I do. I formed the buns, put them on a baking tray, covered with greased plastic wrap, and put in refrigerator. The next day, I removed them from refrigerator, and let them rise at room temp, for a few hours, until doubled.
I'm going to start a batch tonight, and bake them off in the morning.
Vicki April 10, 2017
Thank you again. I think I'll make a batch and give it a test run.
charlotte March 29, 2016
Brilliant! I made these after a failed attempt with another recipe, and I couldnt be happier! I must say the bun isnt as sweet as others, but that doesnt bother me! My buns weren't as fluffy as I'd like them to be though...came out rather dense and dry too. Not sure why that was so. I may experiment using a little more yeast the next time perhaps? Any tips for fluffier breads would be appreciated!
Happy fEaster! ;)
mrslarkin April 4, 2015
These buns are so good! To please the masses, I used chocolate chips instead of fruit, and went without spices. Delicious. Happy Easter!
Marianne H. March 30, 2015
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!
Timeforacake April 30, 2014
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.co.uk/2014/04/the-spirit-of-easter-and-my-english-hot.html
Amanda B. April 21, 2014
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.
russeaime April 20, 2014
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.
lfm April 19, 2014
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?
Kaitlyn April 17, 2014
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!
MarTe April 16, 2014
Cross from flour and water? Should be powdered sugar+milk per my ethnic heritage.
londonbakes April 16, 2014
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!
Christina @. April 16, 2014
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.
MaryAlice April 13, 2014
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.