Hot Cross Buns Recipe


Hot cross buns are a beloved Easter tradition, with their fragrant spices, tender crumb, and iconic cross symbolizing the holiday. In this article, we’ll share a delightful hot cross buns recipe that will fill your kitchen with the irresistible aroma of freshly baked goods. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or new to the art of bread-making, this recipe is sure to become a cherished part of your Easter celebrations.

Why Choose Our Hot Cross Buns Recipe?

  1. Time-Honored Tradition: Our hot cross buns recipe stays true to the classic flavors and techniques that have been passed down through generations. Baking these buns is a wonderful way to connect with tradition and create lasting memories with loved ones.
  2. Irresistible Flavor Profile: Infused with warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, our hot cross buns are a symphony of flavors that evoke the essence of Easter. Each bite is a delicious balance of sweetness and spice, perfect for indulging in during the holiday season.
  3. Homemade Goodness: There’s something truly special about baking bread from scratch, and our hot cross buns recipe makes it easy to enjoy the satisfaction of homemade goodness. From kneading the dough to shaping the buns and piping the crosses, every step is a labor of love that yields delicious results.
  4. Versatile and Adaptable: While traditionally enjoyed during Easter, hot cross buns are a delightful treat that can be enjoyed year-round. Serve them for breakfast, brunch, or as a sweet snack with a cup of tea or coffee.


  • All-purpose flour
  • Active dry yeast
  • Sugar
  • Warm milk
  • Unsalted butter
  • Eggs
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground cloves
  • Salt
  • Raisins or currants
  • Orange zest
  • Powdered sugar
  • Milk or water (for the icing)


  1. Prepare the Dough: In a mixing bowl, combine flour, yeast, sugar, and warm milk. Add softened butter, eggs, spices, salt, raisins or currants, and orange zest. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic.
  2. Let the Dough Rise: Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size.
  3. Shape the Buns: Punch down the risen dough and divide it into equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving space between each bun.
  4. Make the Crosses: Mix flour and water to form a thick paste, then pipe crosses onto the tops of the buns using a piping bag or a small plastic bag with the corner snipped off.
  5. Bake Until Golden: Bake the buns in a preheated oven until they are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  6. Add the Glaze: Mix powdered sugar and milk or water to make a glaze, then brush it over the warm buns as soon as they come out of the oven.

Serving and Storage Tips for Hot Cross Buns:


  1. Serve Warm: Hot cross buns are best enjoyed warm, straight from the oven. The soft and fluffy texture, along with the aromatic spices, is at its peak when the buns are freshly baked.
  2. Enhance with Butter: Serve hot cross buns with a pat of butter for added richness and flavor. Allow the butter to melt slightly into the warm bun for a deliciously indulgent treat.
  3. Pair with Tea or Coffee: Hot cross buns pair beautifully with a cup of tea or coffee. The subtle sweetness of the buns complements the bold flavors of the beverages, making for a delightful combination.
  4. Optional Glaze: For an extra touch of sweetness, drizzle the warm buns with honey or maple syrup just before serving. This adds a glossy finish and a hint of natural sweetness to the buns.


  1. Store at Room Temperature: Hot cross buns can be stored at room temperature for up to 2-3 days. Place them in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag to keep them fresh.
  2. Reheating: If the buns become slightly stale, you can revive them by gently reheating them in the oven or microwave. Place the buns on a baking sheet and warm them in a preheated oven at 300°F (150°C) for 5-10 minutes, or microwave them on low power for 20-30 seconds.
  3. Freezing Option: To extend the shelf life of hot cross buns, you can freeze them for future enjoyment. Wrap the cooled buns individually in plastic wrap and then place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be frozen for up to 1 month.
  4. Thawing: When ready to enjoy frozen hot cross buns, simply thaw them at room temperature for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Once thawed, you can warm them in the oven or microwave as described above.
  5. Icing Separation: If the icing on the buns separates or becomes runny during storage, simply mix together a small amount of powdered sugar and water to create a thicker glaze, and brush it over the buns before serving.
Variations of recipe:

1. Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns:

  • Add a twist to the classic recipe by incorporating chocolate chips into the dough before shaping the buns. The melted chocolate pockets throughout the buns add a delightful sweetness that pairs perfectly with the spiced flavors.

2. Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns:

  • Mix diced apples and ground cinnamon into the dough for a fruity and aromatic variation. The juicy apple pieces impart a natural sweetness and a hint of tartness, while the cinnamon adds warmth and depth of flavor.

3. Orange Cranberry Hot Cross Buns:

  • Infuse the dough with orange zest and dried cranberries for a vibrant and tangy twist. The bright citrus flavor of the orange zest complements the tartness of the cranberries, creating a refreshing and zesty variation of the classic hot cross buns.

4. Lemon Poppy Seed Hot Cross Buns:

  • Incorporate lemon zest and poppy seeds into the dough for a bright and flavorful variation. The citrusy notes of the lemon zest add freshness, while the poppy seeds provide a subtle crunch and visual appeal to the buns.

5. Spiced Pumpkin Hot Cross Buns:

  • Replace a portion of the flour with canned pumpkin puree and add pumpkin pie spice to the dough for a festive and autumnal variation. The pumpkin puree lends a moist and tender texture to the buns, while the aromatic spices evoke the flavors of fall.


1. Can I make hot cross buns without yeast?

  • No, yeast is essential for achieving the light and fluffy texture of hot cross buns. However, you can use instant yeast for quicker results, or you can try alternative recipes that use baking powder instead of yeast.

2. Can I make hot cross buns ahead of time?

  • Yes, you can prepare the dough for hot cross buns ahead of time and refrigerate it overnight. Simply shape the buns and let them rise in the refrigerator overnight, then bake them in the morning for fresh, homemade buns.

3. Can I freeze hot cross buns?

  • Yes, hot cross buns freeze well. Allow them to cool completely, then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw them at room temperature before serving.

4. How do I know when hot cross buns are done baking?

  • Hot cross buns are done baking when they are golden brown on top and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. You can also insert a toothpick into the center of a bun; if it comes out clean, the buns are ready.

5. Can I make hot cross buns without raisins or currants?

  • Yes, you can omit the raisins or currants if you prefer. Alternatively, you can add other dried fruits such as chopped apricots, cranberries, or cherries, or you can leave the buns plain.

6. How do I make the crosses on top of the buns?

  • Mix flour and water to form a thick paste, then pipe crosses onto the tops of the buns using a piping bag or a small plastic bag with the corner snipped off. Alternatively, you can use icing sugar mixed with water or milk for the crosses.

7. Can I make hot cross buns vegan?

  • Yes, you can make vegan hot cross buns by using plant-based milk, vegan butter, and replacing the eggs with a flax egg or commercial egg replacer. Be sure to check that all ingredients are vegan-friendly.

8. How should I store leftover hot cross buns?

  • Store leftover hot cross buns in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2-3 days. You can also freeze them for longer storage.

9. Can I toast hot cross buns?

  • Yes, hot cross buns are delicious when toasted. Simply slice them in half and toast them in a toaster or under the broiler until golden brown. Serve with butter or your favorite spread.

10. Can I add spices to the dough for extra flavor? – Yes, you can customize the flavor of hot cross buns by adding spices such as ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, or cardamom to the dough. Adjust the amount according to your taste preferences.


Our hot cross buns recipe is a delightful way to embrace the Easter season and bring a touch of tradition to your home. With their warm spices, tender crumb, and iconic crosses, these homemade buns are sure to become a family favorite for years to come. Gather your loved ones, roll up your sleeves, and bake a batch of hot cross buns to share the joy of Easter with those you hold dear.

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