Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns are a traditional Easter treat made with a combination of succulent candied and dried fruits, warm spices, and a hint of sweetness.

Hot Cross Buns

If you're looking for a delicious treat to enjoy during the Easter season, then hot cross buns are a must-try! This traditional spiced sweet bun is typically enjoyed on Good Friday, and it's easy to see why they are so popular. The combination of warm spices, candied fruit, and a sweet glaze make these buns a delightful addition to any holiday spread. In this post, we'll walk you through a step-by-step recipe for making your own hot cross buns at home. Whether you're a seasoned baker or just starting out, this recipe is sure to be a hit with your family and friends. Let's get started!

What are hot cross buns?

  • Hot cross buns are a traditional Easter treat made with a combination of succulent candied and dried fruits, warm spices, and a hint of sweetness. The unique flavor profile of these buns comes from the Indian spices such as cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, combined with the main ingredients like flour, butter, and eggs. These buns are not only delicious but also carry a significant cultural and culinary significance, often enjoyed as a symbol of the Easter season.
  • In this recipe, the hot cross buns are elevated with the addition of Indian spices, making them a delightful fusion of flavors. The use of cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg adds a warmth and depth to the buns, making them a perfect treat for the Easter festivities. The combination of succulent candied fruit and raisins or currants brings a burst of sweetness and texture to the buns, making them a standout dessert for any Easter celebration.
  • The unique seasoning and spices in these hot cross buns create a delightful and aromatic flavor profile, making them a must-try for anyone looking to add a twist to the traditional Easter treats.

Why You'll Love Hot Cross Buns?

  • Deliciously Soft and Chewy Texture: These hot cross buns are known for their soft and chewy texture, making them a delightful treat for your taste buds.
  • Rich in Spices: The use of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in the recipe not only adds to the flavor but also provides potential health benefits such as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • Fruit Additions for Extra Nutrients: The addition of candied fruit and raisins or dried cherries not only enhances the flavor but also adds a boost of essential nutrients like vitamins and fiber to the recipe.
  • Healthy Fats from Butter: The unsalted butter used in the recipe provides a source of healthy fats, essential for overall well-being.
  • Egg for Protein: The inclusion of eggs in the recipe adds a good amount of protein, which is important for muscle repair and growth.
  • Satisfyingly Sweet Glaze: The glaze made of powdered sugar and milk adds a touch of sweetness without being overly sugary, making it a guilt-free indulgence.

Ingredients for Hot Cross Buns

  • Warm Milk: The warm milk activates the yeast, helping the dough to rise and giving the buns a soft texture.
  • Active Dry Yeast: The yeast is responsible for causing the dough to rise, making the buns light and fluffy.
  • All Purpose Flour: This provides structure to the buns and gives them a soft and tender crumb.
  • Light Brown Sugar: Adds sweetness and a subtle caramel flavor to the buns.
  • Spices (cloves, cinnamon, dry ginger, nutmeg): These spices add warmth and depth of flavor to the buns, giving them a delicious seasonal taste.
  • Unsalted Butter: Adds richness and moisture to the buns, making them tender and flavorful.

How To Make Hot Cross Buns?

Hot cross buns are a delicious and traditional treat, especially enjoyed during the Easter season. Follow these instructions to create your own batch of flavorful and aromatic hot cross buns.

  • The first step in making hot cross buns is to activate the yeast. This is a crucial step as it helps the dough rise and gives the buns their soft and fluffy texture. Make sure to allow the yeast to sit until it becomes foamy, indicating that it is active and ready to use.
  • Incorporating the spices and dried fruits into the dough is another important step. The combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and dried fruits adds warmth and depth of flavor to the buns. Kneading the dough until it is silky smooth and elastic ensures that the spices and fruits are evenly distributed, resulting in a delicious bite every time.
  • Allowing the dough to double in size during the rising process is essential for a light and airy texture. This step may take some time, but it is well worth the wait for perfectly risen hot cross buns.
  • Applying an egg wash before baking and again after the initial rise not only gives the buns a beautiful golden brown color but also adds a glossy finish to the top. This step enhances the visual appeal of the buns, making them even more irresistible.
  • Lastly, the glaze on top of the buns adds a touch of sweetness and a decorative element. The icing cross not only symbolizes the traditional hot cross buns but also adds a hint of sugary goodness to every bite.

By following these key steps, you'll be able to create a batch of hot cross buns that are not only visually appealing but also bursting with warm spices and sweet fruity flavors. Enjoy the process of making these classic buns and savor the delightful results.

Serving Suggestions

  • Pair with a hot beverage: Hot cross buns are perfect when served with a cup of hot tea or coffee, especially during a cozy breakfast or afternoon snack.
  • Spread with butter or jam: Enhance the flavor of hot cross buns by spreading them with butter or your favorite jam for a delicious sweet and savory combination.
  • Serve with a side of fresh fruits: Add a refreshing touch to your hot cross buns by pairing them with a side of fresh fruits such as sliced strawberries, bananas, or berries.
  • Accompany with whipped cream: For a decadent twist, serve hot cross buns with a dollop of freshly whipped cream on the side.
  • Create a brunch spread: Consider serving hot cross buns as part of a larger brunch spread with options like scrambled eggs, bacon, and a colorful fruit salad.
  • Pair with a scoop of ice cream: For a delightful dessert, warm up the hot cross buns and serve them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a delightful treat.

Tips for Making Hot Cross Buns

Furthermore, I would like to give some suggestions for making perfect hot cross buns.

  • Firstly, add dry yeast and sugar to the lukewarm milk (about 100 degrees F or 38 degrees C) and let it sit for 5 to 10 mins to activate. Lukewarm milk is very important to this recipe to activate the yeast. If you use hot milk, then it will kill the yeast. so try to use lukewarm milk.
  • Secondly, try to add all the spices given in the recipe because it will give a special nice aroma to these hot cross buns. While I have used light brown sugar to the dough for the sweetness you can just replace it with white sugar.
  • If it is difficult to find candid fruits then add currants or even a combination of dried cranberries and cherries.
  • Even though making hot cross buns is not difficult, it will take 2 to 3 hours because the dough needs to rise twice.
  • Finally, the buns are baked in a hot oven until browned. Once they have cooled, pipe a cross on the buns using the glaze made from powdered sugar and milk.

Variations for Hot Cross Buns

  • Fruity Twist: Experiment with different dried fruits such as apricots, cranberries, or even pineapple for a unique flavor and texture in your hot cross buns.
  • Nutty Addition: Add a crunchy element to your buns by incorporating chopped nuts like almonds, pecans, or walnuts into the dough for an extra layer of flavor.
  • Spiced Infusion: Infuse the dough with different spices such as cardamom, allspice, or even a hint of black pepper for a more complex and aromatic taste.
  • Glaze Options: Instead of the traditional powdered sugar glaze, try using a honey glaze, orange icing, or even a lemon drizzle for a different twist on the classic hot cross bun.
  • Chocolate Indulgence: For a decadent variation, mix in some chocolate chips or chunks into the dough to create a chocolate hot cross bun that will satisfy any sweet tooth.
  • Vegan Alternative: For a vegan-friendly option, substitute the milk with almond or soy milk, the butter with vegan butter, and the egg with a flax egg, and still enjoy delicious hot cross buns.

By incorporating these variations, you can personalize your hot cross buns and create a unique and delicious treat for yourself and your loved ones. Don't be afraid to get creative and experiment with different flavors to find your perfect hot cross bun recipe!

How to Store Hot Cross Buns

  • Refrigerator Storage: Store the hot cross buns in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag. Make sure to seal it tightly to prevent the buns from drying out. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • Freezer Storage: If you have leftover hot cross buns, you can store them in the freezer. Wrap each bun individually in plastic wrap and then place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. Label with the date and they will stay fresh for up to 3 months.
  • Key Ingredient Storage: For the key ingredients like candied fruits and raisins, make sure to store them in a cool, dry place in airtight containers to keep them fresh. This will help maintain the flavor and quality of the ingredients for future baking.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I adjust the sweetness level of the hot cross buns?

  • If you prefer your hot cross buns to be less sweet, you can reduce the amount of sugar added to the dough. On the other hand, if you have a sweet tooth, you can increase the amount of sugar according to your taste.

Can I use different types of dried fruits in the recipe?

  • Yes, you can definitely customize the dried fruit mix based on your preference. You can use a combination of raisins, currants, dried cherries, or even apricots to add a variety of flavors to your hot cross buns.

What can I substitute for candied fruit in the recipe?

  • If you cannot find candied fruit, you can substitute it with additional dried fruits like raisins, currants, or any other dried fruit of your choice. Make sure to chop them into small pieces before adding them to the dough.

How do I know when the dough has doubled in size?

  • To check if the dough has doubled in size, simply press two fingers into the dough. If the indentation stays, then the dough has risen enough and is ready to be shaped into buns.

Can I make the hot cross buns ahead of time?

  • Yes, you can make the hot cross buns ahead of time and freeze them before baking. Simply place the shaped buns on a baking tray and freeze them until solid. Then transfer them to a sealed container or bag. When you're ready to bake, allow the buns to defrost and rise at room temperature before baking.

How long will the glazed hot cross buns stay fresh?

  • The glazed hot cross buns can stay fresh for up to 3-4 days if stored in an airtight container at room temperature. If you expect them to last longer, it's best to store them in the refrigerator. Just remember to reheat them in the oven or microwave before serving for the best taste and texture.

Recipe Card

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns 2018-03-23 10:45:17

Serves 6  

Prep Time   03:00        

Cook Time   00:15        

Total Time   03:15                      


  • 1 cup warm milk (240 ml)
  • 2 tsp (8 grams) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • 3 &1/2 to 4 cups (455 to 520 g) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar (55 g)
  • 1/4 tsp cloves powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp dry ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 70 g unsalted butter (5 tbsp) melted
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup candied fruit (tutti frutti)
  • 1/3 cup raisins or currants or dried cherries
  • 1 tsp of oil for greasing          

For Egg Wash

  • 1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tbsp of milk          

For Glazing

  • 60 g powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk


For the dough

  • Heat milk until lukewarm. Then add yeast and sugar, mix it well and set aside for 10 mins or until the yeast is foamy.
  • Meanwhile, in a wide bowl or in the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, combine 3 & 1/2 cups of flour, all spices, sugar and salt.
  • Once the yeast is foamy, gradually add to the flour mixture and beat until the dry ingredients are moistened.
  • Then add melted butter and beaten egg, mix well until incorporated.
  • Change the dough hook and gradually add the candied and dried fruits, knead the dough continuously until the dough is silky smooth and elastic. Add more flour if needed.          

How to make buns

  • Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and apply 1 tsp of oil over the dough and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for about 1&1/2 to 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
  • After 2 hours, gently punch it down to release the air and divide it into 12 equal parts.
  • Shape it like a small round ball and place them on a parchment-lined baking tray.
  • Place 3 buns in a row with enough space as they will double in size while baking.
  • Apply egg wash over the buns by using a brush.
  • Cover the tray with lightly greased plastic paper and set it aside for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  • Again brush the top of the buns with the egg wash, and cut a cross on top of the buns by using a sharp knife or kitchen scissors.
  • Place the tray in the preheated oven and bake it for about 15 mins until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.          

For Glazing

  • Combine the powdered sugar and milk and mix until smooth.
  • Place the glaze in a small plastic bag and cut the edge of the bag and pipe a cross on the top of each bun.         

By Santhi Therese    The Indian Claypot

You may also like my other Healthy Breakfast posts and recipes like Appam Recipe, Millets Pongal /Foxtail Millet Sweet Pongal, Mung Bean Porridge, Kara Kuzhi Paniyaram with Idli/Dosa Batter, Oatmeal Brownie, Aval Payasam, Ragi Sweet Kozhukattai, Ragi Paal Kozhukattai, How To Make Soft Layered Chapati, Oat and Honey Chewy No-Bake Granola Bars, Vendhaya Kali, Strawberry Apple Smoothie, Aval Pongal Recipe, Homemade Granola Recipe, Adai Dosa Recipe, Ragi Puttu, Green Gram Payasam/Kheer, Whole Wheat Bread Recipe, Kavuni Arisi Pongal, Vegan Banana Oatmeal Cookies .

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Ragi Paal Kozhukattai
How To Make Soft Layered Chapati
Oat and Honey Chewy No-Bake Granola Bars
Vendhaya Kali
Strawberry Apple Smoothie
Aval Pongal Recipe
Homemade Granola Recipe
Adai Dosa Recipe
Ragi Puttu
Green Gram Payasam/Kheer
Whole Wheat Bread Recipe
Kavuni Arisi Pongal
Vegan Banana Oatmeal Cookies

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