hot cross buns featured image
This easy to make homemade Hot Cross Buns recipe has simple steps to proof your dough, pipe the crosses, bake the bread, and top them with a sweet, sticky glaze. These fluffy rolls are filled with warm spices and studded with raisins--delicious!
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Table of Contents
  1. Homemade Hot Cross Buns
  2. Why We Love This Hot Cross Buns Recipe
  3. Ingredients
  4. Substitutions and Additions
  5. Recommended Tools
  6. How to Make Hot Cross Buns
  7. Tips
  8. Storage Tips
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
  10. Other Easy Easter Recipes
  11. Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Hot Cross Buns are soft, fluffy, fragrant sweet rolls, lightly spiced, studded with raisins, and marked with a cross. This traditional Good Friday treat is easily made from scratch at home using yeast dough that bakes in the oven into beautiful batches of glazed bread that taste even better than the buns you’d buy from the bakery!

hot cross buns hero image

Homemade Hot Cross Buns

This Hot Cross Buns recipe is a quick and easy way to bake your own batch of plush, slightly spiced bread at home and is so much better than the standard ones from the grocery store.

Piped with a traditional symbolic cross and topped with a shiny, sticky glaze, there’s no better way to celebrate the Holy Week than by indulging in a fluffy bun that’s bursting with warming spices, raisins, orange zest, and vanilla.

Hot Cross Buns are delicious served warm with a spread of butter while sipping a Whipped Hot Chocolate or coffee (or a Drunken Dalgona for a hot boozy beverage!).

Why We Love This Hot Cross Buns Recipe

  • Quick and easy to make at home.
  • Uses real ingredients–no preservatives or artificial flavors.
  • Delicious sweet treats to eat the weeks before the Christian calendar celebrates Easter.
  • Soft, fluffy, fragrant, and full of flavor.
  • Better than store bought bread and baked with the traditional cross.
  • Perfect way to celebrate Easter but delicious any time of year.
showing inside the bun

Ingredients

  • Rum or apple juice 
  • Golden raisins or dark raisins
  • Instant yeast: Make sure your yeast is fresh for best results.
  • Brown sugar 
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Egg yolk
  • All purpose flour or bread flour 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Allspice 
  • Cloves 
  • Nutmeg: I prefer freshly grated nutmeg, but you can use ground nutmeg instead.
  • Salt 
  • Orange zest 
  • Egg white 
  • Milk or water 
  • Granulated sugar 
  • Water 
  • Confectioners sugar
  • Vanilla extract 
  • Milk

Substitutions and Additions

  • Glossy Glaze: A sticky, glossy glaze on Hot Cross Buns completes the taste. While I love the combination of my sweet glaze, feel free to brush your buns with jam (I like apricot best), marmalade, maple syrup, golden syrup, agave, or even honey.
  • Replace The Raisins: You can use currants, dried cranberries and/or cherries, chocolate or white chocolate chips, nuts, fresh fruit (orange, pear, apple, or mango) or other dried fruit instead of the raisins in this recipe.
hot cross buns on a plate
  • Mixing bowls
  • Measuring tools
  • Stand Mixer with paddle and hook attachment
  • Tea towel
  • Piping bag
  • Baking pan

SEE FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD BELOW

How to Make Hot Cross Buns

  1. Add the rum and raisins to a bowl and microwave until very hot. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together the yeast, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and milk and and let sit until frothy.
    Pro Tip: If it doesn’t get frothy, your yeast is dead and you will need to begin again with new yeast. If your yeast is fresh, you can skip this step altogether and move to step 3.
  3. Combine the yeast, brown sugar, white sugar, flour, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, salt and orange zest to the bowl of a stand mixer.
  4. Add the milk, butter and eggs to the mixer and use the paddle to combine.
    mixing the dough
  5. Add the raisins and rum and combine. 
  6. Knead the dough using the dough hook attachment for about 5 minutes on 2 speed. 
    Pro Tip: The dough is ready when it is stretchy and smooth.
    combine with raisins
  7. Form a dough ball with your hands, place the dough back in the bowl, and cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap. 
  8. Place the bowl of covered dough ball in a warm setting and let it rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
    big dough ball
  9. Remove the risen dough from the bowl and divide it into two equal pieces.
  10. Divide each piece into 6 equal pieces, or 12 total.
    Pro Tip: You can also make smaller rolls and make 18 rolls.
  11. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and place them in the baking pan.
    divide dough into balls
  12. Combine the egg yolk and milk and brush the egg wash over the tops of the rolls, then cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled.
    brush each dough with butter
  13. Mix the flour, sugar, water and vanilla together in a bowl and place the mixture in a piping bag with a small circle piping tip, or use a ziplock bag instead. Then clip off the very end of the bag to create a very small hole.
  14. Pipe a small line across the bottom of one side of the roll to the bottom of the other side, then turn the roll to make to pipe another line across the roll making the X in the middle. Repeat piping over each roll.
    pipe white line cross to each balls
  15. Bake the rolls at 350° Farenheit for 20 minutes until they are golden brown.
    baked buns
  16. Combine the confectioners sugar, milk and vanilla to make the glaze.
  17. Allow the baked rolls to cool for 10 minutes, then spoon the glaze over the rolls.
  18. Serve warm and enjoy!

Tips

  • Spoon the flour in the measuring cup so it isn’t packed. Start with a little less flour and add only a little as needed so the dough stays soft.
  • Using a stand mixer is much easier, but you can knead by hand. This will take about 10 minutes of hand kneading.
  • Your dough is ready to rise when the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough shouldn’t break when pulled, it should stretch.
  • To make the X on top, you will make a thick paste, then pipe it over the top from side to side, then across the opposite way to create an X.

Storage Tips

  • To Store: While they are best fresh, you can store these Hot Cross Buns at room temperature in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze: To freeze your Hot Cross Buns, arrange the baked buns in a single layer in a resealable plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap, and place in your freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw completely before serving or reheating.
  • To Reheat: You can reheat the buns in a warm oven or microwave.
pour glaze over the buns

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I freeze my Hot Cross Buns?

Yes, these buns freeze well. Once you’ve baked the buns, allow them to cool completely, but do not pipe the cross on the top.
Wrap them in plastic and then aluminum foil, and freeze for up to a month. When you are ready to serve the buns, thaw them overnight on the counter.
You can reheat them in a warm oven or microwave to take off any chill. Let cool and pipe the crosses on top before serving.

What is the significance of Hot Cross Buns?

Hot Cross Buns are symbolic of the day in the Christian faith when Jesus was crucified. The cross on top of the buns represents the cross on which Christ died and the warming spices signify the embalming after his death.
The yeast in this recipe represents Jesus’ resurrection, eaten after Lent on Good Friday, and are a special tradition for anyone practicing the Christian faith.

What is the difference between instant yeast and active dry yeast?

Active yeast needs to be rehydrated, meaning it needs to be mixed with warm water and dissolved. Instant yeast can be mixed into ingredients directly without rehydrating and required less time to rise. You can use either in this recipe, but you just need to make adjustments to the timing.

buns on a plate

Other Easy Easter Recipes

5 from 1 vote
hot cross buns featured image

Hot Cross Buns

Serves — 12
This easy to make homemade Hot Cross Buns recipe has simple steps to proof your dough, pipe the crosses, bake the bread, and top them with a sweet, sticky glaze. These fluffy rolls are filled with warm spices and studded with raisins–delicious!
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Rise Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup rum or apple juice
  • cup golden or dark raisins
  • 3 tsp Instant yeast
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • cups (540 g) all purpose flour or bread flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp orange zest
  • cups warm milk
  • 6 tbsp butter room temperature
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk (save the white for the top)

Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp milk or water

For Crosses:

  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp granulated white sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Glaze:

  • ½ cup confectioners sugar sifted
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp milk

Instructions
 

  • Combine the rum and raisins together in a bowl and heat in the microwave until very hot. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
  • In a bowl, combine the yeast, brown sugar, granulated sugar and the warm milk. Stir well and let sit till frothy. (If it doesn’t get frothy, your yeast is dead and you will need to begin again with new yeast.) If your yeast is fresh, you can skip this step altogether and move to step 3.
  • Add the yeast, brown sugar, white sugar, flour, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, salt and orange zest to the bowl of a stand mixer and combine.
  • Add the liquid ingredients, milk, butter and eggs to the mixer and mix with the paddle until combined. Add the raisins and rum and combine.
  • Using the dough hook attachment, knead the dough for about 5 minutes on 2 speed. The dough is ready when it is stretchy and smooth.
  • Gather the dough in your hand and form a ball, then place back in the bowl. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Place in a warm place and let it rise till doubled in size, about an hour.
  • Spray a baking pan with cooking spray. Remove the dough and divide into two equal pieces, divide each piece into 6 equal pieces, or 12 total. (You can make smaller rolls and make 18 rolls.)
  • Take each piece of dough and roll it into a ball, then place in the pan.
  • Combine the egg yolk and milk and brush over the tops of the rolls. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled.
  • Mix the flour, sugar, water and vanilla together in a small bowl. Place in a piping bag with a small circle piping tip, or use a ziplock bag instead. Then clip off the very end of the bag to create a very small hole.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Starting near the bottom of one side of a roll, slowly pipe a small line across the roll to the bottom of the other side. Turn the roll to make a cross and pipe another line across the roll making the X in the middle. Repeat piping over each roll.
  • Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until the rolls are golden.
  • In a small bowl, combine the confectioners sugar, milk and vanilla.
  • Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes, then spoon the glaze over the rolls.
  • Enjoy!

Jenn’s Notes

Storage:
  • To Store: While they are best fresh, you can store these Hot Cross Buns at room temperature in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Freeze: To freeze your Hot Cross Buns, arrange the baked buns in a single layer in a resealable plastic bag and place in your freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw completely before serving or reheating.
  • To Reheat: You can reheat the buns in a warm oven or microwave.
Tips:
  • Spoon the flour in the measuring cup so it isn’t packed. Start with a little less flour and add only a little as needed so the dough stays soft.
  • Using a stand mixer is much easier, but you can knead by hand. This will take about 10 minutes of hand kneading.
  • Your dough is ready to rise when the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough shouldn’t break when pulled, it should stretch.
  • To make the X on top, you will make a thick paste, then pipe it over the top from side to side, then across the opposite way to create an X.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 390kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 474mg | Potassium: 299mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 266IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 3mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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