Hot Cross Buns

These soft hot cross buns are a perfect Easter recipe. They are seasoned with cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg and packed with raisins and currants. These buns are topped with their signature cross and orange glaze. 

If you were in band or orchestra I am sure that you played the song “Hot Crossed Buns” at some point in time of your life. Well these are them. They are a dense, sweet, and soft enriched dough that are flavored with warming spices, currants, raisins and orange. They have a signature cross on the top and brushed with a glaze. While they are traditionally made for Good Friday and Easter they can be enjoyed year round. 

In this recipe

This is one of those recipes that has quite a few ingredients in it but that is part of what makes these buns so delicious. There are some flavor substitutions that you can make however there are some ingredients you want to keep an eye on. 

Bread flour: this flour has a higher protein and gluten content which gives the bread a nice chew as well as its structure since this is an enriched dough. 

Vanilla: you want to make sure that you are using pure vanilla extract for this recipe.

Warming spices: these consist of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom but you can also add cloves, ginger, and allspice depending on the flavors you like. I would keep the spices to 1 1/2 teaspoons as to not overpower the dough. 

Whole milk: this will add fat that keeps the bread soft. If you use skim milk you will wind up with a tougher bun that will take more time to rise. 

Ingredients for hot cross buns on a wooden cutting board
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Proofing like a champ

The reason it is called proofing is because this process “proves” that the yeast is still active and will work for the recipe. You will do this by adding the yeast and a teaspoon of sugar to the warmed milk and let it sit for 5 minutes. The yeast should form a nice foam on top of the milk and that will indicate that the yeast is ready for the buns. It is important to make sure that the milk stays around 110F. If it is too hot then the yeast will die and you will not get a rise later.  

Proofed yeast in a metal bowl
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Ball of dough in a metal bowl
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Dough doubled in volume
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Log of dough
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A slow rise

This is an enriched dough. Pretty much that means there is more than flour, water, salt and yeast in the bread. When you add additional items to the dough especially large things like raisins and currants it will slow down the rise of the dough. This is okay and to be expected. The key is the make sure that the dough has doubled in size. This could take 45 minutes or it could take 2.5 hours. This is going to depend on the warmth of the room. 

Log of dough cut into 6ths
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Log of dough cut into 12ths
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Unrisen buns in a baking dish
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Risen buns in a baking dish
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Cross on risen buns in a baking dish
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Baked hot cross buns
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Prepare the buns

Once it has gone through the first rise you will want to punch the dough down to remove the air and then divide it into 12 roughly equal in size portions. Don’t worry about weighing as the dried fruit inside can skew the size based on weight. You will want to make sure that you make sure that the fruit is inside and not sitting on top of the dough otherwise it will fall out. Finally cup your hand over each portion and roll it around much like you would Play-doh to create a nice seam on the bottom. 

Close up of cooling hot cross buns
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Baking hot cross buns

After the second proof you will add the cross right on top. The mixture for the cross should be pretty thick but still pipeable. This will sit on top of the dough and sink into a little bit when it is cooking. You will add the cross right before baking as it could impact the rise of the buns. Once you start baking you might need to rotate them if one side of the buns are cooking faster than the other. 

A torn hot cross bun
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Looking for other bread recipes?

A stack of hot cross buns
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Hot Cross Buns

A sweetened bun with currants and raisins topped with a cross made during Easter.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Rising Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Course Bread
Cuisine British
Servings 12 buns
Calories 326 kcal


  • Stand mixer with the dough hook attachment
  • Mixing bowls
  • Bench scraper
  • 9 x 13 inch baking dish
  • Pastry brush
  • Piping bag or Ziploc bag



  • 3⅔ cups bread flour spooned and leveled
  • cup whole milk warmed to about 110°F
  • ½ cup raisins or sultanas
  • ½ cup currants
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar packed
  • ¼ cup butter unsalted, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • teaspoons active dry yeast 1 standard packet
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom

Flour Cross

  • ½ cup bread flour
  • 6 tablespoons water may need additional water

Orange Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice pulp removed


Make the dough:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the yeast, 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar, and milk. Mix until combined and then let rest for 5 minutes. The mixture will be nice and foamy.
  • While the yeast is proofing combine the sugars with the orange zest in a bowl and set aside.
  • Attach the dough hook and add the butter, egg, sugar mixture, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom and half of the flour and mix on medium low speed. Once everything is combined add the remaining flour, currants and raisins/sultanas. Continue to mix until the dough starts to pull away from the sides, about 2-5 minutes. The dough should be soft and sticky.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on the counter. Dust lightly with flour if needed however though dough should not adhere to the counter.
  • Place is a lightly greased large bowl and cover with cling film. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size. This could take 1-2 hours depending on how warm the room is.
  • Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan and set aside.

Shaping the rolls

  • When the dough is ready, pour it out onto the counter and punch it down if it did not deflate when turning it out onto the counter, roll into a log about 12 inches long. Using a bench scraper cut the log into 6 sections and then cut those sections in half. Using your hand cup it over one of the portions and roll it into a sphere. Place into the greased baking dish. Repeat with the rest of the dough portions.
  • Cover the baking dish with cling film and let rise for another hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F, 177°C, or gas mark 4.

Making the cross

  • Make a paste with the flour and water by slowly adding water to the flour a tablespoon at a time. Once it reached a thick but pipeable consistency. Spoon into a piping bag and cut the tip off. Pipe a cross on each of buns. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are a nice deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Making the glaze:

  • In a bowl combine the powdered sugar and orange juice. Brush on the warm buns before serving.


Serving: 1bunCalories: 326kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 7gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 128mgPotassium: 208mgFiber: 2gSugar: 24gVitamin A: 196IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclaimer*
Keyword Easter, Holiday, Hot Cross Buns
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hot cross buns Pinterest pin
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