Hot Cross Buns

Not a lot beats warmed hot cross buns with lashings of butter at Easter. I started this ‘tradition’ a few years ago and now feel that because it is a ‘tradition’ I¬†need to make them every year. It’s a burden I have created for myself, I know, but one I’m happy to bear ūüôā

Now, Im NOT an expert at baking to be sure, but I try, and these buns mostly work really well for me. My problem is I like to experiment – so I go off piste and add and subtract and sometimes the results are a little flat. Always delicious though – and they always get eaten. As this is a ‘tradition’, I want it to be fun.

A warm room/kitchen is key. Yeast loves the warmth and will take a while to ‘wake up’ if its cold.

Makes around 15 buns, and takes over 2 hours while you wait for the dough to rise (twice). This is where your multi-tasking skills will come in handy.

Hot Cross Buns proving


  • 1 sachet¬†dried yeast (= 7g or 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 2¬†tsp cinnamon
  • 50g butter (room temperature, chopped)
  • 1/2 cup sultanas (see note at the end about variations)


  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2¬†tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp hot water
  • 1 tsp gelatine or half a leaf (or substitute)


  1. Line an18x28cm slice tray with baking paper and lightly grease (spray with oil).
  2. The milk needs to be lukewarm – not really hot – the warmth wakes up the yeast, but if it is too hot it will kill it.
  3. Dissolve¬†the sugar into¬†the lukewarm milk, then add the yeast. Mix and leave to stand for about 10 minutes. It¬†should froth up (bubble, bubble…)
  4. Place the flour, salt and spices in a very large mixing bowl.
  5. Rub in the butter with your fingers
  6. Add the sultanas (or your other variations) and mix through
  7. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients then and yeast and milk mixture
  8. Start mixing in the flour from the outer edges into the middle, then using your hand mix everything together thoroughly, kneading lightly as you go
  9. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a clean tea towel and stand in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes or until dough doubles in bulk
  10. Punch the dough down, then turn out onto floured surface and knead well until it is smooth smooth and elastic
  11. Preheat oven to 210C
  12. Cut into 3 equal pieces then cut each piece into 5, making 15 buns in all. Knead each into a round shape.
  13. Place the buns in the baking tray and stand in warm place for another 10 to 15 minutes or until they rise another 1/3 of their size.


  1. Make paste by mixing 1/2 cup plain flour and 1/3 cup water
  2. Fill a piping bag with the flour mixture (or a small sandwich bag with the corner cut about 2 mm)
  3. Pipe a cross on each bun
  4. Bake 15 minutes
  5. While the buns are baking, make the glaze from heating the sugar, hot water and gelatine in a saucepan and simmering for 1 minute
  6. Remove the buns from the oven and immediately brush with the glaze
  7. Eat warm with butter!


So, the variations I have made over the years include: dried cranberries and white chocolate, dried apricot and almonds, cherries and chocolate chips (see below).

cherry and chocolate hot cross buns
Cherry and chocolate hot cross buns with brown sugar glaze