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How to Make Hot Cross Buns in 6 Easy Steps

How to Make Hot Cross Buns in 6 Easy Steps

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Fill your kitchen with the sweet smell of freshly baked hot cross buns

Each of the steps in making hot cross buns is easy.

Make the Dough
Whisk together ½ cup of milk, one package of active dry yeast, and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Let the mixture stand until it starts to get frothy on top.

Then, combine 2 ½ cups of all purpose flour, 2 cups of bread flour, ⅔ cup of sugar, ⅔ cup of raisins, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook. If you want, you can also add a few tablespoons of candied orange or lemon peel, cut into small pieces. Mix the ingredients until combined and then add ½ a stick of butter, 2 eggs, and the frothy yeast mixture; mix for about 3 minutes, until a sticky dough forms.

Knead the dough by hand for about 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Then, form the dough into a ball.

Let the Dough Rise
Put the ball of dough into a bowl that has been coated with oil, turning the dough so that it is covered with the oil on all sides.

Then, cover the bowl with a clean, damp kitchen towel and leave it in a warm place for about 1 hour. The dough is ready when it has roughly doubled in size.

Shape the Dough
Knead the dough for 3 minutes on a lightly floured surface and then divide it into 12 equal pieces.

Shape each piece into a ball and place them 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Cover the baking sheet with the clean kitchen towel or a piece of oiled plastic wrap and let the dough rise again, until doubled in volume.

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Combine 1 egg yolk with a tablespoon of water. Mix thoroughly and then brush the mixture onto the top of each bun. Turn the heat on the oven down to 400 degrees F and then put the buns in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown, then transfer the buns to a wire rack to cool.

Mix 1 cup of confectioners sugar with ½ cup of milk and ½ a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Stir until smooth. When the buns have cooled, drizzle the icing across each bun to form an X.

Click here for the full recipe.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.

How to Make Hot Cross Buns: Step-by-Step Instructions

As their name suggests, hot cross buns are best fresh and warm, though leftovers are pretty nice when toasted and buttered.

What I didn't know when I started, but what I've learned full well, is this: Utter the words "hot cross buns," and those around you will drop whatever they're doing and burst into song (or, in Daniel's case, a strangely compelling slow jam). It wasn't until a buddy of mine heard the subliminal trigger and whipped out an invisible recorder (you know, those little woodwind instruments we all had to play in middle school?) that I realized what was going on—we'd all been brainwashed as children. It dredged up a faint recollection. Me, perched on the edge of a folding chair, with a cheap plastic recorder resting on my lips, fingers marching down the register: Hot. Cross. Buns!

I eventually became aware that hot cross buns actually existed beyond the confines of my elementary school music trailer (welcome to Kentucky), but I'd never seen one in the wild. Not until I moved to Connecticut, where I was charmed by their simplicity. Fluffy dinner rolls, lightly sweetened and spiced, studded with currants and frosted with a cross. what purists would call a heretical indulgence.

Sorting out what is and isn't traditional when it comes to hot cross buns is not just a matter of where you grew up, but when. So tape up your glasses, adjust that pocket protector, and nerd out with me for a bit. See, much of what's considered "traditional" is just the current way of things, the goings-on of our most recent century.

Easy Hot Cross Buns

This soft dough is easily shaped, and makes tender, aromatic buns, ready for an icing cross on top.


  • 1/4 cup (57g) apple juice or rum
  • 1/2 cup (78g) mixed dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup (78g) raisins or dried currants
  • 1 1/4 cups (283g) milk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk (save the white for the topping)
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup (53g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves or allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons (11g) salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 4 1/2 cups (539g) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (128g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons milk, or enough to make a thick, pipeable icing


Lightly grease a 10" square pan or 9" x 13" pan.

Mix the rum or apple juice with the dried fruit and raisins, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave briefly, just till the fruit and liquid are very warm, and the plastic starts to "shrink wrap" itself over the top of the bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Note: If you worry about using plastic wrap in your microwave, simply cover the bowl with a glass lid.

Keep the fruit set aside. Weigh your flour or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. Mix together all of the remaining dough ingredients (including the eggs and the egg yolk from the separated egg). Knead the mixture, using an electric mixer or bread machine, until the dough is soft and elastic. It'll be very slack, sticking to the bottom of the bowl and your hands as you work with it (greasing your hands helps). Mix in the cooled fruit and any liquid not absorbed.

Let the dough rise for 1 hour, covered. It should become puffy, though may not double in bulk.

Take it a step further

The sweet rolls of spring

Divide the dough into billiard ball-sized pieces, about 3 3/4 ounces each. A heaped muffin scoop (about 1/3 cup) makes about the right portion. You'll make 12 to 14 buns. Use your greased hands to round them into balls. Arrange them in the prepared pan.

Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for 1 hour, or until they've puffed up and are touching one another. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Whisk together the reserved egg white and milk, and brush it over the buns.

Bake the buns for 20 minutes, until they're golden brown. Remove from the oven, carefully turn the buns out of the pan (they should come out in one large piece), and transfer them to a rack to cool.

Mix together the icing ingredients, and when the buns are completely cool, pipe it in a cross shape atop each bun.

Tips from our Bakers

Want to make these buns a day or so ahead of time? Try the tangzhong technique, a Japanese method for increasing the softness and shelf life of yeast rolls. Begin by measuring out the flour and milk you’ll be using in the recipe. Now take 3 tablespoons of the measured flour and 1/2 cup of the measured milk put them in a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it thickens and forms a thick slurry this will take about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Transfer the cooked mixture to a bowl, let it cool to lukewarm, then combine it with the remaining flour, milk, and other dough ingredients. Proceed with the recipe as directed. Well-wrapped and stored at room temperature, your finished hot cross buns should stay soft and fresh for several days.

Overnight Hot Cross Buns How-To

  1. Mix the dough: This is a simple no-knead dough that takes 15 minutes to stir together.
  2. Let it rise: Create a warm place for your dough to rise (see recipe for notes) then let it rise for two hours.
  3. Divide and shape: Portion the dough into 16 pieces roll into balls, transfer to a buttered baking dish.
  4. Transfer pan to the refrigerator and let the buns rise overnight.
  5. The following morning, transfer the pan to the oven, and bake the buns until golden.
  6. While the buns bake, make a simple glaze. Once the buns are done, decorate them each with an “X”.

PS: A few ideas for Easter, and my favorite reminder this time of year: If you’re making a ham, don’t forget the ham sauce! Seriously, it’s the most delicious sauce ever.


How to Make Hot Cross Buns

The dough for these hot cross buns is easy and straightforward. While it’s easiest to use a stand mixer, you can mix and knead this dough by hand. After the dough is formed and has had enough time to double in volume, the dough is divided into 12 equal parts. (For exact measurements, I suggest using a kitchen scale to equally portion out the dough.) The dough is rolled into round balls and placed on a parchment lined baking sheet. The shaped dough is covered with a kitchen towel and allowed to rise a second time. It’s time to bake once the balls of dough have risen enough to touch each other.

How To Make Easy Hot Cross Buns

No yeast, no kneading, no rising, just a very simple recipe that will make you happy on Good Friday.

Preheat your oven to the temperate it says on your can of biscuits.

Start by putting parchment paper into a 9吉 baking pan.

The flaky biscuits are easy to separate in the middle. Peel the top layer back about 2/3 of the way.

Brush the middle layer with some melted butter.

Then place about 6-8 raising in the middle.

Place the biscuit in the pan.

When you have all of your biscuits with the butter and raisins, sprinkle a bit of pumpkin pie spice inside.

Fold the top of each biscuit closed, and bake according to your package directions.

While the biscuits bake, mix your orange icing for the top! Place your powdered sugar in a bowl and just add enough orange juice to make it into a glaze. Ours took about 2 Tbs.

Take your buns out of the oven when they are golden brown.

Now you should be ready to brush them with the orange glaze we mixed.

Allow the biscuits to cool for a few minutes.

Then you can take your cookie icing and make your crosses across the top of the biscuits.

Start with 2 lines going down the middle of each row.

Make another line of icing on each row to form crosses.

Serve these right away! Your family can now enjoy the warm raisin and spice flavor of hot cross buns without the work!

There is an old Irish rhyme that links hot cross buns to friendship as well:

“Half for you and half for me,
Between us two shall goodwill be”

The Symbolic Holy Week & Easter Cookbook is full of fun and traditional recipes that point to the true meaning of the Easter story. Learn more here.

How to Make Hot Cross Buns

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You're probably used to seeing hot cross buns pop up in bakeries on Easter weekend, but there's no reason you can't make them any time of the year. Hot cross buns get a lot of their flavor from enriched dough that also has golden raisins, mixed peel, orange zest, apple, and cinnamon mixed in. Once you've shaped the dough into buns, pipe a simple paste over the tops to get the classic crosses. Bake the buns until they're golden brown and brush them with a little jam to get a beautiful shine.

Ultra-easy option: No-knead Hot Cross Buns

This is the easiest way to make Hot Cross Buns, and I’ve provided it as an extra recipe at the very bottom of this post.

No-knead Hot Cross Buns are exactly as the name says – Hot Cross Buns that are made without kneading the dough. The dough mixture is looser, almost like a thick muffin batter, that you mix with a wooden spoon, then leave it to rise and proceed with the same steps as above.

The end result is marginally different to the kneaded version. The buns rise a touch less, and they do not keep as well – they are a bit drier the next day.

I say that do not rise quite as much, but they’re still super soft and fluffy. See?

There are very few things in this world that can rival the smell of freshly baked homemade Hot Cross Buns, fresh out of the oven.

It’s a smell we only get to enjoy once a year, around Easter. So let’s make the most of it! – Nagi xx

This post was originally published in March 2016 – it has been retested, rephotographed and republished (to make it better for you!) in April 2019

It's nearly Easter! And guess how many Easter Eggs I've already eaten? Trick question. Actually none. Probably because we are still working our way through the mountain of Christmas chocolate we were given. Yes, we are thooooose people that can sit in a room with chocolate and not eat it. How? No idea, but the pull of the miniature Reese's Pieces Eggs is getting stronger. I give it til Wednesday. Until then, let's make my favourite Easter treat. hot cross buns!

Before we start I'd like to point out that making bread is a long process. The whole process from start to finish will take you about 3 hours, maybe longer if you dawdle. as I tend to do. But don't fret! This does include about 2 hours rising time so it's not all hands on, leaving lots of time for kitchen dance parties and watching Adele carpool karaoke on YouTube. <-- which , btw have you seen this? If not, please watch it!

The ingredient list also looks quite long, but it's all simple stuff. It may seem daunting, but I can assure you, it will be totally worth it. The smell of freshly baked hot cross buns is drool worthy, and they taste SO much better than the buns you get from the supermarket. Especially with a 4 day weekend coming up (YAY). do it!!

Click here to pin this to your Easter recipes board on Pinterest to save it for later!
Quick bread making tips:
    1. Use high grade flour - this is a simple step and a really important one. High grade flour has a higher protein (gluten) content which is what gives the bread its delicate texture. It costs the same as plain flour and makes a world of difference when making bread.
    2. Use fresh yeast. Don't be pulling an old jar of yeast out of the pantry and expecting it to work wonders. Test it for freshness by dissolving 1 teaspoon sugar in ½ cup warm water (45°C/115°F). Sprinkle 2-¼ teaspoons active dry yeast ( I use Edmond's Surebake Yeast) over it, stir and let stand for 10 minutes, If it's active it will start to bubble and will look sort of foamy. If not, the yeast is dead. If in doubt, throw it out and start again.
    3. If it's warm where you are, leaving the dough to rise on a sunny windowsill will work perfectly. If it's cold, put it in the hot water cupboard, on top of the fireplace or in the warming draw of your oven.

    And to make it even easier for you, I've added step by step photos and a break down of the time involved at the bottom of the post.

    So now that the serious stuff is out of the way, let's talk about these buns.

    It is a basic sweet bread dough made Easter-y with the addition of cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg and is chock-full of currants, raisins & mixed peel. If you are one of those weird people that can't stand dried fruit you can leave it out of these and just have spiced buns. They won't be as good, but that's your call!

    The piped crosses on top are also optional but if you leave them off you have to call them Easter Buns instead. beeeeecause I said so. And there would be no hot cross on it. duh. Plus piping is fun. So I guess this step just became compulsory.

    These buns are sweet, spicy, fruity and just plain delicious. Smother them in buttah, serve with a coffee and Happy Easter to you my friend. My other favourite way to eat them? Covered in NUTELLA!! It's almost a sin to cover something so perfect in chocolate buuuut. do it anyway. And don't tell my grandmother.

    Step by step:

    (Note: I used to add the fruit after the first rise as pictured below, I have changed this and now add them at the beginning with all other ingredients, just to keep it simple! The recipe card details how I do it now.)


    Preheat oven to 350°F. Gently stretch each biscuit into 4-inch circle. Mix cinnamon and brown sugar in small bowl. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon mixture and 1 tablespoon raisins over half of each biscuit. Fold over plain biscuit half onto raisin half. Fold again, pinching edges to seal. Gently shape into a ball. Repeat with remaining biscuits. Place buns in lightly greased 9-inch cake pan, evenly spacing them apart. Brush bun tops with beaten egg.

    Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove buns onto cooling rack cool completely.

    Mix confectioners’ sugar and water in small bowl. Spoon into small resealable plastic bag. Cut a small piece from one of the bottom corners of bag. Close bag tightly then pipe the shape of an X on top of each bun.


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