The BESTEST Hot Cross Bun Recipe

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The BESTEST Hot Cross Bun Recipe

These Easter hot cross buns are JUST the baking project to get you through the Easter bank holiday weekend - easy enough that you can get everyone involved and be sure they'll turn out delicious, but a little more laborious (and far more satisfying when they come out of the oven!) than a cake or cookie. Oh, and they make the house smell AMAZING.

Tear-apart soft, rich, buttery and warmly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg (with the option to add orange and lemon zest for some extra oomph!).

If you can't get through 16 hot cross buns in a few days, slice them in half and freeze in sandwich bags - you can pull them apart and toast them straight out of the freezer! Toasted and with a big lump of salted butter, they're just as nice as when first baked.

Please note that there is also a waiting time between stages of 2.5 hours so in total these take around 3-4 hours to make.

Servings: 16 Buns

Keywords: Dried fruits, Easter, Spring, Seasonal, Buns, Hot cross buns

  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 50 mins




Bun Dough

  • 300 ml milk
  • 50 g salted butter
  • 500 g strong white bread flour
  • 75 g sugar
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 7 g quick-action yeast
  • 1 organic, free-range egg
  • 75 g Raisins and/or sultanas
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg

Bun Crosses

  • 75 g flour
  • 6 tbsp water

Bun Glaze

  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp water


Making the Dough

  1. Bring the milk and the butter to the boil in a small saucepan, over a gentle heat. Set aside to cool so it's about hand temperature.
  2. Put the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the flour, and pour in the milk and egg mixture, as well as the egg (beaten).
  4. Start bringing the dough together with your hands by bringing the flour into the centre, in circular motions, until you have a sticky, rough mixture.
  5. Tip the hot cross bun dough onto a floured surface and start to knead it, by repeatedly pushing it out with the heel of one hand and then folding it back on itself. It should take 5-10 minutes, keep going until the dough is even, smooth and elastic.If you own a stand mixer, it can knead the dough for you - just use the dough hook on a medium setting, and knead for about 5 minutes.
  6. Put the dough in a large, lightly greased bowl (make sure it has room to grow!). Cover with cling film and leave to rest and rise for 1 hour.
  7. Add your orange and lemon zests, sultanas, cinnamon and nutmeg to the dough. Knead again until it's evenly mixed and well distributed.
  8. Leave to rise for another 30 minutes - 1 hour, it should double in size again.

Shaping the Buns

  1. Divide the dough into 16 hot cross buns (they'll be on the small side - if you want big buns, divide into 12 pieces instead).
  2. Roll each piece into a ball on a lightly floured surface. Make sure you don't use a lot of flour, as this makes it a lot more difficult to shape the dough, and could dry it out.
  3. Place the balls of dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Leave about an inch between them so they can grow - don't leave too much of a gap, as hot cross buns should join when they bake, to be torn apart before eating.
  4. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise for 1 more hour.


  1. Heat the oven to 190C.Whilst the oven heats up, mix 75g of flour with about 6 tablespoons of water in a small bowl, to get a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle (or just a small hole). Pipe in lines, vertically and horizontally, across the rows of buns, to obtain the traditional crosses.
  2. Bake for 12-15 minutes on a middle shelf of the oven, until golden.
  3. Bring 4 tablespoons of sugar and 4 tablespoons of water to the boil, until the sugar has fully dissolved. Use a pastry brush to brush over the warm buns (if you haven't got a brush, just spoon over the buns).