Hot Cross Buns

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A traditional hot cross bun recipe. These are lightly spiced, packed full of fruit & finished with an apricot glaze.

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hot cross buns easter recipe

What Are Hot Cross Buns?

Traditionally eaten at Easter, hot cross buns are made from a lightly spiced dough enriched with butter, eggs & milk. Also containing a mixture of dried fruit (in this recipe we’re using raisins, sultanas & currants), these buns are topped with a piped cross, made from flour & water and glazed with apricot jam after baking.

Usually these are eaten at breakfast but in recent years it has become increasingly popular to make savoury versions to eat at lunch. If this sounds good to you, I’d recommend going for a cheese & marmite flavour.

For this recipe, we’re sticking with a sweet hot cross bun.

How To Eat Hot Cross Buns

When it comes to eating hot cross buns, there are a couple of ways to go about it. You can simply eat them as they are, slice them in half & eat with butter, you can slice & toast them or you could even use them to make a bread & butter pudding.

How To Make The Cross

The cross in hot cross bun, refers to the cross that has been placed on the top.

This is made from a flour & water paste that has been piped on just before the hot cross buns are cooked.

hot cross buns piped cross

The Glaze

Homemade hot cross buns tend to be glazed with jam. The most popular (and the one used this recipe) being apricot. If you want to use something else, a maple or honey glaze would work just as well.

Equipment Used

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More Bread Recipes

Hot Cross Buns

A traditional hot cross bun recipe. These are lightly spiced, packed full of fruit & finished with an apricot glaze.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Proving2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time3 hours 25 minutes
Course: Snack
Servings: 12 People
Author: Ben Racey


  • Large Baking Tray
  • Piping Bag



  • 500 g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 7 g Fast Action Yeast
  • 50 g Light Brown Sugar
  • 7 g Maldon Salt
  • 1 tbsp Toasted Milk Powder Optional
  • 1 Lemon, Zested
  • 1 Orange, Zested
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp Ground All Spice
  • 275 g Whole Milk Lukewarm
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Yolk
  • 50 g Unsalted Butter – Room Temperature Cut Into Small Pieces
  • 50 g Raisins
  • 50 g Sultanas
  • 50 g Currants
  • 200 ml Tea
  • 1 tbsp Mixed Peel
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple Cored & Grated (No Need To Peel)

Egg Wash

  • 1 Whole Egg
  • 1 tsp Whole Milk
  • Cross
  • 3 tbsp Plain Flour
  • 3-4 tbsp Cold Water


  • 1 tbsp Apricot Jam
  • 2 tbsp Hot Water


  • The first step is to soak the fruit. To do this, weigh the raisins, sultanas & currants into a bowl & pour over the hot tea. Leave to soak uncovered whilst you make the dough.
  • Into the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, milk powder, spices, zests, egg & milk.
    Using the dough hook attachment, mix on a medium speed until you have a smooth, elastic dough. This will take around 5 minutes.
    With the mixer still on, add the butter to the dough a piece at a time. Continue kneading until the dough passes the windowpane test.
  • Drain the soaked fruit through a sieve (discard the liquid) & add this to the dough along with the mixed peel & grated apple. Mix this is in on a medium speed until fully incorporated, 3-4 minutes.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm & leave to prove until double in size, this will take around 1 hour.
  • Once risen, tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface, knock back & divide into 12 evenly sized pieces.
    Shape each piece into a ball & place onto a lined baking tray. Arrange the buns into 4 rows of 3, leaving around 2cm between each bun. Cover loosely with clingfilm or a damp tea towel & leave to rise until almost doubled in size, 1 – 1.5 hours.
  • Preheat an oven to 180°c.
  • Whilst the buns are proving, mix the 3 tbsp of plain flour with enough water to make a smooth, thick paste. Transfer this to a piping bag.
    For the egg wash, mix the egg & milk together until combined.
  • When the buns have risen, brush each one with egg wash then pipe a line of the flour paste across each row of buns, repeat in the other direction so that each bun has a cross on top.
    Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a deep golden brown.
  • Mix the apricot jam & hot water together until smooth. Brush each bun generously with the glaze then leave to cool completely before serving.


To Cook In An Aga.

Place the grid shelf onto the floor of the baking oven.
Cook as above.
The dried fruit is soaked in tea before being adding to the dough. I use Yorkshire tea for this but feel free to use different types – Earl Grey would work well. For 200ml of hot water, I use 1 tea bag.
In most of my bread recipes (including this one), I use a Canadian white bread flour from Shipton Mill. You can use any strong white bread flour but I get the best results using this one.
This recipe uses toasted milk powder. My recipe for this can be found here.

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