Hot cross buns are a delicious sweet treat, traditionally made as an Easter recipe on Good Friday. Soft and sweet with flavors like cinnamon, cloves and ginger, these buns are perfect sliced in half for breakfast on Easter morning served warm with good quality butter.
Of all the Easter recipes I see every year, hot cross buns are probably my favorite. The sweet and spicy taste always takes me back to when I was a kid. I’d eat them in the weeks leading up to Easter and then be bummed to have to wait another year to see them again.
I simplified the recipe for these hot cross buns, the dough is a bit sweeter and all the ingredients get mixed in at the beginning making it a super easy recipe to make. I also use this dough for any sort of sweet bread I need to make, like this Cinnamon Crumb Bread or these obnoxiously good Triple Berry Breakfast Buns. The dough is easy to manage and takes no time to rise by using quick-rise yeast.
how to make hot cross buns
- Making the dough
Add all of the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer. A dough hook is best to use but a paddle attachment will also work.
- Letting the dough rise
Once the dough has been mixed and kneaded into a ball, place it in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Find a warm place such as a laundry room or dryer to help with the rising process.
- After the dough has risen
Once the dough has doubled in size, dump it out onto a floured work surface and roll into an evenly sized log shape.
- Divide the dough
Slice the dough into 12 roughly evenly sized pieces.
- Rolling the dough into balls
Using some flour to help prevent sticking, roll each dough piece into a ball and place on a baking pan lined with parchment paper and dusted lightly with flour.
- Making the cross
The cross is just a mixture of white flour and water mixed to create a stiff paste. Use a piping bag with a very thin nozzle to get the best results and straightest lines.
FAQ’s about making hot cross buns
Rise time depends on a lot of factors, like how hot and humid your kitchen is. Yeast needs humidity to rise so I always like to set the bowl with the dough in it either in direct sunlight, on top of the laundry dryer or turn on the oven to 200 degrees then switch it off once it reaches temp. Cover the bowl with a towel and gently place the bowl into the oven. You’ll know when the dough is ready because it will have doubled in size. Like all yeast recipes, waiting is the hardest part. Take a deep breath and relax while the yeast works its bubbly magic. Making bread and other yeast products is a game of patience but the rewards are amazing!
Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, which is two days before Easter Sunday. As a result, if you decide to make this recipe, the day before Good Friday is the best time. Then all you have to do on Friday if you’re like me is slice them in half and spread a thick layer of salty butter on the inside.
Keep the buns in an airtight container or large ziplock bag. To serve, slice in half and place them in the toaster for a few minutes. Spread some good butter on each one and you have the perfect breakfast or coffee time snack!
So I know you’re looking at my buns and asking yourself where’s the frosting? Sorry, but I grew up with the traditional flour and water mixture for the cross. If you prefer the frosting version, just skip step #10 and add your own. Or, make this Lemon Icing.
more Easter recipes
Easy Easter Hot Cross Buns
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 envelope of quick rise yeast
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour plus 2 tbsp
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 Pinch of salt
- 2 tsp ground cloves
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 cup dried raisins
For The cross
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup plus 6 tsp of water
For The Glaze
- ⅓ cup apricot jam
- 2 tbsp water
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper and dust lightly with some flour.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the warm water, yeast, sugar, egg, flour, olive oil, salt, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and raisins.
- Using a dough hook attachment, mix the ingredients on low speed for about 4-5 minutes until they have come together.
- Dust your table with some flour and dump the dough onto the work surface.
- Sprinkle some extra flour on top of the dough if it seems sticky and knead the dough into a ball shape.
- Transfer the ball to a bowl that has been lightly sprayed with oil .
- Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm, humid place until doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen enough, dump it back out onto the table and knock out all of the air from it.
- Roll the dough into a log shape and cut it into 12 even sized pieces.
- Roll each piece into a tight ball and place on your prepared baking pan in a 4 x 3 pattern making sure to place each ball almost touching.
- Cover with a clean towel and let rise for another hour or until they have started to rise and touch sides with each other.
- Preheat the oven to 375° F.
- While they are rising make the mixture for the cross. Mix the water and flour together to form a smooth paste. Once the buns are ready for the oven, using a piping bag with a very thin nozzle or zip lock back with the corner snipped of, squeeze the cross mixture across the buns in both directions to form the cross.
- Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes and golden brown.
- Bring the apricot jam and water to a boil in a pot. Simmer until thin and runny.
- Glaze the buns and let cool. Best served the same day.