Hot cross buns are a delicious sweet treat, traditionally made as an Easter recipe on Good Friday. Soft and sweet, these buns are perfect for breakfast on Easter morning, too. Fluffy rolls with juicy raisins and a sweet glaze on top.
Hot Cross Buns
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 posted a traditional hot cross bun recipe last year, but this is an easier, no-hassle Easter recipe.
For these hot cross buns, the dough is a bit sweeter. I use it 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 forgiving and reliable.
How long will it take for the dough to rise?
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!
What’s the best way to eat traditional hot cross buns?
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.
How do I store baked rolls?
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!
How do I make the cross on top?
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.
This post has been updated from its original publish date with slight recipe tweaks and new photography.
How to make hot cross buns
Easy Easter Hot Cross Buns
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 tsp Red Star quick rise yeast
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour divided (plus extra for dusting your work surface)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 Pinch of salt
- 2 tsp ground cloves
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup dried raisins
For The cross
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 12 tsp water
For The Glaze
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tbsp sugar
- Dust a baking tray with some cornmeal or flour. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl combine the warm water and yeast. Mix until dissolved.
- Add the sugar and egg and whisk until combined.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon until it looks more like a smooth batter. It will be quite wet.
- Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes it should look bubbly but still very wet. Add the oil and salt and fold through with a spatula.
- Add the remaining cup of flour and mix into a ball. Transfer to a stand mixer with a dough hook and add the spices. If the dough is still a little wet, add another tablespoon or two of flour until it starts to firm up more. It should be soft but not too sticky.
- Add the raisins and mix the dough on low speed for 5 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to your table dusted lightly with flour and form the dough into a ball. Place the dough into a bowl which has been lightly greased with olive oil. Cover and let rest for about another 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes or the dough has roughly doubled in size, knock all of the air out of it and divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into small balls. An easy way to do this is to cup the dough under your palm and gently roll it in a circle while gently pressing down on it.
- Place all 12 dough balls onto the prepared baking tray in a 4 x 3 formation almost touching each other.
- Cover with a clean towel and let rise for another hour or until they have started to come together on the tray.
- While they are rising make the mixture for the cross. Mix the water and flour together to form a paste. Once the buns are ready for the oven, using a piping bag or zip lock back with the corner snipped of, squeeze the cross mixture across the buns in both directions to form the cross.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes and golden brown.
- Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a pot. Simmer until reduced by about half and a syrup has formed.
- Glaze the buns when they come out of the oven and let cool. Best served the same day.