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
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Divide the dough. Slice the dough into 12 roughly evenly sized pieces.
5. 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.
6. 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
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.