Hot Cross Buns Recipe [Video]

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet
5 from 2 reviews

Hot Cross Buns are slightly sweet, with raisins and spiced with cinnamon, and perfectly puffy. They became an Easter tradition to celebrate Good Friday.

There is nothing better than a warm bun on Easter morning. It is our family’s favorite treat, and we are always looking forward to enjoying them. You can serve them for breakfast or brunch with deviled eggs, ham and cheese quiche, or with bacon ham and cheese rolls.

Hot Cross Buns

Easy Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Hot Cross Buns were originally a Saxon tradition, but later they became an Easter tradition. They are marked with a cross on top, signifying a crucifix, and are typically served on Good Friday. They are very popular all over the world, and are amongst our favorite sweets to make for this special day!

Although they are very popular to eat for Easter, they can be enjoyed at any time of the year. These buns are sweet, citrusy rolls which are simple to make and are bursting with flavor! We lightly spice the dough with cinnamon and nutmeg and studded with raisins.

Then, we glaze them on top just a little bit to add some sweetness to them. They are perfect when served warm, as they are puffy, flaky and amazingly delicious. Once you bite into them, they simply melt in your mouth!

Why are hot cross buns?

They began to be enjoyed in England in the late 1600s and were originally called Good Friday buns. Marked with a cross to symbolize the religious importance of that occasion. This name was given to them because they were meant to be eaten only on Good Friday.

Due to their popularity, they eventually became known worldwide as hot cross buns. The cross on the bun is sometimes made, before baking, with narrow strips. However, it can also be made after baking with a thick mix of icing sugar and milk.

Hot Cross Buns Recipe

What are the ingredients in hot cross buns?

  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup very warm milk
  • 1/2 cup white sugar + 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Can you eat hot cross buns cold?

  • Yes. Although we strongly recommend to enjoy them warm, right after baking. However, if you have leftovers, you can enjoy them the next day cold or simply microwaving them for about 20 seconds.

What to do with stale hot cross buns?

  • Alternatively, you can cut them in half and make a really scrumptious French toast or just sauté the halves in butter on a skillet and enjoy with your morning tea or coffee!
  • Another way to utilize stale buns would be for a bread pudding. Give it a try, it’s very delicious!

Do you add raisins in the hot cross buns recipe?

Yes, we love using rasing and mixing with the dough. It gives them a tangy taste and a nice texture. The raisins taste best in the rolls when they have been soaked in a bit of warm water for at least 5-10 minutes.

Once soaked, drain them before adding to the rolled dough. If you are not a fan of raising, feel free to skip them, or substitute with chocolate chips.

Best Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Expert Tips:

  • Use Greek yogurt instead of the plain version for best texture and flavor. Also, if there’s any liquid in the yogurt be sure to drain it.
  • If your dough is sticky add more flour or use less yogurt.
  • Similarly, milk can be replaced for the glaze with water.
  • To make them with self-rising flour omit the salt and baking powder.
  • Also, don’t use too much sugar and fat in the dough. When it comes to yeast doughs, both sugar and fat can make the rolls less moist, resulting in a tougher texture.
  • When baking, use parchment paper and spray it with oil to prevent them from sticking to the baking sheet.
  • Bake them on the top rack so they don’t brown too much on the bottom.
  • Additionally, you can easily double or triple this recipe to make more. You can also half or quarter it to make less.

Watch Recipe Video:

Save Recipe
5 from 2 reviews
Best Hot Cross Buns
Author: Catalina Castravet Serves: 12 buns
Prep time: 3 hours Cook time: 20 minutes Total time: 3 hrs 20 mins


  • 1/2 cup  raisins 
  • 1 cup  boiling hot water 

Yeast Mixture:

  • 1/4 cup  warm milk 
  • 1 tablespoon  sugar 
  • 1  envelope active dry yeast  (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)

Prepare Dough:

  • 1/2 cup  milk 
  • 1/2 cup  white sugar 
  • 1/4 cup  unsalted butter  (softened)
  • 1/2 teaspoon  salt 
  • 2  large eggs  (beaten)
  • 3 1/2 cups  white all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon  cinnamon powder  (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon  vanilla extract 

Egg Wash:

  • 1  egg 
  • 1 tablespoon  water 


  • 2/3 cup  powdered sugar 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons  milk 
  • 1/2 teaspoon  vanilla extract 


  1. Add raisins to a small bowl and pour boiling water on top. Let them sit for 10 minutes, after which drain and set aside. Place on paper towels to dry.

Yeast Mixture:

  1. In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup very warm milk with 1 tablespoon of sugar, stir and after that sprinkle yeast on top. Stir and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. The mixture should almost double and size and look bubbly.

Prepare Dough:

  1. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, add 1/2 cup of very warm milk, remaining sugar, softened butter, eggs, and salt. Whisk until well combined. Add the yeast mixture and whisk to combine.

  2. Add vanilla extract, stir to combine.

  3. Using a mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix in cinnamon and the flour 1 cup at a time into the yeast mixture until a soft dough forms.

  4. Knead for about 10 minutes on small-medium speed, until the dough is smooth and sticks just a little to the bowl and to the fingers.
  5. Add raisins, mix in and after that transfer dough to a buttered bowl, cover with a towel and let it rest at room temperature for 2 hours.
  6. Lightly knead dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into 12 equal pieces. Arrange balls into a buttered 9x13 inch baking dish. Cover again with a towel and let rest in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat your oven to 375˚F.
  8. Prepare the egg wash by combining water and egg in a bowl and beat until smooth.
  9. Brush the tops with the egg wash and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the buns are golden brown on top.
  10. Remove from oven and cool in the pan.
  11. Prepare the glaze by combining sugar, vanilla, and milk and stirring until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add more milk, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Or add more sugar, little by little if the glaze is too runny.
  12. Drizzle the glaze onto each cooled bun, to resemble a cross.
  13. Serve and enjoy!
Calories: 274 Carbohydrates: 49 Protein: 5 Fat: 5 Saturated Fat: 3 Cholesterol: 52 Sodium: 156 Potassium: 124 Fiber: 1 Sugar: 16 Vitamin A: 200 Vitamin C: 0.3 Calcium: 34 Iron: 2
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Easter Hot Cross Buns

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They are super cool, i remember my mom used to make them for Easter everytime and we as kids, loved them so much. Now, I keep the tradition and make them as well, definitely love your recipe, and will give them a try!


Yes, these are delicious and perfect not only for Easter but any other day of the year! Give them a try, you will love them!



5 Stars.. This came out fabulous. Thanks


Thank you for the feedback! These buns are some of our all-time favorite, glad you enjoyed them as well!


Helen Purser

These look wonderful. I will try them for sure.



It there supposed to be cinnamon added to this recipe? It says spiced with cinnamon.


Yes, there is 1 optional teaspoon in the dough. I updated the instructions, sorry.



Can I mix the dough by hand? I don’t have a mixer. Would a bread machine work instead?


yes you could.


Indira Shoemake

How do I adjust recipe using self rising flour?



Can you make these the night before and refrigerate them before baking the next morning?


Yes, but make sure you let them come to room temperature before baking.


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