How to Make Hot Cross Buns at Home

Hot cross buns are lightly spiced, sweet yeast rolls with dried fruit like raisins or currants. Icing in the shape of a cross is piped on top. Originating in England, their history dates back to the 12th century where an Anglican monk put a cross on the bun to symbolize the end of the Lenten season.

To get around a law Queen Elizabeth I put in place forbidding the sale of hot cross buns, people began making them at home (eventually this law went away). They became so popular a rhyme was created, “Hot Cross Buns, Hot Cross Buns, One ha’penny, Two ha’penny, Hot Cross Buns!”

Warm out of the oven with a pat of butter, hot cross buns are irresistible. The aroma in the kitchen, while they bake, is intoxicating. Create hot cross buns in your own kitchen, with this step-by-step guide. While there are a few steps, it’s a very easy hot cross buns recipe. Baking these is a great Easter activity and make a delicious gift!


For Hot Cross Buns
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3/4 cup and 1 tablespoon sugar, separated
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 cup raisins in 1/2 cup of water (can substitute currants)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk (save white for egg wash)
Egg Wash
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. In mixing bowl, combine the bread flour, sugar, salt, and spices. Set aside.

2. Put raisins and water in a bowl, Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 1 minute. Strain raisins and set aside.

3. Heat the water and milk on the stove until a thermometer reads between 105 to 110 degrees.

4. Pour water/milk into a bowl. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the packet of yeast on top. Press on the yeast lightly, with the back of a spoon, to wet the yeast but do not mix (if there is any yeast on the back of the spoon wipe it off and into the bowl). Let sit for 10 minutes to bloom.

5. Make a well in the flour mixture. Add melted butter, eggs and yolk, vanilla, and yeast mixture into the bowl. Using a dough hook, on low speed, mix the wet ingredients with the flour mixture until it comes together (about two minutes).

6. Add the raisins. Mix for about a minute until combined. Dough will be sticky.

7. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of flour on a clean surface. Turn the dough onto the floured surface. Sprinkle another tablespoon of flour on top of the dough.

8. Using floured hands, knead dough for 6 to 8 minutes until the dough is elastic. While kneading, dust a little flour on the dough and on hands as needed.

9. Place the dough in a large greased bowl. Cover with a towel and let it sit for an hour to rise.

10. After an hour, the dough will double in size.

11. Punch down the dough.

12. Turn dough onto a clean surface. Cut into 12 equal pieces of dough.

13. Then form into balls by gathering together the dough at the bottom creating a smooth top.

14. Place dough balls onto a greased pan 2 inches apart.

15. Cover for a second rise for about 30 to 45 minutes.

16. Mix together the egg wash. Brush the tops of the buns.

17. Bake the buns at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. When ready, they are golden brown.

18. Whisk together the icing ingredients until smooth. It should be a thick paste so it doesn’t melt on the warm buns. If a little thinner icing is preferred, add one teaspoon of additional milk at a time.

19. When the buns have cooled a little but are still warm, pipe a cross shape on the buns.

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