Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Make this easy Hot Cross Buns recipe part of your Easter traditions! Follow my 3 tips for success to ensure sweet, pillowy buns every time.

If I can make Hot Cross Buns, ANYONE can make Hot Cross Buns.

And that means you – yes you! YOU can make these, and you’re going to love them. They are a lot like cinnamon rolls (with raisins) but not as intense with the cinnamon-sugar filling and the glaze.

I think that means you can eat twice as many. Right? Better double the batch.

Make this easy Hot Cross Buns recipe part of your Easter traditions! Follow my 3 tips for success to ensure sweet, pillowy buns every time.

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In the same way that my Grandma’s homemade crescent rolls are the cornerstone of Thanksgiving dinner, Hot Cross Buns are the cornerstone of Easter brunch.

With the sweetness of cinnamon and raisins and a pillowy softness, it just wouldn’t be Easter morning without a good Hot Cross Buns recipe.

Oh, and we need Deviled Eggs, too.

You hear all the time how “baking is a science” and all of that, so I knew it was especially important to get this recipe right. You have a lot to do: Dyeing Easter Eggs, hiding Easter eggs, finding Easter eggs, so there’s simple NO time for Hot Cross Bun Do-overs.

Make this easy Hot Cross Buns recipe part of your Easter traditions! Follow my 3 tips for success to ensure sweet, pillowy buns every time.

Tip #1: Make sure your yeast is as excited about Hot Cross Buns as you are.

I will spare you the sordid details, but even if you keep your yeast in the freezer, it obviously still has an expiration date. Just take a look before you get started so there are no unpleasant surprises.

Make this easy Hot Cross Buns recipe part of your Easter traditions! Follow my 3 tips for success to ensure sweet, pillowy buns every time.

Tip #2: Make sure the dough has Risen.

You don’t need to give it three days but…. Rising is paramount to the success of this and all other yeast breads. Obviously having happy yeast is crucial (see Tip #1), but you also need a warm, draft-free place for the dough to rise.

Back when I lived in the Frozen Tundra, aka Wisconsin, I discovered a fool-proof method to ease your bread-rising woes. Use your oven.

Here’s the trick. You don’t want the oven too hot; the bread might start to cook or form a crust. But, you want it warm: About 110 degrees or 120 degrees at the most. However, most ovens don’t have a minimum temperature that goes that low.

So, I preheat the oven for the minimum temperature: 200 degrees on my oven. Then, as soon as the oven starts to register a temperature (anything over 100 degrees), I shut off the oven. That way, the oven is warm and stable and perfect for rising. I repeat this trick for both points in the recipe where rising is required. It really makes all the difference in the world.

Save this Hot Cross Buns Recipe to your “Appetizers” Pinterest board!

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Make this easy Hot Cross Buns recipe part of your Easter traditions! Follow my 3 tips for success to ensure sweet, pillowy buns every time.
5 from 8 votes
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Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Make this easy Hot Cross Buns recipe part of your Easter traditions! Follow my 3 tips for success to ensure sweet, pillowy buns every time.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 40 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 242 kcal

Ingredients

For the buns:

  • 1 cup warm milk 110ºF
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 packets or 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins or currants

For the egg wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water

For the glaze:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a large measuring cup, whisk together milk, butter, egg, and vanilla.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, add 3 cups flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and cinnamon. With the mixer on low speed, add the milk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add raisins and increase mixer speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, 9 to 10 minutes. After 5 minutes, the dough should clear the sides of the bowl (have pulled away) but stay attached at the bottom. If the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl, add the remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough clears the side of the bowl.
  4. Turn the dough out on to a clean surface and shape into a ball. Coat a large bowl with nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning once to cover evenly in nonstick spray, then cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free area to rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. See notes for help creating a place for the dough to rise.
  5. Coat a 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper. Turn the risen dough out on to a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a tightly formed bun and place in the prepared baking dish, seam side down.
  6. Cover the buns with plastic wrap coated with nonstick spray. Place in a warm, draft-free area to rise until doubled in volume and touching, about 1 hour. See notes for help creating a place for the dough to rise.
  7. Preheat oven 375ºF. To make the egg wash, whisk together egg and water. Brush gently over the buns. Bake until the buns are deep golden brown and the interiors have reached 190ºF, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely, ate least 30 minutes.
  8. To make the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl. Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze in an cross pattern on top of each bun. I found it easiest to do a long, continuous line in one direction across the buns in a row, and then repeat in a perpendicular direction for each row.

Recipe Notes

To create a suitable place for dough to rise, preheat oven to the lowest possible temperature (200 degrees on my oven). Once the oven registers a temperature on your control panel (about 100 degrees on my oven), immediately shut it off. Place the dough in the slightly warm oven to rise. The idea is to get the oven warm, but not hot. About 100 - 120 degrees is perfect.

Adapted from Bob's Red Mill and The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.

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18 comments

  1. Growing up, I loved when Good Friday would come around and mum would make the hot cross buns. The kitchen would smell amazing and I would eat as many as I could, warm with butter. Yours  are perfect and take me right back.

    • High praise from an English lass! :) Yes, the extra slab of butter for serving is not pictured… ;)

  2. They are on my list to make. Looks great!

  3. Awesome job here! OK, I admit I have never had a hot cross bun. Sad face. BUT the good news is you have inspired me to make my own next and this recipe has been Pinned! :)

  4. Wow, Meggan, your hot cross buns look just about perfect!! Well done, girl! 

    I tried to make some chocolate orange ones last year, which I thought was so smart of me, and they were a total flop. Time to follow your tips, I think! :-)

  5. Nice buns!! *lecherous eyebrow wiggle*
    Seriously, these are gorgeous and are getting me in the mood for Easter brunch!

    • YOU KILL ME. You just kill me. But seriously some time I will tell you about my bad yeast and how it reduced me to tears. I cannot tell you how often I think to myself… where is SUGARHERO when I need her!!! I also contemplate daily if I could afford your rate for dessert photography *lecherous eyebrow wiggle*

  6. I grew up with hot cross buns but have never made them! Every time I see a recipe I think why haven´t you made them yet..? To me Easter = hot cross buns. My favourite way to eat them is toasted with butter and honey. Oh man it´s so good!!

    • I was thinking it would be great to slather them with butter, I never even thought of honey! What a great idea! I will have to make them again just to try that. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

  7. They look so fabulous Meggan, perfect toasted with butter and a nice cup of tea! 

  8. In the old days oven had pilot lights and it was the perfect temp to rise your yeast breads.

  9. Your recipe calls for 1/2 ground cinnamon. I am assuming you mean 1/2 teaspoon. Is this correct?

    • Yes, so sorry about the typo! Typos are the worst. Half teaspoon. Thanks for finding that and sorry again.

  10. I made these Hot Cross Buns this morning and absolutely loved them. I just used regular store-brand flour because that is what I had available. Also, based on a previous recipe I used 1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, and added
    1/2 tsp of nutmeg and ground orange peel from half an orange. They turned out huge and light. I might make them a little smaller next time and get more than a dozen rolls out of the recipe. Thanks Meggan!

    • I’m so happy to hear this Daphne! Makes my day. I love the recipe and I’m so glad it worked out for you (despite my typos, too!). Thank you again and Happy Easter!

  11. Now do these rolls have nearly 95 cabs per roll? Thats crazy

    • Crazy and totally wrong. I’m correcting the nutrition label. For some reason we had 9 cups of flour in the calculation. So sorry about that!!! Should be 44g of carb per roll. 1.5g dietary fiber. Thank you so much for finding that and sorry about the error!

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