Traditional Hot Cross Buns Recipe

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Nothing says Easter more than some freshly baked hot cross buns (well, of course there are Easter eggs, but still). Hot Cross Buns are a traditional part of the Easter celebrations, and are easy enough to make at home for those wanting a more authentic Easter. So how do you make them? Well, first off, a little history lesson.

History Of Hot Cross Buns

According to one story, the origins of hot cross buns may go back as far as the 12th century, when Anglican monks would bake these sweet buns and mark them with a cross in honour of Good Friday. Over time they gained popularity, and eventually became a symbol of Easter weekend.

Traditional spiced, sticky glazed fruit buns with pastry crosses, hot cross buns are now seen as a classic Easter treat, although there is nothing stopping you having them at any time of year.

Here is my go-to traditional hot cross bun recipe that is based on a mixture of recipes over the years. Hope you like them!

freshly baked hot cross buns


For the buns

  • 300ml full-fat milk
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 7g sachet of fast-action yeast
  • 1 medium egg, beaten
  • 75g sultanans
  • 50g mixed peel
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg

For the cross

  • 75g plain flour

For the glaze

  • Jar of honey


  1. In a small pan, bring the 300ml full-fat milk to the boil being careful not to burn the liquid. Once boiled, remove from the heat and add 50g butter. Leave the mixture to cool until it reaches hand temperature.
  2. Mix the bread flour, salt, caster sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and yeast into a bowl. Once thoroughly mixed, make a well in the centre of the bowl.
  3. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture into the well, then add 1 beaten egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix well, then use your hands to ensure that all the ingredients are incorporated into the sticky dough.
  4. Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 5 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hr or until doubled it has doubled in size (I stored my dough in my airing cupboard).
  5. With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the sultanas and the mixed peel. Then knead into the dough, making sure that everything is well distributed throughout. Cover the dough again with oiled cling film, and leave to rise for another hour.
  6. Take the dough out of the bowl and divide it into 15 even pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Linke baking trays with baking paper, then arrange the buns on trays, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover (but don’t wrap or swish them) with more oiled cling film, then set aside to prove for another hour (by this point you’ll be hating the word prove, but it’s worth it!).
  7. While the buns are proving, heat your oven to 220C (200C Fan over or Gas Mark 7). To make the mixture for the crosses, mix the plain flour with around 5 tbsp water to make a paste. Spoon the thick paste into a piping bag with a small nozzle (or a plastic food bag that you can cut the corner off). Once the buns have finished proving, using the flour paste pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.
  8. Bake the buns for 15-20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.
  9. Place the buns on a wire cooling rack, then use a pastry brush to glaze them using the honey. Leave to cool, then enjoy!

Inspire to try out your baking skills some more? There are plenty of other recipes to try out for those bakers here. Don’t forget to let me know how your hot cross buns turned out!


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