Our Flawless Hot Cross Bun recipe is the simple way to guarantee the best fruity bread buns all year round in the UK!
The best sweet bread dough made from scratch, with sultanas and apricots added for a delicious fruity flavour and don't forget the traditional cross on top.
A must-have healthy treat for the kids at Easter. Serve these British tea cakes toasted with a generous spread of butter.
How to make Flawless Hot Cross Buns?
As with all our recipes, we will break down how to make these sticky hot cross buns in simple steps. Follow the video below and continue to read for all the tips.
Check out the printable recipe card for all the ingredients you will need and measurements in both UK grams and US cups.Jump to Recipe
To make your sweet bread dough to mix the yeast into warm milk, set it aside to activate the yeast whilst you are weighing out your dry ingredients.
Mix the flour, caster sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon, and salt together. Create a well in the middle ready for your wet ingredients
Add a beaten egg, melted butter, and the yeast and milk mixture into the well.
Mix together, you can use a spoon or a mixer..... Conversely, we find it best to just get stuck right in with your hands!!
The hot cross bun dough will be super sticky! Which is completely normal at this point!
Sprinkle some flour down on the surface whilst you are kneading the dough for 10 minutes.
Do not feel tempted to add more flour to the mixture it will get less sticky as you are kneading it from the flour it picks up from the surface and the action of kneading.
How to knead?
Start off with the wet hot cross bun dough, shape into a round ball, push the dough with the heel of your hand/s away from you, stretching it flat.
Lift the dough furthest away and fold back over itself into a ball shape again, twist ball slightly, and push flat again.
Keep repeating and twisting for 10 minutes, set a timer and don't cheat!! 10 minutes of kneading later, you will have a smooth, not so sticky dough!
Flatten it down add a handful of sultanas and dried apricots, fold and knead them in and repeat until all the dried fruit has been added!
Place the hot cross bun fruit dough into a greased bowl and cover with a clean damp towel leave to proof until doubled in size.
How to proof?
The proofing time for hot cross buns, will vary on the temperature of your room? Remember that they will need to proof twice.
1st proof as a whole, 2nd proof when shaped into the fruit buns
If you have no time restrictions, it is best to leave the dough to double in size on the countertop!
This will give you the best soft bouncy hot cross buns.
Alternatively, if you are wanting quicker results, place somewhere warm to help proof, we place it in our airing cupboard! About 27°C/80°F is perfect for a quick rise.
It will take anywhere between 1 ½ hr- 3 hr, depending on room temperature for both the proofs to complete.
After the first proof has doubled in size, it is time to shape your buns. Knock the air out and stretch the dough into a long baguette shape.
Chop in half then mark out 6 equal pieces in each half. Last but not least, smooth each of the 12 sections into a rounded bun shape.
Place in a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Leave a little gap between each bun to allow them to rise and spread.
Now proof for at least 1hr (until they have doubled in size.)
How to make cross?
Wondering how to make a cross on a hot cross bun? It is a simple mix of plain flour and water.
We also added a couple of drops of Nielson Massey lemon extract to ours to give it some sweetness, however, this is optional.
It should be a very thick gloopy paste, to stop it spreading out when piping on.
Use a piping bag and nozzle to pipe your crosses on top of your hot cross buns. We used scissors to cut the paste at the ends without having to drag.
Why do they have a cross?
The traditional cross on the hot cross bun symbolises the crucifixion of Jesus.
Hot Cross Buns are often made for Good Friday, as it the end of Lent. People who have given up dairy during lent find these a nice treat.
They are also very popular healthy treat for children during easter.
How long to cook?
Bake your prepared hot cross buns, in a preheated oven at 180°C fan / 200°C conventional / 400°F for 15-20 minutes.
Don't worry if your crosses magically disappear during cooking, they will reappear again once the buns start to brown!
What to glaze bun with?
Finally, time to glaze the hot cross buns, we use 1 tbsp maple syrup mixed with 2 tsp water. Use a brush to coat the glaze over the cooked hot cross buns.
Pull the sticky spicy fruity buns apart, they are at their best eaten whilst they are still warm with some salted butter, yum!
How to store?
Hot cross buns, can be stored in either a food bag or lidded plastic container for up to 4 days at room temperture. Or freeze for up to a month. Allow to defrost at room temperture.
How to reheat hot cross buns?
In order to warm up, slice bun in half toast in the toaster for 1-2 minute. Or toast under the grill until browned instead.
Its up to you how you eat your hot cross bun, keep it simple with a spread of butter. Or add jam for an extra fruity taste.
Flawless Hot Cross Buns are perfect for Easter, but we love them all year round!
Not only do they make a sweet bread breakfast treat, but also great for packed lunches or after school snacks too!
Why not get really creative and create a bread and butter pudding with them!
Flawless Hot Cross Buns
Fruit Bun ingredients
- 7 grams (1 ½tsp) Dried Yeast
- 290 ml (1 ¼ cup) Milk
- 500 grams (4 cups) Strong White Flour you will need some extra for dusting worktop
- 75 grams (⅓ cup) Golden Caster Sugar or white caster sugar
- 2 tsp Mixed Spice Powder
- 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 2 tsp Salt
- 40 grams (¼ cup) butter Melted
- 1 Egg Whisked
- 150 grams (1 cup) Sultanas
- 50 grams (⅓ cup) Dried Apricot
- 1 tsp Butter for greasing the bowl
- 80 grams (⅔ cup) Plain flour
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) Water
- 1 tsp Lemon Extract
- 1 tbsp Maple Syrup mixed with 2 tsp water
- Warm-up milk slightly (shouldn't be hot) in pan or microwave and add dried yeast sachet. Leave aside for the yeast to activate.
- In a separate large mixing bowl add flour, sugar, mixed spice, cinnamon, and salt. Stir together and create a well to add your wet ingredients.
- Add melted butter, whisked egg, yeast and milk into the middle.
- Mix together with a spoon or your hands until combined. It will be very wet and sticky!! This is normal do not add more flour......
- Flour a clean work surface and set the timer for 10 minutes. Knead (see notes) the dough for the whole time.
- It will pick up some flour from the surface but ultimately, the kneading action will remove the stickiness.
- Flatten down and add a handful of dried fruits fold, knead and repeat until fruit is well mixed in.
- 1st ProofGrease a bowl and place kneaded dough in, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to double in size. (see notes for timing) Will take anywhere between 1 - 3 hr, depending on room temperature.
- Knock the air out of dough and shape into a baguette shape, divide into 12 even pieces.
- Smooth each piece into a bun shape.
- 2nd ProofLine a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and place buns leaving a small gap between each. Cover with damp towel and proof until doubled in size. It should take about 1 hr.
- Towards the end of the 2nd proof, preheat oven to 180°C Fan / 200°C / 400°F
- For the cross - Mix together plain flour with water and lemon extract. It should be a very thick paste. Put into a piping bag and use a nozzle or just snip off the end.
- Pipe crosses on each bun, we used scissors to keep them from dragging.
- Bake in the oven at 180°C Fan / 200°C / 400°F for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove hot cross buns from the oven. Makeup a simple glaze using maple syrup and water and spread on whilst still warm.
- Best enjoyed straight away whilst still warm, cut open and spread on a generous amount of butter!
How to kneadShape into a round ball, push the dough with the heel of your hand/s away from you, stretching it flat. Lift the dough furthest away and fold back over itself into a ball shape again, twist ball slightly, and push flat again. Keep repeating and twisting for 10 minutes.
How to proof?The proofing time will vary on the temperature of your room? Remember to allow time for 2 lots of proofing, 1st as a whole dough and 2nd as shaped into individual buns. It will take anywhere between 1½ hours to 3 hours, depending on room temperature. If you have no time restrictions, it is best to leave the dough to double in size on the countertop or even overnight in the fridge! This will give you the best soft bouncy hot cross buns. Alternatively, if you are wanting quicker results, place somewhere warm to help proof, we place it in our airing cupboard! About 27°C / 80°F for a quick rise.
This post was originally published on 11/03/2020 and had been modified on 09/03/2021. With updated step by steps, a new video and tips for creating the best hot cross buns!
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