Easy Hot Cross Buns

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Yield: 12 to 14 buns

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This soft dough is easily shaped, and makes tender, aromatic buns, ready for an icing cross on top.

Easy Hot Cross Buns

star rating (88) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 12 to 14 buns
Published: 01/01/2010



  • 1/4 cup apple juice or rum
  • 1/2 cup mixed dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup raisins or dried currants
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, 1 separated
  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 4 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour


  • 1 large egg white, reserved from above
  • 1 tablespoon milk


  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons milk, or enough to make a thick, pipeable icing

Tips from our bakers

  • To up the fiber of these buns, substitute 1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) Hi-maize Fiber for 1 cup of the flour.


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1) Lightly grease a 10" square pan or 9" x 13" pan.

2) Mix the rum or apple juice with the dried fruit and raisins, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave briefly, just till the fruit and liquid are very warm, and the plastic starts to "shrink wrap" itself over the top of the bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Note: If you worry about using plastic wrap in your microwave, simply cover the bowl with a glass lid.

3) When the fruit is cool, mix together all of the dough ingredients except the fruit, and knead, using an electric mixer or bread machine, till the dough is soft and elastic. Mix in the fruit and any liquid not absorbed.

4) Let the dough rise for 1 hour, covered. It should become puffy, though may not double in bulk.

5) Divide the dough into billiard ball-sized pieces, about 3 3/4 ounces each. A heaped muffin scoop (about 1/3 cup) makes about the right portion. You'll make 12 to 14 buns. Use your greased hands to round them into balls. Arrange them in the prepared pan.

6) Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for 1 hour, or until they've puffed up and are touching one another. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

7) Whisk together the reserved egg white and milk, and brush it over the buns.

8) Bake the buns for 20 minutes, until they're golden brown. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.

9) Mix together the icing ingredients, and when the buns are completely cool, pipe it in a cross shape atop each bun.

Nutrition information

Serving Size: 114g, 1 bun Servings Per Batch: 12 Amount Per Serving: Calories: 273 Calories from Fat: 19g Total Fat: 2g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 54mg Sodium: 375 mg Total Carbohydrate: 57g Dietary Fiber: 2 Sugars: 24g Protein: 8g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.


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  • star rating 04/08/2015
  • Cheryyl from Puyallup WA
  • The best so far Used candied lemon peel (my own) Added dried milk & potato flakes & of course the raisins! Did not have currants - otherwise would have used those. Doubled the spices. IT is almost same recipe thats in my South African cookbook . Very tradtional hot cross buns
  • star rating 04/05/2015
  • WeeBee from Seattle
  • I've been wanting to try out my new mixer and decided that this recipe would be the first one. I haven't made anything with yeast for thirty-plus years. It's unfair that this uses 2 teaspoons which leaves me with 1/4 tsp. of yeast leftover -- it all went in. Finding "instant" in the store was a wee bit challenging too The texture of these was beautiful. Someone in the reviews posted tips on what to set the mixer on - Stir for 5 min and 2 for the rest. I was a bit confused by the eggs. 3 eggs, 1 separated -- so does that mean put the single yolk in and then the 2 whole eggs? Well that's what I did and the buns were great. I would make the buns smaller to make them prettier if I decide to make them again.
    Yes, if you see a recipe calling for only 1 of the eggs separated, then the others will be used whole. MJR @ KAF
  • star rating 04/05/2015
  • Linda from Hamden , Ct
  • Hi, I made this today for Easter and was very happy with how they turned out! The texture was perfect and the baking time was fine. I prepped the dough in my bread machine and it was great! Next time I will add more raisins and maybe some dried cranberries. Thanks for a fun recipe! I am new to this site and I really like it.
  • star rating 04/05/2015
  • Amy from DeSoto, KS
  • Very nice dough, a bit on the soft side, but with great oven spring. The flavors are delicious. I got twelve buns a little over 100 grams raw dough each from the recipe. They were well received, with some people taking seconds.
  • star rating 04/05/2015
  • SrDiva from KAF Community
  • I made these for Easter - delicious and easy to make. I am proof that you can make a big omission, go back and still get a good product! I thought the dough was unusual but was making the balls when I realized I had not put in the eggs so I put the dough back together, added the eggs and mixed some more. I used egg substitute and noticed no difference in taste or texture. I do always use real butter. I put a cap full of the LorAnn Oils butter rum flavoring in the apple juice to soak the golden raisins which is the only fruit I used. I let the dough rise, made the balls and refrigerated them overnight using non-stick foil to cover. I used food service gloves sprayed with non-stick spray to form the balls. They were a big hit this morning! Thank you, KAF, for wonderful recipes!
  • star rating 04/04/2015
  • Sam R from Portland OR
  • Wow! These are phenomenal!!! Very soft and tender with a fantastic, delicate old-fashioned spice flavor and aroma. I made a double batch for Good Friday and gave them all away, and they were so good I baked another batch this morning so I could have some for me! They turned out beautiful both times. I made exactly per the recipe, except I added a pinch of cardamom, and a teaspoon of finely grated orange rind into the dough, and a half-tsp of orange rind into the icing. Also, I poured the soaking rum off the currants into the batter before kneading, because I knew it would make a sticky mess to add it at the end with the currants. These would make lovely buns for a special brunch. I used 3 ounces of dough for each, which yielded 16 buns for the single batch. Can't wait to serve these to guests!
  • star rating 04/04/2015
  • Nancy from Greenville , S.C.
  • Read all the comments , then made according to instructions. Flavor was oustanding, texture perfect.The dough was very hard to work with but oiled hands solved the problem. Next time I will make the buns half the size making smaller buns in two ,eight inch pans.I added a pinch of cardamom to the spice mix, and raisins and cranberries as my fruit.
  • star rating 04/04/2015
  • Linda D from Dearborn,MI
  • I've made these buns twice this week- first time a trial run . They are outstanding ! I used a mixture of currents, golden raisins, cranberries and apricots with a 1/2 teaspoon fiori di sicilia added to the apple juice.Second time I made them I left the buns in the fridge overnight, let rise an extra 15 minutes in the morning then baked-- no difference at all. Yes the dough is sticky- but read the recipe blog and these buns are very easy. This recipe delivers ! Great taste- not too sweet- wonderful texture and Easy as promised! Will be making lots more of these Easy Hot Cross Buns !
  • 04/03/2015
  • Michael from california, mo
  • Great flavor and texture. Would like suggestions for greasing pan so buns release easily.
    We use pan spray here in our test kitchens, or you can try solid shortening, or lining your pan with parchment. MJR @ KAF.
  • star rating 04/03/2015
  • Joe G. from Mission Viejo, CA
  • Wow. I tried the Martha Stewart recipe a few days ago and was really disappointed. The buns were heavy and dry. I decided to give it another go with this recipe. I did make a few adjustments. I used all fruit rather than a combination of currant/raisins and fruit. I increased the amount of fruit to 1 1/2 cups. I also used an additional 1/8 cup of brown sugar. I followed the recommendation of others and increased the overall baking time from 20 minutes to 30 minutes. I covered them with foil for the last 10 minutes. Spectacular result. The buns are soft, moist, sweet, full of fruit and a beautiful golden brown. I can't recommend this recipe highly enough. The perfect Hot Cross Bun recipe.
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