Hot Cross Buns

March 3, 2021mayurisjikoni
Blog post


Hot Cross Buns are sweet and spicy buns usually made with some dried fruit and is marked with a cross on top. Traditionally enjoyed on Good Friday, the buns also mark the end of Lent. These have a certain meaning. The cross represents the crucification of Jesus and the spices signifies the spices used to embalm the body of Him during burial.


Nursery Rhyme 


Perhaps dating back to 1700s it is believed that bakers and their kids would shout out to customers to buy the freshly baked Hot Cross Buns. However, that song is practically stuck in my brains and come Easter Time, can’t help but sing it!


Different Flavours

These days its common to find different flavours of Hot Cross Buns in the supermarkets. Coffee flavored, chocolate, apple cinnamon ones, orange cranberry, lemon and poppy seeds and even toffee ones. I’d love to try out almond and cherry ones and mango coconut ones too. However, my recipe for now is the traditional Hot Cross Buns.  Main flavours are used to make Hot Cross Buns Cupcakes. 


Some Sweet Breads You May Want to Check Out


Ingredients Required For Hot Cross Buns

  • Plain Flour – all purpose flour – for the buns and the flour paste. Extra flour for sprinkling on the worktop when kneading the dough.
  • Dried Fruits – raisins, sultana, currants, mixed peels
  • Yeast – dried active yeast. I have used the instant one. If you use dried active yeast, you will need to ferment the yeast for about 10 minutes in some warm milk.  Add about 1 tsp sugar to the warm milk, stir. Add the yeast, mix. Cover and allow it to ferment for 10 minutes or till the mixture is frothy and bubbly.
  • Sugar – use caster or brown sugar. Also need some white sugar for the flour paste and for the sugar glaze.
  • Fresh Juice – can use either apple or orange juice. I’ve used orange juice.
  • Salt – to balance the flavours
  • Butter – use either salted or unsalted. If using salted then use half the quantity of salt. Need to melt the butter and allow it to cool before using it.
  • Cinnamon Powder
  • Nutmeg Powder
  • Clove Powder
  • Eggs – large at room temperature, for the bread dough and for the wash
  • Orange Zest – grated rind of orange, optional
  • Water– for the flour paste and sugar glaze



I like how simply BAKING MAD.COM explains to roll bread dough into perfect round balls. Check the video out.

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Hot Cross Buns are sweet and spicy buns usually made with some dried fruit and is marked with a cross on top. Traditionally enjoyed on Good Friday, the buns also mark the end of Lent. 
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
FERMENTING TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Bread, Breakfast, Tea Time
Cuisine British
Servings 12 BUNS



  • ½ cup fresh orange juice or apple juice hot
  • ¾ cups raisins, sultana, mixed peel mixture
  • cups plain flour/ bread flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp instant active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg powder
  • ¼ tsp clove powder
  • 2 large eggs room temperature, beaten
  • 6 tbsp butter melt it and cool
  • ¾ cup milk warm
  • 1 tbsp orange zest


  • ½ cup plain flour
  • 3-5 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp sugar


  • 1 small egg
  • 1 tbsp milk


  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 6 tbsp water



  • Heat up the orange juice or apple juice till it becomes hot.
  • Add the dried fruit mixture to the hot juice. Mix and allow it to soak for at least 15-20 minutes.


  • Sift 3 cups of flour, salt and the spice powders together into a big mixing bowl.
  • Add sugar and yeast. If you are using normal active dry yeast, allow it to ferment in the measured warm milk.
  • Add warm milk, melted butter, beaten eggs and orange zest to the flour.
  • Drain out the soaked fruits. Save the liquid.
  • Sprinkle about 3-4 tbsp flour( from the remaining half cup) over the soaked fruit. Mix gently.
  • Add the liquid and the soaked fruits to the flour mixture.
  • Bring everything together to form a dough.
  • Sprinkle the work top with some flour.
  • Put the dough on the worktop and begin to knead it.
  • If it is too sticky, add a tbsp of flour at a time.
  • Knead the dough till its smooth and silky and only slightly sticky. This will take about 7-10 minutes.
  • Can knead the dough in stand mixer using the dough hook.
  • Lightly grease a big bowl with some oil or butter.
  • Shape the dough into a round ball. Put it in the greased bowl and cover.
  • Allow the dough to rise till its double in size. Mine took 1 hour.


  • While you wait for the dough to ferment, prepare the flour paste and the sugar syrup.
  • To prepare the flour paste, mix the flour and sugar in a small bowl.
  • Add 1 tbsp of water at a time till you get a creamy paste, which is not too thick or runny. You should be able to pipe it using an icing bag.


  • Mix sugar and water in a saucepan.
  • Place it over medium heat, and stir till the sugar melts.
  • Lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer for 8-10 minutes or till it thickens like a syrup.


  • Gently deflate the risen dough.
  • Sprinkle the worktop with some flour.
  • Knead the dough gently. Divide it into 12 parts.
  • Grease a baking tray that is about 9X11 inches in size. I used butter ofr greasing.
  • Roll each part into a ball by circulating it on the worktop with your fingers till it becomes a round shape.
  • Arrange the rolled balls in the greased tray.
  • Cover the tray with a damp cloth and allow the dough to rise for 30-45 minutes or till they are double in size.


  • Whisk the egg and milk together, gently.


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Brush the risen dough balls gently with the egg wash.
  • Fit in a round plain icicing nozzle to the icing bag. Fill the icing bag with the flour paste.
  • Pipe a cross on each bun.
  • Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.
  • Allow the buns to cool a bit in the tray for about 3-5 minutes.
  • Gently remove the baked buns and place them on a wire rack to cool down completely.
  • Brush the cooled down Hot Cross Buns with the sugar glaze.
  • Serve.


  • Fermenting time for dough will vary depending on how hot your kitchen is .
  • I've used a mixture of raisins, sultana and mixed peels. Feel free to use raisins on their own. Can also add dried cranberries.
  • Instead of flour paste you can using icing to create the cross. Bake the buns and allow them to cool down. Take about 1 cup icing or confectioners sugar and mix it with 1 tbsp water or orange juice. Use that for piping the cross.
  • Instead of sugar glaze you can drizzle glaze icing over the buns. Mix 1 cup icing or confectioners sugar with 3 tbsp water or orange juice. Drizzle over the baked and cooled down buns.
Keyword Hot Cross Buns, Hot Cross Buns Recipe

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A little request:

If you do try this recipe then please either

  • add a comment below,
  • send a picture to my email
  •  tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
  • or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962


  • Archana

    March 9, 2021 at 5:39 am

    5 stars
    The moment I saw the title I was reciting the nursery rhyme Hot cross buns in my head. 😀 Guess you cannot take the kid away from me. These buns look awesome and they sound delicious. It has been ages since I baked bread so must try making them here.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 9, 2021 at 1:00 pm

      Thank you so much Archana, yes it use to be my favorite nurse rhyme not only when I was a toddler but also when I was teaching 🙂

  • Maria

    March 9, 2021 at 11:12 am

    5 stars
    These Hot Cross Buns look picture perfect, Mayuri! Thank you for sharing the history behind the buns and the fun nursery rhyme. I’m sure it’s stuck in my mind too and I’ll be singing it for the rest of the day. I can imagine with all those beautiful spices going in, how amazing the house must smell. I’ve never made Hot Cross buns before but all the ingredients are kitchen staple and your recipe very easy to follow so I’ll definitely try them very soon.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 9, 2021 at 12:59 pm

      Thank you so much Maria, if you like sweet and spicy breads then you’ve got to try hot cross buns. We love them.

    2. Bless my food by Payal

      March 10, 2021 at 4:07 pm

      5 stars
      This recipe reminded me of the sweet buns I have made with tutti fruity. However your recipe sounds to be very inviting using fruit juice, dry fruits and lots of spices making them sweet and spicy. This is definitely a worth trying recipe. Splendid.

      1. mayurisjikoni

        March 10, 2021 at 4:10 pm

        Thank you so much. Hot Cross Buns have been baked for a very long time.

  • Azlin Bloor

    March 9, 2021 at 11:14 am

    5 stars
    These hot cross buns look simply perfect, Mayuri, and I just love all your pictures. We have an old family recipe from my father-in-law’s mum that we use every year. But I am definitely going to try yours this year, because they look so delicious!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 9, 2021 at 12:58 pm

      Thank you so much Azlin, on several occasions I’ve had hot cross buns in London and wanted to try making them at home for a long time. Don’t know why I waited for Easter, as one can enjoy these buns any time.

  • Sandhya Ramakrishnan

    March 11, 2021 at 4:30 am

    5 stars
    You said it so right! To this day, I associate the hot cross buns with the rhymes we learned when young. I was actually so excited to bake it for the same reason. This is so perfect for the spring weather and I can’t wait to bake it around Easter. The buns look perfect!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 11, 2021 at 7:57 pm

      Thank you so much Sandhya. Will be baking them again as we loved them.

  • Lata Lala

    March 11, 2021 at 4:47 pm

    5 stars
    How lovely to share the recipe of traditional hot cross buns with the history behind making this. As always it’s a pleasure reading your post.
    The buns looks amazing with perfect golden top and I can smell the spices that went into it.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 11, 2021 at 7:56 pm

      Thank you so much Lata.

  • Poonam Bachhav

    March 12, 2021 at 9:40 am

    5 stars
    Hot cross buns was one of my favourite nursery rhymes. The buns look perfectly baked and I can imagine how flavorful it must have been with the orange juice, spices and nuts going in.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 12, 2021 at 4:09 pm

      Thank you so much Poonam. Growing up, I remember my mum would buy hot cross buns for use around Easter from our local bakery.

  • Pavani

    March 13, 2021 at 2:53 am

    5 stars
    Those hot cross buns look so soft, fluffy and delicious. I am going to make these with my kids for Easter. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 13, 2021 at 7:37 pm

      Thank you so much Pavani. Enjoy the time together in the kitchen with your kids and enjoy the buns when you bake them.

  • Priya Srinivasan

    March 13, 2021 at 8:13 am

    5 stars
    Like everybody else i too recited the rhyme, loudly!! thanks for sharing the history behind the Hot Cross Buns recipe! though i remember it gets done around easter, never knew the story behind the cross on top ! What beautiful traditions associated with food na! The buns look gorgeous mayuriji!!! plump breads, snuggling with each other on the pan, is super inviting!!!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 13, 2021 at 7:36 pm

      Thank you so much Priya, for a moment I thought you’ll start writing a poem. I too love how so many different foods around the world have some history or tradition.

  • Seema Sriram

    March 14, 2021 at 7:43 am

    5 stars
    I am now very much tempted to bake these. My daughter is a huge fan of hot cross buns ad we rely on store-bought ones. This will be the change we really need and will try during easter holidays.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      March 15, 2021 at 5:50 pm

      Thank you so much Seema. They are easy to make and delicious. Please do try baking them at home.

  • Mina Joshi

    April 5, 2021 at 10:26 am

    5 stars
    Your hot cross buns which looks delicious. Love these fluffy buns with all the aromatic spices you have used. I would just love to have them toasted and topped with lots of butter and marmalade. Homemade ones are the best. Thanks for reminding me of the childhood poem.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 5, 2021 at 11:18 am

      Thank you so much Mina.

  • Chef Mireille

    April 8, 2021 at 2:09 am

    5 stars
    One of my favorite Easter treats and your instructions are so easy to follow.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 8, 2021 at 8:03 pm

      Thanks Mireille.

  • Jagruti’s Cooking Odyssey

    April 8, 2021 at 10:15 pm

    We still sing that nursery rhyme quite often too, love hot cross buns with a generous amount of butter with masala chai. Without these, we do not feel that it’s Easter!

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 9, 2021 at 5:51 pm

      Thanks Jagruti and its true, I’ve grown up enjoying Hot Cross Buns and butter.

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