How to make hot cross buns

How to make hot cross buns

Let’s face it, it’s just not Easter without hot cross buns. And while we’ll admit that there are some great shop-bought options out there, making your own is easier than you think. So, if you want to spend your long weekend trying your hand at home-made hot cross buns, we’ll talk you through every step of the way.

What do I need to know about making hot cross buns?

At their core, hot cross buns are just little yeast-risen, spiced bread rolls, so if you’ve ever made bread, you’ll be able to make them. The only thing to remember is you need to give them time to rise and prove. Other than that, it’s pretty straightforward.

Play with the add-ins

If you like your buns on the spicier side, you can play with the combination of ground spices you include. Cinnamon and nutmeg are the usual choices, but you can also add mixed spice. Add orange and lemon zest, or leave them out if you don’t like them. The debate about dried fruit in hot cross buns seems to be never-ending, but the best thing about making your own is that you can add as much or as little as you like. Add some mixed peel if you like the fruitiness, or replace them with chopped chocolate – go wild to make your own perfect buns.


The finishing touches

It’s not a hot cross bun without a cross, and all this is a paste made from flour and water or milk. The consistency should be thick enough for the cross to hold its shape and so that it doesn’t drip into one big mess. Use a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off to make a piping bag. Once the buns are in the oven, you can make the syrup so that it’s ready to glaze the buns as soon as they come out of the oven.


  1. Combine 480 g flour, 2 x 10 g yeast sachets, 100 g brown sugar, ½ t each of your ground spices of choice (cinnamon, nutmeg or mixed spice, etc.), a pinch of salt, ½ t baking powder, ½ t bicarbonate of soda, zest of 1 lemon and 135 g dried fruit in a large mixing bowl. 

    Step 1

  2. Place 1¼ cups milk and 3 T butter in a saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted.

    Step 2

  3. Lightly whisk 2 free-range eggs and 1 t vanilla together and add to the dry ingredients, along with the milk-and-butter mixture. 

    Step 3

  4. Gently mix the dough using your hands or a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead for 10 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingwrap and place in a warm spot for 1½ hours until doubled in size. 

    Step 4

  5. After the dough has risen, knock it down to its original size, then roll into 12 evenly shaped buns. 

    Step 5

  6. Place the buns on a greased baking tray and cover with clingwrap, leaving enough room for the buns to rise. Allow the buns to rise for another 30 minutes. 

    Step 6

  7. To make the flour paste, mix 125 g flour and 5 T water to form a smooth paste, place in a Ziploc sandwich bag and cut off one of the corners to make a piping bag. 

    Step 7

  8. Pipe a cross onto each bun and bake at 180ºC for 15 minutes, or until the buns are golden and cooked through.

    Step 8

  9. While the buns are baking, make a syrup by combining 4 T sugar and water in a pan over a low heat. Stir until dissolved and sticky. Glaze the buns while they are still hot.

    Step 9

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