Hot Cross Buns Recipe
Hot Cross Buns are made with an enriched dough that’s lightly sweetened and soft as a cloud. FIlled with plump dried berries and chocolate it’s sure to impress your tastebuds and family! Also, check out my recipe for Easter Bread and Brioche Dough.
These Hot Cross Buns use a well enriched with eggs and buttery flavor, then filled with all of my family’s favorites. Traditional Hot Cross buns use raisins and/or currants, but we like the combination of dried blueberries, craisins, and white chocolate. Yes, it’s not a common combination, but well loved in our family.
If this choice of fruits and chocolate is not to your liking, feel free to replace them with raisins and currants.
If you make this dough once, you will absolutely fall in love with it! It’s a basic sweet dough that works not only with these delicious and moist Hot Cross Buns, but it’s also good for any kind of sweet pastries and buns, with or without filling.
Spices for Hot Cross Buns
A traditional Hot Cross bun has a spice mixture of cinnamon, cloves (or allspice) and nutmeg. In our family, the kids are not fans of the spices, so I usually leave all of them out just like I did in the ones pictured in this post. But if it’s something your family does enjoy, feel free to add them to the dough.
Happy Resurrection and Easter!
Ingredients for Hot Cross Buns:
- The basic ingredients for the Hot Cross buns are all typical for a sweet yeast dough – flour, eggs, sugar, butter, yeast, and milk. The milk in this recipe makes the dough not stay fresh as long as one that is made with all eggs and butter (for liquids) like this Easter Bread that is made with the Brioche Dough.
- Feel free to use one or the other dough interchangeably. Both will give you one 9″x12″ baking dish.
- Spices: nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon are traditional for Hot Cross Buns, but in our family, we don’t use it. Feel free to use it or not, depending on preference.
How to make Hot Cross Buns:
- Check if your yeast is active: Dissolve yeast in the warm (110F-115F) milk with a teaspoon of sugar. Let rise for 5-10 min. This step is important if you need to check how active your yeast is. If you’ve used the yeast recently and sure that it’s fresh, you can skip this step and just add the yeast and milk separately into the dough.
- Make the Hot Cross Buns Dough: When you mix the dough, it will be very runny. Do not be tempted to add more flour. The high hydration in the dough is what makes these Hot Cross Buns so soft and fluffy. Adding more dough will make them more bready and dense.
- Once the hot cross bun dough is doubled in size, you will need to shape it. Since the dough is very runny and sticky it will be hard to shape the easter buns unless you oil your hands and the working surface very well.
- I baked my hot cross buns in a 9″x12″ baking dish and they come out dinner roll style, where they all touch each other. If you would like them perfectly round and not touching each other, you can bake them on a 12″x18″ baking sheet, spacing them out further apart.
How to make the Royal Icing:
- This recipe uses Royal Icing glaze for the crosses on top of the buns. If you are afraid of using the raw egg whites, you’re welcome to use 2 tbsp or 30 ml of pasteurized egg white that are typically sold in the cartons.
- OR, you can also use 2 tbsp of milk in place of egg whites for an egg-free version of the glaze. For this version, just whisk the milk and powdered sugar until thick and it pours in a ribbon. Add more powdered sugar if the glaze feels thin and doesn’t form a ribbon when falling off the spoon or a whisk.
- If your icing is not thick enough it will just fall flat. Make sure to either whip it enough (if using egg white) or add enough powdered sugar (if doing egg-free version) so that it stays in a nice thick ribbon.
Try these other Easter Recipes:
- Paska Easter Bread – soft and pillowy as a cloud, full of plum dried berries and white chocolate.
- Brioche Bread – Use this dough for dinner rolls, pastries or any other buns.
- Olivier Salad – we make this Russian Potato Salad every Easter, it’s so good!
- Pavlova Cake – looking for something gluten-free? This meringue cake is loaded with berries and delicious cream!
Hot Cross Buns
Hot Cross Buns recipe makes the softest, lightly sweetened buns that will be perfect for your Easter table. Use your favorite dried fruits to make this recipe a family favorite.
- 1/2 cup whole milk, warm, not hot
- 2 tsp instant dry yeast (Platinum brand is best)
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 3 large eggs (3 eggs = 2/3 cups)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp zest of orange
- 2.5 cups all-purpose flour (measured by spooning flour into measuring cup) (2.5 cups = 375g)
- 1/2 cup room temperature unsalted butter 1/2 cup = 113 g
Add on's - Rum Soaked Dried Fruits
Powdered Sugar Glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg white
- 1 tsp lemon juice
Hot Cross Spice mix
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
How to make Brioche Dough
Proof yeast: Dissolve 1 tbsp of dry yeast in a 1/2 cup of warm (110F - 115F) milk. Let stand for about 5 - 10 minutes. The mixture should visibly increase in size and foam up because the yeast is active. If it does not, discard the yeast and start over with unexpired yeast.
Whisk eggs & sugar: Combine the 3 eggs with 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl and whip/whisk in a mixer on medium speed for several minutes. Next, add the proofed yeast mixture and mix to combine.
Add and knead Flour: add the flour and spices (if using) in halves, mixing with a spoon after each. Then, fit the mixer with a dough hook attachment and knead for about 10-15 minutes or until the dough starts to pull in strands (gluten formation) away from the bowl. You can check for proper gluten formation by stretching a piece of dough into a thin "window". If the "window" gets very thin and translucent, move on to the next step.
Add Butter: Add butter in about 8-10 additions, mixing after each until fully incorporated into the dough. Next, add the dried fruits and orange zest, and spices and also knead until fully incorporated.
Proof the Hot Cross Bun Dough: Transfer the dough to a large well-oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel then allow to proof in a warm place for about 2 hours, or until the dough is doubled in size.
Tip: You can turn your oven to "warm" temp for about 2-3 minutes, then turn the oven off, place the dough inside the oven, turn the oven light on and close the door.
Shape & Bake: Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and tuck the ends of each piece under itself until you get a round ball. Place into a greased 9"x12" baking dish and allow to proof for about 1 - 1.5 hours, or until doubled in size.
Bake in a 350F oven until golden in color and the inside registers at 190F degrees, about 20-25 minutes. Loosely cover with foil if the tops brown to fast.