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Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Updated on July 8, 2019
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Bronwen is interested in food, diet, and creating recipes. She has prepared family meals and organised church and home functions.

Easter Customs

Lent is the holiest Christian season of the year. During Lent, we look forward to the celebration of Easter and the special foods that we connect with this time of the year. Lent is traditionally a time of self-denial and fasting for forty days, as Jesus did in the wilderness, but it lasts for forty-six days as Sundays are special feast days and not counted.

Lent and Fasting. In the middle ages Christians observed the fast quite rigidly. On Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday as it is also called, eggs were used up because they would not be eaten again until Easter Day. Devout Christians also abstained from meat, butter, cheese, milk, lard and dripping. Apart from the religious aspect, it was a good way of cleaning out the body and controlling weight. Today most people are not so strict, although many still fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Good Friday and Hot Cross Buns. Good Friday marks the day that Jesus died on the cross so that God could forgive us for our sins. It is a very special day for Christians and, although Hot Cross Buns have been in the supermarkets for some time, it is traditional for them to be eaten on Good Friday to remind us of Jesus' sacrifice. Long ago, before Christianity, Eostre was the Anglo-Saxon godess of fertility and was honoured at spring festivals during which small wheaten cakes were eaten. Christians took the festival for their celebration and added the cross to the cakes, making them into Hot Cross Buns. Many Christians still do not eat meat on Good Friday, preferring to have fish and simple food.

Easter Day and Easter Eggs. Easter Day is the Sunday nearest to the fourth full moon of the year, which explains why it does not always fall on the same date. It celebrates when Christ rose from the dead. Traditionally there is feasting and people eat eggs again as well as lamb.Eggs symbolise new life, which is why we have Easter eggs on Easter Day. As well as chocolate eggs, many families like to decorate their breakfast eggs, sometimes by simply wrapping them in onion skins to colour them, while others cover them in intricate, beautiful designs. Other special traditional foods on Easter Day include lamb as the innocent lamb represents Jesus, the Lamb of God.

The Dough is Ready for Cutting into Buns
The Dough is Ready for Cutting into Buns | Source

Notes About Hot Cross Bun Ingredients

The ingredients needed will depend on the method of preparation that you choose. If you are going to use a bread-making machine to take some of the effort out of kneading the dough, you may also be using a prepared bread-mix as the basis for your Hot Cross Buns, probably either one for white bread or for wholemeal bread. I prefer wholemeal, so it used that and my bread-making machine to prepare the dough. However, the instructions below are for hand-making the dough.

Note that

  • 1 kg of white flour will work just as well, if that is your preference.
  • If you use a prepared bread-mix and a machine, omit the flours and butter.
  • The liquid needs to be slightly warmer than body temperature.
  • Warm water and either skim or full-cream powdered milk may replace the milk.
  • A cup of vegetable oil may be substituted for the butter.

I love cinnamon, so I added a teaspoonful of cinnamon powder as well.

The Shaped Buns Ready to Rise: A Baker's Dozen
The Shaped Buns Ready to Rise: A Baker's Dozen | Source

Glaze for Hot Cross Buns

It is best to make the glaze while the buns are cooking.


  • 2 tablespoons sugar (8 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons boiling water
  • 2 dessertspoons (4 teaspoons) gelatine


  • Mix ingredients together and bring to the boil.
  • Brush onto Hot Cross Buns while still hot.

Recipe for Hot Cross Buns

Please note the variations and the recipe for the glaze above.

Rate These Hot Cross Buns

4.2 stars from 5 ratings of Hot Cross Buns

Cook Time

Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 2 hours 15 min
Yields: Two dozen Hot Cross Buns


  • 750 g wholemeal flour
  • 250 g plain (white) flour
  • 100 g sugar, caster is best
  • 30 g dried yeast
  • 900 ml warm milk
  • 125 g melted butter
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 250 g dried fruit, currants or mixed fruit are good
  • 1 teaspoonful mixed spice
  • 2 dessertspoons plain flour, extra
  • 2 dessertspoons white self-raising flour
  • 1 dessertspoon vegetable oil
  • ½ cup milk
Drizzle the Crosses Over the Buns
Drizzle the Crosses Over the Buns | Source


  1. Omitting the last 4 ingredients in the list, mix together flours, yeast. sugar, and powdered milk, if using it dry. Make a well in the centre.
  2. Combine eggs, oil or melted butter, and warmed liquid. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Knead for about 10 minutes until soft and elastic.
  3. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Brush dough with warm water and cover with greased plastic. Leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size (about 45 mins)
  4. Knock down dough. Turn it onto a floured board. Knead 1 min. Add spice and dried fruit; knead until well mixed. Divide into about 24 pieces. Shape into buns. Place buns on an oiled or greased baking sheath enough distance apart to allow for expansion. Cover with a cloth and set back in a warm place. Leave to rise until double in size (about 40 mins).
  5. Beat together the last 4 ingredients, making sure that the mixture has sufficient liquid. Put mixture into a piping-bag or a plastic bag with the corner cut off. Drizzle mix across top of buns both ways to form crosses.
  6. Bake buns in a warm oven (220 deg.C or 425 deg.F) 15 - 20 mins. They should sound hollow when tapped.
  7. Brush the glaze over your Hot Cross Buns while they are still hot. Remove from baking sheaths and cool on wire racks.
The Glazing Process.  They look a bit messy, but they taste great!
The Glazing Process. They look a bit messy, but they taste great! | Source

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