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Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Updated on July 8, 2019
BlossomSB profile image

Bronwen is interested in food, diet, and creating recipes, as 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

5 stars from 4 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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    • BlossomSB profile imageAUTHOR

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      7 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      teaches12345: It certainly is getting around to that time again, they seem to be in all the shops and they're being sold for various charities, as well. Thank you for your comments.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      I love these sweet little niblets. I remember having them as a child. Guess it's time to try them again. Thanks for the memories and share.

    • BlossomSB profile imageAUTHOR

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      7 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      suzzycue: I love them, too. It's such a special time of the year, isn't it?

      torrilynn: Thank you for your comments. Sometimes all the background is even more interesting than the recipe itself. Thank you for your vote.

    • torrilynn profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi Blossom,

      thanks for this hub and for giving me

      information about hot cross buns and their background

      also I reall liked the fact that you included the recipe

      thanks again and Voted up

    • suzzycue profile image

      Susan Britton 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I love hot cross buns and I didn't know Easter is around the fourth full moon of the year. I also loved reading about all these Easter Traditions.

    • BlossomSB profile imageAUTHOR

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      7 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Jane Holmes: Thank you. I'm so glad you enjoyed it; I love the old traditions and symbolism. We lose so much when we forget why we do things.

      Jools99: M & Ss were probably much lighter than mine. The glaze was so nice, though, that I was tempted to lick it off!

      billybuc: They smelled wonderful when they were cooking in the oven.

      AMFredenberg: They were healthier that way, but it also made them heavier, so they tasted more like fruit loaf than a bun.

      FSlovenec: The background is part of the fun of writing the recipes.

      Eiddwen: How lovely, Eddy. I hope they work well and that you enjoy them. Having made them for the photos I now have a couple of dozen to eat! My family are on diets and gluten-free, so they're no help.

      Alancaster49: They don't really take so long to make as other things can be done while waiting for the dough to rise. Sunflower spread sounds interesting. I had butter with a couple, but now I'm back to Nutlex, the healthier option, so I'm told. Butter tastes best, though.

      carter06: Thank you for your lovely comments and vote.

      jhamann: They are, I'm trying to keep some in the freezer for the right day, but they're being depleted.

      always exploring: That sounds interesting. Is it a rice flour?

      Mhatter99: Me, too! Unfortunate, just as I'm trying to lose weight!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. Love 'em!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 years ago from Southern Illinois

      The hot cross buns look delicious, esp. the glaze. I will make these using gluten-free Bisquick. Thank you for sharing...

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 

      7 years ago from Reno NV

      Sounds delicious. Jamie

    • carter06 profile image


      7 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Great recipe this time of year because the buns and other edible delights are plentiful..(did I mention chocolate):) thanks for sharing they look delicious..VUUAI & shared..cheers

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      7 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Interesting topic for a Hub-page, Blossom, yet topical all the same. Nice looking merchandise as an end-result. I'm partial to a nice Hot + Bun myself, warmed up in the oven with sunflower spread (my sub for butter) and a dollop of jam.

      We get these factory-made ones in the shops more or less as soon as the Yuletide (Christmas) season is over. Filling, but a bit stodgy. The wife likes to do some baking, but cuts a few corners now and then and buys the ones from the Co-op down the road.

      Yours look tempting all the same.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      Well thank you so very mcuh Blossom ;do you know I have never had a recipe for Hot Cross Buns ;which is why I always buy them for Good Friday/Easter.

      However that now changes and I think this is going to be very useful Thank you so much for sharing.


    • FSlovenec profile image

      Frank Slovenec 

      7 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Well thought out interesting background on foods and the recipe..thank you

    • AMFredenburg profile image

      Aldene Fredenburg 

      7 years ago from Southwestern New Hampshire

      These sound wonderful; I especially like the idea of making them out of whole wheat flour.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh these are so good right out of the oven. I haven't had any for years. Thank you for the reminder and the recipe.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      7 years ago from North-East UK

      I ate a Marks &Spencer Hot Cross Bun for my breakfast :o) I made my own once but they could not live up to M&S I'm afraid. Your recipe looks interesting, i like the idea of the glaze.

    • profile image

      Jane Holmes 

      7 years ago

      A great hub. I had not realized the connection with Hot Cross Buns. My mother-in-law used to make them around Easter time, but she never shared her reasons with us. So many traditions are lost as the decades march forward. It's such a good idea to write them down, as you have done here. Many people would not realize the religious connections you have shared here! Thank you for doing that! A great hub!


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