Hot Cross Buns

5 from 2 votes

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Hot cross buns are a fun, simple, and light roll that are topped with a delicious glaze.

Imagine a dinner roll version of a cinnamon roll and you have hot cross buns. Is your interest peaked!? They are full of spices and raisins and we LOVE them.

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Hot Cross Buns

Does anyone remember learning the song “Hot Cross Buns” on the recorder? That song is forever burned into my memory from elementary school. It is well known nursery name. However, I like the edible version of hot cross buns much better. 

Hot cross buns date back to the12th century. From what I researched, a monk made these buns and used the icing to form a cross in honor of the Crucifixion.These buns became a symbol of Easter and are traditionally served over that holiday, particularly on Good Friday. 

You make hot cross buns in the same way you make basic dinner rolls. If you aren’t familiar with working with yeast, don’t be intimidated . It really is easier than you think. They are easiest to mix with a stand mixer but if you don’t have access to one you can definitely mix the dough by hand. 

Can I use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast?

You can use either active dry yeast and instant yeast in recipes. However, active dry yeast needs to be dissolved in water before using while instant yeast can be mixed right into the dough.

When is the best time to frost the buns?

I just use a glaze for this recipe and you can put it on right away. If you want to use icing for the crosses you can! Pipe the icing in the traditional cross pattern across the top of each bun and serve warm.

Can I make hot cross buns ahead of time?

Hot cross buns freeze really well. When you are ready to serve them, just thaw the night before and enjoy!

More Easter recipes:

hot cross buns on a white plate
5 from 2 votes

Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns are a fun, simple, and light roll that are topped with a delicious glaze.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 12 rolls

Ingredients 

For the dough:

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter,, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 – 3.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest,, optional

For the crosses:

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup milk

For the glaze:

  • 1/4 cup apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Instructions 

  • In microwave safe bowl (or a glass 2-cup measuring cup) add the milk and butter. Microwave until the milk is hot and the butter melts, about 1 minute. Let the mixture cool until it’s between 100-110 degrees F. (If you don’t let it cool and add the yeast while the mixture is still hot you can kill the yeast and it won’t rise, don’t add it too soon).
  • Add the milk and butter mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer.
  • Add sugar, instant yeast, egg, salt, cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg, vanilla, and 1 cup of flour to the bowl of the stand mix (you can also do this by hand) and stir until well combined. Stir this mixture for 1 minute.
  • Add an additional cup of flour and the raisins. Knead the dough for 10 minutes with with dough hook attachment.
  • Add additional flour as needed so that the dough is soft but not sticky to the touch and knead in the flour well. You may need up to an additional 1/2 cup depending on your flour.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and shape into a smooth ball. Coat the bottom of the bowl well with cooking spray.
  • Place the dough ball back into the bowl. Then flip the dough upside down so that the now oily bottom is on the top. Cover the bowl well with plastic wrap or a beeswax wrap and let the dough rest for an hour.
  • Once the dough has risen, prepare a 9×13 inch baking dish by greasing it well.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl. Cut the dough into 12 even pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball and place them evenly in the prepared pan.
  • Cover the pan with plastic wrap or a beeswax wrap and let it rise an additional hour to 1 hour 30 minutes, or until about doubled in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • When the hour rise time is almost up, add the flour and water to a small bowl and use a fork to combine well. Place the flour mixture in a plastic baggie.
  • When the rolls are done rising, remove the plastic. Snip a 1/4 inch from the corner of the plastic baggie that has the flour mixture in it. Use the plastic baggie to pipe a cross on the top of each roll.
  • Place the rolls in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and the rolls are cooked through.
  • While the rolls are baking mix together the apricot jam and the powdered sugar well.
  • When the rolls are done cooking, remove from the oven brush with the apricot mixture while they are still hot.
  • Serve hot or warm.

Notes

  • These rolls are flexible! You can add the orange zest or not. You can sub other chopped fruit (such as chopped apricots or currents) for the raisins. You can adjust the spices to your liking.
  • If you don’t like raisins feel free to sub them out for chocolate chips!
  • If you don’t have apricot preserves or jam you can use peach. If you don’t have either you can mix 1/4 cup powdered sugar with 2-3 tablespoons milk to make a thin glaze for the tops.
  • Sometimes I skip the apricot glaze and I make a little bit of icing instead. I let the rolls cool a bit and then I pipe icing over the crosses. We really like them with icing on top. You can use my cinnamon roll icing, just mix it up a little thick (don’t add too much milk).
  • My kids LOVE these with chocolate chips instead of raisins and icing instead of the glaze. They’re amazing!

Nutrition

Serving: 1 Bun, Calories: 264kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 88mg, Sodium: 169mg, Potassium: 181mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 271IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 50mg, Iron: 2mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

You are going to love this big, fluffy hot cross buns recipe. They taste so good and your family will be so excited that you made them.

About Melissa

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