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Whole Wheat Hot Cross Buns

  • Author: Melissa Griffiths-Bless this Mess
  • Total Time: 3 Hours
  • Yield: Makes 2 dozen buns 1x


Whole wheat hot cross buns are a light sweet bread with fruit and a simple glaze on top. Think of them as a light and moist cousin of the cinnamon roll without all of the calories.


  • 1 cup raisins, dried cherries, or currants, softened in 1 T. of warm water or orange juice
  • 2/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • For the icing:
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 to 5 teaspoons milk or cream


  1. In a small bowl combine the raisins and the water (or orange juice), stir to combine, and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer combine the water, orange juice, eggs, butter, brown sugar, dry milk, salt, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder and yeast. Stir to combine. Add all of the whole wheat flour and mix with the dough hook for 5 minutes. Add the white flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until a soft dough is formed. The dough should still stick to the bottom of of the bowl, but pull away from the sides. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until smooth but still lightly tacky.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise until doubled, about an hour.
  4. Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Gently press the dough out on a clean work surface. Drain any extra water from the raisins and then add them to the dough. Gently knead the dough until the raisins are incorporated. Divide the dough into four pieces and then divide each piece into 6 (you'll have 24 pieces in the end). Roll each piece of dough into a round ball and place in the prepared pans, 12 per pan, evenly spaced. Cover the dough lightly and allow the buns to rise until puffy and touching each other, about one to 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Towards the end of the rising time preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the buns, uncovered, until they are light golden brown, about 25 minutes and then remove them from the oven.
  6. To make the icing: Combine the powdered sugar with the vanilla, salt, and enough milk (or cream) to make a smooth icing. Don't make it too thin though.
  7. Let the buns cool for at least 15 minutes before adding the icing or the icing will melt right off. Pipe the icing in the traditional cross pattern across the top of each bun and serve warm.


I had a lot of extra icing, so I just served it on the side and those who wanted to could spread a little extra on their bun as they liked.

I used homemade dried cherries and they were amazing.

These are delicious and warmed up very well the second day.

  • Prep Time: 2.5 hours
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 Bun
  • Calories: 234
  • Sugar: 25.3g
  • Sodium: 258.6mg
  • Fat: 4.7g
  • Carbohydrates: 45.1g
  • Protein: 4.2g
  • Cholesterol: 25.9mg

Keywords: Breads, Breakfast, Muffins, Whole Wheat