Traditional Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Traditional Hot Cross Buns Recipe, sweet, lightly spiced and containing either currants, raisins or sultanas, they can be easily recognised by the cross on top, which symbolises the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. A must-have Easter dessert!!

Overhead shoot of a plate with 6 hot cross buns, and a small plate with a bun, butter and a knife

When l first came to the UK, l did not know much about traditional food over here. The only one l was aware of was the English breakfast, which l got to love straight away.

So the very first Easter l spent here was certainly a big surprise to me in terms of what English people like to eat.

I must say l was not very impressed with the hot cross buns at first, partly because l probably did not have some proper ones to get the very best taste of.

You can find hot cross buns in supermarkets usually in packets of 6 for as little as £0,75.

Cheap price, cheap taste. They look quite sad as well.  Some proper baking was required.

Overhead shoot of a baking tray with unbaked hot cross buns

What are hot cross buns?

Hot cross buns are spiced sweet buns made with currants or raisins, marked with a cross on top, and traditionally served on Good Friday.

Can you believe that these lovely buns can be traced as far back as the 12th century?

It seems they didn’t become that popular until a lot later, but nowadays many people can’t think of Easter without these pretty little things.

How do you make traditional hot cross buns?

It might not be a quick recipe, but it certainly is easy.

  • in a large bowl, sift the flour, add the sugar, yeast, lemon zest, cinnamon and currants.
  • separately, beat the egg with a pinch of salt, add the cooled melted butter and milk
  • mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients
  • knead into a dough for at least 5 minutes, until the dough is elastic and stretchy
  • leave to rise for at least 2 hours
  • divide the dough into 12 balls, and arrange them close together on a baking tray
  • leave to rise for another hour
  • combine the flour with water, and use a piping bag to pipe crosses on the buns
  • bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until golden

A pate with hot cross buns

How to make the cross on top of the buns

The flour mixture is thicker, but runny, so that it can be easily piped onto the buns.

Place the mixture into a piping bag, and draw a straight line across all the buns horizontally, then draw another line vertically.

There is no need for individual crosses, it’s actually easier to make the crosses on all buns at once.

As it happens, baking them is simple, and l can’t possibly buy them anymore when l can make myself a big batch of some delicious hot cross buns.

How to serve hot cross buns

Once the buns are out of the oven, glaze them with apricot jam, that brings extra flavour, and makes the buns nice and shiny.

I like serving them warm, but cold are also nice.

They are also great toasted, especially if you happen to have some left the following day when they are not as fresh anymore.

A small plate with a halved hot cross bun and a knife spreading butter onto a half

These buns can be enjoyed for breakfast with some nice butter on them and some seriously nice cup of tea.

Or coffee. I can almost smell the amazing aroma that fills the kitchen when they come out of the oven.

They are fluffy, light, and heavenly delicious. The kind of treat I could have any morning, all year around, not just for Easter.

Give them a go, you will love them too!

Overhead shot of a white plate with 6 traditional hot cross buns


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5 from 1 vote
Traditional hot cross buns recipe
Traditional Hot Cross Buns Recipe
Prep Time
3 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
3 hrs 45 mins

Traditional hot cross buns recipe, sweet, lightly spiced and containing either currants, raisins or sultanas, they can be easily recognised by the cross on top, which symbolises the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. A must-have Easter dessert!!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: English
Keyword: easter desserts
Servings: 12 buns
Calories: 259 kcal
Author: Daniela Anderson
  • 500 g strong white flour
  • 80 g sugar
  • 2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 275 ml full-fat milk
  • 50 g butter
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 35 g plain flour
  • 50 ml water
  • 2 tbsp apricot jam
  1. In a large bowl, combine the strong white flour, lemon zest, sugar, cinnamon, currants and yeast.

  2. Melt the butter and warm up the milk.

  3. Lightly beat the egg with a pinch of salt, and add it to the milk and butter.

  4. Add the mixture to the flour bowl and knead well for at least 5 minutes until you get an elastic dough that does not stick to the hands.

  5. Oil the bowl and place the dough in it. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rise for about 2 hours until double in size.

  6. Divide the dough into 12 balls and arrange them on a baking tray pretty close together and flattening them slightly. Leave to prove for one hour so that they can double their size.

  7. In a bowl, combine the plain flour with water to get a smooth thick paste.

  8. Using a piping bag, pipe a cross on each bun, then bake in the preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius (390 Fahrenheit) for about 15 minutes until golden brown.

  9. Remove from the oven and brush each the buns with apricot jam for a nice shine.

Recipe Notes
  • Every oven can be different, so do keep an eye on the buns as they might need less time to bake. 
  • Click on the US Customary link to see the measurements displayed in cups and ounces.
  • The servings can be adjusted by clicking the number next to Servings.


Nutrition Facts
Traditional Hot Cross Buns Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 259 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 11mg 4%
Sodium 91mg 4%
Potassium 137mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 48g 16%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 13g
Protein 5g 10%
Vitamin A 3%
Vitamin C 0.7%
Calcium 3.9%
Iron 12.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.





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1 Comment

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    15 must-try Easter recipes: appetizers, main courses and desserts
    April 2, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    […] 11. Easter hot cross buns […]

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