Hot cross buns

There is a little work, or rather time, involved in making these as the dough needs to prove twice, but the result is well worth it. They’re fruit-rich and spicy but still have a lovely light texture.


50 grams currants
150 grams fat sultanas
50 grams quality glace orange peel, finely diced
14 grams dried yeast (2 sachets)
350 ml milk, gently warmed
80 ml vegetable oil
90 grams caster sugar
1 egg
600 grams plain unbleached flour
15 grams cocoa powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon ginger powder
8 grams salt
Cross & Glaze
120 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon mixed spice
60 grams caster sugar
175 ml water


Soak the currants, sultanas and peel in hot water for 30 minutes then drain. Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and let sit for 10 minutes. Mix the vegetable oil, sugar and egg together.

Combine all of the dry ingredients with the soaked fruit in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast mix to the sugar mix, whisk and then stir this through the dry ingredients. With the dough hook attached, mix for 6 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Tip the dough out onto a clean surface and knead a couple of times. Return to the bowl in a smooth ball and cover with cling film. Leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.

Once proved, tip the dough onto a clean surface, knock back gently and cut into 12 pieces. Press each piece into the cup of your hand and roll in a circular motion on the bench, or in your hand, to form an even ball. Place the balls on a baking tray with approx 2cm spaces between them, cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise and expand so that the balls are touching each other – this could take 20-40 minutes depending on how warm your kitchen is.

While the buns are rising, whisk 120g flour with 120ml water to a smooth paste – if too sticky, add a little more water. Place in a piping bag with a fine nozzle and, once fully risen, pipe the crosses – it is easier to do this in lines the whole length and width rather than individually.

Bake the buns in a preheated oven at 220°C for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 200°C and cook for another 10 minutes. Eat these fresh from the oven or have them toasted with plenty of butter.

To make a glaze for the buns, add 60g caster sugar, 1 teaspoon of mixed spice and 55ml of water to a small pot and bring to the boil for 2 minutes, then brush over the hot buns. Transfer to a cooling rack.

Tip: don’t halve this recipe as it doesn’t perform well, just throw the extra buns in the freezer or share with your (grateful) neighbours.

Comments & Reviews5

MichelleI's picture
Apr 2, 2013

Hi Karen, I made these buns on Good Friday - they were delicious.... but the dough was very sticky and seemed to take ages to rise even though the kitchen was warm (the yeast didn't seem to froth, maybe my milk wasn't warm enough?). But after letting it rise for several hours, knocking down and waiting to rise again, they worked, thankfully! They only took about 12 mins in my oven (fan forced at 200 for the first 10 mins). Thanks for the recipe, it was worth the effort finally.

webb.amelia's picture
Apr 3, 2013

I was a bit sneaky with this recipe and swapped out the fruit peel for chocolate chips, and it worked out really well. Unlike Michelle, my dough proved as expected (although the second proving - once they're rolled into balls - took about 50 minutes because my kitchen was cold).
I kept leftovers in the fridge and heated them in the oven again the next day, but they seemed to dry out a bit in that process. Next time I'll try microwaving them instead.
These are too delicious to only make once a year!

calyad's picture
May 3, 2013

I made these just because my husband loves a fruit bun. My kitchen is cool all the time so I sat the bowl on a stool near the heater in the lounge (not a really hot spot) and the dough rose beautifully. I just used what fruit I had (sultanas and currants). I missed out on the flour and water on top and just glazed them with a little apricot jam and water. What I would like to do is tweak this recipe further and layer some of the spice and sugar and roll into a sausage and cut. I'll maybe try this next week. This week is cake week; Karen's Pear & Almond Butter Cake looks delicious!

veetwo's picture
Mar 21, 2014

can I use fresh yeast and if so how much should I use? thanks

SandyG's picture
Apr 21, 2014

I made these for the second time this Easter. They are really yummy, with such layered tastes yet a light consistency. I have a couple of questions that concern a slight variation and would value your response.
What size tray do you recommend for these buns? The buns spread out a lot horizontally as I think the tray I used was a little wide, and also the walls were not very high. Would a pan extender be a good thing to use? The second time I made these I used a roasting pan which was a bit smaller but had higher walls, so I got a taller bun, which resulted in them being moister.
I decided that the quantity of dough when divided into 12 buns resulted in fairly large buns, so I decided to make 16 buns, not 12. They turned out great, although I needed a second tray. How should I have adjusted the baking temps & time?

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