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Hot Cross Buns Recipe – Easter Bread

Enjoy this soft and fluffy Hot Cross Buns recipe for your special Easter meal. Traditionally eaten to celebrate Easter, these rolls are slightly sweet and heavenly spiced.

For my recipe, I’ve piped on a sweet and thick glaze to form the cross and add just a touch of extra sweetness to this spiced yeast roll.

Buttered Hot Cross Bun with Glazed Cross.

Why You’ll Love This Easy Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Easy Easter Bun to Make. Whether you want a special treat on Good Friday, you are looking for a tasty breakfast treat, or if you want special bread for a bigger meal on Easter Sunday, these buns are a simple recipe that won’t take too much time away from your other holiday preparations.

Minimal Handling. You won’t have to do extra kneading for this bread.

So Pretty to Serve. The beautiful cross design on top of the bun makes a stunning presentation.

Equipment Needed to Make Easter Buns

Close-up of the inside of a single hot cross bun.

Ingredients for the Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Bread Ingredients

  • Raisins. You can use regular or golden raisins, craisins, dates or any dried fruit.
  • Hot Water. I always think of the temperature of bath water.
  • Warm Milk. Heat to 90 to 95ºF. Don’t get it too hot or it will kill the yeast. If you microwave it, make sure you stir it thoroughly before adding it to the mixture to remove any hot spots.
  • Active Dry Yeast.
  • White Granulated Sugar.
  • All-Purpose Flour. I use unbleached but either is fine
  • Ground Cinnamon.
  • Ground Nutmeg. You can also grate your own fresh if you prefer that.
  • Ground Ginger.
  • Salt.
  • Eggs. Grade A large, slightly beaten.
  • Heavy Cream. You can use whole milk.
  • Butter.

Egg Wash

  • Egg.
  • Water.

Glaze

  • Powdered Sugar.
  • Milk or Cream. Either will work.
Ingredients for the Hot Cross Bun Recipe: Raisins, Hot Water, Warm Milk
Active Dry Yeast, White Granulated, Sugar, All-Purpose Flour, Cinnamon, Ground Nutmeg, Ginger, Salt, Eggs - grade A large, Heavy Cream, Butter

Please note, that the recipe card has more complete instructions. This is intended as an overview.

How to Make Hot Cross Buns

Step One. Butter a 9×13 baking dish and set it aside.

Step Two. Pour the hot water over the raisins. Let them sit for fifteen minutes and then drain the water and set them aside. The hot water will plump them up, enhance their flavor, and makes them juicier.

Step Three. Bloom the yeast in milk and sugar.

Step Four. Mix the flour and spices.

Step Five. Place the remaining sugar, salt, slightly beaten eggs, cream, and butter in your stand mixer. Give it a quick mix until combined.

Step Six. Gradually add the flour mixture.

Step Seven. Once all the flour has been incorporated, mix on medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes to develop gluten. 

Step Eight. Add the raisins and mix until they’re all incorporated.

Step Nine. Let the rolls rise until doubled in size.

rolls in a pan.

Step Ten. Cut the dough into 12 equal-sized pieces and roll them into balls. Cover with plastic wrap and allow them to rise.

Step Eleven. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Step Twelve. Brush the rolls with the egg wash and bake.

Step Thirteen. Let the buns cool in the bakeware. 

Step Fourteen. Once the buns are cool, prepare the glaze by mixing the powdered sugar and milk into a thick enough consistency to pipe.

Step Fifteen. Pipe the crosses onto the Hot Cross Buns. You can pipe the lines all the way across and down each row of buns to form a cross on each bun — it’s so easy to do this while they are still in the pan.

Full pan of Easter Buns

How To Make The Crosses For Hot Cross Buns

The cross is traditionally made of a flour slurry and then piped onto the roll before baking. I wanted to
add a little sweetness to this roll so made a simple thickened glaze and piped it onto the roll after they
were cool.

What to Serve with Hot Cross Buns

I recommend you serve them with the glaze I’ve included in the recipe. However, they can also be eaten plain or with butter or powdered (confectioner sugar) on top.

Substitutions and Additions

  • Soak the raisins in rum.
  • Replace raisins with any dried fruit, dates, craisins, or candied fruit.
  • Add orange zest.
Closeup of Easter Bun

How To Reheat & Store Hot Cross Buns

Best Way To Store Easter Buns

You can keep them in an airtight container at room temperature before adding the cross or in the fridge for 3 to 4 days after applying the cross.

Can I Freeze/Thaw Easter Buns

Yes. Leftover Hot Cross Buns can be frozen, preferably before adding the cross. Make sure they’re completely cool first.

Tip: I also freeze the glaze in a piping bag or reclosable freezer-safe bag. Once thawed I’ll squeeze it to make it smooth and then I’m ready to pipe on the cross. Remove it from the freezer when you take out the Easter rolls from the freezer. You can also thaw the rolls and glaze in the refrigerator.

How To Reheat Hot Cross Buns

I prefer toasting them but you can also wrap them in foil and put them in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes at 300ºF.

Closeup of roll.

Easy Hot Cross Buns FAQ

What are Hot Cross Buns?

These are sweet spiced yeast rolls that are made with a cross symbol on top. Some describe them as a cross between a typical dinner roll and a breakfast pastry. They typically have raisins and other spices and are made to celebrate the Easter holiday.

Why are Hot Cross Buns Eaten At Easter

In the Christian tradition, these buns are made and eaten on Good Friday as a way to commemorate Jesus’ death on the cross.

Why are there raisins in Hot Cross Buns

The traditional recipe calls for raisins, which add flavor and texture to the sweet Easter rolls.

Why are these Cross Buns called Hot Cross Buns when they’re cold?

The word hot comes from the rhyme, One a penny, Two a penny, Hot Cross Buns – which is said to have been shouted by street vendors on the streets as they sold their wares on Good Friday. You can read more about the traditions and history of Hot Cross buns here.

Pin this amazing Easter Bread Recipe!

Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Tips to Make the Perfect Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Make sure your yeast is fresh. Check the expiration date several weeks before the holiday and purchase new if needed. Old yeast often fails.

Don’t be tempted to add too much flour. Your Easter buns will be tough and dry instead of light and fluffy.

Cool the buns before adding the cross. This will prevent it from melting off or losing shape.

Other Easter Recipes You’ll Love

Easter Bunny Butt Cupcakes

Puff Pastry Baskets with Creamy Lemon Filling

Hungarian Egg Twist Bread

Top Down View of Easter Bun

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may like these too!

Don’t Forget To Come Back And Let Me Know How The Hot Cross Buns Recipe Turned Out!

Side angle of a bread roll with a white glaze piped over the top in the shape of a cross.

Hot Cross Buns Recipe – Easter Bread

Author: Julie Menghini
Enjoy this soft and fluffy Hot Cross Buns recipe for your special Easter meal. Traditionally eaten to celebrate Easter, these rolls are slightly sweet and heavenly spiced.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 23 mins
Rising time 2 hrs 45 mins
Course Bread
Cuisine American
Keyword: Bread rolls, Buns, Easter Bread
Servings: 12

Ingredients
 
 

Bread Ingredients

  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 cup hot water
  • ½ cup warm milk – 90 to 95 degrees
  • tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ cup white granulated sugar – plus 1 tablespoon, divided
  • cups all-purpose flour – I use unbleached but either is fine
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs – grade A large, slightly beaten
  • ¼ cup heavy cream – you can use whole milk
  • 4 tbsp butter

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg – beaten
  • 1 tbsp water

Glaze

  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp milk or cream

Instructions
 

  • Butter a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, pour the hot water over the raisins. Set aside for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, drain the water from the raisins and pat the raisins dry with a paper towel. Set aside.
  • In a bowl of a stand-up mixer, add the warm milk, yeast, and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. Let it sit for 5 to 6 minutes to allow the yeast to bloom. If it does not bloom, restart this step with new yeast. The milk might have been too cold or too hot as well.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger together.
  • In the bowl of the stand-up mixer, add the remaining sugar, salt, slightly beaten eggs, cream, and butter. Give it a quick mix until combined.
  • Add the flour mixture, 1/3 at the time. Mix until it is combined and add more. Doing it this way allows the flour to get incorporated and develop gluten.
  • Once all the flour has been incorporated, mix on medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes to develop gluten.
  • Add the raisins and mix until they're all incorporated.
  • Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for 2 hours or until it doubles in size.
  • On a lightly floured surface cut the dough into 12 equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Place each ball into the prepared baking dish. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Brush the rolls with the egg wash and then bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 23 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Let the buns cool in the bakeware.
  • Once the buns are cool, prepare the glaze by mixing the powdered sugar and milk into a thick enough consistency to pipe.
  • Fill a piping bag or a ziplock bag with the glaze. Cut the end off of the bag and pipe the glaze across the buns to create a cross.

Notes

  • To make it easier to make the cross. Make a line, 90 degrees, length-wise, all across the buns, so 4 lines. Repeat the other way.

Nutrition

Calories: 284kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 7gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 157mgPotassium: 148mgFiber: 2gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 267IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 32mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.

Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!
Recipe Rating




Michaela Kenkel

Monday 21st of February 2022

Did a little trial of these over the weekend, and I am so tickled they will be gracing our Easter table this year! Thanks for another great bread recipe!!

Julie Menghini

Thursday 24th of February 2022

I love this recipe too, Michaela and it will definitely be on my Easter table too.

Mindy

Wednesday 16th of February 2022

These look so good! Love your recipes and can't wait to try this one for Easter!

Julie Menghini

Friday 18th of February 2022

Perfect idea! Thank you.

Kathleen

Saturday 12th of February 2022

Can you believe I have never made hot Cross buns? That is changing, because you are the queen of bread! Love this recipe and cannot wait to make them!

Julie Menghini

Sunday 13th of February 2022

Kathleen, you are so sweet! Thank you!

Tristin

Saturday 12th of February 2022

My kids always have fun making bread with me in the kitchen. My daughter picked out your hot cross buns to make for this weekend. It was really hard to wait until they were cooled to enjoy them!! Sooo good!

Julie Menghini

Sunday 13th of February 2022

Thank you, Tristin! I love that you include the kiddos in the kitchen and this one is definitely a fun activity.