Hot Cross Buns have been a beloved staple of Easter for centuries, and for good reason. Imagine biting into a warm, fluffy bun infused with cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, studded with plump raisins or currants, and topped with a deliciously sticky glaze. Is your mouth watering yet? Luckily, making hot cross buns at home is easier than you might think, and the rewards are truly scrumptious. It is a quintessential Guyanese good Friday and Easter tradition.

Nowadays, you can find hot cross buns in bakeries and supermarkets all over the world, but there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of baking your own batch from scratch. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a newbie in the kitchen, this recipe is sure to impress your friends and family and fill your home with the irresistible aroma of fresh-baked buns.

So, without further ado, let’s get started! Grab your apron, dust off your mixing bowl, and let’s make some hot cross buns. Whether you enjoy them toasted with a dollop of butter, or simply as a snack on the go, I promise these buns will be a hit with everyone. Let’s bake!

Tips and Tricks

  • Be careful not to over-knead the dough, as this can make it tough. Knead the dough just until it becomes smooth and elastic.
  • While the recipe calls for raisins and a specific amount of cinnamon and nutmeg, feel free to add more fruit and spices according to your taste preferences. Dried cranberries, currants, or chopped dried apricots can make a great addition to the buns.
  • To create a bold and noticeable frosting cross on top of the buns, make sure the icing is thick and not too runny. If it’s too runny, the cross may be difficult to pipe and will be less visible once it dries.
  • Make sure the milk is warmed to the correct temperature for activating the yeast. Too hot, and it could kill the yeast; too cold, and the yeast won’t activate. The ideal temperature is between 100-110°F (37-43°C).
  • The rising time for the dough may vary depending on the temperature and humidity of your kitchen. If your kitchen is cooler, the dough may take longer to rise, so be patient and allow enough time for the dough to double in size.

What do hot cross buns taste like?

Hot cross buns have a sweet, slightly spiced flavor with a soft, pillowy texture. The are similar to sweet bread but has an enriched dough. They’re typically flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest, and may also contain raisins, currants, or other dried fruits. The cross on top of the buns is often made from icing or frosting, which adds a bit of sweetness and a creamy texture to each bite. 

Can you freeze hot cross buns?

Hot cross buns are best eaten fresh, but if you need to store them, wrap them in plastic wrap or store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months by wrapping them tightly in foil or plastic wrap and placing them in a freezer-safe bag or container. Just be sure to reheat them before serving for the best flavor and texture.

Can you refreeze hot cross buns?

It is not recommended to refreeze hot cross buns once they have been thawed out. Refreezing baked goods can affect their texture and quality, resulting in a less desirable eating experience. It is best to plan ahead and only thaw the number of buns you plan to consume, or to store any leftover buns in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. This will help to ensure that the buns retain their fresh taste and texture.

Why doesn’t my dough come together?

Feeling like your dough won’t come together can be a frustrating experience, but there’s no need to panic. If you followed the recipe by weight and measured your ingredients correctly, chances are it will turn out just fine. It’s important to remember that bread dough requires time and patience to come together properly.

If your dough still isn’t coming together after some time, you can add a small amount of flour, a teaspoon at a time, to help it come together. Keep in mind that different brands of flour may have different levels of absorbency, so be cautious not to add too much flour too quickly.

dough buns with a cross on a baking pan ready to be baked

Can I use a different type of flour in this recipe?

Yes, you can experiment with using different types of flour in this hot cross bun recipe. However, it’s important to keep in mind that using a different type of flour may affect the texture and taste of the buns.

For example, substituting bread flour for all-purpose flour may result in a denser, chewier bun, while substituting cake flour may result in a lighter, more delicate bun. If you do decide to use a different type of flour, we recommend adjusting the liquid amount and kneading time as needed to achieve the desired texture. It’s also a good idea to start with small substitutions and work your way up to larger ones until you achieve the desired result.

Can I adjust the amount of spices or fruit in the recipe to suit my preferences?

Yes, you can certainly adjust the amount of spices or fruit in the recipe to suit your taste. Just be sure to keep the overall proportions of the ingredients in balance.

If you give this Soft Hot Cross Bun recipe a try, please consider leaving a review below and sharing your thoughts on how it turned out. Your feedback is valuable to me and helps me improve the recipe for future bakers. Thank you in advance for taking the time to share your experience and enjoy your delicious hot cross buns!

Hot cross buns with a flour cross on a white plate

Get the Recipe HOT CROSS BUNS

Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 12
4 from 1 vote

Ingredients
 

  • 1 .25 ounce package active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
  • 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup raisins or currants, optional

Sugar Glaze

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Icing Cross

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk

Instructions
 

  • Sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk and let stand until dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  • Place the flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, melted butter, egg and orange zest in a stand up mixer. Pour the yeast and milk mixture on top.  With the dough hook, mix for about 5 mins until well combined.
  • If using raisins, add them and mix for additional 2 mins. You can also add 1/2 cup cake fruits.
  • Cover and let rise for 1 hour. After an hour, punch dough down and pour onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead lightly for about 1 to 2 mins. 
  • Divide into 12 portions and shape into balls. Place  onto a baking sheet pan, lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the plastic wrap from the rolls. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with glaze.  Allow to cool completely before adding frosting cross.
  • To make the glaze, place sugar and water in a small pot and cook for about 5 mins.  Brush glazed over buns when hot.
  • Make the icing by whisking together the confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Place into a small ziploc bag, and snip a tiny hole on one corner. When the buns are cool, pipe icing cross on top.

Notes

To make the flour cross, mix 1/4 cup flour with 1/4 cup water.  Place in a piping bag and pipe the cross on the buns before placing into the oven.
Author: Jehan Powell