Hot cross buns recipe

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  • Hot cross buns are probably our favourite treat for Easter. Chocolate eggs are a delight of course, but nothing beats the taste of oozing butter, delicately melting into the crisp toasted surface of a hot cross bun, dotted with hot gooey raisins. They are perfect accompaniment to you morning cup of tea, afternoon cup of tea, or go-on-just-one-more-before-bed cup of tea. We know it’s tempting to just buy a packet from the supermarket, but hot cross buns are one of those recipes that are improved beyond comparison when you make your own. They’re lighter, fresher and tastier. Plus you will fill your kitchen with the most tempting baking aromas imaginable.

    Spiced buns like these were traditionally handed out on Good Friday, but these days we tend not to be so restrictive. We’ll happily eat them throughout the Easter period. In fact at one point, during the reign of Elizabeth I, it was illegal to sell hot cross buns except on Good Friday, at burials and at Christmas. Anyone caught contravening the ban had to give all their products to the poor. As a result, baking your own hot cross buns became lucky. It is supposed to win you friends and ensure all the bread you bake over the next year is perfect.

    Our step-by-step hot cross buns recipe makes baking your own buns at home really simple, and we’re pretty sure it can win you friends too. They’re not difficult to do. Just make sure you leave enough time for the dough to rise between kneading sessions – about 1½ hours of proving time in total. The recipe makes a dozen buns – enough to see a family of four through the whole long weekend.

    Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe, you can start getting creative. Swap the dried fruit for blueberries, dried cherries or cranberries, chocolate chips or chunks of salted caramel. Traditionally we make the crosses on the top of the bun with a simple paste of flour and water – as here – but you can use melted white chocolate or marzipan if you prefer.

    Hot cross buns recipe: How to make hot cross buns

    Ingredients

    For this Easter recipe you will need:

    • 750g strong white bread flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 90g butter, cubed
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
    • 60g light muscovado sugar
    • 150g mixed dried fruit
    • 90g dried apricots, chopped
    • 7g sachet easy-bake dried yeast
    • 300ml warm milk
    • 2 medium eggs

    For the crosses:

    • 90g plain white flour
    • 2 tbsp golden caster sugar, to glaze