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Hot Cross buns – Soft, fluffy, spiced bun

There’s nothing better than starting any day with the sweet delight of hot cross buns. Your taste buds will enjoy the flavor burst of orange zest, nutmeg, and cinnamon spices blended together in this sweet treat.

Freshly baked Hot cross buns

Hot Cross Buns Recipe

These homemade spiced buns are deliciously spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest and the other ingredients are what you’d normally find when you opt to make a homemade sweet bread. They have a hint of sweetness from the brown sugar and are studded with juicy raisins. They are super soft and fluffy!

Hot Cross Buns are usually enjoyed during the Easter season in many countries. These sweet treats mark the end of Lent for many people.

freshly baked Hot cross buns in a plate

How to make soft Fluffy Hot Cross Buns

  1. Prepare the dough by mixing the wet ingredients together with the dry ingredients. The resulting dough will be slightly wet. Please don’t be tempted to add too much flour. Adding a little is fine but too much will make the resulting buns hard.
  2. Knead the dough – This can be done with a stand mixer, a food processor, or by hand. Whichever way you choose, be sure to allow the dough to become elastic before proofing it.
  3. Proof the dough – Leave the dough to rest for one to one and a half or till doubled in size. 
  4. shape and second proofing – First divide the dough into 12 pieces then shape it into a golf size ball. Place in a prepared baking pan and leave to proof again for another 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. Pipe and Bake the hot cross buns – pipe the flour and water mixture to make a cross on the surface of the risen dough. You can also use icing sugar for this if you wish.
  6. Bake at 350F till golden brown about 20 to 25 minutes.
  7.  Glaze with the sugar mixture or use any fruit jam of your choice.

Homemade hot cross buns on a black tray

What is the significance of these buns?

This recipe for hot cross buns features homemade dough with raisins and orange zest with a flour paste mix decorating the top in the shape of a cross. This cross is said to be a representation of the crucifixion of Jesus. At the same time, the spices inside are a representation of the spices used to embalm him at his burial.

Either way,

What is a hot cross bun made of?

These Fluffy, perfectly spiced homemade buns are a yeast-based roll that’s full of spices and fruits. These sweet buns date back to the 12th Century and are often called hot cross buns for their decorative cross that’s either etched in the top or marked right into the dough of the hot cross bun with icing.

Why do you eat hot cross buns on Good Friday?

As stated earlier, to mark the end of Lent. These sweet buns are full of dairy products which are not allowed during Lent. This is a nice treat for anyone who gave up dairy during Lent and is ready to get back into eating some delicious treats!

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Freshly baked Hot cross buns

Hot Cross Buns

There’s nothing better than starting any day with the sweet delight of hot cross buns. Your taste buds will enjoy the flavor burst of orange zest, nutmeg, and cinnamon spices blended together in this sweet treat.
4.50 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Brunch, dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Global
Keyword: Bread Recipe, buns
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 12 Pieces
Calories: 273.1kcal


  • 1 cup whole milk warmed to about 110°F
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 ½ cups bread flour leveled
  • 1 orange zest
  • 1 cup raisins or currants
  • ½ cup apple juice water or rum

Flour paste

  • ½ cup flour
  • 5 tbsp water


  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ tablespoons sugar


Mix The ingredients

  • Soak the currants and raisins in hot water or apple juice or rum and set aside to come to room temperature.
  • In a medium bowl, add the warm milk, yeast, and white sugar. Mix well and leave to proof—about 5 minutes.
  • Add the melted butter and the egg to the yeast mixture. Mix together and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the add in all the dry ingredients (flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest, and salt). Mix well.

If using a food processor:

  • Pour the dry and wet ingredients inside the food processor and process for about 4 to 5 minutes or until everything is well blended.
  • Put the dough in a large bowl, drain the raisins, and add it to the dough. Then use your hands to work the raisins inside the dough.

If using a stand mixer:

  • Pour the wet ingredients inside the dry ingredient and mix on medium speed with the dough hook attachment for 8 to 10 minutes or until the dough becomes soft and elastic. Stir in the raisins (drained).

If using your hand:

  • Pour the wet ingredients inside the dry ingredient and use a wooden spoon to mix it until it forms a shaggy mass of dough. Knead the dough for 10 to 12 minutes or until it becomes soft and elastic. Add the raisins (drained) and work it into the dough.
  • Note: It will be a bit tricky to work this dough with hands because it's quite wet. My best advice is to work it in a large mixing bowl for better manageability.
  • Also, you can oil your hands if the dough gets too sticky.

Proof and bake

  • Cover up the dough and leave to proof in a warm place for one hour or till doubled in size.
  • Punch down the dough to remove the trapped air then transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into twelve equal sizes and use your hands to shape them into balls.
  • Meanwhile, lightly grease a 9 by 13-inch pan with some butter and dust with some flour.
  • Arrange the buns inside the prepared pan. Cover the pan, and let them rise for another 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Flour paste: In a small bowl, mix the flour and water until to form a thick paste. Scoop the paste inside a piping bag or a zip lock bag and snip off the tip of the bag. Pipe cross on top of the buns.
  • Bake the buns at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes or until they become golden brown.
  • Glaze: Mix the sugar together with the water until the sugar is completely dissolved. Brush the surface of the buns with the sugar and water mixture while still very hot.
  • Leave to cool and enjoy!


Calories: 273.1kcal | Carbohydrates: 47.8g | Protein: 6.6g | Fat: 6.5g | Saturated Fat: 3.6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1.6g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 28.6mg | Sodium: 117.2mg | Potassium: 201.9mg | Fiber: 2.2g | Sugar: 7.2g | Vitamin A: 204.4IU | Vitamin C: 2.1mg | Calcium: 47.5mg | Iron: 1mg

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Recipe Rating


Monday 5th of September 2022

You did not indicate the quantity of orange zest ma

Chef Lola's Kitchen

Sunday 16th of October 2022

Mary, you need 1 orange zest. This means the zest from 1 piece of orange. You can learn more about how to zest orange here.


Wednesday 13th of April 2022

Do these buns go hard the next day and can you freeze them?

Lola Osinkolu

Wednesday 12th of July 2023

Yes, they go hard. You can warm them for few seconds in the microwave and they will become a bit softer but not as fresh as the first day. Freezing will change the texture a bit but will still be edible.


Sunday 27th of February 2022

Could this recipe be used in a bread maker to turn it into a loaf?

Lola Osinkolu

Wednesday 21st of September 2022

Sorry, I haven't tried it in a breadmaker.


Monday 11th of October 2021

It says you can use rum or apple juice 1/2 cup or water.? Is rum better………….

Lola Osinkolu

Wednesday 20th of October 2021

Either one is fine but rum has a fuller flavor profile.


Monday 29th of March 2021

Hi. Can I add 1 cup of sugar instead of the 1/4 cup? It isn't sweet enough for me. Other than that, it's awesomely soft.

Lola Osinkolu

Sunday 16th of May 2021

The bread is not meant to be too sweet. However, you can add an extra 1/4 cup. I think 1 cup will be way too much.