Hot cross buns on a plate with yellow primroses in the background

Hot Cross Buns

I always bake hot cross buns on Good Friday for my family. I love the warm, yeasty smell of the dough as it proves and the spicy sweetness of the buns fresh from the oven.

My recipe is simple to make and well worth a little extra time.

Hot Cross Buns Really Are Special!

Many years ago hot cross buns baked on Good Friday were believed to have to have holy powers and a bun hung from the ceiling in a house was thought to protect all within from harm.

A hot cross bun taken aboard a ship was thought to protect against shipwreck and a piece of a bun grated into warm milk was even thought to have curative powers.

Although I can’t claim any special powers for my hot cross buns, I guarantee that they are so delicious that you definitely won’t have any left over to hang from the ceiling!

Here is my recipe: Happy Baking!

Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Course: SnacksCuisine: United KingdomDifficulty: Easy


Prep time + proving time


Cooking time




  • 1 pound 2 ounces (1 lb 2 oz) / 500 grams strong white flour

  • 2 ounces / 60 grams caster sugar

  • 3 ounces / 90 grams butter

  • 2 ounces / 60 grams sultanas

  • 2 ounces / 60 grams raisins

  • 2 ounces / 60 grams currants

  • 2 ounces / 60 grams mixed peel

  • 1 ½ teaspoons quick acting yeast

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon all spice

  • 1 large egg

  • ¼ pint / 150 ml boiling water

  • ¼ pint / 150 ml full cream milk

  • For the crosses
  • 2 ounces / 60 grams flour

  • 1 ounce / 30 grams butter

  • A little water


  • Mix together the flour, sugar, salt yeast, spices, dried fruit and mixed peel and set aside.
  • Add the butter to the boiling water and stir until it melts.
  • Add the cold milk to the butter/water mix.
  • The resulting liquid should be tepid, not hot. If it is hot, allow to cool until tepid.
  • Add the tepid liquid and the egg to the dry ingredients and mix to form a dough.
  • Knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes, or by machine for 5 minutes.
  • Cover with cling film and leave to prove until it doubles in size. The time it will take will depend on the room temperature. I leave my dough overnight in my cold kitchen. If you leave your dough in a warm place it can take as little as 1½ hours.
  • Turn your risen dough out onto a floured work surface and knead by hand for 2-3 minutes.
  • Divide into 12 portions and shape into round buns and place on a greased baking tray, or a tray lined with baking parchment.
  • For the crosses rub the butter into the flour and mix to a dough with a little water. Roll out on a floured surface and cut into strips.
  • Use the strips of pastry to form a cross on each bun, damping them with milk to stick them to the buns.
  • Cover the buns with oiled cling film and leave to prove again until they double in size. This will take 30 minutes to 1 hour in a warm place but may take longer at a lower temperature.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven 220°C / 200°C fan / 425°F / Gas Mark 7 for 15-20 minutes until brown.
  • Make a glaze by dissolving 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar in 2 tablespoons of water.
  • When the buns come out of the oven brush them with the glaze.
  • Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Recipe Video

How To Serve Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns are best served warm, with or without butter as you prefer. Any leftovers are delicious the following day toasted and buttered.

Best wishes for a Happy Easter!

My other Easter Recipes

1950s Easter Biscuits Recipe

Traditional Easter Simnel Cake

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