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    Homemade Hot Cross Buns

    Published April 15, 2022. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    These delicious homemade hot cross buns are baked with currants and topped off with a sweet apricot jam to make one tasty roll. You will love serving this to your friends and family around the Easter holiday.

    I’m a huge bread fan and love exploring different flavors and textures. If you are interested in baking more bread, then for sure check out my Brioche or Banana Bread.

    pan of hot cross buns

    Hot Cross Buns

    Hot cross buns are slightly sweet and spicy rolls that have a hint of orange flavor and a simple dough cross baked into the top of them. They are very commonly served up on or around the easter holiday across the world.

    Hot cross buns have been around for centuries as an Anglican monk marked each bun with a cross to honor Jesus’s crucifixion on Good Friday. They became extremely popular in England after that, with a small stint of banishment, but regained fame and are still traditionally served worldwide. 

    Ingredients You’ll Need

    • Flour – Bread flour works best, however, if you only have all-purpose flour, then reduce the amount of milk by 5%-7%.
    • Milk – Use whole milk for this recipe.
    • Sugar – Caster sugar is classically used, but if you do not have that then regular sugar will work.
    • Yeast – Any good bakers, active, or instant yeast will work.
    • Salt – I always use sea salt but you can use kosher salt in this recipe.
    • Spice Mix – To me, the perfect blend of spices for these hot cross buns is a pumpkin pie spice blend mix.
    • Butter – Always use unsalted butter so you can control the salt content.
    • Orange – You will need the zest of an orange.
    • Currants – These are most traditionally used, but you can substitute them with raisins.
    • Vanilla – This will help add some nice flavors to the buns.
    • Eggs – large eggs will help give the dough structure and flavor.
    ingredients to make hot cross buns

    How to Make Hot Cross Buns

    Use these easy-to-follow procedures and images to make these delicious homemade hot cross buns:

    In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the warm milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and yeast until combined. Let stand for 5-7 minutes or until a raft forms.

    yeast mixed with hot milk

    In the meantime, in a separate bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and spices until combined.

    whisking together dry ingredients

    Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it is about the size of rice.

    cutting butter into dry ingredients

    Fold in the orange zest and currants into the dry mixture.

    folding currants into flour

    Fix the hook attachment to the stand mixer and begin to mix on low speed while adding 1 cup of the flour mixture at a time until mixed in.

    adding dry ingredients to wet ingredients

    Next, add in 1 egg at a time until mixed in, and then add in the vanilla until mixed in.

    adding an egg to a stand mixer

    Turn the speed to low-medium and knead for about 4 to 5 minutes. The dough should be a little sticky.

    bun dough mixing

    Cover the bowl and let proof in a warm dark place until doubled in size, which can take up to 2 hours.

    adding dough to a conatiner

    Next, transfer the dough to a clean surface lightly dusted with flour, and knead the dough for 1 to 2 minutes.

    kneading hot cross bun dough

    Form 15 individual dough balls and roll them into a round shape and place them into a large baking pan lined with parchment paper. Proof them for 1 more hour covered with a towel.

    hot cross buns in a pan

    While proofing, whisk together flour and water and then transfer it to a piping bag with the tip cut off or with a small round tip.

    whisking flour and water

    Once the buns are done proofing use the flour-water mixture and pipe crosses on each bun.

    making crosses on buns

    Bake in the oven at 350° for 22 to 25 minutes or until golden brown on top and cooked through.

    baking hot cross buns

    Transfer the buns to a cooling rack.

    cooling hot cross buns

    In the meantime, melt some apricot jam in a small saucepan just until melted, and then brush the tops of the warm buns with it. Serve.

    brushing hot cross buns with apricot jam

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: You can make these up to 1 day ahead of time. Since they are to be served warm, follow the reheating instructions below.

    How to Store: Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They will freeze covered for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating and serving.

    How to Reheat: Add the desired number of hot cross buns to a 13×9 pan and cover it with foil. Bake in the oven at 350° for 6-8 minutes or until warm.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the cross made of on hot cross buns?

    • A simple combination of water and flour is piped through a piping bag onto the buns in the form of a cross before baking.

    What do hot cross buns taste like?

    • They are a slightly sweet and spicy roll that has hints of orange in it from the zest

    What is the significance of hot cross buns?

    • In Christianity, it is symbolic of the cross that Jesus was crucified on.

    Chef Notes + Tips

    • When reheating the buns, you can reglaze them with some hot apricot jam.
    • If you do not have access to currants, substitute with raisins.
    • Feel free to cover the dough with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap when going through both proofing processes.
    sliced in half hot cross bun

    More Bread Recipes

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    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Video

    Homemade Hot Cross Buns Recipe

    These delicious homemade hot cross buns are baked with currants and topped off with a sweet apricot jam to make one tasty roll.
    Servings: 15
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 25 minutes
    Proofing Time: 2 hours

    Ingredients 

    For the Buns:

    • 1 1/3 cups whole milk, 112° to 115°
    • 2/3 cup caster sugar
    • 1 package active yeast
    • 5 cups bread flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
    • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • zest of 1 orange
    • 1 cup currants
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • ½ cup apricot jam

    For the Crosses:

    • 3 tablespoons bread flour
    • 4 tablespoons water

    Instructions

    • In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the warm milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and yeast until combined. Let stand for 5-7 minutes or until a raft forms.
    • In the meantime, in a sperate bowl, whisk together the flour, remaining sugar, salt, and spices until combined.
    • Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry knife until it is about the size of rice. You may need to use your hands to further break it up.
    • Fold the orange zest and currants into the dry mixture.
    • Fix the hook attachment to the stand mixer and begin to mix on low speed while adding 1 cup of the flour mixture at a time until mixed in.
    • Next, add in 1 egg at a time until mixed in, and then add in the vanilla until mixed in.
    • Turn the speed to low-medium and knead for about 4 to 5 minutes. The dough should be a little sticky.
    • Cover the bowl and let proof in a warm dark place until doubled in size, which can take up to 2 hours.
    • Next, transfer the dough to a clean surface lightly dusted with flour and knead the dough for 1 to 2 minutes.
    • Form 15 individual dough balls and roll them into a round shape and place them into a large baking pan lined with parchment paper. Proof them for 1 more hour covered with a towel.
    • While proofing, whisk together flour and water and then transfer it to a piping bag with the tip cut off or with a small round tip.
    • Once the buns are done proofing use the flour-water mixture and pipe crosses on each bun.
    • Bake in the oven at 350° for 22 to 25 minutes or until golden brown on top and cooked through.
    • Transfer the buns to a cooling rack.
    • In the meantime, melt some apricot jam in a small sauce pan just until melted and then brush the tops of the warm buns with it. Serve.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead: You can make these up to 1 day ahead of time. Since they are to be served warm, follow the reheating instructions below.
    How to Store: Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. They will freeze covered for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating and serving.
    How to Reheat: Add the desired number of hot cross buns to a 13×9 pan and cover it with foil. Bake in the oven at 350° for 6-8 minutes or until warm.
    When reheating the buns, you can reglaze them with some hot apricot jam.
    If you do not have access to currants, substitute with raisins.
    Feel free to cover the dough with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap when going through both proofing processes.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 313kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 7gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 181mgPotassium: 169mgFiber: 2gSugar: 20gVitamin A: 278IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 1mg
    Course: bread, Side Dish
    Cuisine: english, irish