Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Stacey Mebs | Bake.Eat.Repeat.

These homemade hot cross buns are so easy to make and taste much better than the ones you get at the store! Soft and fluffy spiced buns filled with raisins and topped with a honey lemon glaze - they make the perfect treat for the Easter season!

Do you know the song, "Hot Cross Buns"? It was the first little song I taught my kids on the piano. It's likely the first little song everyone learns on the piano.

So, the first time I made hot cross buns at Easter, when my daughter was about 6, she was quite confused. Because how do you make a song?

Hot Cross Buns Photo

It makes sense that she didn't know they were an actual thing, as I've never bought them, because in my opinion hot cross buns make a great little song but aren't really worth eating. Until I tried this recipe.

These ones are good. I don't what it is about the hot cross buns at the store, but I always think they're way too dry.

Hot Cross Buns Picture

And I'm sorry, but I cannot get on board with candied fruit in bread. That just shouldn't happen.

Needless to say - there's no candied fruit in this recipe. I suppose you could replace the raisins with candied fruit. Just don't tell me about it.

Hot Cross Buns Image

These may not even be like traditional hot cross buns. I really don't know. But a number of years ago I made a Greek celebration bread, the braided kind with hard boiled eggs tucked in between the strands, for Easter, and my mom said that it reminded her of hot cross buns.

So, since that bread was tasty, I figured I could make a variation of it into hot cross buns that I would actually eat.

Hot Cross Buns Pic

Maybe not traditional, but they're light and fluffy, filled with spices and raisins, and have a sweet honey lemon glaze on top.

And they're delicious.

If you’re looking for more great brunch recipes for Easter, you might like these: Apple Crisp French Toast Casserole, Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, and Lemon Raspberry Sweet Rolls

Planning a dinner party and need some inspiration?

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Hot Cross Buns Recipe

    12 Servings


For the Buns:
  • 3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons Instant Yeast
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Zest, zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 2 large Eggs, at room temperature, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Almond Extract
  • 1/4 cup Water, at room temperature
  • 1 cup Raisins
For the Cross:
  • 2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tablespoons Water
For the Glaze:
  • 2 tablespoons Water
  • 2 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Honey
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Extract


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.
  2. Add the eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and almond extract and start to mix on low speed.
  3. Drizzle in the water slowly with the mixer running, using just enough water to form a soft dough.
  4. If the dough still looks dry add more water, a teaspoon at a time until it’s a soft ball.
  5. Knead the dough with the dough hook for 5 minutes (7-8 minutes by hand) until it is soft and slightly tacky, but not sticky at all. If it’s too sticky sprinkle in a little more flour, if it is stiff then add a little more water, until you have a smooth, soft dough.
  6. Add the raisins and knead for 1-2 more minutes until they are dispersed throughout the dough. You may have to do the last of the kneading by hand to get all of the raisins into the dough.
  7. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, turning it to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise until doubled, about 60-90 minutes.
  8. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Punch down the risen dough and remove it from the bowl to an oiled countertop.
  9. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces, about 3 ounces each, and roll each piece into a round ball. The easiest way is to roll the dough pieces on the counter, cupping your hand around the dough, with the edge of your hand on the counter. After 10-15 seconds of rolling it this way it will form a nice round ball with a smooth top.
  10. Place the buns in the prepared baking dish. Cover them with plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick spray.
  11. Allow the buns to rise until doubled, about one hour.
  12. Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and water for the crosses to form a paste. Spoon this paste into a ziplock bag or a piping bag.
  13. Cut a small corner from the ziplock bag and pipe the paste into cross shapes on the tops of the buns.
  14. Bake for 25-27 minutes until the buns are golden brown and an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of one reads 190°F.
  15. Allow the buns to cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
  16. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the water and the sugar to a boil.
  17. Add the honey and lemon extract and whisk to combine and then remove from the heat. Remove the buns to a wire rack and brush with the glaze, you may not need it all.
  18. Let the buns cool completely on the wire rack.



  • These hot cross buns are best the day they are baked, but can be reheated and enjoyed for a couple of days. If you want to prep them ahead, you can make them up to the point where you shape them into buns, then let them rise until they’re almost doubled (30-45 minutes), and then place them in the fridge overnight. The next day take them out of the fridge to warm up and finish rising about 90 minutes before you’re ready to bake them.


Source: Adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.
Adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.
Cooking Method:
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Related Recipes:
Lunchbox Recipes, Easter Recipes, Holiday Recipes, Baking Recipes, Baked Recipes, Family Meals and Snack Recipes, Bread Recipes, Frosting Recipes, Raisin Recipes
Recipe Yields:
12 buns
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Related Post:
Author: Stacey Mebs
Source: Adapted from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.
Recipe Yields: 12 buns
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 bun
Servings Per Recipe 12

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 23
Calories 213

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g
  Saturated Fat 1g
Sodium 170mg
Total Carbohydrate 39g
  Dietary Fiber 1g
  Sugars 10g
Protein 5g

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.
Stacey Mebs

About Stacey

Stacey loves to Bake. Eat. Repeat. so much that it inspired the name of her blog. With three young kids at home, she's become an expert at packing lunches. Say hello to our Lunchbox fanatic!

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