Homemade Hot Cross Buns

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With raisins, dried fruits, warm spices, and a cross piped on top, these Hot Cross Buns are an Easter tradition. This recipe makes the softest, fluffiest buns!

Hot Cross Buns in a baking pan

Easy Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Hot cross buns have been a family Easter tradition for as long as I can remember. Even today, this is a recipe I make every Good Friday – and after trying many different variations, I can confirm this is the best (and easiest) hot cross buns recipe out there.

These hot cross buns are a combination of traditional rolls and the sweetness of a light dessert. They are filled with candied fruit and raisins and then topped with a sweet, but not too sweet, icing. They’re the perfect dessert for Good Friday or even Easter Sunday.

Why You’ll Love This Easter Recipe

We make this hot cross buns recipe every Easter. Here’s why we love it.

  • Quicker than other recipes. I opted to use instant yeast in this recipe, which means there’s just one “rest” time of 15 minutes and one true 90-minute rise. Other recipes require much more rising and kneading.
  • Sweet but savory. Raisins, dried fruits, and sugar in the dough give these buns a lovely sweetness, as does the icing on top. But it still has the savory elements of a dinner roll too.
  • An Easter classic. As you’ll read below, hot cross buns have been an Easter tradition for a LONG time. It’s just not Easter without them!
A hot cross bun on a glass plate

What Are Hot Cross Buns?

Hot cross buns are a traditional Easter dessert. They’re a sweet dinner roll, with raisins and dried fruits inside, a delightful icing, and a cross frosted on top. Think of them as a cross between a classic dinner roll and something sweeter, like a cinnamon roll.

There are many legends and stories about how the buns came to be. The story I’m most familiar with is that they were started in the 12th century by an Angelican Monk who baked the buns and added the cross on top in honor of Good Friday.

Today, hot cross buns are still prepared and enjoyed on Good Friday, though some enjoy them on Easter Sunday as well.

Hot Cross Buns ingredients

What You’ll Need

To make this Easter classic, you’ll need raisins, mixed candied fruit, and instant yeast, plus a few other ingredients. See the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.

  • Raisins & mixed candied fruit – Some hot cross buns recipes just use raisins (or currants) but I like to use raisins and candied fruit. You can usually find bags of mixed candied fruit at the grocery store.
  • Warm milk – Make sure it’s warm, not hot as it will kill the yeast.
  • White sugar
  • Butter – You want unsalted, melted butter for the buns.
  • Salt – Helps to balance and enhance the other flavors.
  • Butter – Unsalted and melted.
  • Quick rise yeast – Using quick rise yeast is one of the things that makes this hot cross buns recipe so quick and easy to prepare.
  • Eggs – Help give the buns their shape and add richness to the dough.
  • Flour – You’ll need flour for the bun dough, as well as the icing to form the cross on top.
  • Spices – Cinnamon and nutmeg add a warm flavor to these buns.
  • Powdered sugar – Used to make the crosses and in the icing.

How to Make Hot Cross Buns

Here’s an overview of how to make hot cross buns for your Easter dinner. See the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.

  • Make the dough. Whisk together a cup of flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and spices. In a separate bowl, beat together the milk, butter, and eggs. Add the flour mixture to the eggs and beat for about 3 minutes. Stir in the fruit and raisins, then gradually add the remaining flour.
  • Knead the dough. Transfer the sticky dough to a floured surface and knead for about 7 minutes, until you have the texture of a soft dough.
  • Rest. Form the kneaded dough into a ball then cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
  • Let rise. Divide the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each one into a ball and place in a greased baking dish. Cover with a towel (or plastic wrap) and let sit in a warm area for about 1 1/2 hours, until they double in size.
  • Add the crosses. Combine the water, flour, and powdered sugar for the crosses. Transfer to a ziploc bag (or piping bag) and pipe lines down the width and length of the bowl to form crosses.
  • Bake. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown.
  • Add the icing. Combine the powdered sugar and milk. Brush over the buns while they are still hot from the oven.
Hot Cross Buns in a baking dish

Tips for Success

Here are a few tips to help you make the best hot cross buns.

  • Measure the flour properly. Be sure to carefully measure the flour, as adding too much or too little is the easiest way to change the consistency of your dough.
  • WARM milk, not hot. Be sure to use warm milk when making the dough, not hot milk. Hot milk can cause the eggs to scramble and/or kill the yeast.
  • Be sure the yeast is good. Yeast does expire, so be sure to check the date on the package. If the yeast isn’t good, the bread won’t rise.
  • Let rise in a warm place. The dough should be covered with a tea towel and placed somewhere warm to rise, away from any drafts or cool air.
Homemade Hot Cross Buns on the counter

Proper Storage

Hot cross buns are best enjoyed the day they are prepared but you can also store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

More Easter Recipes To Try

Hot Cross Buns feature
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Homemade Hot Cross Buns

With raisins, dried fruits, warm spices, and a cross piped on top, these Hot Cross Buns are an Easter tradition. This recipe makes the softest, fluffiest buns!
Servings: 12
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Inactive time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Total: 2 hours 40 minutes





  • In a medium bowl whisk together 1 cup of flour with the sugar, yeast, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.
  • In a large bowl beat together the milk, butter and eggs.
  • Add the flour/yeast mixture to the milk mixture and beat well, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the candied fruit and raisins.
  • Gradually stir in the remaining flour to make soft dough.
  • Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 7 minutes, until dough is smooth.
  • Form the dough into a ball, cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
  • Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish. Set aside.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and divide it into 12 equal sized pieces.
  • Roll each piece into a ball and place it in the prepared baking dish.
  • Cover with a clean tea towel and let stand in a warm draught free area until doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • In a small bowl mix together the water, flour and powdered sugar for the crosses. Put this mixture in a Ziploc bag, cut a corner off the bag and pipe a line down the length and width of the pan of buns to form crosses.
  • Bake for 30 – 35 minutes.
  • Mix together the powdered sugar and milk for the icing and brush it over the buns while they are hot from the oven.

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Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 124mg | Potassium: 151mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 189IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 3mg


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