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Side shot of the softest hot cross buns recipe on a white table in front of a vase of flowers
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5 from 2 votes

Hot Cross Buns

This easy Hot Cross Buns recipe is a festive addition to your Easter celebration! Make the dough ahead for a convenient holiday treat.
Course Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine American, European
Keyword easy hot cross buns recipe, hot cross buns
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings 12 buns
Calories 220kcal
Author Blair Lonergan


  • 1 (0.25 oz) package dry active yeast
  • ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • ¾ cup whole milk, scalded (see note below for how to scald milk)
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 cups bread flour (or sub with all-purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup dried currants (or sub with raisins)

Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of water



  • In a small bowl, stir together yeast and warm water. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes, until foamy.
  • In a large mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment, combine scalded milk, shortening, sugar and salt. Stir to dissolve the ingredients in the warm milk. Cool the mixture to a lukewarm temperature.
  • Add the softened yeast mixture to the milk mixture. Add the egg, 1 cup of flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add remaining flour and the currants (or raisins); beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl (about 1-2 minutes). If the dough seems too wet, gradually add a spoonful of flour at a time until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Continue mixing the dough for 2 more minutes (or knead by hand on the counter for 2 minutes).
  • Lightly grease a bowl with oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and turn to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 2 hours).
  • Punch down the dough. Divide the dough into 12 even pieces; shape into smooth balls. Arrange the dough balls in a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
  • Cover the dish and let the dough rise again until puffy, about 60-90 minutes.
  • Remove the cover, brush the tops of the buns with egg wash, and bake on the middle rack in a 350° F oven for 18-22 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack.
  • Once the buns are cool (or just slightly warm, but not too hot), prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and milk. The glaze should be thick, but thin enough so that you can pipe it onto the buns. If it’s too thick, add a small amount of milk to thin. If it’s too thin, add a small amount of confectioners’ sugar until it reaches the desired consistency. Transfer the glaze to a piping bag or a sandwich bag with the corner snipped off; pipe a cross onto each bun.


  • Scalding milk is simply the process of heating milk to 180 degrees F. To scald the milk for this recipe, place the milk in a saucepan over low heat. Warm the milk until a skin forms on the top. As soon as the skin forms on top of the milk, remove the pan from the heat -- be careful not to let the milk boil.
  • Use a glass or ceramic baking dish. I find that metal pans, muffin tins and cast iron skillets cause the bottoms and sides of the buns to burn more easily.
  • Bake in the center of the oven to prevent excessive browning on the top or bottom of your buns. You likely will not need to do so, but you can cover the buns loosely with foil if they start to get too dark on top before they're done baking.
  • Store yeast in the freezer. Even unopened packets of yeast with a good expiration date can go bad at room temperature, so I always keep the yeast in the freezer. Old yeast will impact the dough's ability to rise.
  • Rise in a warm spot. If your dough isn't rising, check the temperature of your kitchen. Ideally, you want to find a spot that's about 75° F, but this doesn't have to be exact.
  • Properly measure the flour. Always spoon and level the flour -- do not scoop it out of the package. Incorrectly measuring the flour will result in dense, hard hot cross buns.
  • To shape the round buns, work with one piece of dough at a time and tuck the edges underneath to the middle of the roll -- creating a smooth, round top -- pinching and sealing the bottom. Then place the bun in the baking dish and continue with remaining dough.
  • Do not pipe the cross onto hot buns. Give them a chance to cool, and then add the cross design. It's fine if the buns are still slightly warm, but you don't want them too hot or the icing will melt right off.


Serving: 1bun | Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 207mg | Potassium: 65mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 46IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg