How to make hot cross buns

Traditionally known as Good Friday buns, these little cinnamon rolls have become so popular that they’re now available all year round. But we think traditions are a thing worth fighting for, so in an effort to make your Easter hot cross buns just a bit more special, why not bake your own?

hot cross buns

Hot cross buns have become such an institution that the street criers who sold them even inspired a nursery rhyme. Remember this one?

“Hot-cross buns!
Hot-cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot-cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons;
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot-cross buns!”

Ingredients (makes 12):

For the buns
500g cake flour
50g butter
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
280ml buttermilk
2 tsp (10g) yeast
1 egg, beaten
125g raisins (or other dried fruit) soaked in 100ml boiling water

For the cross
100g cake flour
100ml water

For the glaze
100g sugar
100ml water for glaze


1. Sieve the flour into a bowl, rub in the butter and stir in the sugar, salt and cinnamon.
2. Mix the buttermilk with the yeast and beaten egg. As soon as it starts to foam, add this mixture to the flour. Mix together with your hands until it comes together to form a soft dough. Knead for 5-10 minutes until soft and springy. You can do this by hand or by using a mixer with a dough hook – we used the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer.

hot cross bun mixture

3. Add the raisins or dried fruit and knead well. Since they’re in season, we added some dried figs to our homemade buns.
4. Shape the dough into 12 balls, place on a greased tray or two and leave somewhere warm to double in size for about 30-45 minutes. For guaranteed crispy crusts, the Demarle Silpain Baking Mats are ideal as their non stick mesh texture, wicks away the outside moisture.

rolled balls of hot cross buns

5. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
6. Make the mixture for your cross in the mean time. Sift the required amount of flour into a bowl and add the water, then mix to a rough paste.
7. Scoop the mixture into a piping bag and pipe a cross over each bun then place in the oven. For this we used the Kaiser Patisserie Disposable Icing Bags, which come in a set of 6.

piping crosses

8. Once the oven has reached the required temperature you can bake your now crossed buns for 12-15 minutes until risen and golden brown.
9. While your buns are a-baking, get started on the glaze. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan.
10. Simmer for 5-10 minutes then remove from the heat and set aside
11. Remove the buns from the oven and brush with the glaze. Serve piping hot with lashings of butter and dollops of maple syrup. We used Great Northern Grade A Maple Syrup.

Great Northern Maple Syrup

Did you know that sharing hot cross buns is said to ensure a lasting friendship throughout the coming year? Yes, it’s an ancient superstition but since there’s no harm you may as well break a bun with a buddy this Easter.

With thanks to Jules Mercer for her beautiful styling.