Easter Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Hot cross buns are a favourite in our house at Easter. They are traditionally served on Good Friday, although these days, they are eaten for weeks either side of the Easter holidays.

This simple recipe is perfect to do with the kids to celebrate Easter, and are delicious served warm out of the oven or toasted with butter. The traditional decoration is to put a cross on the top of the buns, but for something fun, get the kids to decorate the hot cross buns with their initial.

Easter Hot Cross Buns Recipe Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2 sachets (7g per sachet) dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk
  • 600g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp mixed spice
  • 60g butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup currants
  • 2/3 cup sultanas

Easter Hot Cross Bun Cross Mixture Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

Easter Hot Cross Bun Glaze Mixture Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp powdered gelatine

Easter Hot Cross Buns Recipe Method

Combine sugar, warm milk and yeast in a bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and rest in a warm place for 10-15 minutes until frothy. If it is particularly cool/cold in your kitchen, turn your oven on at 50ºC for two minutes then turn it off again and leave for a few minutes before you place the bowl in the oven; the residual heat in the oven will be enough to kick start the yeast.

Note that yeast will start to react at temperatures of approximately 35ºC, so ensure that your milk is warm enough to begin with. A quick test to check the milk temperature is right is to dip your finger in the water, it shouldn’t feel hot or cold and should be about the same temperature as your body. Also note that yeast will die (and your mixture will become un-useable) in temperatures above 45-50ºC, so definitely don’t use boiling milk.

Sift flour, salt, cinnamon and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour mixture using your thumbs and fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Pour the yeast mixture into the flour with the egg, currants and sultanas and mix to combine well. The mixture should come together and will feel soft and dough like. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and rest in a warm place for 45 minutes until the dough has doubled in size (again, follow the instructions above if your kitchen is not warm enough).

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead well for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Divide into 12 even balls and place on a greased lamington tray (20cm x 10cm x 3cm) lined with baking paper so that the balls are touching each other slightly. Cover with a clean tea towel and rest in a warm place for a further 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220ºC. Mix the flour, sugar and water together to form a paste for the crosses (or initials). Spoon the paste into a small plastic bag (I use a zip lock bag but you could use any sandwich bag) and snip off a corner of the bag to make a small nozzle to pipe the crosses. Pipe crosses or initials on top of the buns and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden brown.

Whilst baking, place the boiling water into a small bowl and briskly stir in the caster sugar and gelatine taking care to dissolve any lumps. Once cooked, remove the buns from the oven and brush the hot buns with the glaze. Allow to cool slightly, then serve warm or toasted with butter.