Easter Hot Cross Buns

Easter Hot Cross Buns

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Hot Cross Buns are perfect for an Easter dinner. Studded with raisins (or black currants) and lightly sweetened with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, they provide a tasty and special treat on your holiday table.

Easter Hot Cross Buns Served on Vintage Platter

(Post modified with new photos on 4/1/23.)

From what I can gather from the history of this recipe, for Christians, its usage marks the end of the Lenten season. The cross symbolizes Christs’ crucifixion and the spices represent the spices placed on Jesus’ body after his burial.

I first made these rolls for our family when my grandmother died on Good Friday, March 25, 2016, so they are a wonderful reminder of her every year at this time. 

 

More Bread for Easter

 

Sourdough Option

Decorate Rolls while still Warm

If you’d like to try making this recipe using a sourdough starter, it’s very easy to do. Simply add 1 cup active sourdough starter at the beginning of the recipe, and reduce the water in the ingredients to 2 tablespoons instead of 1/2 cup. Optionally, you may omit the instant yeast completely or use 1-2 teaspoons, depending on time constraints and how active your starter is. If you omit the yeast, you’ll need to stretch and pull the dough every 30-40 minutes while it rises. It will also take longer for your dough to complete its rise.

 

Ingredients to Make Easter Hot Cross Buns

  • granulated sugar
  • water
  • whole milk
  • melted butter
  • large egg yolk
  • vanilla extract
  • all-purpose flour
  • instant yeast
  • salt
  • ground cinnamon
  • freshly ground nutmeg
  • ground ginger
  • raisins, chopped
  • egg wash (egg white + water)

Icing

  • powdered sugar
  • whole milk
  • vanilla extract
  • lemon zest

 

Instructions for Making This Recipe

Ingredients for this Recipe

Gather your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table. Spray an oblong baking pan with baking spray, or line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

If desired, chop raisins into small bits, using a cutting board and knife or chopping knife.

Raisins are easier to find in our area of the country, but if you have access to dried black currants, they would be wonderful in this recipe. 

 

Prepare the Dough

In a large mixing bowl, add in the granulated sugar, water, whole milk, melted butter, large egg, and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.

Mix Together Dry Ingredients

In a small bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, instant yeast, salt, ground cinnamon, freshly ground nutmeg, and ginger.

Add flour ingredients to the liquid mixture. Mix until the dough becomes thick and shaggy. Stir in chopped raisins.

Shape Dough into a Ball and Allow to Rise

Knead with your hands or a dough hook until soft and elastic, 5-7 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until double, about one hour.

 

Form the Rolls

Divide Dough into Twelve Pieces

To form the rolls, divide the dough into twelve equal portions. Tuck the edges of the dough under, pinching at the bottom until they are smooth and round.

Place Rolls in Pan or on Baking Sheet to Rise

Place rolls seam-side down on the prepared baking pan or baking sheet.

I’ve baked these rolls both ways, and didn’t have problems with them touching each other. If you’re worried that they might, simply use the baking sheet option. 

Cover with greased plastic wrap or a clean tea towel and allow to rise for 40-60 minutes until double. Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cover Risen Buns with Egg Wash

To make the egg wash, in a small bowl, whisk together the remaining egg white and water. Brush the tops of the rolls with the beaten egg.

Baked Hot Cross Buns

Bake in preheated oven for 25-27 minutes until golden brown on top. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

 

Make the Glaze

Mix Together the Icing Ingredients until Smooth

To make the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, whole milk, vanilla extract, and lemon zest until smooth.

Transfer the icing to a decorating bag with a small round attachment.

You may also place the icing in a pint or quart sized bag and make a small cut in the corner of the bag.

Decorate Slightly Warm Buns with Icing Cross

While buns are still slightly warm, ice with a thick cross shape over the top.

Serve Hot Cross Buns while Warm on Blue Willow Platter

This recipe will make 12 rolls. They are best served freshly baked, and while still warm. Store in tightly sealed container or bag. You may freeze the rolls for up to 3 weeks. 

Whenever you thaw frozen baked goods, it’s always best to allow the item to come to room temperature before opening its bag or container to make sure it absorbs all of the moisture in the bag. 

See more Bread Recipes Here. Browse Easter Recipes Here. 

 

Featured Image - Recipe for Hot Cross Buns

Easter Hot Cross Buns

Here's a recipe we made last Easter that was quite tasty and a special treat on the table.
5 from 9 votes
Print Rate Pin Recipe
Course: Breads
Cuisine: English
Keyword: Easter, Raisins, Sweet Breads, Yeast Breads
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Rising Time:: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients 
 

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup butter melted
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup chopped raisins
  • egg white + water for egg wash

Icing

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

Instructions

  • Gather your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table.
  • Using a knife or cutting knife and cutting board, chop raisins into small bits.

Prepare the Dough

  • In a large mixing bowl, add in the granulated sugar, water, whole milk, melted butter, large egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. (Save the egg white for later in the recipe as an egg wash.)
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, instant yeast, salt, ground cinnamon, freshly ground nutmeg, and ginger.
  • Mix into liquid ingredients until the dough becomes thick and shaggy. Stir in chopped raisins.
  • Knead with your hands or a dough hook until soft and elastic, 5-7 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until double, about one hour.

Form the Rolls

  • To form the rolls, divide the dough into twelve equal portions. Tuck the edges of the dough under, pinching until it forms a round roll. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Cover with greased plastic wrap or a clean tea towel and allow to rise for 40-60 minutes until double. Preheat oven to 375℉.
  • To make the egg wash, in a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and water. Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash..
  • Bake in preheated oven for 25-27 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Make the Glaze

  • To make the glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, whole milk, vanilla extract, and lemon zest until smooth. Mixture will be rather thick.
  • Transfer the icing to a plastic decorating bag with a small round tip, (or a quart-sized bag and make a small cut in the corner of the bag).
  • Ice buns with a thick cross shape over the top. Makes 12 rolls.

Notes

*Unless otherwise indicated, all butter used on this recipe site is salted. 
**Sourdough Option - Add 1 cup active sourdough starter at the beginning of the recipe, and reduce the water to 2 tablespoons. Optionally, you may omit the instant yeast completely or use 1-2 teaspoons, depending on time constraints and how active your starter is. If you omit the yeast, you'll need to perform the stretch and pull technique every 30-40 minutes while it rises. (It will also take longer for your dough to complete its two rises.) 

Nutrition

Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 158mg | Potassium: 153mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 198IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 2mg
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