Hot Cross Buns


“Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns!

Give them to your daughters.
Or give them to your sons.
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot cross buns!”

I was a 4 year old in kindergarten when I first learnt this song and I still sing it now each time I bake a batch of hot cross buns.


Hot cross buns are traditionally made in the upcoming weeks to Good Friday as part of the celebration for Easter and they seem to pop up at around the start of March in bakeries.

They are aromatically spicy, full of delicious dried fruit and finished off with a cross and a sweet glaze. The buns are very easy to make and are simply beautiful eaten warm and slathered with lots of butter.

Hot Cross Buns

Recipe adapted from ‘Modern Classics 2’ by Donna Hay.

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

½ cup caster sugar

1 ½ cups (375ml) lukewarm milk

4 ¼ cups plain flour, sifted

2 ½ teaspoons mixed spice

2 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ cup mixed candied peel, finely chopped

50g butter, melted

1 egg

2 cups mixed dried fruit (sultanas, raisins, currants)


¼ cup plain flour

2 tablespoons (40ml) water


¼ cup caster sugar

30ml water

1 teaspoon powdered gelatine (dissolved in a 1 tablespoon of water)

  1. Place the yeast, two teaspoons of the sugar and milk in a jug or bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. The mixture will start to foam, indicating the yeast is active.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, spices, sultanas, mixed peel and remaining sugar. Add the butter, egg and milky yeast mixture. Mix using a butter knife until a sticky dough forms.
  3. Knead the dough on a well floured surface for 8 minutes or until elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and allow to stand in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls.
  4. Grease a 23cm (9 inch) square cake tin and line with non-stick baking paper. Place the dough balls in the tin, cover with a tea towel and set aside for 30 minutes or until they rise.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). For the crosses, combine the flour and water and using a piping bag, pipe crosses on the buns. Bake for 35 minutes or until well browned and springy to touch.
  6. Prepare the glaze in the last 5 minutes of baking time. Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Add the gelatine and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Brush the warm glaze over the buns while they are hot.





23 Responses to “Hot Cross Buns”

  1. Aw, something about these buns makes me just want to pinch them! Like a baby’s cheeks. They are very fluffy and yet dense looking, which is the perfect combination honestly. I’ve never had a hot cross bun sadly, and they keep popping up all over the web, especially around this time of the year. If I pay the shipping, can you send it to me :)

  2. Love these…nice pictures too!
    Have a Happy Easter :)

  3. I love your recipe! I am going to make them for Easter morning brunch at our house. I hope mine turn out as pretty as yours. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I have seen these popping on some blogs and they look delish – yours are no exception!
    I think I should start a hot cross bun tradition here in Brazil. :)

  5. 5 vanessa

    these are beautiful! I will have to try them!

  6. 6 Joy

    they look amazing! send me some! :)

  7. 7 Susan

    Nothing says easter like hot cross buns! I was intending to make some today but now i think i will use your recipe instead. Gorgeous pics as usual. Yum!

  8. 8 Lisa

    They look so great! Your photo is like something our of a glossy hard-cover cookbook :)

  9. Thanks everybody! Happy Easter! :)

    Amanda – “makes me want to pinch them” haha! Can’t believe you’ve never had a hot cross bun before. They are so delicious and easy to make. I’d happily send you some, but like most yeasted baked goods, these only really last a day :(

    Patricia – please start it! I’d love to come to Brazil one day and check out the hot cross buns :)

    Lisa – Thanks! Sometimes I don’t know why I make them since Coles and Safeway always have them on special :)

  10. I had some Coles ones – they were not nice.

    It’s a great recipe, Linda. I was delighted to find it this morning, and it worked fabulously. And I’m very pleased to have found your blog.

  11. These are just gorgeous! Great job!

  12. 12 Kristi

    I have the book and this was one of the first recipes that I tried and I was thrilled by how well they turned out as I do not have much success with yeast bread at home. Baking them in a pan made a big difference in the finished result and I think they look quite cute in “square” form.

  13. My mom used to sing me that song to wake me up for school. Strangely though, she never MADE them for me. However, now I am a huge fan! Great recipe, I might use this one on Sunday!

  14. *wolf whistles* Nice buns, baby! ;) Not a huge mixed dried fruits fan, but I love these things with chocolate chips in ’em – nom nom!

  15. They look amazing! Will try the recipe. Thanks!

  16. Deborah – Hello and welcome! I haven’t eaten a Coles’ hot cross bun in years. Maybe it’s the fact that they stay ‘fresh’ and soft after 4 or 5 days is quite disturbing.

    Gretchen – Gracias! :)

    Kristi – Donna Hay books are usually quite foolproof, although I have had some bad luck with a few of her recipes. I think they look cute as ‘squares’ too.

    Cakespy – Now why would mama sing about them but never make them? That’s just unfair :(

    Ellie – Lol! The true Aussie hot cross bun: choc chip :)

    Syazrin – Thank you!

  17. That looks really good! I think I will try the recipe soon!

  18. Happy Easter! Lovely buns! We had bakery ones this year, they were ok, better than supermarket ones anyway.
    I don’t like the mixed peel, but I just do not get that people would buy the buns without fruit! How random is that? And choc-chip? I don’t know, whatever floats your boat I guess.
    I have to have my bun toasted. I can’t eat them just warmed, too doughy. Maybe that’s got something to do with them being mass-produced? Part of it is that I have always loved the idea of “toasted tea-cake”. It always make me think of the Famous Five and little villages in England. What a ramble! Put it down to too much Easter choccy :)
    Beautiful photos as usual. They really do look very delcious :)

  19. 19 Bree

    I’m all about the dried blueberries!!!! Seriously Linny… I added them to the granola you gave me (finished in two days he he!) I even added them in my hot cross bun mixture too – delish!

    I made them with wholemeal flour so they were slightly denser than the recipe, but they were all gobbled up all the same! Wrapped in brown paper and string, my dad loved the alternative Easter gift :)

    What’s on the menu this week??? I made carrot cake with walnuts and the lemon icing from your spiced biscuits- yum yum (new family favourite)!

  20. Alyssa – Thank you! Can’t believe I have a famous Flickr-ette commenting on my blog :)

    Sweetrosie – Yep. the fruitless buns are really weird and the choc-chip ones? That’s just a disgrace to the HCB code of conduct, haha… Yay, the Famous Five! I remember reading those books as a kid and was always interested to know what blancmange was (I know now). Happy Easter to you.

    Bree – my favourite commenter (when the internet connection works for you that is). Dried blueberries? You did mention adding them to the granola before, I must give it a go soon.

    I’m sure your dad would have loved homemade HCB!

    Next post will involve blueberries coincidentally. It will be raspberry blueberry muffins. Also want to give the ice-cream maker another work out. Maybe dulce de leche ice cream or cinnamon ice cream. Yum :)

  21. 21 buzzb

    I was hesitant to use normal plain flour( ie not bread flour), and as a result the buns only proved slightly and the end result were very dense, like scones or damper. So next time I will use the bread flour . My friends/family still thought they were nice though!

  22. What is mixed spice?

    • 23 buttersugarflour

      Hi Nelson, mixed spice is a combination of spices, usually caraway, allspice, coriander, cumin, nutmeg and ginger, although cinnamon and other spices can be added.

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