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Freshly-baked batch of hot cross buns on a serving table.


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 15 reviews

  • Author: Denay DeGuzman
  • Total Time: 2 Hours 45 Minutes
  • Yield: 12 Rolls 1x


These aromatic, tender, hot cross buns are super easy to make! Each roll features a traditional cross on top. Fresh from the oven, the warm buns are brushed with a tasty citrus glaze.


Units Scale


  • 1 cup whole milk, warmed to 105°F to 110°F
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting work surface)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground all-spice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup black raisins


  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup cold water, or adjust as needed


  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice


RECIPE PREP: Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or non-stick cooking spray. Set it aside. Butter down a 9×13 pan or baking dish. Set it aside.

Warm the milk to 100°F – 110°F. Add the milk to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Sprinkle yeast over the milk. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes or until foamy. Add egg, brown sugar, and vanilla to the bowl. Mix to combine. 

  1. In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, orange zest, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.
  2. Slowly add the dry flour mixture to the wet ingredients (a little at a time) while mixing and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Continue mixing until the dough moves away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball around the dough hook.
  3. Add in the soft butter, a few cubes at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in the raisins and continue mixing until they’re evenly distributed throughout the dough. Turn the mixer to medium speed. Knead the dough (about 2 to 3 minutes) until it’s smooth and just barely sticky.
  4. Transfer the dough to the large greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a lint-free cloth. Set the bowl in a warm breeze-free place so the dough can rise until doubled in size – about 90 minutes.
  5. When the dough has risen, gently punch it down and transfer it to a clean, floured surface. Evenly divide dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball, pinching it at the bottom to seal it. Arrange the balls in a buttered 9×13 pan. Set baking dish in a warm spot so dough can rise a second time and fill the pan completely – about 30 minutes.
  6. While dough is rising, preheat oven to 350°F. Assemble mixture for piping-on crosses: combine flour, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and water. It should be a thick pipeable paste. Transfer mixture to a piping bag (or a zip-top bag with a corner cut off).
  7. Pipe the thick flour mixture over the top of the rolls in series of 3 long horizontal lines and 4 short vertical lines. The end result: a cross on the top of each bun. Bake the hot cross buns for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top of the rolls are golden brown. Remove buns from the oven. Let them cool for 5 minutes before brushing on the citrus glaze (see the next step).
  8. While the buns are baking, assemble the citrus glaze. In a small bowl, whisk the powdered sugar and orange juice together until smooth. Gently brush the glaze over the top of the warm hot cross buns. Serve the rolls (warm or at room temperature) with pats of butter.


HOW TO STORE HOT CROSS BUNS: Arrange the rolls inside an airtight container. Store the hot cross buns in a cool dry place. They’ll stay fresh at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. For longer storage, refrigerate up to 5 days or freeze up to 2 weeks.

HOW TO REHEAT THE ROLLS: Preheat oven to 300°F. If the buns are dry or hard, spritz them with water. This will create hot steam in the oven and restore tenderness. Transfer the rolls to a baking dish or a baking tray. Tent it with foil. Heat 5 to 10 minutes, or until soft and warm. 

  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Rise Time: 2 Hours
  • Cook Time: 25 Minutes
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: English