Easy Way to Make Hot Cross Buns

  • Author: Melissa
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes + 2 hours rising
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 buns 1x



  • 21/4 teaspoons instant or dry active yeast (1 packet)
  • 1/2 cup (98 grams) granulated sugar
  • 11/2 cups (375 ml) milk, warm
  • 41/4 cups (570 grams) bread flour (or all-purpose flour) + additional as needed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons all-spice
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 11/2 cups raisins
  • zest from 12 oranges (use 2 for a stronger orange flavor)
  • 3.5 tablespoons (50 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg, room temperature


  • 1/2 cups (75 grams) all-purpose flour 
  • 510 tablespoons water


  • 1 tablespoon apricot jam
  • 2 teaspoons water


  1. Start by prepping your yeast. Whisk together the sugar with the warm milk (between 110°-115° Fahrenheit). Combine 1 packet (2-1/4 tsp) of dry instant yeast or dry active yeast with warm milk that is between 110°-115° Fahrenheit. If you are using dry active yeast allow 10 minutes for the yeast to become fully activated before using. You can see that it is ready when there are foamy bubbles on the top of the milk. If you are using instant yeast, you can proceed without waiting 10 minutes as it is already activated.
  2. Once the yeast is activated, you can place it in your mixing bowl. Add in the bread flour, cinnamon, all-spice and salt. Combine the ingredients together at low-medium speed until incorporated.
  3. Next, add in the raisins, orange zest, melted butter and egg. Mix together at level two in your stand mixer for a minute. until it comes together and separates from the bowl.
  4. At this point the dough should be coming together, clearing the bowl and climbing up the dough hook. If the dough is too wet to clear the bowl, add in additional flour a little at a time until it pulls away from the bowl easily. Avoid adding too much flour or your bread will become too dense.
  5. Continue to mix at medium speed for about 5 minutes.
  6. If you are kneading by hand, you will knead (on a lightly floured surface) for a total of 10 minutes. You will know it is ready when the dough quickly springs back when pressed.
  7. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Place it in a warm place for about 30 minutes to 1-1/2 hours. The temperature of the area will determine how quickly your dough rises. I like to use a glass bowl so I can easily see when it is doubled in size.
  8. Once your dough has doubled, prep your 9×13 pan by lightly greasing the pan. Then, add parchment paper allowing extra parchment paper to hang over the sides so that you can lift the rolls out of the pan easily when they come out of the oven.
  9. Punch down the dough, and place it on a lightly floured surface. Form it into a tube shape. Use a sharp knife or dough scraper to cut into 12 evenly sized pieces.
  10. To form the balls, I like to slightly flatten the dough, and then press the dough under itself and seal it together underneath. This will give your rolls nice smooth tops.
  11. Assemble the dough evenly spaced in the prepared pan and loosely cover it with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick baking spray. Allow for it to proof for an additional 30-45 minutes, or until it has proofed about 75%, which is slightly less than doubled in size.
  12. At this point, you can prepare the crosses. Mix the flour with five tablespoons of water, and stir until well combined. Add more as needed until you have a paste that will drop smoothly from your spoon in a ribbon. You want it to be stiff enough that the crosses hold their shape, but loose enough that it will flow smoothly when you apply it. I used nine tablespoons, but it may be different for you.
  13. Fill a piping bag with a medium tip. You can also use a tipless bag or a cut ziplock bag. I really love the convenience of tipless bags, so that is what I used.
  14. To apply the crosses, start at one end of the pan and run down the centers of the rolls. You will want to use consistent pressure and slow down between each roll so that it has a chance to fall down the gap and “wrap” around the rolls.
  15. Bake for about 22 minutes, or it becomes a deep golden brown.
  16. Once out of the oven, use the parchment paper to pull the buns from the pan and place on the cooling rack. While the buns are still warm, microwave the jam and water for about 30 seconds, and mix until combined and mostly smooth. Use a brush to apply the jam mixture evenly onto the tops of the buns.


These hot cross buns are delicious to eat while still warm, and with butter.


  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Bake

Keywords: hot cross buns, Easter breakfast dessert