Hot cross buns

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 20 mins Plus proving

More effort

Makes 15
Follow master baker Paul Hollywood's ultimate step-by-step guide to creating perfectly decorated fruit buns

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal226
  • fat4g
  • saturates2g
  • carbs41g
  • sugars14g
  • fibre2g
  • protein5g
  • salt0.5g
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    For the buns

    • 300ml full-fat milk, plus 2 tbsp more



      One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

    • 50g butter



      Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

    • 500g strong bread flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 75g caster sugar
    • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
      Sunflower oil

      Sunflower oil

      A variety of oils can be used for baking. Sunflower is the one we use most often at Good Food as…

    • 7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast



      Yeast is a living, single-cell organism. As the yeast grows, it converts its food (in the form…

    • 1 egg, beaten



      The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

    • 75g sultana
    • 50g mixed peel
    • zest 1 orange



      One of the best-known citrus fruits, oranges aren't necessarily orange - some varieties are…

    • 1 apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped



      Grown in temperate regions, apples are one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. There are…

    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

    For the cross

    • 75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

    For the glaze

    • 3 tbsp apricot jam


    1. Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast (see Tip, below) into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add the egg. Using a wooden spoon, mix well, then bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.

    2. Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead by holding the dough with one hand and stretching it with the heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for 5 mins until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hr or until doubled in size and a finger pressed into it leaves a dent.

    3. With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Leave to rise for 1 hr more, or until doubled in size, again covered by some well-oiled cling film to stop the dough getting a crust.

    4. Divide the dough into 15 even pieces (about 75g per piece – see Tip below). Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange the buns on one or two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover (but don’t wrap) with more oiled cling film, or a clean tea towel, then set aside to prove for 1 hr more.

    5. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Mix the flour with about 5 tbsp water to make the paste for the cross – add the water 1 tbsp at a time, so you add just enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses (see Tip below). Bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.

    6. Gently heat the apricot jam to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.

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    Comments (154)

    chooette's picture

    These were great - like others I doubled the spices and left out the apple. I found the quantities perfect and the cooking time only slightly too long. I even did the final proof overnight in the fridge, then piped on the crosses and into the oven to get fresh buns first thing in the morning. I haven't made them differently to see if they would be better, but they worked out light and fluffy, and tasty!

    justatip's picture

    I made these yesterday - they were really nice apart from one big failing - the crosses made from flour and water were horrible so i would make them again but substitute short cross pastry for the crosses then you will have perfect hot cross buns. oh and more spice needed

    sweetlove's picture

    I was terribly disappointed with this recipe! Quite a lot of faffing about for poor results. Three hours of proving didn't do much to produce a good bun! They lacked the nice spicy hit which you get from other recipes, the paste was hard and crunchy when cooked, so all in all not a great success!

    KingOfTheLilies's picture

    Made these yesterday and they were terrific. My dough was slightly wet, even after working it, so I'd suggest adding the milk/butter combo a bit at a time (and I'm still not sure what the extra 2tbsp of milk is for) when mixing.

    I skipped the second prove, it wasn't necessary, and just allowed them to come to size after I'd shaped them. I added 1 tsp of mixed spice, a bit more cinnamon and a few shakes of nutmeg.
    I left out the apple and instead went for some mixed fruit and peel in brandy I had leftover from Christmas.

    AnneBursey's picture

    As others have mentioned, more spice needed so i added 1/2 tsp mixed spice and 2 1/2 tsps cinnamon. Less baking time as well

    G Hillebrand's picture

    They're good buns, but more spice is recommended.

    A (non-instructional!) video of the process can be found here:

    Mary G's picture

    Made these for the second year running and thrilled to bits,the lightest buns I have ever made. Agree with most other comments about needing more spice and a shorter cooking time. I have also found that two provings give excellent results.

    lseastwood's picture

    Just took mine out of the oven and taste test complete! Very impressed with the result - as others have said, they are as fluffy as any bakery-bought ones. I was worried as my dough was wet and I didn't add any extra flour as I didn't want to make them dry - kneeding was messy, but the end result is perfect. I did 3 rises and added about 2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp mixed spice and am happy with the flavour

    angelosylvia's picture

    Have tried other recipes, Nigella and Delia, but found them rubbish compared to Pauls. I cook these on a weekly basis as the whole family loves them instead of other cakes and biscuits. So easy to make, not fiddley as others have posted. But yes I aggree that the recipe needs a little tweeking.

    Substitute semi- skimmed milk ( only 1.5% fat ot 3%).
    Mix the spices into the dry mix ( mixes easier and more even)
    Add extra mixed spice and cinnamon.
    I use mixed cake fruit not just sultanas and increase the ammount.
    No need for the orange zest or apple.
    Coat the buns with a sugar/water glaze.

    This may seem a lot of changes, but it makes it easier and just as good.
    I do keep to the 3 rises and you can mix the fruit in at the dry stage or the 2nd stage , makes no difference. They are ammazing fresh or toasted after a couple of days, thanks Paul.
    It makes them even tastier if you add home made fresh mixed peel.

    snackaholic's picture

    Nice idea, loved the extra cinnamon.

    chill2366's picture

    Just made these today - followed the recipe and 3 proving times, I did however add more cinnamon and some mixed spice - really think this made them better flavor wise.

    This was my first time making them, and yes although they were time consuming, they are defiantly worth the wait. Really soft and light inside - will be making them again. I did however only need 15 minutes in the oven, they were actually more ready at 13 minutes.

    racheld's picture

    I made these last night for my French collegues for a 'traditional English easter snack' here in France. They have gone down a storm this morning. I followed the recipe almost to the letter but added some extra spice. 3 provings/2 kocking back helped as my mixture was quite dry. I had never made hot cross buns before, but will definitely make them again. I also made the chocolate hot cross buns from the April magazine. Equally as good, though that mixture was wetter.

    gandt810's picture

    Love this recipe, shame I hadn't read the comments here first, as I followed the recipe almost to the letter (swapped in raisins for mixed peel) doing three rises. I will never buy HCB from the shops again. Although my dough was wet I persisted, even kneading by hand, and they turned out perfectly. I am tempted to add in more spice as these were delicately flavoured, and to play around with the fruit combinations, but definitely a recipe to do again and again, at any time of year!

    yepiyep's picture

    I made it once and I plan on making more of it.
    I followed the recipe, it was perfect for everything but the cross.
    I would strongly recommend to add a bit more water as it make it easier to pipe it.
    Also if like me you are baking in a very powerful oven I would recommend to keep an eye on them 2 or 3 minutes before they finish cooking.

    They were crusty on the outside and soft on the inside so delicious. You can't compare to anything available in supermarket.

    amandagreen's picture

    I too did only 2 provings, added more cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice left out mixed peel (because I didn't have any) therefore doubled-up on raisins/sultanas ..... crosses made with 2/3 flour 1/3 icing sugar and about 3 tblsn water was enough for correct piping consistency...17 mins in oven brushed with melted honey.....superb...don't think they'll last till Good Friday though...made today ..Weds!!!!!

    veritypinkney's picture

    Tasty hot cross buns. These were a definite improvement on a previous recipe I have used. I added a lot of extra spice (including some mixed spice and a small grating of nutmeg) to give these plenty of flavour and put in chopped dates and cranberries rather than the mixed peel and apple. I also soaked the fruit first in some alcohol. I didnt have a problem with the dough being too wet as others have mentioned but then I guess this largely depends on the flour you are using. In order to get a bit more of a rise, I will try to get hold of fresh yeast next time or I will activate the dried yeast first, although these were by no means too small! Also keep an eye on these in the oven, mine needed only 12-15 minutes to bake.
    Great recipe, will look forward to trying again.

    gc7820's picture

    Never made HCBs before but have had success with Mr H's recipes for other stuff so thought I'd try these. So glad I did! Used my kitchen aid to take some of the strain out of mixing. Great results, will make again before Easter.


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