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, questions and tips

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    Comments (154)

    christineash's picture

    I've made Deila's and Nigella's, but these are the best by far. Our new firm favourite.

    lmouat's picture

    Lovely jubbly :-) and I too would add a little more spice! Turned out great and my first attempt too! Jut took an age to do though!

    lucylacy's picture

    Deliciously tasty and fruity hot cross buns, they went down a treat. I forgot to glaze them which was a pity as they would have looked so much better but the taste was amazing. I used mixed peel that I bought in a box and had to chop up (sorry I can't recall the make but bought it in Waitrose) and found this far superior to the stuff you buy ready chopped up in tubs and well worth the extra cost - there's no comparison on flavour and texture. As they have three risings they're a bit time consuming but well worth the effort.

    GrinAndBearIt's picture

    Oh and I added the fruit and spices to the flour at the beginning as some have suggested, to make them easier to mix in - worked a treat.

    GrinAndBearIt's picture

    I didn't have time for rising/proving three times so just did it twice, and the result was still nice and light textured. I found the dough very sticky and had to add a couple of handfuls of flour, so next time I won't add all the milk at once. Based on the other comments I added a tsp of mixed spice, but they still could have done with a bit more - 3 tsp of spices next time. I also thought they were a bit sweet, will try again with 50g of sugar. Nice recipe overall, just needs a little tweaking.

    loubee1959's picture

    Watched these being made on the tv and gave them a go. Turned out fantastic. Made two batches as I wanted double and didn't know if my bowl was big enough to cope so did take all day but wasn't a problem just got other jobs done in between.
    I don't understand why people have to change things, if you've never made them before follow recipe to a tee. Don't leave out apple and moan they are too dry. Also to blindly follow instructions over something like oven temperature is daft, ovens all vary in my experience and it's common sense to check after 15, mine however took the 20 and were lovely. sugar glaze would look good but the jam gave a lovely flavour although increases the cost quite a lot. Flour crosses were very easy once correct consistency was achieved.
    I would agree they could take more spices tho. Thank you Paul.

    tophats's picture

    Prep time should be 3hrs 30mins. the 30mins bit was misleading. Waiting for it to rise now so I'll rate it after it's baked and tried.

    zed1409's picture

    Made these today after seeing Paul Hollywood demonstrate them to Mary Berry in the week.

    I omitted the mixed peel (as I don't like it).

    As others have said, they didn't need 20 mins in the oven, 15 mins was just about perfect.

    The other thing to mention, is that I didn't read it through fully and would have appreciated a note at the top stating approximate proving times, as my expected afternoon treat ... turned into being a Supper time one !

    happlin's picture

    This recipe's Hot Cross Buns are AMAZING!

    shazera's picture

    These are yum. Added the extra spice to the recipe as suggested in the comments and did the sugar glaze. I even added a bit of cinnamon to the sugar glaze when melting together. Worked a treat!

    neljatilma's picture

    Very nice recipe! Never made this before, but tried it with very strong bread flour and that also worked out nice! Mine also needed only 15 min in the oven and I glazed them with syrop. Good try for a foreigner... :)

    gemzyb1's picture

    I have just finished making these...yummy! They are lovely! I mixed the fruit and spices in with the dry ingredients and they have been spread evenly through the buns. I added a lot more spice than suggested...about three tspns of cinnamon and half a grated nutmeg. I baked them for 20 mins but on a lower shelf and setting than suggested. They are nicely golden on top. The apricot glaze is nice but a little sticky! I will defo be making these again.thanks Paul!

    climbergrl's picture

    I was a bit confused. In the programme the fruit went into the mix at the start and there was only the one prove before the buns were formed and left to rise again. Took ages to do 3 proves per the recipe but I suspect improves the flavour. I kept to the recipe despite the calls for extra spice on comments. But then I like quite subtle flavours. Delicious hot crossbones. Really soft and ill never buy them again ( although I might try the whole mix at the beginning to cut out a prove and see if there's much difference)

    gfteddess's picture

    Hi My Buns were a disaster. They were poorly risen, the dough was too wet and the result was heavy. The oven temp was as stated and the bun bottoms were over cooked / burnt.

    I will be filing these in the bin :o(


    Agree with all other commentators that spice was insufficient too.

    rebeccamottershead's picture

    A beautiful hot cross bun, soft, light and moist. Having read the comments about the lack of spice I added 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice and 1/2 a teaspoon of mace. This spice mix came from a recipe from the Sunday Times back in the 70s and has been my favourite combination of spices ever since. Next time I will add the spices at the beginning with the flour as it was a bit difficult to add once the dough had proved.

    redrickshaw's picture

    I have made hot cross about four times over the years and have always been very disappointed. I looked for another recipe this year and found this one and I am soooo happy! They came out beautifully and I still can't quite believe I made them. I added a teaspoon more cinnamon, some grated nutmeg and ground cloves. I also brushed them with sugar water. Definitely well worth the effort!

    hayleylw47's picture

    I made these today being Good Friday. They are easy to make and gorgeous. They smell And look stunning. Had 1 straight fom the oven and then 1 later with butter and jam! Highly recommend

    suvannah200's picture

    Love the idea of hot cross buns but not sultanas so changed the recipe to make chocolate orange hot cross buns - worked a treat! Would increase chocolate chunks from 100g to 200g and I used zest of 2 oranges. As with other bakers, found 15 minutes sufficient. Thanks for a fab recipe!

    berryt's picture

    made these today and am pleased with the result - but they took ages! (will teach me to read the method before I start) Also they need more spice as quite bland. dough was very sticky but the end result had a good texture. used overly sugary syrup for the glaze, would use the jam or golden syrup option next time.

    ellacado's picture

    Very good when warm


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