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)

    bacon-n-egg's picture

    I watched Paul Hollywood last night (Easter special) and his version of prep with this was completely different. This has 3 rises which I've never done before. I didnt get a decent rise either and mine were heavy and definitely not fluffy like the ones he showed us. Why 3 rises? The second rise should be when the buns are shaped and on the tray.

    Added more spice than shown & mixed spice as per other recipes.

    Another complaint was the dough crosses there were tough and inedible.

    Prefer to glaze with local honey.

    karene's picture

    Really good recipe. Made with a class of 23 5 to 7 seven year olds. They loved the end result. Excellent.

    jen-lewis's picture

    I made these today but was short of time so put all ingredients in my bread maker on the dough option just to mix and prove the dough. This worked beautifully, lovely tasty hot cross buns. I added more spice too!

    emilycox85's picture

    I've made these twice now! delicious! although i didnt used the apple this time wish i did though as they are a little dry : )

    solentgreen's picture

    These are perfect for celebrating that our Lord Jesus was nailed to a cross and crucified to death for our sins. Yummy! We like to inject one with Raspberry jam, the person who gets the jammy one has to wear a crown of thorns for the whole of Easter, just a silly family tradition!

    Ladyratatouille's picture

    Followed the recipe to the letter or almost...just added extra cinnamon . They turned out perfectly. Easy recipe, simple steps. This was my first attempt so very pleased.

    lauriem78's picture

    First time making HCBs - these turned out reasonably well. It is very time consuming but that was fine as I managed to bake cookies and tidy the kitchen whilst it was rising. Really wish I'd read the comments here first, next time: more spice, less liquid, and use something else as glaze (no apricot jam so didn't bother with a glaze)

    joannatraynor's picture

    I have only ever made hot cross buns once before - good ammunition for a stone throwing contest. This time - better but wish I had read the comments first. I always follow a recipe to the letter so when I saw after 15 minutes they looked perfect, I didn't have the nerve to take them out in case they weren't cooked properly in the middle -so a bit burnt - but still very light and edible. Will try again. Also took a long time a few buns. My husband was chewing his elbow by the time they came out.

    glaskin42's picture

    What a disater. Burnt at 20 minutes. Will cook in 15.

    glaskin42's picture

    This was a disaster, I followed the recipe and when after 20mins they were burnt. Why is it not stated that you should check after 15mins. What a waste of my time and effort.

    sianlday's picture

    These were delicious - although mine were more like hot splodge buns! I will roll out the crosses next time.

    franbs's picture

    I'm working through Paul Hollywood's "how to bake" book and every other recipe I've tried has been a 5star success. So was very disappointed by these hot cross buns which turned out to be slightly bland. In his book the recipe uses more yeast (10g instead of 7g quoted here), the zest of 2 oranges rather than 1, 2 eggs rather than 1, and interestingly 2 teasps of cinnamon not 1. The texture of the buns is great - warm from the oven they're very nice but to be honest nothing special even with the extra tsp of cinnamon. I wonder whether using mixed spice instead of cinnamon might work. Sorry Paul but I'm going in search of alternative HCB recipes to find a better result.

    kathbailey's picture

    I halved the quantities and made a loaf, sliced and buttered it is delicious. Pauls recipes never let me down.

    nevynevster's picture

    Good recipe. Easy to follow. I also used a sugar glaze with orange zest which I thought was nicer than jam. But the buns need way more spice! Next time I will add to the flour mix.

    fatnickc's picture

    These were great! I made an egg-free version by replacing the egg and apple with 120ml of apple sauce and a pinch of baking powder.
    I mixed all the fruit in at the start and just proved it twice, but they were the best I've ever made!

    markt1891's picture

    Never made dough before so have a bit of a stupid question... Recipe says to cover with well-oiled clingfilm but does it mean that you put the clingfilm directly over the dough within the bowl or cover across the top if the bowl?

    helers's picture

    I am not keen on mixed peel so left it out and added the zest of a lemon. Used my own mixture of mixed spice, ground cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, all spice and coriander which gave great flavour.

    rebecccajwalker's picture

    Came first in our local spring show with Paul's recipe. They freeze well too. Lovely buttered!

    daisyroots's picture

    The master has done it again. This recipe is first class in my opinion as are all his recipes. I have made hot cross buns once before many years ago and they were so awful I threw them to the birds and they threw them back. Not this time. This recipe is faultless. I followed every step except I used mixed fruit & zest of a clemetine. They were light, full of flavour and tasted deicious. Also they freeze really well. I am making another batch this week to freeze for Easter. I shall never buy another shop bought hot cross bun again. Thank you Paul.


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