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)

    caznmark's picture

    Has anyone made his hot cross buns from the "how to bake" book. Because it's got different measurements and method. I couldn't get my dough to double in size. Tried twice with no success. Did everything by the book too

    fionnuala21's picture

    Lovely - as others have suggested, I doubled the spices (3/4 tsp mixed spice, 1/4-1/2 tsp nutmeg as well as the cinnamon) and baked them for less time (15 minutes). They are light, moist, just lovely! Thanks for such a great recipe!

    gjfeenan's picture

    Th smell of these cooking (eventually) was fabulous! I followed the recipe to the gram except that I used semi-skimmed milk. It was a bit long winded and took all afternoon but they are delish :)

    fcrossey's picture

    This was my first attempt at a yeast dough. Reasonably happy with the result, maybe a few mins too long in the oven, will try 15 mins next time, but they are disappearing anyway.

    The recipe includes sunflower oil among the list of ingredients.
    I was expecting to see this included in the actual buns, but perhaps it was for oiling the cling film. If so, better to list the oil separately for this purpose - less confusing for we novice bread makers.
    Would have been 5 stars otherwise.

    Otherwise enjoyed every minute and will be trying lots more of Paul's bread recipes now.

    kathryndonna's picture

    Fantastic buns and well worth the time they take. I first made them at Easter and forgot to rate them but of course they are lovely at any time of year, with or without the cross. I now substitute the apricot jam for a sugar and water glaze it I think it works better.

    queeniep's picture

    Absolutely delicious. Very time consuming especially with 3 little ones running around but so worth it. My husband said they were "as good as Tesco" which is a compliment considering the amount he consumes, will definitely be making these again and again.

    veggiesara's picture

    Sadly I had quite a few problems with this recipe-
    1. The dough was horribly wet and sticky- completely impossible to work with, I would suggest using 200ml milk to start with and add a splash later on if needed
    2. Don't do what I did and add the 1 tbsp of oil to the dough! It's for oiling the bowl/cling film
    3. I found it difficult to fully incorporate the dried fruit/apple/spices after 1 hour of the dough rising-by this stage my dough was too elastic to add more ingredients- I would add the fruit etc at the beginning of the recipe and leave the dough to rise for 2 hours undisturbed
    4. I found 1 hour for the 2nd prove in a warm place was too much and some of my buns were so risen that they were too fragile to remove the teatowel from them without deflating
    5. baking for 20 minutes at 200degrees fan oven is far to long at to high a temperature, so I ended up with burnt buns

    kirstienic's picture

    First time I've made hot cross buns and surprisingly easy. I found they needed a little less time in a slightly lower oven (but then all ovens are different aren't they!). Delicious - I could have eaten the lot!

    donnadoo98's picture

    These were delicious- we'll never buy shop-brought hot cross buns again! They were perfect to make on a Sunday morning ready for afternoon tea, and I'll be making them long after and before Easter. The actual buns were incredibly light and fluffy, and the apricot glaze gave a very professional finish. I thoroughly recommend this recipe and I know that everyone who makes these will agree that they're worth that extra effort. :)

    watchstrap's picture

    I have made these twice now as we all loved the first batch so much. First time they were perfect except for the cross paste which I made too wet and ended up with stripes across my buns. However, they still tasted great. Today I didn't have any full fat milk left, so made with semi-skimmed. Also, decided to mix in food mixer with dough hook so dough was sticker this time as last time I added more flour in order to knead them. Buns still tasted nice but were less yellow in colour inside once baked and they spread out too much when baked making them difficult to split for toasting.
    Will use the recipe again as it produces a really light, open textured bun, but will revert to full fat milk. Made mine in a Rayburn so will try them in my fan oven too. Phew, what a long comment!

    wilson49's picture

    Wow, fantastic recipe , huge Hot Cross Buns well worth proving 3 times I was a bit worried as to how sticky the dough was at first. I also added a teaspoon of mixed spice as well as cinnamon, zest of lemon as well as orange, .used 150 grams of sultanas no peal . grated the apple much easier . Brushed top with golden syrup. made 12 buns, really light buns. perfect. OH and Paul dont take any notice of PanClanger, you dont need to spell to be a great baker, your bread , iced buns and focaccia recipes are perfect too

    chocolatebuttons's picture

    My husband made these yesterday, and they looked so good we had to taste them at midnight on returning from a party. He didn't like the fact that the dough is wetter than in other bread recipes (he makes a fair amount of bread) but I've been converted to Paul's scone recipe in which the dough is wetter too. It does make for lighter results. Next time we would add more spice, but otherwise excellent!

    debjenks1's picture

    Made these buns today for Easter Sunday - Big mistake!
    Followed recipe to the letter and they turned out like Rock cakes!

    despinamina's picture

    My first attempt at making hot cross buns, and despite them not loking perfect, they really do taste lovely! My only criticism, be it a very small one, is that I would prefer a little more spice. This is easily altered for next years attempt! Happy Easter!

    pendleberry's picture

    I made a batch of these this morning, but missed out the egg as my mother-in-law is allergic to eggs. I did add a little more milk to compensate and the dough was a nice, soft consistency.

    I'm taking the buns to my in-laws this afternoon, but we couldn't resist scoffing a couple already! The baker's prerogative I think.

    kiwiinlux's picture

    These turned out great, and so easy to make. I didn't add mixed peel or apple, but added a teaspoon of mixed spice with the cinnamon to the dry ingredients at the beginning. Perfectly cooked on fanbake at 200 degrees after 15 mins, and as suggested here earlier I used a sugar glaze. Everyone loved them, and I'll definitely be making them again.

    floyd78's picture

    Great recipe even though I was still making them at 1am as the dough didn't rise very well, but that could just be the temperature of my kitchen. The dough was very wet so I needed a few extra tablespoons of flour to make it workable.
    After reading comments here I used a teaspoonful of mixed spice in addition to the cinnamon but next time I would add more.
    The buns were cooked through and golden after 15 mins and I used warmed, sieved orange marmalade to glaze as I didn't have any apricot in.
    Really pleased with the results as I'm not normally much good with yeasted dough

    rachaelsingh's picture

    I made these today. Time-consuming, yes, but well worth the effort. I substituted currants for mixed peel (because mixed peel is wrong on all sorts of levels), added lemon zest to the orange zest and threw in a teaspoonful (or thereabouts) of freshly grated nutmeg. Delighted with the results.

    vivaves's picture

    old fogey - think the extra milk was incase you needed it to get the dough to the right consistency (see the 3rd point, "flour" under the "Try" heading under the main instructions). that was my interpretation, anyway. I was also a bit confused about the tbsp of sunflower oil, before I realised they must mean to oil the bowl and clingfilm. Strange to list it inbetween the sugar and the yeast, though. Oh, and Paul? it's HEEL, not HEAL of the hand.

    juliebahrain's picture

    Really pleased with how these turned out :-). Yes, they need more spice. I should have chopped my apple much smaller and my dough was very wet to start with (I used Hovis Strong Bread flour) which was a bit of a worry, but my only other attempt at hot cross buns, many years ago, yielded rock hard cannon balls, so these are jolly good hot cross buns.


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