The provenance of the hot cross bun is up for debate, but they were first referenced in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1733. Typically eaten on Good Friday to represent Jesus's crucifixion – hence the cross on top – they also mark the end of Lent. Although the traditional recipe is made with dried fruit and mixed peel, they are now available in a variety of flavours all year round.


That’s almost three centuries of bun-making lineage, so we think it’s time for a shake-up. Discover our classic hot cross bun recipe, then try 10 original spins on the traditional version, including a sweet twist on dippy egg and soldiers, a savoury chilli cheese variety and even a hot cross bun wreath with spiced honey butter.

Learn the basics by watching our video on how to make hot cross buns, then discover three ways to flavour hot cross buns, Easter baking recipes, the best Easter cakes for kids and how to make decorated Easter eggs.

10 twists on hot cross buns

1. Hot cross bun French toast dippers

Hot cross bun French toast dippers next to chocolate eggs filled with yogurt and lemon curd 'yolk'

Create a fun twist on dippy egg and soldiers complete with yogurt-filled chocolate eggs and even a lemon curd 'yolk'. Use leftover hot cross buns to make a French-toast style dipper for dunking. Discover more French toast ideas.

2. Chocolate hot cross bun bread & butter pudding

Baking dish of chocolate hot cross bun bread and butter pudding

One for the chocoholics, these hot cross buns are slathered with chocolate spread and drenched in a chocolate custard for a stratospherically sweet treat. Serving 10 to 12, it's also an easy entertaining dessert to serve to guests. If you have a glut of leftover hot cross buns, try our hot cross bun lemon pudding, too.

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3. Hot cross bun cheesecakes

Creamy, individual hot cross bun flavoured cheesecakes with an iced cross on top

Enjoy the delicately spiced hot cross bun flavour in mini cheesecake form this Easter. Individual cheesecakes are topped with an orange zest icing cross to complete the look. Discover our top 10 cheesecake ideas.

4. Hot cross bun ring with spiced honey butter

Hot cross bun wreath surrounding a spiced honey butter

The puritanical side of us advocates nothing more than a generous daubing of butter on a hot cross bun, but a flavoured butter let's you step it up a gear. Our decorative wreath is served with spiced honey butter with cinnamon and ginger, but golden syrup, treacle, maple syrup or agave would work just as well as a sweetening agent. When it comes to spice, we’d choose nutmeg, saffron or cardamom. For a savoury twist, discover our flavoured butters.

5. Hot cross cinnamon buns

A batch of hot cross cinnamon buns

Combine sweet, sticky cinnamon swirls with all the beautiful fruit and spice of hot cross buns. These moreish bakes are topped with a velvety cream cheese frosting for extra decadence. Try 10 twists on cinnamon buns if you're a fan of this teatime treat.

6. Chilli cheese hot cross buns

A selection of chilli cheese hot cross buns

The savoury mature cheddar and chilli addition works surprisingly well with our classic hot cross buns recipe – with the omission of the apricot glaze. Serve warm from the oven spread with plenty of butter.

7. Hot cross bun cupcakes

Hot cross bun flavoured cupcakes with a white piped cross on top

Our favourite thing about these hot cross bun sponges is that the cross is made from spiced buttercream frosting. The novelty factor would make them a nice addition to a children's Easter party spread.

8. Vegan hot cross buns

Vegan hot cross buns

Plump full with the traditional Easter flavours of orange zest, mixed peel and sultanas, these hot cross buns are given a vegan transformation with dairy-free spread and almond milk. They taste just as good! Discover more plant-based Easter inspiration.

9. Sourdough hot cross buns

Batch of sourdough hot cross buns on a wire rack

These sourdough hot cross buns might take a little more work, but they're more than worth the effort. Sourdough starter makes them seriously fluffy and light. Discover more ways to use up your sourdough starter.

10. Hot cross cookies

Pile of hot cross cookies

If you’re not a fan of kneading bread dough, these cookies should suit you a little better. The cross is made from melted white chocolate – you can’t get much simpler than that. Try our top five Easter biscuits.

Find more Easter baking inspiration...

Our best hot cross buns recipes
Hot cross buns – recipes and tips
Paul Hollywood: How to make the best hot cross buns
Top 10 Easter bread recipes
Top 10 showstopping Easter bakes
Top 5 next level simnel cake recipes


Thought of any more inventive ideas with hot cross buns? Leave a comment below...

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