The provenance of the hot cross bun is up for debate, but they were first referenced in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1733. That’s almost three centuries of bun-making lineage, so we think it’s time for a shake-up. We’ve created ten ways to flip the classic hot cross bun on its head, from new flavours to exciting baking mash-ups.
Learn the basics by watching our video on how to make hot cross buns, then get ready to experiment…
1. Next level hot cross buns
Make your buns the best they can be with a few special ingredients and hacks. The buttery dough is left to develop overnight for a deeper flavour. Cardamom adds floral citrussy notes and cranberries bring a bright sourness.
2. 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.
3. Cheesy hot cross buns
Traditionalists look away now – we’ve replaced raisins and mixed peel with cheddar and parmesan for a soup-dunkingly delicious bun. Experiment with the cheese, we think red leicester or lincolnshire poacher would taste great too.
4. Hot cross bun cupcakes
Our favourite thing about these hot cross bun-shaped sponges is that the traditional cross is made from spiced buttercream frosting. The novelty factor would make them a nice addition to a childrens’ Easter party spread.
5. Chocolate checkerboard hot cross buns
Bored of just one type of hot cross bun on your tray? Try our amazing alternating flavours for an impressive looking checkerboard effect. Simply split one batch of dough to make dark chocolate orange and white chocolate cherry buns. Once you’ve tried these chocolatey treats, you won’t want to go back to the original.
6. Hot cross cookies
7. Chocolate chip hot cross buns
If you’re in the anti-raisin camp, omit them from your Easter buns and replace with the safer option of chocolate chips. This recipe has been written with young cooks in mind, so if you’re looking to keep children busy over the Easter break, the lure of warm chocolate bread should have them reaching for the mini apron.
8. Hot cross bun ring with spiced honey butter
The puritanical side of us advocates nothing more than a generous daubing of butter on a hot cross bun, but we’d compromise for a flavoured butter. 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.
9. Hot cross bread & lemon pudding
If you’ve gone overboard with your quantities and have a surplus of buns about to go stale, use them up in an economical recipe. This zesty bake is a spring-friendly spin on the traditional bread and butter pudding – serve to round off an Easter Sunday lunch.
10. Spiced French toast
Any kind of bread can be used for French toast, and hot cross buns are no exception. Start the long weekend with this breakfast recipe. Serve with mugs of hot coffee, a pile of newspapers and the satisfying sense of bank holiday relaxation.
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 Easter biscuits
Top 5 next level simnel cake recipes
Thought of any more inventive ideas with hot cross buns? Leave a comment below…