Hot cross buns on a baking tray

Hot cross buns

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(126 ratings)

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 sultanas
    • 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 300ml full-fat milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add 50g butter. Leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature. Put 500g strong bread flour, 1 tsp salt, 75g caster sugar and 7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast into a bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add 1 beaten 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 75g sultanas, 50g mixed peel, zest of 1 orange, 1 finely chopped apple and 1 tsp ground 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). 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 75g plain 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. Bake for 20 mins on the middle shelf of the oven, until golden brown.

    6. Gently heat 3 tbsp 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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    29th Jun, 2018
    My first hot cross buns, and they were success thanks to this amazing recipe.
    28th May, 2018
    This is the best hot cross bun recipe I have found. I have been making it for over two years, and now try new fruit and spices and even a bit of chocolate each time I give it another try.
    VanillaSpice81's picture
    24th Apr, 2018
    First time making buns, these turned out lovely, after about 15 mins baking. Increased spice to 2tsp cinnamon, 1tsp mixed spice and pinch of grated nutmeg which seemed perfect, and added to flour mix to ensure even distribution. Dough was therefore brown and very sticky; but limited use of flour to make the balls and the texture was perfect. Increased the sultanas to 100g and soaked for 30 min before, drained and dried with kitchen towel. Left to prove in house where sun shined in. Rose well. Got 16 large buns on two baking trays baked at same time. I really like the mixed peel and sultanas but easily adaptable. A nice weekend bake!
    Cristoforo De Andriano's picture
    Cristoforo De A...
    1st Apr, 2018
    Good recipe I left out the mixed peel and took lemon instead of orange as I had none. For the spices I took nutmeg and mixed spice additionally. The tip with soaking the raisins was good the buns turned out very juicy...
    scarola's picture
    1st Apr, 2018
    The best recipe ever .,, and my family and friends loved it....and I was a proud baker
    23rd Feb, 2018
    Tried these hot cross buns today and I am very happy with the result.The dough was very sticky to handle maybe because I used skimmed milk instead of full fat but they came delicious.They took only 15 minutes to cook in a non fan oven.Thankyou Paul Hollywood for this recipe as I will be making them again and again.
    Linda Clews's picture
    Linda Clews
    29th Dec, 2017
    Beautifully light, but no flavour, WAY more spice required. Also brown sugar may have helped. Cooking time about right, as I made mine closely packed (after rising) in a large cake tin.
    8th Oct, 2017
    This recipe makes a good bun, but definitely needs more spice (I even added a teaspoon of all spice and it still wasn't enough) and do keep an eye on them when in the oven; mine only took 18 minutes as they were spaced fairly far apart
    7th Jun, 2017
    We added a little allspice. We also did the second rise over night in the fridge for convenience. This recipe is fantastic!
    16th Apr, 2017
    These have got to be the best buns, or really ANY bread, that I've ever made. Absolutely delicious. I added 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice (I'm in US, so no mixed spice available here), but no other changes. Nice and crusty on the outside, light and maybe just a little chewy, on the inside. Beautiful too, golden sweet glaze. This is the second Paul Hollywood recipe I've made and couldn't be happier. He is THE Master Of Baking. Search no further, THIS is the Holy Grail Recipe for Hot Cross Buns you've been looking for!


    30th Nov, 2015
    I seem to have done something wrong, my dough is extremely sticky and soft; it would be runny if it wasn't for the fact that it's sticking all over the surface. Can I just keep adding flour until it's of a better consistency?
    Weezie Woo's picture
    Weezie Woo
    1st Apr, 2018
    Make sure you knead over a floured surface, I had the same problem and had to keep adding flour to the surface but they turned out fine. Good luck!
    1st Apr, 2015
    How long do they last?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    20th Apr, 2015
    Hi Dries, thanks for your question. Once baked these should be fine for 1-2 days if stored in an air tight container. 
    31st Mar, 2015
    The flavour of Paul Hollywood's hot cross buns is lovely with the addition of extra spice but took ages to rise for the first prove and eventually once cooked and looking lovely discovered the middle was a bit on the stodgy side!! Really disappointing. I notice that some other recipes that use same quantity of flour used more yeast and also his method on TGBBO only proves twice, adding all ingredients before first prove and recipe is not the same as this one. What should I do to improve on the end result?
    7th Apr, 2014
    As I've only got dried yeast in my pantry, how should I adjust my recipe?
    14th Apr, 2014
    You 'wake up' the yeast before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. Mix it with the liquid that is being added to the dry ingredients and leave for 10-15 mins until a frothy head appears (like a pint of beer) and stir in. Quick action yeast would be stirred in with the flour and other dry ingredients instead
    14th Apr, 2014
    Forgot to add, in this case after you've warmed up the milk and butter and left it to cool to hand temp, this is when you would add your yeast and wait for it to wake up
    4th Apr, 2014
    Is it important to use full fat milk? What happens if you use skimmed (which is what I have in the house)?
    Weezie Woo's picture
    Weezie Woo
    1st Apr, 2018
    I used semi skimmed and they turned out fine - I don't know about skimmed though.
    Jamee Holman's picture
    Jamee Holman
    1st Apr, 2018
    So easily made vegan! Sub out milk and butter for non dairy alternatives, and instead of the egg use 1tbsp flax meal mixed with 3tbsp water. I doubled the sultanas and added a few tsp more cinnamon and they were perfect!
    16th Apr, 2017
    Have made this recipe for a few years now, but this year made it in a mixer with a dough hook. So much easier! Kept the dough in the bowl for the first rising. When I added the fruit, I had to tip it out and knead it by hand for a couple of minutes at the end because half of the dough didn't mix with the fruit. Other than that followed the recipe exactly - the verdict from the family was that they were the best I'd ever made!
    28th Dec, 2014
    Tastes delicious BUT it certainly needs a few tweaks. Reduce the quantity of milk, as the stated quantity makes dough way too sticky. Start with maybe 225ml & keep adding as needed. I added the spices & fruits to the flour mix. Increase spice to 2tsp cinnamon plus 1tsp allspice To make it more "luxurious" I added more fruit. Two proving worked perfectly for me. I baked it for 15 mins only.
    24th Mar, 2015
    Thanks! This was super helpful.
    7th Apr, 2014
    I use my breadmaker on the dough setting, I want to bake homemade bread but dont have the time and this takes all the hassle of kneading etc, and no messy hands. I melted the butter separately to the milk, I put the butter in the bread pan, after all the dry ingredients first, and a touch of the milk to get the dough going, then I added the milk little by little JUST enough to bring the dough altogether otherwise adding all of this milk might give you an unworkable dough. Also recommend adding more spice! When machine finished dough is already proved and just need to shape and leave for another 20 minutes to rise again.
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