Hot cross buns

Hot cross buns

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(116 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 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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    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!
    16th Apr, 2017
    Great recipe, time consuming but worth it! After reading other comments I added 1tsp mixed spice as well as the cinnamon and they tasted lovely. Might not need the full 20 minutes so keep an eye on them during baking - mine would have been fine after about 18 minutes.
    13th Apr, 2017
    Lovely, but I agree with others. Not nearly enough spice, and mixed spice as well as cinnamon is good. Also, 75g of sultanas is a bit meagre if you like you buns fruity. I made mine with some wholemeal flour ( about half white, half wholemeal) which is delicious but not at all heavy, if you like your wholemeal.
    catmac80's picture
    8th Apr, 2017
    I made these for the first time today and they taste amazing! This is a trial run for a family Easter gathering. I followed the recipe exactly. It is quite time consuming to prove 3 times for 3 hours but simple enough to put together. I did weigh each bun to 75g each but found it difficult to get them perfectly round, therefore they all came out equal sizes but uneven shaped. I had to use a lot more than 5tbp water to get the right consistency for the crosses but I guess that's common sense. I'd definitely make them again!
    impa88's picture
    8th Apr, 2017
    Yes! Tried this one when I've failed with other recipes (mostly turned out flat and pretty unspectacular). While these do take a bit of time, it's definitely worth it - big and fluffy! Like others have said, I put in extra mixed spice (only 1/2 tsp) but could probably do with 1tsp perhaps and more cinnamon. Dough mixture can be a little sticky with the apple added but it turned out fine so don't be tempted to add more flour. I don't have a proving drawer or anywhere particularly warm so I put the oven on 50c for 5 minutes and then turned it off for each proving stage, this worked well for me and gave me great results but I suppose it depends on everyone's oven so beware! Great recipe, lots of compliments from taste testers :)
    27th Mar, 2017
    These were phenomenal! My friends actually accused me of buying them in a bakery because they were so fluffy, soft, and picture-perfect. I followed the recipe for the dough exactly as written, but used my own personal preferences for the spices/dried fruit. I used 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 nutmeg, 1/2 cloves, and 70 g sultanas. But...the buns baked faster than stated in the recipe. At 220C/425F, mine were golden brown and had an internal temperature of 185F after only 10 minutes. I should also mention that if you are in North America (like myself) you should use all-purpose flour, which is equivalent to 'strong flour'.
    14th Apr, 2017
    In USA i used white bread flour - turned out well too.


    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?
    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)?
    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.