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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    Duncan R
    24th Mar, 2017
    Made these (first time ever) per the recipe but added some caster sugar to the cross paste to sweeten it a bit. Came out bakery quality, even though I could have used smaller chunks of fruit than the bits I hacked up in a hurry.
    davel64's picture
    27th Mar, 2016
    Time consuming but well worth it for the resulting delicious Hot cross buns. ( didn't have any orange zest so used triple sac instead worked well)
    26th Mar, 2016
    These were really lovely, possibly the best hot cross buns I've ever eaten. All other recipes I've tried in the past have turned out too crusty but these were lovely and soft and light. I made a few small changes; as other reviews have stated I used more spice (2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp mixed spice). I also baked at 180 degrees (fan) for a bit less than 20 minutes. I made the dough the night before up to the second proving stage then put in the fridge. Shaped into buns the following morning and left to rise for a few hours as they had to come to room temperature. This worked really well.
    25th Mar, 2016
    I was SO disappointed with this recipe! I read several pages of comments before trying it & was really encouraged by all the positive responses. I followed the recipe (including spice suggestions) & put the dough to prove in my usual (successful) proving spot (warm without being too hot, draught-free). My first attempt at making my own HCBs was last year, & they were a resounding success all 4 times I made them. This year I wanted to branch out with a more flavoursome recipe, hopefully with a resulting bun that would still be soft the following day. These were an utter disappointment & appalling waste of ingredients. No rise at all in the super-sticky dough. It's so disappointing to put your trust (& time, effort & money!) into a recipe that seems to work for a large number of people, but despite sticking to the recipe doesn't work for me! I was skeptical about not activating the yeast in milk first, now I'm sure it's a necessary step. No Hot Cross Buns for us this Easter :-(
    24th Mar, 2016
    Bit disappointed. I did everything exactly as described but added more cinnamon, cardamom, allspice. They proved well and rose alright and looked pretty, but they were slightly crusty on the outside like bread and a bit bland, even with the added spice, inside. A lot of effort for such a result. They will be eaten and enjoyed (perhaps toasted) but I'm not pleased with the crunchy surface so won't attempt again.
    21st Mar, 2016
    My first time making hot cross buns, and these turned out really well, great recipe! I followed it exactly, except added more spice as others suggested (2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg), lemon zest instead of orange and glazed the buns with sugar and water heated up on the hob, because I didn't want to buy a whole jar of jam. Also baked for only 13 minutes, and they were perfectly done. I found it quite hard to distribute the spices and fruit at the second proving stage, it seems to have worked out well but may do this differently next time. Will definitely make again!
    19th Mar, 2016
    Decided to try this recipe after not being able to find Hot Cross Buns in the shop that were nut safe (my daughter has a nut allergy). These have been a total hit. Soft, fluffy tasty buns. We took notice of previous comments and added an extra tsp of cinnamon and half a tsp of ginger. We followed the recipe as above but did need extra flour as daughter added all the milk in one go and our mix didn't need it all. I cooked in my fan oven at 175 c for 15 mins and they were perfect. Well worth the effort and now have one daughter who is very proud of her work and totally happy that she gets to have Hot Cross Buns this Easter.
    18th Mar, 2016
    Fabulous, best HXB recipe (with a few adaptations) I used twice the amount of Spice , and mixed spice instead of just cinnamon, and Mixed fruit , no apple. I mixed the spice in with the dry ingredients at the beginning and used the BBC GoodFood method of rolling out the dough after the first rising and sprinkling the fruit over then rolling it up....much easier and a better distribution of fruit and the fruit stayed whole and plumptious ....altogether a recipe to keep .Thank You
    17th Mar, 2016
    Has anyone tried freezing the dough or freezing after cooking? Does either option work?
    14th Mar, 2016
    Made these for my godparents , added more cinnamon as suggested below so worth the time to make. Forgot to add the mixed peel but still tasted amazing


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