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

    Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
    2nd Apr, 2015
    A keeper of a recipe that makes really soft tasty buns! Made these last week and making them again today they were such a hit. I followed the recipe to proof three times but as suggested in other reviews I upped the spices and used 2 teaspoons cinnamon, half teaspoon ginger and a few gratings of nutmeg all of which I incorporated into the flour at the beginning. The smell that fills the house once they're baked is amazing. I made 12 instead of 15 buns as I wanted a bigger sized bun and even then like other reviewers I also found they needed a shorter baking time so I'd recommend you check them at 15 minutes. These are too good to have them ruined at the last minute!
    2nd Apr, 2015
    These were great - like others I doubled the spices and left out the apple. I found the quantities perfect and the cooking time only slightly too long. I even did the final proof overnight in the fridge, then piped on the crosses and into the oven to get fresh buns first thing in the morning. I haven't made them differently to see if they would be better, but they worked out light and fluffy, and tasty!
    31st Mar, 2015
    I made these yesterday - they were really nice apart from one big failing - the crosses made from flour and water were horrible so i would make them again but substitute short cross pastry for the crosses then you will have perfect hot cross buns. oh and more spice needed
    26th Mar, 2015
    I was terribly disappointed with this recipe! Quite a lot of faffing about for poor results. Three hours of proving didn't do much to produce a good bun! They lacked the nice spicy hit which you get from other recipes, the paste was hard and crunchy when cooked, so all in all not a great success!
    14th Mar, 2015
    Made these yesterday and they were terrific. My dough was slightly wet, even after working it, so I'd suggest adding the milk/butter combo a bit at a time (and I'm still not sure what the extra 2tbsp of milk is for) when mixing. I skipped the second prove, it wasn't necessary, and just allowed them to come to size after I'd shaped them. I added 1 tsp of mixed spice, a bit more cinnamon and a few shakes of nutmeg. I left out the apple and instead went for some mixed fruit and peel in brandy I had leftover from Christmas.
    25th Feb, 2015
    As others have mentioned, more spice needed so i added 1/2 tsp mixed spice and 2 1/2 tsps cinnamon. Less baking time as well
    10th Aug, 2014
    I used a similar recipe for hot cross bun this Easter and they worked a treat, you can find the recipe here: :)
    G Hillebrand
    28th Apr, 2014
    They're good buns, but more spice is recommended. A (non-instructional!) video of the process can be found here:
    Mary G
    21st Apr, 2014
    Made these for the second year running and thrilled to bits,the lightest buns I have ever made. Agree with most other comments about needing more spice and a shorter cooking time. I have also found that two provings give excellent results.
    20th Apr, 2014
    Just took mine out of the oven and taste test complete! Very impressed with the result - as others have said, they are as fluffy as any bakery-bought ones. I was worried as my dough was wet and I didn't add any extra flour as I didn't want to make them dry - kneeding was messy, but the end result is perfect. I did 3 rises and added about 2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp mixed spice and am happy with the flavour


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