Hot cross buns on a baking tray

Hot cross buns

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(152 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…

    • 50g butter



      Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

    • 500g strong bread flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 75g caster sugar
    • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
      Sunflower oil

      Sunflower oil

      Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…

    • 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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    Ed Manning's picture
    Ed Manning
    30th Mar, 2020
    Not good Paul. If someone served these to you on Bake Off you would criticise them to no end. I followed the recipe to the letter but the dough just didn't rise enough. There is not enough flavour in the buns and the baking time was way too long. Some of them looked like charcoal briquettes after just 15 minutes in the oven (not 20 as advised).
    16th Feb, 2020
    I made these a couple of days ago, having never made any bread dough before (I was a little nervous!), and they turned out beautifully! I took the advice of lots of other reviewers, and added two teaspoons of mixed spice alongside one teaspoon of cinnamon to the recipe, which gave them a lovely flavour. They would definitely have been bland if you just used one teaspoon of cinnamon. I also doubled the amount of sultanas, but was careful to make sure there weren't too many of them sticking out of the dough at the top when I baked the buns, in case they caught as I knew they would become bitter. Proving the dough was an interesting experience in a cold kitchen in February! I found that the thing that worked best for me was to heat the oven up to about 50 degrees celsius, then turn it off and pop the dough in. When baking, I set the oven to 220, as I read in a few other places that you need a hot oven, but I popped some baking parchment over the buns for part of the baking time and this stopped them catching, as a few other reviewers had said that they felt the oven was too hot. I'm very pleased with how they came out – flavoursome, looked eye catching (especially with the lovely apricot glaze), and with a lovely light texture – so I would certainly recommend this recipe, though it DID take me almost 5 hours to make them. Might only be an annual make ;)
    11th May, 2019
    I'm sure the buns will be superb but I won't know for about 3 hours due to the misleading prep information on this recipe. Watch this space...
    27th Apr, 2019
    These tasted really delicious but were a lot of effort. I made some additions: -doubled the amount of cinnamon and also used the same amount of ground all spice. I added this along with the orange rind when I was boiling the milk to enhance the flavour. -I reduced the amount of sugar and sultanas. -I didn't have a pipe or nozzle so I used a knife to do the cross and with a bit of patience is turned out well. -I didn't have apricot jam so I used an equal sugar water mix (e.g 1 spoon of caster sugar mixed with 1 spoon of warm water) for the glaze. -It took 15 min to cook (but it was almost too much so I would look at them after 10 min to check)
    Pip Dragonetti's picture
    Pip Dragonetti
    26th Apr, 2019
    Currently funemployed so had the time to do this recipe. Verdict? They taste good but don't look like much! Just did double sultanas and no mixed fruit, also added nutmeg and extra cinnamon as others suggested. I had to cook in two batches and my first batch caught at 220 degrees, still taste good but bit of a shame after over 4 hours of prep. Second batch I turned the oven down to 190 and cooked for 18 minutes and they came out perfectly. I'd make them again, but it would have to be on a day when I had little else to do!
    21st Apr, 2019
    Amazing! Up the sultanas and add nutmeg. So pleased with the result
    19th Apr, 2019
    These are delicious. My first time making hot cross buns and I’m delighted with the results
    19th Apr, 2019
    This is the third year that I've been making these. I have been using 50g sugar and a sprinkle of salt instead of the amounts stated in the recipe. I also replace the cinnamon with mixed spice (as previous comments have said). 20 mins at 180 oC, and then glaze with hot golden syrup. Beautiful and light- worth the time and effort!
    Julia Crouch's picture
    Julia Crouch
    19th Apr, 2019
    Nice bake, the first I have ever made that didn't turn out like rocks. But these need a load more spice and fruit – next time, I'll add 2tsp mixed spice and double the sultanas. Wish I'd read the comments before making them! I made them with almond milk and soy marg for a lactose intolerant daughter in law, and it worked fine.
    19th Apr, 2019
    220 is too high a temp for bread rolls. I suggest 220 for 10 minutes and 175 for five minutes. Also, a better cross can be made with confectioners sugar and water after baking. Less lumpy!


    Emilie Maddison's picture
    Emilie Maddison
    18th Apr, 2019
    I've been making this recipe every Easter for years, and it's delicious, but I've found the flour cross nearly impossible to get right! I've made it thick and it ends up lumpy and unpleasant to eat, I've made it runnier and you lose the definition in the oven, not to mention the mess of the crosses oozing down the size of the buns and burning hard floury lumps onto the pan! Do you have any advice on this step?
    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)?


    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!
    rebeccamottershead's picture
    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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