Hot cross buns on a baking tray

Hot cross buns

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(188 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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    28th May, 2020
    Making these tomorrow as Easter is over and our local baker isn't making them any more (and the supermarket ones aren't worthy of the name). (btw, heel, not heal, sorry for pedantry)
    Misha D's picture
    Misha D
    18th Apr, 2020
    This was the first time I have ever baked any sort of bread and they turned out amazingly. So soft and light. 5 star recipe! Just make sure you have enough time as there is 3 hours of proving.
    13th Apr, 2020
    Taste delicious easy to make but take up to 3 hours to make I.e to let the bread rise etc. Enjoy
    13th Apr, 2020
    First time baking bread and it came out amazing. It was a clear and really good recipe. What I wish all recipes do is to add in the amounts of all the ingredients during the recipe. The ingredients list is still a must, but having the amounts during the recipe makes it so much easier to follow. Thank you!
    12th Apr, 2020
    Made these yesterday for Easter! They turned out great- I followed some of the comments advice and added extra cinnamon and mixed spice and they taste perfect! Also didn’t have apricot jam so used maple syrup, will definitely make these again.
    12th Apr, 2020
    I was so pleased how well these hot cross buns turned out, light, tasty and very soft. They were time consuming throughout the day but really worth it, I’ll be making another batch later today. I stuck to the recipe basics but used mixed fruit and added two teaspoons of each of cinnamon and mixed spice, they really do need the extra spice adding otherwise I think they would just taste like fruit buns.
    vintagemunchkin's picture
    11th Apr, 2020
    Really pleased with this recipe. I didn’t have an Apple or any dried peel, so is added extra dried fruit. I proved in my conservatory on a hot day and the rise was great each time. Final result was lovely light tasty buns. Would definitely make again.
    11th Apr, 2020
    I have used this recipe twice and it worked beautifully both times. It makes quite a decent size buns that are so soft and fluffy especially freshly out of oven. I used bread machine to for kneading and proofing.
    Esther Woods's picture
    Esther Woods
    10th Apr, 2020
    II agree with Wgeezy Woo
    Esther Woods's picture
    Esther Woods
    10th Apr, 2020
    I might send some 2 my grandma


    8th May, 2020
    How would I make these with fresh yeast? It's all I have at the moment. Thank you!
    lulu_grimes's picture
    12th May, 2020
    Hello, You will need twice as much weight of fresh yeast as the dried. Activate the fresh yeast in some warm milk with a couple of spoons of flour until it starts to froth before adding it to the flour etc. I hope this helps. Lulu
    30th Apr, 2020
    Can you bake these without the yeast? I don't have any yeast and can't find any anywhere :( If so, should I replace the flour with self-raising flour? Thank you!
    Esther_Deputyfoodeditor's picture
    1st May, 2020
    Hey, Esther from the cookery team here! Unfortunately yeast is an essential ingredient in this recipe. They will be very dense without the yeast. We have lots of other lovely bakes on the website that don't require yeast, take a look! Thanks for your question!
    Liz Robbo 1
    12th Apr, 2020
    Can I make the dough in a bread maker and if so when do I add the fruit and when do I remove from the bread maker? Thank you so much. Liz
    Esther_Deputyfoodeditor's picture
    14th Apr, 2020
    Hi, Esther from the food team here! Unfortunately we wouldn't recommend making them in a bread maker purely because of the shape of the buns. You could try doing a normal loaf of bread in your bread makers and adding the sugar, spices and fruits you would find in a hot cross bun. Thanks fro your question!
    8th Apr, 2020
    Why can't i print this?
    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?
    Esther Woods's picture
    Esther Woods
    10th Apr, 2020
    I did 6 tbsps water & 75 g flour Hope that helps
    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?


    Sarah Crosskey's picture
    Sarah Crosskey
    12th Apr, 2020
    Oven temp: I did half the batch for 20 mins at 200C and they came out soft with a golden blush. I thought they might be undercooked because they were so squiggy (they weren't), so for the second half batch I cooked it for 16 mins at 210 and they were deeper golden colour. As long as you keep a close eye and peak in for the last 5 or so minutes you'll get them just as you like 'em. Crosses: I found this recipe and it works perfectly compared to just flour and water and compare to putting icing sugar and water on at the end. 150g plain flour 50ml sunflower oil 125ml water Mix and put in a bag with a small cut at the end (3 mm) to pipe. I mixed with a fork to help break up and beat out any flour chunks. I then brushed double the amount of apricot jam on top to make sure it tasted sweet and not floury and they came out picture perfect.
    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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