Hot cross buns on a baking tray

Hot cross buns

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(149 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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    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.
    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)


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