Hot cross buns on a baking tray

Hot cross buns

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(146 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 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

      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 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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    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 :-(
    17th Apr, 2019
    Recipe states to use fast action yeast which doesn't need activating? Maybe thats an error?
    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.
    yummybrittany's picture
    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
    6th Apr, 2015
    Lovely, light buns. Made these yesterday after reading all the comments. Did the three proves and baked for 12 mins which was perfect. I added 2 tsp cinnamon, 1.5tsp mixed spice and a grating of nutmeg to the flour mix at the beginning. Used golden caster sugar, 125g wholemeal/375g white flour and unsweetened almond milk. Left out the apple and orange zest and used seedless raisins and currants as had some in the cupboard with some lemon zest. Glazed with 2tbsp golden caster sugar to 1tbsp water, melted together. Didn't bother with the crosses so were just fruit buns.
    5th Apr, 2015
    I've just made two batches and followed previous comments : added more spice, including Mixed Spice and Nutmeg, mixed the spices and fruit (only had sultanas in Spain, didn't bother with the zest and apple) into the flour before adding the liquid. Proved it, re-kneaded, shaped the buns then proved again. Having mixed everything at the start I didn't see much point in proving three times and sure enough, turned out fabulous! Keep a sharp eye on the baking times though, the 2nd batch took less than 15 minutes. I also used icing sugar as suggested for the cross (should have seen the mess when my piping bag burst!) and used my home made lemon and ginger marmalade as a glaze as that was all I had. Both batches turned out delicious and with all the tweaking of the recipe I give it 5 stars.


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