Easy Hot Cross Buns Recipe for Easter

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When I was a kid, there were certain traditions that my family followed every year for Easter.  We would get up early on Easter morning and be greeted with a basket full of all the ‘hot’ Easter candy of the year.  We put on our new Easter clothes with pretty white shoes and headed off to church to learn the real reason that Easter was a special day.  Then, we headed home to my all time favorite Easter tradition:  Hot Cross Buns! My mom used to buy good old Entenmann’s hot cross buns every single year and it was the only time of year that you COULD find these delicious treats!

how to make hot cross buns 2

Hot cross buns are spiced, sweet buns made with currants, raisins or bits of candied fruit and marked with a cross on the top.  They are traditionally eaten on Good Friday. In my house they were eaten on Easter morning and then you didn’t see another hot cross bun for an entire year.  I decided to try out this recipe for hot cross buns so that I could make them whenever I wanted and not be denied this sweet little roll for 11 months out of the year!

I made the dough for these hot cross buns in my KitchenAid mixer.  I highly recommend one if you are planning on doing any serious amount of baking and bread making.  The dough for these hot cross buns took literally 10 minutes to make.  You will have several hours worth of rising time but there is very little to actually DO to make them.  If you prefer to not put the icing cross on top, you can score the dough balls deeply before baking and a cross pattern will still be evident without the extra sweetness.  Personally, I licked that icing cross off the top of my hot cross bun first thing, before I even started eating it!  This recipe will make 16 hot cross buns and you can freeze them if you want to make them up ahead of time.  Just don’t ice them until right before serving!

hot cross buns recipe

Easy Hot Cross Buns

Yields 16

Easy Hot Cross Buns Recipe for Easter

5 hrPrep Time

12 minCook Time

5 hr, 12 Total Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe
Recipe Image


  • 1 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm milk (divided)
  • 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tbsp softened butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp powdered sugar


  1. In a small glass bowl, microwave 1/4 cup milk for 20 seconds or just until warm. Add 1 tsp sugar and stir gently. Sprinkle with yeast and let sit 5 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer, combine 3 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. Mix gently until combined.
  3. Into the dry ingredients add the yeast mixture, the softened butter, eggs, and the rest of the milk.
  4. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer, mix gently until well blended.
  5. Add raisins and mix until combined.
  6. Remove paddle attachment and replace with the dough hook.
  7. Mix dough with dough hook, slowly adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup of additional flour. You want the dough to be slightly tacky to the touch but not sticking to you when you touch it. Knead for 3 to 5 minutes as you add the flour slowly.
  8. Place the dough in a well greased bowl and cover with a clean towel. Place bowl in a warm spot and let rise for 2 hours or until double in bulk.
  9. Gently press down the dough to remove some of the air.
  10. Turn out onto a floured cutting board
  11. Using a sharp knife, divide dough into 16 equal pieces
  12. Shape each piece into a small round ball
  13. Place dough balls on a greased cookie sheet, approximately 1 to 1/2 inches apart
  14. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let rise another 45 minutes or until double in size
  15. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  16. Prepare egg wash by whisking together one egg and a tablespoon of milk. Using a pasty brush, brush on the egg wash over the dough mounds.
  17. Bake in the center of the oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  18. Let cool 5 minutes and transfer to wire rack to finish cooling. Cool completely before putting on icing or it will melt!
  19. To make icing cross: Combine the powdered sugar and milk. Mix until smooth. Put into a small sandwich bag and snip end off to create a small hole. Gently squeeze frosting out into the shape of a cross.


 What sort of Easter traditions does your family have?

Diane Signature


  1. I absolutely love hot cross buns! I need to make some soon.
  2. I was looking for a copy cat for Entenmann's Hot Cross buns. These were very good and light. But not sweet enough. Need to add more sugar.

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