This hot cross buns recipe makes sweet yeast rolls, topped with a simple cross of frosting. And they’re delicious!
Want to try another sweet bread recipe? Try these New Orleans-style beignets.
Hot cross buns have a bit of a storied history. The question is, which story is accurate?
Is it the story out of the 12th century that has a monk baking the sweet rolls on Good Friday? Or did Queen Elizabeth I pronounce that hot cross buns were too freaking awesome (okay, maybe not those exact words) to have on any day but Good Friday, Christmas, or days of burial? Will they expel bad spirits? Make great friendships?
I’m not sure we’ll ever know!
Hot cross buns are favorites worldwide
No matter what their history, these days the sweet rolls are traditionally available during Lent, the week leading up to Easter.
Bakeries carry them so that their sweet goodness can be enjoyed as part of that tradition, but you can make your own buns right at home!
How to make this recipe
This is a yeasted dough recipe, which means that the dough will need to be kneaded and given a chance to rise. If you have a bread machine, you’re golden! You can make the dough and let it rise right in the machine.
You can also use a stand mixer with a dough hook to knead the dough automatically.
Or you can do it like that 12th century monk might have, and knead it by hand!
No matter which method you use, these sweet rolls will be delicious.
Once the dough is ready, you’ll form it into rolls and bake them. The final step? Squeeze icing in a cross pattern across the top of each. After all, that’s what makes the hot CROSS buns! Wouldn’t want to miss that step!
- ¾ cup water, 110 degrees
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon instant powdered milk
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 eggs, divided, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- ¾ cups dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, or currants
- 2 tablespoons water, for egg wash
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons milk
To Use a Bread Machine
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- In the order listed, place these ingredients into the bread machine: water, butter, powdered milk, sugar, 1 whole egg, 1 egg white (yolk reserved,) cinnamon, flour, and yeast. Program using the dough cycle.
- Add the dried fruit when prompted to add ingredients OR when the cycle is completed
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat flat. Sprinkle with raisins and knead to combine. Cover and allow to rest for ten minutes.
- Divide the dough into twelve equal pieces. Form balls and place into the prepared casserole dish.
- Cover and allow to rise in a draft free place for about one hour or until doubled in size.
- Whisk together the remaining egg yolk and water for the egg wash. Brush evenly over the rolls.
- Place the bread in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool on a wire rack.
To Use a Stand Mixer
Instead of steps 2 and 3 above:
Place these ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with a dough hook: water, butter, powdered milk, sugar, 1 whole egg, 1 egg white (yolk reserved,) cinnamon, flour, and yeast. Turn mixer on low and allow to knead for 6 to 8 minutes. Add dried fruit and allow to knead for a minute or two more.
To Knead by Hand
Instead of steps 2 and 3 above:
Place these ingredients into a large mixing bowl: water, butter, powdered milk, sugar, 1 whole egg, 1 egg white (yolk reserved,) cinnamon, flour, and yeast. Use a sturdy wooden spoon to combine ingredients into a shaggy dough. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes, until dough is soft and smooth. Add dried fruit and knead for a minute or two more.
For the icing:
- Mix the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk until smooth. Transfer into a piping bag or zip top freezer bag with the corner snipped. Squeeze icing parallel and perpendicular over each row of rolls to create crosses.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 273Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 27mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 3gSugar: 25gProtein: 6g