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Enjoy warm Hot Cross Buns this Easter with this easy recipe

Hot Cross Buns

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Hi Everyone! When Gemma was growing up, I used to bake these Hot Cross Buns at Easter time. They are a traditional thing here in Ireland and in the UK. They definitely are a labor of love but the results are great.

These Hot Cross Buns are traditional spiced, sticky glazed fruit buns with pastry crosses. Served as a classic Easter treat, the buns can also be enjoyed at any time of year.

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There are many more Irish desserts on the site including a Traditional Bread & Butter Pudding and Irish Soda Bread so we hope you enjoy

5 from 4 votes
Enjoy warm Hot Cross Buns this Easter with this easy recipe
Hot Cross Buns
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
3 hrs
Total Time
3 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 12 buns
Author: Patricia Stafford
  • 4 1/4 cups (625g/21 1/4oz) bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
  • (85g/3oz) sugar
  • 1 lemon , zest only
  • teaspoon dried yeast
  • 1 egg , plus extra for egg wash
  • 1 ¼ cup (300ml/10floz) tepid milk
  • cup (120g/4oz) mixed dried fruit
  1. In a large bowl sieve the flour, salt and ground mixed spice. Then rub in the butter using your fingertips until the mixture is the texture of fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the center of the mixture then add the sugar, lemon zest and yeast.
  2. Beat the egg with the tepid milk then add to the dry ingredients. Mix together to a form a soft, pliable dough.
  3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle over the mixed dried fruit then knead the dough lightly for about 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic with dried fruit throughout.
  4. Grease a large bowl with butter. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into the prepared bowl. Cover with cling wrap and set aside in a warm place for one hour to proof.
  5. After about one hour the dough should have doubled in size. Turn out the proofed dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.
  6. Grease a baking tray with butter and transfer the buns to the tray about 1 inch apart. Cover with cling wrap and return to a warm spot to proof for another hour.
  7. After the second proof preheat the oven to 400oF (200oC). Brush the buns with a little bit of egg wash for a shiney finish.
  8. Transfer the buns to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden-brown and shiny.
  9. As soon as you remove the buns from the oven, brush them with a little golden syrup or honey then set aside to cool on a wire rack.



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Samantha Winner
Katherine Cowgill by Teren Oddo Oct. 2015

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  1. Samantha Winner on April 23, 2019 at 7:06 am

    I’m a Brit living in Houston TX and really miss hot cross buns every year, so was over the moon with this recipe. I made them on Good Friday and they tasted just perfect! Thanks

    • Gemma Stafford on April 23, 2019 at 10:49 am

      YAY, great job here, i’m delighted to hear that!

  2. Diane on April 18, 2019 at 10:17 am

    Hi Jenna just making your recipie for hot cross buns. Can l just say you are a amazing cook and chef your recipies are easy to follow and turn out good all the time. Thanks so much Jemma lm from Liverpool but live in hickory no you always bring a bit of home back to my house when l cook your recipies.

    • Gemma Stafford on April 19, 2019 at 5:15 am

      Hi Diane,
      Wow! if this is Hickory NC you are sure a long way from home, like me! Yes, isn’t it interesting how evocative food is, it takes us right back in time.
      I am delighted you are baking with us. The hot cross buns recipe is my mum’s one, we loved this too.
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  3. Sue on July 29, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    I wondered about the ground mixed spice too so will have to look it up on the net to see if there is a guide to follow in how much of each spice to use

    • Gemma Stafford on July 30, 2018 at 6:18 pm

      I like it a lot but if you can’t find it you can just use some cinnamon.


  4. JulesK on May 22, 2018 at 2:15 am

    Hi Gemma. Just made these for the second time and they are amazing. Not to mention the incredible smell coming from my kitchen right now. I love that I can finally have hot cross buns all year round and get to swap the raisins for chocolate chips too. My crosses came out a bit better this time too, I added you a picture. Thanks Gemma

    • Gemma Stafford on May 22, 2018 at 10:45 am

      I’m thrilled to hear that. Really glad you like this recipe. I’ll check out the photo now.


  5. Rusnė on March 30, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    Hey, Gemma!
    I wanted to ask – how do you do those beautiful crosses on the buns? I’m doing these for Easter and I hope they’ll turn out amazing!

    Thank you wishing you a happy Easter!

    • Gemma Stafford on March 31, 2018 at 6:40 pm


      I just made a thick icing to piper over them. Just mix a little milk into icing sugar to make a stiff icing. 🙂

      Happy Easter,

  6. Diana on March 29, 2018 at 6:05 am

    Thank you Gemma for the hot cross buns they came out yummy

    • Gemma Stafford on March 30, 2018 at 4:19 am

      Hi Diana,
      Great! I always loved this recipe too, happy to hear this,
      Gemma 😉

  7. JulesK on March 17, 2018 at 9:17 am

    Hi Gemma & Patricia. Just finished making your Hot Cross Buns & they are amazing. I must apologise for swapping the fruit for chocolate chips as only my hubby likes flies. Plus I changed the cross to a flour one instead of icing. Which was just plain flour and water piped on half way through the final proving. Think it needed to be thicker though as its not very clear. But it was just a pre Easter practise. I added a picture for you.

    This was my first ever attempt of hot cross buns & they where so easy. Perfect for toasting off for breakfast tomorrow morning. Thank you again.

    • Gemma Stafford on March 17, 2018 at 2:06 pm

      Hi Jules,

      Chocolate chips are your preference, no judgment here. If you are toasting them Jules make sure you have a good butter to spread on them :).

      I’m going to check out your photo now. My Mum will be delighted.


      • JulesK on March 18, 2018 at 6:29 am

        Thanks for the tip, the butter really finished them off. We woke up to snow so these made a lovely home made family breakfast. Thanks Gemma

  8. Sarah on September 24, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    These were sticky, fluffy and delicious !!!
    I made these with plain flour as it was what I had on hand and they turned out better than what you buy in the shop. So yummy yet so simple. Will definitely make these again

    • Gemma Stafford on September 24, 2017 at 8:59 pm

      I’m delighted to hear that. It’s my mum’s recipe so I’ll tell her 🙂

  9. Djeevaraj on April 16, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Hi Gemma what do you mean by under proved these. Can you please explain and help. I don’t have bread flour here so I used plain flour . Everything else I followed. I will make it again but wanted to know from you. Thank you for your help.

    • Gemma Stafford on April 16, 2017 at 2:22 pm

      Hi there,
      There is little difference between strong/bread flour and plain flour, just about 1 1/2% extra gluten in the bread flour.
      Under proved means that the dough did not reach its’ full development in the proofing. That is either in the first, or second growth of the yeasts in the dough.
      If you cut this short the dough would not expand in the oven, and the bake will be dense.
      I hope this helps,
      Gemma 🙂

  10. masturah on March 23, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    I had tried this recipe yesterday and they turn out great, tasty, yummy and delicious.
    Thanks Gemma for the wonderful recipe and the simple-easy instructions!!
    Definitely will try other recipes too

    • Gemma Stafford on March 24, 2017 at 4:00 am

      Hi there Masturah,
      That is great, i am happy to hear that. Thank you for your kind words,
      Gemma 🙂

  11. Bipasyana on March 19, 2017 at 2:17 am

    Made eggless version today. Thank you for the recipe. You are awesome Gemma. ?

    • Gemma Stafford on March 19, 2017 at 3:54 am

      Yea! I am really happy this worked for you, thank you for letting me know,
      Gemma 🙂

  12. Dawn on March 18, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    What is bread flour and tepid milk. I would love to make these.

    • Gemma Stafford on March 19, 2017 at 4:08 am

      Hi Dawn,
      Bread flour is also called strong flour, it is the one which has the highest gluten level, about 13.5%.
      If you fail to find it you can use an all purpose flour/plain white flour, which has a lower gluten content at about 11%.
      Flour can be different in different places, and depending on where, when and even how it is milled. Take a look at the pack, it will tell you a lot.
      Tepid milk is milk which is slightly warmed. when you put your finger in you should really not feel anything, either hot or cold, blood temperature in other words!
      Gemma 🙂

      • Djeevaraj on March 28, 2017 at 2:14 am

        Thank you. I will be making it today. What is the recipe for ground mixed spice please. Thanks & Regrds. Dawn

        • Gemma Stafford on March 29, 2017 at 11:09 am

          Hi there,
          This is a mix of spices which we can buy in Ireland and the UK. It really is to taste, a mix of Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, with a touch of fennnel seeds.
          You need to think about what you like, and which spice needs to have the top note. Cloves need to be handled carefully, so mix it up, taste it, and decide. Just use a little at first!
          Gemma 🙂

          • Djeevaraj on April 14, 2017 at 2:34 pm

            Hi Gemma, I made the buns posted a picture too. But they were not very soft like the ones you get at the bakery store. Can you please tell me how I can get it softer the next time. Did I do something wrong. I made half your recipe as I wanted only 6. Happy Easter.

            • Gemma Stafford on April 15, 2017 at 4:19 am

              Hi there,
              I think you under proved these!
              Proving a rich dough is really important, it will change the texture of the bake, a lot!
              Gemma 🙂

            • Dawn Jeevaraj on April 22, 2019 at 10:13 am

              Hi Gemma, I made the Hot cross buns again. In fact 2 sets of then for good Friday and Easter Monday. I do not have bread flour in India soon I used all purpose flour. They were softer this time but still not as soft as the store bought ones. But my hubby enjoyed it. Can you suggest how I can get it softer please.

            • Gemma Stafford on April 22, 2019 at 12:29 pm

              Hi, great job! They should be soft, it might have been that the dough was overworked.

  13. Sally on March 18, 2017 at 3:40 am

    These look yummy. Does 3tbsp butter = 2oz?

    • Gemma Stafford on March 19, 2017 at 5:48 am

      Hi Sally,
      It will be closer to 4 tablespoons of butter to 2oz, depending on how you load the spoon. A little either way will make little difference.
      Cups, Sticks,Tablespoons.
      4 tablespoons
      2 oz., 57g, 1⁄2 cup’
      Gemma 🙂

      • Sally on March 19, 2017 at 6:57 am

        Which stage would be best to freeze the dough? I’m thinking after first prove, freeze, defrost, prove, bake. Is that right?

        • Gemma Stafford on March 20, 2017 at 3:28 am

          Hi Sally,
          Yes, you are thinking right.
          Dough never quite comes back to the same stage after freezing. I prefer to finish the bake out, and freeze. Then refresh in the oven before serving,
          Gemma 🙂

  14. xboxnoob23 on March 17, 2017 at 4:43 am

    exactly what i was looking for! i will make this soon gamma thank you!

    • Gemma Stafford on March 17, 2017 at 10:54 am

      Good, I am happy to hear this,
      Gemma 🙂

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