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Baked hot cross buns served in a baking dish
Soft Brioche

Hot cross buns

Hot cross buns are the perfect Easter breakfast or brunch treat. This is an easy recipe for traditional Soft brioche buns with raisins and a citrusy glaze.

Hot cross buns
Easter Hot Cross Buns are one of those treats that shouldn’t be missing at your next Easter brunch or Easter breakfast. Actually, according to many food history books, Hot cross buns will bring happiness into your life. Furthermore, sharing a cross bun during Easter holidays supposedly deepens a relationship with your friends, family, loved ones. We love the thought of sharing. You know how they say, happiness is only real when shared, so these are definitely meant to be shared. This hot cross buns recipe is actually pretty easy. There are three steps to follow. First, you need to make simple, tasty brioche dough, then you make a paste for those beautiful white crosses and last but not least, the amazing, aromatic citrusy sweet glaze. All the steps are pretty basic, but since this is a yeasted dough, it will need to rise twice. The buns are soft, fluffy and incredibly tasty with hidden raisins and candied orange here and there. The crosses add a lovely meaning and the glaze makes them over the top delicious, sweet and slightly citrusy. Delicious, soft buns, that will make your Easter brunch super special.

How to make hot cross buns

Hot Cross Buns are the perfect traditional Easter treat. Soft, brioche buns filled with raisins and dried oranges with a beautiful cross pattern and an amazing citrusy glaze. You can make them up to a day or two in advance, but keep them in an airtight container. Here are the ingredients for the buns: 

Yeast - Use active dry yeast or fresh yeast. If you are using the latter, double the amount of the ingredient.

Sugar - Use granulated white sugar in this recipe. Brown sugar will work fine too.

Flour - A combination of all-purpose flour and strong bread flour is used in this recipe. The combination will result in a rich bun with a soft, fluffy texture.

Butter - Makes the buns rich and delicious. There's no substitute for butter.

Egg - Holds everything together.

Raisins - Traditional for hot cross buns. Use sultanas or other raisins. If you don't like them you can leave them out or replace with other dried fruits.

Candied Orange - For that phenomenal citrusy aroma that adds a bit of freshness.

Spices - We use ground ginger, ground cinnamon and ground allspice in this recipe for that amazing holiday spirit.

Rum - Optional, but recommended. For flavoring.

Baked hot cross buns in a baking dish

Baked hot cross buns in a baking dish for Easter

Storing and Freezing hot cross buns

Hot Cross Buns store very well. Keep them in an airtight container or in a bread bag for up to 3 - 4 days at room temperature. Don't put them in the fridge. You can also freeze them. Place them in freezer bags and freeze for up to a month.

Baked hot cross buns in a baking dish held by Jernej

How to serve hot cross buns

Hot Cross Buns are best served on Easter morning, or in Easter time when you are planning a gathering with friends and family. Traditionally cross buns were served on Good Friday, but we always serve them on Easter and Easter Monday. On those two days, we are usually having the most gatherings with friends and family. Serve them warm or at room temperature. They are perfect with butter. If you prefer them warm, you can slice them in half and place in the toaster for a minute. Then serve with butter or make a sandwich. A good way to use any leftover hot cross buns is to make a pudding.

One Baked hot cross buns served on a plate, held in hand

One Baked hot cross buns served on a plate, held in hand

Other Easter recipes to make for your Easter Brunch

Lets get cooking!

  • makes
    hot cross buns
  • preparation:
  • proofing:
  • total time:
    hour 50 minutes


  • preparation

    In a small bowl combine yeast, sugar, and milk. Gently stir to combine, and let rest for 10 minutes to activate the yeast.

  • knead

    In a bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook combine all-purpose flour, strong bread flour, a pinch of salt, yeast mixture and an egg. Knead for about 5 minutes, then gradually incorporate softened butter. Once all the butter has been incorporated, continue to knead the dough for about 5 minutes. Cover with cling film and set aside for 10 minutes.

    Double the time of kneading if you are kneading by hand.
  • proofing

    Add the raisins, candied orange, spices and rum (optional) to the dough. Knead for about 5 - 10 minutes or until the dough is elastic and glossy. Cover with cling film and let rise for about 50 minutes at room temperature, or until doubled in size.

  • divide the dough

    Divide the dough into 15 equal parts, each weighting around 60 grams / 2 ounces. Shape each piece of dough into a round ball.
    Place each ball on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Don't overcrowd them because they will rise and spread. Cover and let rise at room temperature or until doubled in size, for about 50 minutes.

  • crosses

    To make the crosses: Combine water, flour, melted butter and salt together in a small bowl until you get a thick, fine paste. Keep chilled in the refrigerator until needed.

  • glaze

    To make the glaze: Add water, sugar, orange, lemon, and spices to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Take off the heat and set aside to cool.

  • bake

    Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Fill a piping bag with the crosses mixture. Pipe lines across tops of the buns in both directions, to form a cross. Place the buns in the preheated oven and bake until golden brown, for about 25 - 30 minutes.

  • serve

    Remove from the oven. Brush lightly with sweet glaze and allow to cool on a wire rack or serve them still warm with a generous amount of butter. Enjoy.


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