There’s nothing like a warm, fragrant, fluffy pan of Hot Cross Buns for Easter! They start with a spiced yeast dough with raisins and are baked until they are golden brown. Top them with icing in the sign of a cross. They are traditionally served on Good Friday as a treat.
For Easter, it’s always special to make a batch of homemade hot cross buns. These sweet rolls signify the end of lent and are something we look forward to every year.
Of course, you can buy them already made, but making your own is so much better. They are not complicated to make and just take time. I think you’ll find they are worth the effort!
Why This Recipe Works
- This is a simple recipe, and you don’t need a ton of ingredients to make it.
- I’m sharing my best tips for working with yeast, so your hot cross buns turn out light and fluffy.
- This is a tried and true hot cross bun recipe you will want to make every year!
Before Lent, it’s fun to make a king cake, so it only makes sense to signify the end of Lent with homemade hot cross buns!
- Dry active yeast
- Warm milk – about 105-110 degrees F
- Granulated sugar
- All-purpose flour
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground allspice
- Softened unsalted butter
- Room temperature eggs
- Raisins – soaked in hot water and drained
Activate the Yeast
The first step is to activate the yeast by combining it with the warm milk and sugar in a small bowl. Leave it for five minutes or until it’s foamy.
How to Make the Dough
Whisk flour, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Make a well in the center and place the activated yeast, butter, and eggs in it.
Mix until well combined, and then add the raisins and mix until they are evenly distributed in the dough.
Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook and knead the dough until it’s no longer sticky.
Form the dough into a ball and place it back in the bowl. Cover it with plastic wrap and leave it to rise until it’s doubled in size.
Form the Rolls
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and then divide it into rolls.
Grease the baking pan with butter and place the rolls in it. You should have 14 to 16 rolls.
Cover the rolls and let them rise until they’ve doubled in size.
How to Bake Hot Cross Buns
Once they’ve puffed up, you can use a knife to create a cross pattern on the top of each. This is optional.
In a small bowl, whisk egg and milk until combined. Brush the glaze over the top of the rolls.
Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes at 375°F or until they are lightly golden on top. Cool them in the pan for a few minutes and then move them to a baking rack to cool completely.
Pipe the Glaze
In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar and milk until smooth. The glaze should be thick enough to pipe.
Pipe the icing onto each roll in the shape of a cross. Store the hot cross buns in an airtight container.
Yeast Tips: Before you make the rolls, double-check the expiration date for the yeast. If it’s expired, toss it and use a new packet. Also, be sure to use warm milk between 105 to 110°F – if it’s too hot, it can kill the yeast. If it’s too cold, it might not activate.
You don’t need a stand mixer! It is a lot easier to make and knead the dough with a mixer, but you can mix the dough with a spoon and knead it by hand. It will just take longer.
Storage Tip: Hot cross buns will keep in an airtight container for two to three days. I wouldn’t’ make them more than a day in advance – that way they’re really fresh when you serve them
If you’re looking for a special recipe to make for Easter, these hot cross buns won’t disappoint! Everyone will love these soft homemade sweet rolls.
More Easter Recipes
- Serve my Honey Baked Ham this year, and it will be the star of the show! It has the best honey glaze – pair it with my Best Mashed Potatoes!
- Make a batch of Deviled Eggs with all the colorful eggs you have leftover after dying them. This a classic recipe that’s always a hit.
- Bunny Bait is a super easy treat that is always a hit with the kiddos!
Love this recipe? Be sure and comment below and leave a 5-star rating! I know you’ll love it as much as we do!
And if you’re like me and snap photos be sure to tag me on Instagram @julieseatsandtreats or #julieseatsandtreats that way I’m sure to see your yummy treat!!!
Hot Cross Buns
- 1 packet active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
- ¾ c. warm milk about 105-110 degrees F
- ¼ c. granulated sugar
- 3-3 ½ c. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ c. unsalted butter softened
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 c. raisins plumped in hot water and drained
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tbsp milk
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 4-5 teaspoons milk
- In a small bowl, add milk and sugar, sprinkle yeast over the top of mixture. Let set until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 3 cups flour, cinnamon, allspice and salt.
- Then create a well in the center of flour mixture. Add yeast mixture, butter and eggs.
- Mix together using a stand mixer or wooden spoon until well combined.
- Stir in plumped raisins until well incorporated.
- Turn dough onto floured surface to knead or use the dough hook on stand mixer to knead the dough.
- Add more flour if it is sticky a little at a time. Form a ball and place back into mixing bowl.
- Cover with plastic wrap and place in warm area to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Coat 13×9 inch baking dish with butter.
- Punch down dough and turn onto floured surface. Then divide dough evenly and shape into balls, about 14-16 dough balls.
- Place balls on baking sheet, cover with towel and let rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Optional: score the top of the rolls using a knife with a cross pattern
- In a small bowl, whisk together glaze ingredients until smooth then brush over the top of the buns.
- Place in preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees F or until lightly browned.
- Remove from oven and let cool slightly, transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
- In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for icing, it should be thin enough to pipe onto buns easily but not too thin.
- Transfer to plastic bag and snip off the corner of the bag. Pipe a cross onto each bun. Allow icing to set to firm up.
- Store in airtight container