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Hot Cross Buns from The Food Charlatan
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5 from 2 votes

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns! Hot Cross Buns! These beautiful rolls are an Easter classic. They are sweet (but not too sweet), studded with dried currants, swirled with warm spices, and crowned with a glossy white cross.


  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dry instant milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, mostly melted (half stick)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 & 1/2 cups flour, or more
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom, optional
  • 3/4 cup dried currents
  • 1 egg, divided (reserve both yolk and white)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 & 1/2 to 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon milk, or more


  • Add warm water to a large bowl or stand mixer. (You want it to be warm but not hot, just like nice bathwater.)
  • Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon yeast and 1/4 cup sugar. Stir together and wait 5 minutes to make sure it's looking bubbly. (I know, waiting is hard, but talk to me in two hours when you realize that you killed your yeast in step one.)
  • Add dry milk powder and salt.
  • In a small bowl, melt the butter most of the way, so there are still a few lumps left. Add the butter.
  • Add the 2 eggs.
  • Add the flour 1 cup at a time. Switch to the dough hook if you are using a mixer.
  • Continue kneading and adding flour until the dough is workable but still a little sticky. Knead with the dough hook or by hand for 7-8 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
  • Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Knead the bread into a ball and put it in the bowl, turning so that it is coated with oil. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1-2 hours. I like to turn the oven on for a minute or so, then turn it off and let the bread rise in the oven. (Make sure you wait to put it in until it's warm, not hot.)
  • In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and cardamom.
  • Punch down the dough. On a floured work surface, pat out the dough with your hands. Sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon mixture, then sprinkle 1/3 of the currants/raisins on top.
  • Fold the dough in on itself (see photos), and pat out the dough again.
  • Repeat this process 2 more times.
  • Line a large baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
  • Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Use your fingers to pinch the dough into a ball, then place on the prepared baking sheet, pinched side down.
  • Let the shaped dough rise again for about 30-45 minutes, until doubled.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F in the last 15 minutes of rise time.
  • In a small bowl, add the egg yolk. (Put the egg white in the (washed) stand mixer or a large bowl, and set aside.)
  • Add 1 tablespoon water to the egg yolk and whisk together.
  • Use a pastry brush to coat all the rolls. Then if you still have egg yolk left, brush them all again. This will make them nice and brown and shiny.
  • Bake at 400 for about 19-20 minutes, until the tops are very golden brown and the bottoms have also browned.
  • Remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely. (I know, I know, HOT cross buns. But if you add the frosting now it will just melt.)
  • Use a mixer to beat the egg white. Add the powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments, beating well each time. Add the vanilla. Add milk as needed. Once you have added all the powdered sugar, beat on high for a while to make it nice and glossy. Test the frosting on a plate to see if it holds its shape. If it spreads, add a little more powdered sugar. (see photos)
  • Add the frosting to a ziplock (I used a ladle. This frosting is thick!) and snip the corner.
  • Cross each bun, then devour!


You may substitute 3/4 cup milk for the water and dry milk combo. They will turn out fine. I just love the tenderness and golden exterior you get from dry milk.
Source: I sort of combined/adapted an Allrecipes.com recipe with The Pioneer Woman's recipe.


Serving: 1 g, Calories: 345 kcal, Carbohydrates: 68 g, Protein: 6 g, Fat: 6 g, Saturated Fat: 3 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g, Trans Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 56 mg, Sodium: 255 mg, Potassium: 156 mg, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 32 g, Vitamin A: 197 IU, Vitamin C: 1 mg, Calcium: 32 mg, Iron: 2 mg