Recipe: Easy, Sticky Hot Cross Buns


Mary Taylor Lewis gives her take on the classic hot cross. bun, with some added twists

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Image by Mary Taylor Lewis

By Mary Taylor Lewis

These buns are delicious straight out of the oven or toasted later with plenty of butter. These buns are super easy to make but do take around three to four hours to make – which is part of their charm! It also makes them perfect for essay season because you can break up your work schedule. I spent 20 minutes making the dough, then while it proved for an hour, I worked on an essay.
Hot cross buns are very versatile, as once you’ve got your enriched dough, it is easy to switch around the spices and dried fruit and I’ve included some of my favourite combinations at the end of this recipe. Just remember the final coating of jam, honey or marmalade to ensure the classic sticky hot cross bun. Enjoy!

300ml milk
50g butter
500g strong white bread flour
1 tsp salt
75g sugar (soft brown/caster)
7g yeast sachet
1 egg beaten
75g raisins
1 orange
Apple, finely chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
For the cross: 75g plain flour + extra for dusting
For the glaze: 6 tbsp orange fine cut marmalade.

Time:3 hr 20 mins total. 2hr 30mins proving. 20 mins baking. 30 mins prep.


  1. Heat 300ml milk in a pan, you should be able to dip your finger in without being scalded. Add 50g butter and stir until melted. Remove from heat.
  2. Sift your bread flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a large bowl. Make a well, add the butter mixture and beaten egg. Use a wooden spoon to mix well until you have a wet sticky dough.
  3. Tip dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead with the heal of your hand for five minutes. The dough will become smooth and elastic. Place dough in a bowl and cover with either a dry tea towel or lightly oiled cling film. Leave to rise in a warm place for one hour, until it has doubled in size - next to a radiator works well!
  4. Keep the dough in the bowl and add 75g raisins, orange zest, apple, cinnamon and ginger. Knead into the dough, then tip it out onto a surface and distribute them through more kneading for two minutes. Place back in bowl, re-cover and let rise for one hour.
  5. Split the dough into 12 rolled balls (you can do more/less depending on the size of hot cross buns you’d like). Arrange the buns on aparchment-lined baking tray – leaving room for them to expand. Cover with a tea towel for 30 minutes.
  6. Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas. Mix 75g plain flour with seven tbsp of water to make a thick paste. This is the most difficult bit, either pipe a cross onto the buns or use a spoon to dribble it on. Bake the buns for 20 minutes on the middle shelf.
  7. Heat six tbsp of marmalade and then brush/spoon over the warm buns, allow to cool and enjoy!

Tips for individualising your buns: Instead of adding the raisins, zest of an orange, apple, cinnamon, ginger and brushing with marmalade, you can jazz them up with these variations:
The chocoholic- Dark chocolate chunks, cocoa powder, orange zest and peel, ginger, marmalade on the top.
Christ’s birthday buns– Dried cranberries, mixed peel, lemon zest, raisins, nutmeg, apricot jam on the top.
Cheeky cherry– Dried cherries, dried cranberries, flaked almonds (save some for the top), cherry jam on the top.
Sunny hunny– Desiccated coconut, freeze-dried mango, nutmeg, honey on the top.d easter eggs