Warm and cozy hot cross buns are just waiting for a pat of melted butter.

These hot cross buns are soft and pillowy with a hint of sweetness, orange, nutmeg, and warm spices.

A distinctive cross on the top adds an extra special touch and holds a special meaning.

plated Hot Cross Buns

Traditional Hot Cross Buns

  • Hot cross buns are delicious – a soft dough filled with warm spices, raisins, and a hint of orange zest.
  • With their distinctive cross on the top, this bread can be picked out from the crowd!
  • It is so easy to make homemade bread that is free from preservatives!
Ingredients to make hot cross buns labeled

Ingredients For Hot Cross Buns

Dough – These rolls are made with an easy yeast dough. After the dough has risen, raisins or currants are added before forming rolls.

Spices – Hot Cross Buns are filled with warm, fragrant spices, including cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. I add a little bit of orange zest for flavor.

Add-Ins – You can change these up with the addition of toasted nuts or pieces of candied orange peel.

How to Make Hot Cross Buns

  1. Warm the milk (as per the recipe below) and add sugar and butter.
  2. Combine yeast, water and sugar until foamy.
  3. Add the yeast mixture, eggs, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to the stand mixer along with flour.
  4. Add the flour to the stand mixer bowl and mix. Knead until a soft dough forms. Add the raisins and let the dough rise.
  5. Form into rolls and rise again.

How to Make the Cross

Prepare a flour paste and place it in a piping bag (or plastic bag with a small corner cut off) and pipe a cross across each hot cross bun. Bake as directed in the recipe below.

TIP: As you pipe the cross, go slowly to allow the flour mixture to run down between the edges of the rolls a bit.

Hot Cross Buns cooling on a baking rack

Storing Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns are best served warm from the oven with butter.

To keep them fresh wrap them in plastic wrap and store them at room temperature for up to seven days. They can also be wrapped in aluminum foil, and stored in the freezer. They will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.

More Easter Baking

Did your family enjoy these Hot Cross Buns? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

Hot Cross Buns cooling on a baking rack
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Hot Cross Buns

These sweet and lightly spiced buns with a distinctive cross on the top are the perfect treat for Easter or spring!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes
Servings 12 buns
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  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup sugar + 1 teaspoon sugar divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast 1 packet
  • 3 large eggs divided use, room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4-5 cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup raisins or currants
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest

Flour Cross

  • cup flour
  • ¼ cup water*


  • In a small saucepan, heat milk over medium heat just until bubbles begin to form at the edges (the temperature should reach about 181°F.) Do not boil.
  • Pour the milk into a bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl) and add ½ cup sugar and salt. Whisk to combine. Add butter and stir until the butter is melted. Let the mixture cool to 110°F (or lukewarm).
  • Meanwhile, combine yeast, ½ cup warm water (110°F), and 1 teaspoon sugar in a bowl. Let sit 10 minutes or until foamy.
  • Add the yeast to the milk mixture. Whisk in 2 whole eggs (reserve the third egg for brushing the rolls before baking), cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
  • Add 2 cups of flour and mix with a dough hook (see notes to mix by hand). Continue adding more flour until it forms a dough that holds together and isn't too sticky (you will use about 4-5 cups of flour total). Turn the mixer to medium-low and let it knead for 4-5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Add raisins or currants and orange zest if using and knead again to incorporate.
  • Place the dough into a large oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Set in a warm place and let rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
  • Punch the dough down and form into 12 even-sized rolls. Place the rolls in a greased 9×13 pan and let rise 20-25 minutes.
  • While the dough is rising, combine the flour and water for the cross. It should be thick enough to hold its shape. Brush rolls with egg wash and place the flour mixture in a piping bag and pipe a cross on each roll.
  • While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Bake for 24-26 minutes or until cooked through.


If you do not have a stand mixer, mix the flour in with a large spoon. Once mixed, turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead 8-10 minutes or until smooth. Add raisins or currants and knead again to incorporate. Proceed with the recipe as directed above.
*You may not need all of the water for the flour cross, you want it thick enough to pipe and hold its shape.
I love to add a sweet glaze once they’ve baked. It looks beautiful and tastes great but keep in mind that the glaze will make the rolls slightly sticky.
Optional Glaze: Boil 3 tablespoons water and 3 tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan. Brush over the warm rolls.
4.97 from 31 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 273 | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 215mg | Potassium: 179mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 189IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Bread, Breakfast
Cuisine American

Recipe from a homemade church cookbook.

easy Hot Cross Buns on a plate with a title
Hot Cross Buns on a cooling rack with writing
soft and fluffy Hot Cross Buns with writing
Hot Cross Buns on a cooling rack and plated with a title


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Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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  1. I made this recipe for the first time on Easter Day, 2024.
    The buns were great in texture and moistness. However, it took more flour than stated but this might have been due to the humidity and brand of flour.
    The one thing my family didn’t care for was the crosses due to being mad from flour and water as opposed to mild and confectioners sugar.
    So, I just carefully pealed the flour crosses off and piped sugar/milk crosses in the channels left when I peeled off the other crosses.
    Next year I will skip the flour/water crosses and go with the sugar /milk. Just personal preference.
    Otherwise this is a great recipe.4 stars

  2. wonderful, only had dried cranberries that I soaked in grand mariner overnight. First time my hubby ever had hot cross buns. Thank you for a fantastic recipe!5 stars

  3. I am making these in 2 days. I had to mix the dough one yesterday and will bake today. I put the dough in the refrigerator, how long should i let the dough rest out of the refrigerator before I shape the rolls?
    Hoping this works it has risen beautifully. and smells amazing.

  4. Hi Penny…you had me confused when I was trying to use the 2X recipe. In the ingredients it calls for 6 eggs but in the instrucions it only uses 2 plus 1 for brushing. Also the butter for the 2X should be 10 1/2 TBS….I think and the yeast should probably be 2 packets…at least I hope so. Hope you don’t mind me pointing this out….Di5 stars

    1. Hi Dianne, when you double the recipe before printing it doubles the ingredients for easy conversion but it doesn’t alter the recipe instructions so you will need to manually alter those when doubling. I hope that helps!

  5. I made these buns Easter Sunday and they were fabulous!! Did exactly as the recipe called for and will definitely make them again!!!

    Couldn’t be better.
    Thx, Holly5 stars

  6. If you have a bread maker use that to make the dough. Add ingredients in the order indicated for your bread maker. Choose setting. Mine would be raisin dough. Leave until time is up. Then take dough out and carry on as suggested. Works for me.

  7. Question regarding hot cross bun recipe, the list of ingredients calls for 3 eggs separated(so I should separate yolks from whites) but when I read the instructions it says to add 2 whole eggs
    “ Add the yeast to the milk mixture. Whisk in 2 whole eggs (reserve the third egg for brushing the rolls before baking),” please clarify — thank you in advance for your help.

    1. The eggs are not separated in this recipe. Two eggs are added to the dough and the last egg is whisked and brushed over the rolls before baking to give a shiny top.