Homemade Hot Cross Buns – Step by Step

Nothing says Easter time quite like a warm and steamy hot cross bun. These deliciously spiced buns are a hybrid of a dinner and cinnamon roll. They’re soft, yet a little dense with a swirl of raisins that carries through the bun. You can play with the spices, even adding a little cardamom too.

These homemade hot cross buns are sweetened mostly with brown sugar, and I add a dash of orange juice to the cross to give them a slight citrus undertone. So yum they’ll make you wish it was Easter every day.



  • 180ml milk
  • 9g instant yeast
  • 135g brown sugar
  • 70g butter, room temperature and cut into cubes
  • 5ml vanilla essence
  • 15ml orange juice
  • 3 eggs (keep 1 back for eggwash)
  • 10g salt
  • 15g cinnamon
  • 15g mixed spice
  • 435g all-purpose flour
  • 140g raisins

Flour Cross:

  • 100g all-purpose flour
  • +/- 80ml water
  • +/- 20ml orange juice


  1. Warm the milk in a pot, then whisk the warm milk, 15ml orange juice, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar together in the bowl. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes.Homemade hot cross buns
  2. Add the brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract, 2 eggs, salt, cinnamon, mixed spice, and 125g flour and mix well.Homemade hot cross buns
  3. Add the remaining flour and the raisins and mix for about 2 minutes, until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be a little sticky and soft. Knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes.Homemade hot cross buns
  4. Lightly grease a pan with oil and place the dough into the pan. Cover with cling wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hour until doubled in size.
  5. When the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air. Divide the dough into +/-12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball, pinching it on the bottom to seal. 
  6. Cover with cling wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for another hour until doubled in size again.Homemade hot cross buns
  7. Heat your oven to 180C.
  8. For the cross, whisk the cross ingredients together into a thick paste that will pipe easily. Add more water if needed. Spoon the paste into a piping bag or zipped-top bag.
  9. Snip off a small piece at the corner. Pipe a line down the centre of each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.Homemade hot cross buns
  10. In a bowl beat the remaining egg and lightly brush the tops of the buns before baking.
  11. Bake the rolls: Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top.
  12. Serve warm and enjoy your homemade hot cross buns.Homemade hot cross buns
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