Recipe: Hot Cross Buns

In this classic hot cross bun recipe, you can vary the spices and fruit to suit what you like or have on hand, writes Roberta Muir.

Use only mixed spice or cinnamon if that’s what you have, and add currants or raisins instead of (or as well as) sultanas, mixed peel or any other candied peel you like. Eat these buns split with lashings of butter hot from the oven, reheated for a few minutes in a 180°C oven, or toasted.

For a fun Easter treat, turn these spiced orange ice cream sandwiches into ‘hot and cold cross buns’.

Makes 12 buns


  • 100ml lukewarm water
  • 2½ tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ½ teaspoon salt flakes
  • ½ teaspoon mixed spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • About ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 150ml lukewarm milk
  • 50g salted butter, melted,
  • plus extra for brushing
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 50g sultanas
  • 50g candied peel, finely diced

Cross Dough

  • ½ cup plain flour
  • 40g cold butter, diced
  • 1 tablespoon water, more or less


  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons castor sugar



  • Combine water and ½ tablespoon of the sugar in a mixing bowl.
  • Sprinkle yeast over the top, stir it in and set aside for 10 minutes or so until frothy.
  • Sift flour into the bowl. Add remaining sugar, salt, mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Make a well in the centre and pour in milk, butter and egg.
  • Mix to form a soft dough, then tip onto a lightly floured workbench.
  • Scatter with sultanas and candied peel and knead well until smooth and elastic.
  • Place in a deep, buttered bowl, cover with a clean, dry tea towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for an hour or so until doubled in size.
  • Meanwhile, make Cross Dough: rub butter into flour and mix with just enough water to form a pliable dough. Divide into 24 pieces and, using the tips of your fingers, gently roll each one on a bench into a thin strip about 14cm long; don’t make them too thin, or they’ll break when the buns rise in the oven. Cover and set aside.
  • Punch the risen bun dough down to its original size and divide it into 12 even-sized pieces (digital scales are useful for this).
  • Working one at a time, keeping the others covered with a clean, dry tea towel, roll a piece of dough between the palms of your hands to form a ball, gently stretch and tuck the dough under the bottom of the ball, poking any protruding pieces of fruit back in, to form a smooth bun.
  • Place on a buttered, flour-dusted baking tray with plenty of space between each bun.
  • Using a razor blade or sharp knife, slash a cross at the top of each bun. Cover with a clean, dry tea towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes or so until doubled in size.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 250°C.
  • Drape 2 dough strips across the top of each bun to form a cross, gently pressing them onto the sides or tucking them under to secure them.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 220°C, place the tray in the oven, and bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, make the Glaze: Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside until the buns are cooked.
  • Remove buns from the oven, brush well with glaze and set aside to cool a little.

You can find a print-friendly version of this recipe here, as well as a step-by-step video of how to make baps, simple little bread rolls perfect for breakfast or snacks.

Roberta Muir is the author of four cookbooks, a certified cheese judge and Sherry educator, a restaurant reviewer, and a cooking teacher. She also has a Master of Arts degree in Gastronomy. You can find out more about her via her weekly newsletter.