Hot Cross Buns

Gently spiced hot cross buns with chai, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla, these buns are fluffy, light and lovely for breakfast or snacks all week.

I haven’t always been a fan of hot cross buns, and I don’t think I have bought one in many many years so I kind of forget what they ought to be like.

I gave some of my latest hot cross buns to my family to taste test and they loved them, so I am happy to share this new recipe finally. I tested this recipe three times this week. Once I forgot to add the spice, the second time I forgot to add the fruit and this last batch were just right, thank god. I was not going to make them again!

In our family we aren’t huge fans of overly sweet things. So my hot cross buns are a little less on the sweet side and more about the texture and the hints of spice and fruit. I also don’t add an extra glaze the top after cooking as I dislike sticky fingers in my house. I think most parents with young children can understand this one.

Easter this year is once again very different. I am still going to cook a roast chicken and make all the trimmings, even if it is just the two of us. It will feed us for a week so that is perfect. And these buns freeze really well. Cut them in half (thanks for the tip sis) and then freeze, take them out and pop them in the toaster as needed, a snack ready in minutes to enjoy all week.


This recipe makes 24 small buns. If you want, you can make 12 large buns but you just need to increase the cook time by at least 5 minutes. If you are on instagram, I have saved my how to video for this in my highlights. This recipe has been designed with a stand mixer in mind, if you don’t have one, then mix your ingredients as outlined below and knead for 10 minutes by hand until the dough is smooth and glossy.

  • 650 g plain flour (cream flour)
  • 60 g golden caster sugar
  • 2 packets of dried yeast (2 x 7g=14 g total)
  • 2 tsp of vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp Chai powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 300 ml milk
  • 100 g butter
  • 160 g raisins

For the topping:

I egg beaten

60 g flour

1-2 tbsp water


Melt the butter in a saucepan. Once it has just melted, add in the milk and let come up to a luke warm temperature. Turn off the heat and whisk in the egg and vanilla.

Next add the flour to the bowl of a stand mixer, tip in the spices, yeast and salt and using the dough hook attachment, on a low speed drizzle in the butter/milk/egg mix. Once the dough has come together then turn the speed up to a medium to high speed and allow the machine to work its magic for 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough has come away from the sides of the bowl and stays on the dough hook.

Oil a large bowl and tip the dough in. Turn the dough once so it gets coated in the oil and cover with cling film. Leave to rise in a warm place for at least 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

To the bowl, tip in the fruit and then knock back with a single punch to the dough.

Tip the mix out onto a lightly floured surface and very gently fold and knead the dough for 20 to 30 seconds until the fruit is incorporated.

Cut the dough into 24 pieces. To do this, I first cut into quarter, and then cut each quarter into thirds and then each piece into half.

To shape the balls, gently tuck the cut edges underneath the bun so that you have a smooth surface on the top and the fruit roughly contained inside. And place these on a baking tray lined with parchment. Loosely cover with cling film again and allow to rise for a second time in a warm place for between 40 and 45 minutes. They will rise when baking so this second rise, they just need to recover from being knocked back and kneading the fruit in. Halfway through the second rise, heat your oven to 180°C (fan oven).

Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the dough balls with the egg.

Mix together the flour and add 1 tbsp of water to start, add extra water until you form a smooth flour paste. Not too runny as you want it to stay on the bun and not slide/drizzle off. I put this mix into a piping bag but you can use a food storage bag also. Snip a tiny bit off the tip of the bag.

Form the crosses on the top. I start from the top of the tray. From the bottom left of each bun, I pipe the flour mix on just in one direction, do this for all the buns, then turn the tray 90 degrees and do the other side of the cross next.

Once they all have their crosses, pop them into the oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown.

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