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Best Hot Cross Buns recipe: Soft homemade sweet rolls for Easter and Good Friday

Celebrate the holidays of Good Friday and Easter with soft, homemade hot cross buns made with butter, vanilla, golden raisins and candied fruit. Lemon scented icing piped in the sign of the cross makes them even more delicious!

Hot Cross Buns Recipe for Good Friday and Easter
Donna Diegel

Best Hot Cross Buns Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 8 Tablespoons butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1/4 cup pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon
  • 8 to 9 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins or currants
  • 1/2 cup candied fruit, optional


  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Mix and heat in small saucepan until hot. Remove and set aside.

Hot Cross Bun Icing

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, or 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons milk
  • Mix in a small bowl until smooth and free of lumps.


  1. Heat milk in a small pan until it reaches 105 degrees F, or until lukewarm. Remove from heat. Sprinkle yeast over the milk and let sit for 5 minutes. Stir.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix milk, yeast and sugar on low speed for about a minute. Add butter, vanilla, water, eggs, salt, nutmeg and cardamon and mix again.
  3. With mixer on low speed, add 4 cups of flour and mix. Add raisins, currants and/or candied fruit. Mix again. Add remaining flour and mix until all the flour is incorporated.
  4. Turn mixer to medium speed and continue mixing until dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. The dough is done when it starts to ride the dough hook to the top. The dough will be sticky st this point. If it is too sticky, you can add a bit more flour. Turn dough out into a greased or oiled bowl. Flip it over and cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm spot until the dough doubles its size.
  5. Punch the dough down and turn out onto a floured counter. Divide the dough and form it into approximately 30 to 36 balls. Place them on an oiled baking pan and cover loosely with a towel. Set aside in a warm draft-free spot until hot cross buns double in size. This will take between 45 to 90 minutes depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
  6. When the buns are almost doubled in size, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  7. When doubled in size, put the pans on the middle rack in the oven and bake between 32 to 35 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Remove the buns from the oven and brush them with the honey glaze. Let cool before icing.
  8. To decorate the hot cross buns, put icing in a pastry bag with a large round or flat tip, and make the sign of the cross. Let icing firm up before wrapping loosely with plastic wrap.
  9. Makes 30-36 hot cross buns. Hot cross buns can be frozen.

Recipe and Photo copyright by Donna Diegel

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