Traditional Hot Cross Buns

These lightly spiced sweet buns with currants and citrus zest are decorated with a white cross representing the crucifix are a traditional Easter food, typically eaten on Good Friday. This is a classic recipe that's not as sweet as some of the newer ones out there.



1 package yeast 
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup milk 
1/3 cup honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp grated orange rind
1 egg beaten
3/4 cup currants
3 1/2 – 4 cups  all-purpose flour

Flour Paste Crosses
2 tbsp white all-purpose flour
2.5 tbsp water
1/4 tsp vanilla

Hot Cross Bun Glaze
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp honey


Sprinkle sugar and yeast onto the water and let sit until it turns foamy (10 minutes).

Melt the butter over low heat. Stir in the milk, honey, salt, and citrus rind and gently warm until the mixture reaches room temperature. Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. 

Add the yeast and beaten egg to the milk and butter mixture and beat until combined. Gently stir in the raisins.

Beat in the flour in two additions Start with 2 cups and beat until smooth. Add the rest of the flour—using less or more, until you have a moist, but not sticky, dough. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently. Fold the dough into a ball and place in lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for a few hours or until doubled in size. 

Gently punch down the raised dough to release gas bubbles. Cut into 12 evenly-sized balls and shape into round buns—taking care not to handle the dough too much. Place the buns on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Be sure to leave a few inches between the buns. Cover with a towel and let rise for another hour.

To make the paste for the crosses, mix flour, water, and vanilla until you have a thick glaze-like texture. With a piping bag, pipe cross-shape glaze over each bun. 

Once the buns have risen, preheat the oven to 375. Bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile. mix milk and honey glaze. After the buns have baked for 15 minutes, brush each bun with the glaze.

Return the buns to the oven and cook for an additional 5 – 8 minutes, or until the buns are nicely browned on top, and cooked through.

Allow for the buns to cool for 10 minutes before eating. Serve warm with sweet butter.

Buns keeps well for a couple of days in an airtight container.