The perfect Easter hot cross buns recipe

Traditionally eaten on Good Friday, hot cross buns mark the official end of lent. The cross is supposed to remind Christians of the crucifixion of Jesus and the spices inside represent the spices put on his body. This delicious recipe is perfect for Easter. 

Preparation time: 45 minutes, plus rising

Cooking time: 15–20 minutes

Makes 12 buns



For the buns:

  • 450 g/1 lb strong white flour
  • 5 ml/1 teaspoon salt
  • 50 g/2 oz butter
  • 50 g/2 oz caster sugar
  • 5 ml/1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • 10 ml/2 teaspoons fast-action easy-blend dried yeast
  • 25 g/1 oz currants
  • 50 g/2 oz chopped mixed peel
  • 150 ml/¼ pt hand-hot water
  • 150 ml/¼ pt hand-hot milk
  • 1 egg

For the glaze:

  • 50 g/2 oz sugar
  • 30 ml/2 tablespoons water
  • 30 ml/2 tablespoons milk



  1. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Rub in the butter, then stir in the sugar, spice, yeast, currants and peel. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the hand-hot water and milk.
  2. Beat the egg, add it to the liquids, then gradually work in the flour to make a stiff dough. Knead the dough thoroughly on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic.
  3. Cut the dough into 12 equal-sized pieces and shape into a ball. Place the balls of dough well apart on greased baking sheets, then flatten them slightly. Cover them loosely with lightly oiled cling film or polythene and leave in a warm place until doubled in size.
  4. Use a sharp knife to cut a deep cross in the top of each bun. Bake the buns in a preheated oven at 190°C/375°F/gas 5 for 15–20 minutes.
  5. Make the glaze while the buns are cooking: heat the sugar with the water and milk until the sugar dissolves, then bring the syrup to the boil and cook, without stirring, until it is reduced and thickened slightly.
  6. Brush the hot syrup over the buns as soon as they are taken out of the oven, then put them on a wire rack to cool.

Note: Instead of cutting a cross in the top of the buns, a thick paste of flour and water can be piped on the buns to make a more pronounced cross.