The Best Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns
Debby Lewis-Harrison/Getty Images
  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Plus rising time: 90 mins
  • Yield: Makes 24

When these decorated rolls begin to appear in bakery windows and grocery store shelves, you know that Easter is approaching. But they are never better as the ones you can make at home, and this recipe will produce such great results, you'll want to make them every year — and maybe not just for Easter.


  • 1/2 cup water (warm; 105 to 155 F)
  • 2 (1/4-ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk (warm; 105 to 115 F)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 1/4 cup butter (softened, equivalent to 1/2 stick)
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour (up to 6 1/2 cups)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots (chopped)
  • For the Egg Wash:
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 teaspoon water (mixed with the egg white)
  • For the Lemon Icing:
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar (sifted)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (grated)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, these buns are broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Make the Buns

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Pour the warm water into the large bowl of an electric mixer and sprinkle the yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar over it. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

  3. Add the remaining sugar, warm milk, salt, nutmeg, and butter.

  4. Add 3 cups of the flour, and using the paddle attachment of the mixer, beat at medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

  5. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition.

  6. Beat in the vanilla, currants and apricots and 1 cup more of the flour. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute.

  7. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough that just clears the sides of bowl is formed.

  8. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

  9. Place the dough in a large greased bowl. Turn once to coat the top and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

  10. Punch down the dough. Cover with an inverted bowl and let stand for 10 minutes.

  11. Divide the dough into 24 equal portions. Roll each portion into a smooth ball. Place the balls about 1 1/2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet or pan.

  12. Let the rolls rise until doubled in volume, about 25 to 30 minutes.

  13. Preheat the oven to 375 F.

  14. Brush the rolls lightly with the egg wash.

  15. With a sharp knife, cut a cross no more than 1/2-inch deep in the top of each roll.

  16. Bake the rolls until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack and let cool.

Make the Icing

  1. In a small bowl, mix together all of ingredients until well blended.

  2. Spoon the icing int a party bag fitted with small plain tip, and pipe a cross over the top of each roll.

  3. Let the buns stand at least 20 minutes for the icing to set before serving.

Recipe Tags: