Gluten- and Dairy-Free Hot Cross Buns

Close up of plate of hot cross buns
Debby Lewis-Harrison / Getty Images
  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins

Hot cross buns are a Good Friday and Easter tradition in households throughout the world. This recipe for gluten-free and dairy-free hot cross buns is easy to make and is full of raisins, lemon zest, and spiced flavor. You can make the dough a day ahead of time and refrigerate–making this an easy recipe for busy holidays.


  • 3/4 cup buckwheat (light, or sorghum flour)
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour mix (like Bob's Red Mill Pizza Mix)
  • 1/3 cup potato starch (not flour)
  • 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons guar gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise (gluten-free)
  • 2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk (light canned or your favorite dairy-free milk substitute)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (light)
  • 6 tablespoons honey (or organic agave nectar)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (freshly grated)
  • 1 large egg (lightly beaten)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Icing for the Crosses on the Buns:
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk (or your favorite dairy-free milk substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (freshly grated)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat oven to 375 F / 190 C. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease.

  3. In a medium mixing bowl, add all dry ingredients for the buns and whisk to thoroughly combine.

  4. In a 1-quart pitcher or medium mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs and add mayonnaise, coconut milk, olive oil, honey, and lemon extract. Stir to combine.

  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat with an electric mixer just until the batter is combined.

  6. Fold in raisins and freshly grated lemon peel and gently combine.

  7. Use an ice cream scoop with a 1/3-cup capacity to scoop 9 buns onto a prepared baking sheet. If you don't have an ice cream scoop, use a 1/3 cup measuring cup. Leave about 2 inches between buns.

  8. Dip the handle of a wooden spoon in water to prevent sticking and press handle into the top of each bun to form a cross.

  9. Place uncovered buns in a warm location and allow to rise for 1 hour.

  10. Beat one egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush buns with the egg wash.

  11. Bake buns in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and done.

  12. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

  13. While buns are cooling, mix the gluten-free powdered sugar, coconut milk, grated lemon zest, and lemon extract. Stir with a fork until lumps are gone and the icing is smooth.

  14. Use a spatula to scrape the icing into a plastic sandwich bag. This makes piping the icing on the buns easier but you can drizzle the icing on with a small spoon if like.

  15. Pipe icing on buns to make crosses.

  16. Serve warm.


  • For convenience, you can make the bun dough the day before you plan to bake and serve the buns. Put the dough in a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate. Remove the dough from the refrigerator about 3 hours before baking. Allow the dough to come to room temperature.

Gluten-free cooking hints: Always make sure your work surfaces, utensils, pans and tools are free of gluten. Always read product labels. Manufacturers can change product formulations without notice. When in doubt, do not buy or use a product before contacting the manufacturer for verification that the product is free of gluten.