Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Hot Cross Buns

Gluten- and Dairy-Free Hot Cross Buns

The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Rise and Cool: 65 mins
Total: 115 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 8 buns
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
392 Calories
12g Fat
68g Carbs
8g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 392
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 70mg 23%
Sodium 311mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 68g 25%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 36g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 45mg 3%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 411mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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.

"The hot cross buns were easy to prepare and had nice flavor from the spices, lemon, and honey. The icing was delicious, too. The guar gum thickened the dough/batter and made it easy to scoop onto the baking sheet. It's an excellent gluten-free choice for Easter." — Diana Rattray

gluten-free hot cross buns with raisins and lemon
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour, light, or sorghum flour

  • 3/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour mix, such as 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 gluten-free mayonnaise

  • 3 large eggs, divided

  • 3/4 cup canned coconut milk, or other dairy-free milk

  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil

  • 6 tablespoons honey, or organic agave nectar

  • 1 cup raisins

  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, freshly grated

  • 1 tablespoon water

Icing for the Crosses on the Buns:

  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 1 tablespoon coconut milk, or other dairy-free milk

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, freshly grated

  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Gluten- and Dairy-Free Hot Cross Buns ingredients

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

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

    greased baking sheet

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

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

    dry ingredients in a bowl

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  4. In a 1-quart pitcher or medium mixing bowl, lightly beat two eggs and add mayonnaise, coconut milk, olive oil, honey, and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract. Stir to combine.

    lightly beat eggs and add mayonnaise, coconut milk, olive oil, honey, and lemon extract in a bowl

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

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

    batter in a bowl

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  6. Fold in raisins and 1 tablespoon of freshly grated lemon zest and gently combine.

    add raisins and lemon zest to batter in the bowl

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  7. Use an ice cream scoop with a 1/3-cup capacity to scoop 8 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.

    dough balls on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  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.

    press wood stick into dough balls

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

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

    dough balls on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

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

    dough balls brushed with egg wash

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

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

    baked buns on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  12. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

    buns on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  13. While buns are cooling, mix the gluten-free powdered sugar, coconut milk, 1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest, and 1/4 teaspoon of lemon extract. Stir with a fork until lumps are gone and the icing is smooth.

    mix the gluten-free powdered sugar, coconut milk, grated lemon zest, and lemon extract in a bowl

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  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.

    icing in a plastic bag

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo

  15. Pipe icing on buns to make crosses.

    Gluten- and Dairy-Free Hot Cross Buns on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Sonia Bozzo


  • 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.
  • When preparing gluten-free recipes, aways 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.
  • If you have an instant-read thermometer, look for an internal temperature of about 206 F to 210 F.

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of raisins, use currants, golden raisins, or dried cranberries or blueberries.
  • Use a smaller scoop to make smaller hot cross buns.

How to Store Gluten-Free Buns

  • Store cooled leftover buns in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
  • Wrap cooled buns well in plastic wrap and foil and freeze for up to 1 month.
  • Place frozen—preferably un-iced—buns on a baking sheet and cover with foil. Heat in a preheated 250 F oven for about 15 minutes, or until warmed. Cool slightly and ice just before serving.

What does guar gum do for baked goods?

Guar gum is used in gluten-free baked goods to improve the texture and shelf life. It's an important ingredient in gluten-free cooking, as it has about 8 times the thickening capacity of cornstarch. If guar gum isn't used, your batter or dough will likely be thin or runny. Gluten-free bread recipes typically call for 1 to 2 teaspoons of guar gum for each cup of flour.

Can I use xanthan gum instead of guar gum?

Yes, you can swap out the guar gum with the same amount of xanthan gum