Peter Rabbit's Classic English Currant Buns Recipe

English currant buns
Elaine Lemm
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 12 mins
Rising: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 27 mins
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1989 Calories
52g Fat
339g Carbs
44g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 1989
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 52g 67%
Saturated Fat 31g 155%
Cholesterol 130mg 43%
Sodium 576mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 339g 123%
Dietary Fiber 15g 53%
Total Sugars 66g
Protein 44g
Vitamin C 6mg 32%
Calcium 248mg 19%
Iron 18mg 100%
Potassium 1116mg 24%
*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.)
"Then old Mrs. Rabbit took a basket and her umbrella and went through the wood to the bakers. She bought a loaf of brown bread and five currant buns"  The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter

The currant buns mentioned in this classic children's tale are a classic of the English kitchen. When Beatrix Potter was writing about the buns in the early 1900's, buns would have been yeast based and bought from the local baker who would make a batch of buns to bake in the already hot oven after baking the day's bread. Or as here, so easily baked at home.

They are as loved today as they were when Peter Rabbit and his pals enjoyed them. They are so easy to make and super-delicious when eaten slightly warm with lots of butter. You will find Currant Buns served as a tea time treat a morning snack with a cup of tea or coffee, in a lunch box and even toasted by the fire as a winter treat too. 


  • 12 ounces all-purpose flour

  • 2 ounces unsalted cold butter, cut into small cubes, more as needed

  • 1 ounce caster sugar

  • 1/2 tablespoon fast-acting dry yeast

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 100 milliliters milk mixed with 100 milliliters of tepid water

  • 2 ounces currants

For Glazing:

  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam

  • 1 tablespoon cold water

Steps to Make It

  1. Sift the flour into a large baking bowl.  Add the butter cubes and quickly rub together using your fingertips to create a sand-like texture. Add the sugar and the yeast and stir, finally add the tiny pinch of salt. Stir again. 

  2. Add the mixed milk and water and using a dinner knife draw the mixture together to form a loose dough. Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and knead to create a soft, smooth dough. The dough is ready when pressed it springs back.

  3. Spread the dough using both hands and tip the currants onto the surface. Roll the dough up and knead again to incorporate the currants through the dough. 

  4. Place the dough into a clean, lightly greased (use a little butter) cover with a tea cloth and place in a warm (but not hot) place and leave the dough to rise until doubled. Do not rush this process, a slower rise always results in a better finish. This should take about 1 ½  hours. 

  5. Once the dough rises, gently tip it onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly to smooth the dough out again. 

  6. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, grease lightly with a little butter and put to one side. 

  7. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces (each piece should roughly weigh 60g each but there is no need to be too exact, these are homemade buns). Place onto the baking sheets. 

  8. Cover once more with a tea cloth and leave for approx 20 minutes for the buns to rise once again. 

  9. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7 (lower slightly if using a fan or steam oven). 

  10. Place the baking sheet into the center of the preheated oven and cook for 12 minutes or until the buns are golden brown and firm to the touch.  Remove from the oven, leave to cool on the tray for 10 minutes then move to a cooling rack.

  11. While the buns are cooling, place the apricot jam and water into a small saucepan (or microwaveable bowl). Heat the melt the jam slightly then mix to form a loose glaze.

  12. Paint the glaze over the surface of the buns using a pastry brush. 

  13. The buns are super-delicious when eaten slightly warm spread with butter. Also good cold, and if a day or so old, then toast and once again spread with butter. 

  14. Store the buns in an airtight container, they will keep for at least 2 days but as mentioned above may need toasting. 

Notes on Making English Currant Buns:

* If you can find them, use tiny, soft sweet Zante currants, they are readily available but if you can't find them, use ordinary dried baking currants.