Hot Cross Buns are a lightly spiced, soft, and fluffy roll with a sweet crisscross on top. They are so cute, really fun to make, and are typically made during the Easter season. You’ll love the unique flavor, and your kids will love that there really is such a thing as a hot cross bun to go along with the tune they’ve been pounding out on the piano all these years. Also, they’ll love it if you add them to your list of Easter Recipes to make each year.
My friend, Kathryn, brought these festive rolls to Easter Dinner last year. It was the first time I had ever had them, and I loved them. The recipe has been in her family for a long time, and she was gracious enough to share her grandma’s recipe with me. The original recipe calls for raisins, but I knew my kids would turn their noses up to raisins, so I left them out. Next time I make them, I will probably do half raisins and half without because I like them both ways.
This recipe makes a lot of rolls, like, about 60. You can cut it in half, if you want, or you could use half the dough for regular hot cross buns and the other half for cinnamon rolls. I think this dough would make awesome cinnamon rolls. I can’t wait to hear how you like these. You really have to try them. They are so unique and so good. Easter Dinner is the perfect excuse to make them.
More Must-Make Easter Recipes
- Holiday Ham
- Broken Glass Jello Squares
- Cheesy Ham and Potato Breakfast Casserole
- Out of this World Carrot Cake
- Yummy Funeral Potatoes
- Layered Salad
- Roasted Parmesan Brussel Sprouts
step-by-step pictures for how to make hot cross buns
Frequently Asked Questions for making Hot Cross Buns
My dough is sticky. should I keep adding more flour?
Depending on where you live and the humidity level on the day you make these, your dough may seem extra sticky. The dough is stickier than some doughs, so it can be tricky to know when to stop adding flour. My rule of thumb is to only add up to one more cup of flour if I have added 13 cups, and then stop, even if it still seems sticky. After it rises and as I’m kneading it out and the dough is still a little sticky, I knead a little extra flour into it, just enough that I can form the dough balls without it sticking to my hands. As with all bread recipes, you don’t want to add more flour than is needed.
If I don’t have Allspice is there something else I can use in its place?
It won’t be exactly the same, but you can use anise or a mix of cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper. (The mix should be 2/3 tsp cinnamon, 1/6 cloves, and 1/6 black pepper.)
What is Anise?
Anise is a Mediterranean spice that comes from the seeds of the anise plant. It has a licorice/cinnamon/slightly pepper taste that is very unique.
If I make half of the dough into cinnamon rolls, how long should I bake them?
If you make cinnamon rolls, bake them at 400 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
Do I put the frosting on the rolls when they are warm or should I wait until they are cooled?
You need to wait until they are cooled to put the frosting on, or it will melt off. I like to put the frosting in a sandwich-sized ziplock bag and snip the end off and squeeze it on that way. Makes for a much easier cleanup than getting out an icing bag and tip.
Can I make these rolls ahead of time and freeze them?
Yes. I suggest waiting to frost them until the day you plan to serve them. Get them out of the freezer, let them defrost, and then add the frosting.
- 4 cups warm water
- 3 tbsp dry active yeast
- ½ cup canola oil or melted butter
- 1½ cups sugar
- 4 large eggs (5 medium-sized)
- 1 tbsp + ¾ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1½ tsp allspice
- 1½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp cloves
- 2 cups raisins (optional)
- 2 tsp mace (optional...I do not use mace.)
- 11-13 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups powdered sugar + more if needed for consistency
- In an extra large mixing bowl or in a Bosch Mixer, stir together the warm water, yeast, oil, sugar, and salt. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Stir in the eggs, raisins (if you are choosing to add them), cinnamon, allspice, clove, nutmeg, and mace (if you are choosing to use it).
- Next, add the flour a cup at a time as it is mixing or as you are mixing it by hand. Dough should be sticky, but elastic. I ended up using 13 cups of flour, plus some to roll them out when I made them. The photos you see in the post are a result of using that much flour.
- Once your dough is well mixed and elastic, cover and let it rise until it doubles in size. This will most likely take 3-4 hours because the spices in the dough slow down the rising process.
- Once the dough has risen and doubled in size, spray a large baking sheet and a 9x13 pan with cooking spray or you can use three 9x13 pans if you desire. (This recipe makes a lot of rolls)
- Next, form the dough into golfball-sized rolls and set them ½ -1 inch apart on prepared baking pans. After you have made all the dough balls, cover the pans lightly with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise until almost doubled in size. This will take about an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees while the rolls are rising.
- Right before putting the buns in the oven use a sharp knife or a "lame" if you have one to make an "X" on top of each roll.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 17-18 minutes.
- Prepare the icing by mixing together the powdered sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla.
- When the rolls have cooled, put the frosting in a ziplock bag or a piping bag and make an "X" with the frosting on top of each bun.
- Serve and Enjoy!
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