Hot Cross Buns are a soft, sweet bread roll made with a vanilla icing cross on the top, traditionally eaten on Good Friday in some countries, but they should definitely be enjoyed all year long!
If you’re new to yeast baking make sure to try my Cinnamon Rolls Recipe! They’re amazing and easy enough for beginners!
Hot Cross Buns Are A Classic Easter Recipe
Hot Cross Buns are a treat I grew up eating on Easter morning. I know there are lots of different traditions when it comes to Hot Cross Buns, but I always looked forward to having them once a year. Honestly, though, there is no reason why these can’t be enjoyed all year long! They are a sweet bread, usually made with dried currants or raisins (I used Craisins), and topped with a sweet icing. We always had them warm with a nice spread of butter too. SO good!
Baking With Yeast Is Easy!
I have been on a roll lately baking with yeast, and I am not about to stop anytime soon. My Sweet Dinner Rolls have been a weekly recipe! To imagine there was a time when the idea of baking bread from scratch made me a little nervous is crazy! It’s actually very easy and using Rapid Rise (Instant) Yeast makes it quick too!
Honestly, if you think about yeast as just another ingredient it takes the worry out of it. AND once you do it once, you will see how uncomplicated the process really is. You can make bread by hand, or if you have a mixer with a hook attachment that works for the kneading portion too!
My Main Bread Making Tip
Knowing when to be done kneading is the question I get most. So here’s my PRO TIP: After you knead the dough for the recommended period of time, press it gently with two fingers, and it springs back, you’re done kneading! It should be smooth and elastic to the touch.
What Are Hot Cross Buns?
I did a little research to find out the history of Hot Cross Buns and found lots of interesting facts. They say that the cross on the bun represents…well, a cross, and the bread represents the end of Lent. There are also many theories on the origin of Hot Cross Buns.
One of the interesting myths behind the recipe is that buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil or grow moldy during the subsequent year. Another myth is if the buns are hung in the kitchen, they are supposed to protect against fires and ensure that all your bread turns out perfectly! I kind of like that idea!!
Anyhow, there are countless stories and traditions around Hot Cross Buns, but what I know is that they are delicious!
How Do You Make Hot Cross Buns?
- Working with RapidRise® Yeast makes the process easy! The dough comes together very quickly, and requires about 4-6 minutes of knead time, which you can do with your hands, or with the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer!
- The dough will be soft for these, so add your flour in small increments, to make sure you don’t add too much!
- Allow 350-45 minutes for the dough to rise. I like to cover the dough and put into an oven that was heated just to warm, and then turned off.
Hot Cross Buns should be soft, and chewy, like any good bread. You have the subtle sweetness from the dried fruit, and the icing on top, paired with that distinct yeast flavor.
I hope these become a tradition in your house too!
Easy, classic Hot Cross Buns Recipe
- Place dried cranberries in a small bowl. Cover with boiling water and let sit for 5-10 minutes, or until plumped. Drain and set aside.
- Combine 1 cup flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, salt, and cinnamon in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- In a microwave-safe bowl heat the milk, water and butter for 30 – 45 seconds until very warm (120° to 130°F). Stir this into the flour mixture.
- Mix the eggs, cranberries, and enough remaining flour to make soft dough (I generally use 3 1/2 cups total). Replace the paddle attachment with a dough hook and knead on medium speed for 4-6 minutes. Alternately, you can knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, 4-6 minutes. Cover the dough with a clean dish towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Line a large baking sheet parchment paper and coat lightly with nonstick spray.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and place 3- inches apart on prepared sheet. Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 35 to 50 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- With a sharp knife, cut a shallow cross in top of each bun. Brush egg white over tops and bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. Allow the buns to cool before icing.
- For the icing, mix together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cream in a bowl until smooth. Place the icing in small zip-top bag with a corner snipped off and pipe the icing onto the buns in a cross shape.
Store airtight at room temperature for up to a day. Best served same day.
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