Easy Hot Cross Buns | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easy Hot Cross Buns

Nothing says Easter better than warm Hot Cross Buns. You'll love this Easter bread recipe for Easy Hot Cross Buns. This recipe is a classic Easter bread you will want to make every year! Sweet dough dotted with golden raisins and covered in a sweet icing.

Easy Hot Cross Buns by Renee's Kitchen Adventures on tray with a frosting X

Hot Cross Buns

I have fond memories of hot cross buns from my childhood. I clearly remember my mom bringing home soft, fluffy hot cross buns with that distinctive frosting cross at Easter time every year. We would eat them for breakfast on Easter morning and toast up any leftovers in the evening to enjoy as a snack. 

Easy Hot Cross Buns by Renee's Kitchen Adventures on a red plate with a knife split open with butter on it

How do you make Hot Cross Buns?

There are probably a gazillion different ways to make this traditional Easter bread.  Last year I tried my hand at making them from scratch for the first time, and was really disappointed by the outcome.  The rolls turned out like hard, heavy rocks...I ended up throwing the entire batch away.

So this year, I thought I would seek out another recipe and give them a go again.  I searched  King Arthur Flour recipes ( my yeast dough recipe go to) and found this one, which I ended up adapting slightly.  This recipe is a keeper.  The rolls turned out soft and moist with the a nice slightly spicy flavor.

They tasted just like the Hot Cross Buns I enjoyed as a kid!

Easy Hot Cross Buns by Renee's Kitchen Adventures close up image

The KAF original recipe calls for mixed dried fruit in the dough.  I don't care for a mixture of different dried fruits in this Easter bread, so I used all golden raisins.

I also elected to soak my raisins in Grand Marnier prior to adding them to the batter and added some orange zest as well.  Delicious. 

One interesting thing this recipe does call for is baking powder, along with the yeast.  I have never used both before, but this might be the key to this light and airy Easter bread.

Easy Hot Cross Buns by Renee's Kitchen Adventures on a tray frosted with an X

Tips for making Hot Cross Buns

This dough is EXTREMELY soft. I ended up using more flour than the recipe called for ( and I do weigh out my flour on a scale for better accuracy). This might have been more due to the amount of moisture in my flour than any flaw in the original recipe. 

I actually ended up adding more flour than I probably should have, as I ended up with a really not very sticky, but smooth and elastic dough. It didn't matter though, because the rolls were perfect. If you keep the dough softer, as the recipe suggests, you will likely end up with an even more tender outcome.

I weighed the dough balls to the size the recipe called for, which really made rather large rolls. I adjusted the recipe to make them all a little smaller and use two pans.  For an excellent tutorial for these buns, you can follow this link to a blog post written for them by KAF.

Easy Hot Cross Buns by Renee's Kitchen Adventures in pan ready to rise

Fresh from the oven.  Once cooled, frost with an X. 

Easy Hot Cross Buns by Renee's Kitchen Adventures in pan fresh out of the oven

Hot Cross Buns, Easter Bread recipe. Easter bread
Breakfast, Bread, Easter
Yield: 24 servings

Easy Hot Cross Buns

prep time: 2 H & 15 Mcook time: 20 Mtotal time: 2 H & 35 M
Easy Hot Cross Buns are a classic Easter bread you will want to make every year! Sweet dough dotted with golden raisins and covered in a sweet icing.


For Buns
  • 1/4 cup Grand Marnier or orange juice
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature ( I used skim)
  • 2 whole large eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 6 TBSP unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour ( 19 ounces)
For Frosting
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • enough milk or Grand Marnier or orange juice to make a thick icing
  • 2 TBSP of softened butter


  1. Soak raisins in Grand Marnier or orange juice overnight.
  2. In the bowl of a large stand mixer, combine all the ingredients for the buns ( except the raisins and liquor). Mix with paddle until combined then switch to hook and knead until soft and elastic. ( you might need a add more flour) Dough will be very soft. Mix in the fruit and any remaining liquid.
  3. Cover dough and allow it to rise for about one hour. It may not double in size, but it will puff up.
  4. Spray two 13 x 9" pans with cooking spray. Form dough into buns ( with greased hands) and place into prepared pan. ( I measured out approx. 2 ounces per bun )
  5. Cover the buns and let them rise for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake buns for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely before adding frosting. Since these are best enjoyed warm...heat up the buns in a microwave before eating for a few seconds


Nutritional Information is an estimate
Recipe adapted from KAF
Fat (grams)
Sat. Fat (grams)
Carbs (grams)
Fiber (grams)
Net carbs
Sugar (grams)
Protein (grams)
Sodium (milligrams)
Cholesterol (grams)
Created using The Recipes Generator

We are celebrating Easter this year with dinner out.  I sort of miss making a big Easter brunch...but that's ok, because I won't miss any of the clean up!  :)  I will probably still make these heavenly deviled eggs though!  They are one of my favorites!

I wish you all a very blessed Easter Sunday!

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Easy Hot Cross Buns by Renee's Kitchen Adventures pin for pinterest


  1. I just finished cooking up my eggs to dye tonight! I'm so excited (I'm so cheesy ;)). These look yummy, I'm not sure I've ever had hot cross buns. Have a great Easter

  2. I love the idea of using Grand Marnier to soak the raisins! Did you use Grand Marnier in your icing as well, or did you use the milk or orange juice? I was just wondering if using the Grand Marnier in the icing would make it 'too much' so that is why I was curious which you used. Happy Easter!

  3. I used a little Grand Marnier and milk to the icing...it was just about right. :)

  4. These look so fluffy and perfect! I love King Arthur flour for recipes. Hope you have a great Easter weekend!

  5. I've never had hot cross buns! I think this is one of those things that I won't really have an urge to make until someone hands me one. Then again, it IS bread. Bread is always awesome. Yours look great and I'm glad you found a recipe that works!

  6. I know I just made the muffin version yeast-free but now I really want to give the yeast-version a try! That picture with the slathered butter on it is so incredibly inviting.

  7. They look amazing, and now I am going to have the little song stuck in my head all morning :)

  8. Belated Happy Easter to you and your family Renee!!!!!!

  9. Hope you had a fabulous Easter. I have never made hot cross buns before, but have been on the search for a great recipe. Your recipes never fail me so I am definitely giving this one a try! Thanks for sharing. xo

  10. Those buns looks amazing Renee. I thought about eating out for Easter but ended up cooking at home which turned out to be a lovely day with family and friends.

  11. They look fantastic!! I am sad to say that I have never made hot cross buns .. EVER. Now that I have this great recipe, I think that I will have to try it. Hope you had a happy Easter.

  12. Thanks for the BSI entry Renee! I am extended it one week because of Easter. I will mention that in my post tomorrow - but thanks for the BSI entry! (and thanks for the virtual hugs about my brother - I appreciate it!)

  13. G'day! These look terrific! Happy Easter!
    Cheers! Joanne

  14. G'day! These look terrific Renee! Easter wouldn't be the same without Hot Cross Buns!
    Cheers! Joanne

  15. Just made these, following the recipe to the letter, weighing ingredients, etc. While rising the second time, the rolls just melted together into one big blob, but since handling it would deflate them, I baked as is. So, I have hot cross bun cake. The texture is more of a crumbly, cake-like texture, too. Not at all what I expected. Did I miss something, maybe kneading longer with additional flour to get a more bread-like, soft texture? They taste delicious and this is a trial run for Easter brunch, but I don't want to fail on a second batch. Ideas?

    1. Hi Lynn. I'm sorry you had some difficulty with them. I have not run into this problem. The texture should be bread like. I'm not sure where it could have gone wrong for you. Is it possible it was too warm where you had them for the second rise? You could try adding a bit more flour in the mixing process to get a little firmer dough. Although the dough is soft, you should be able to form them easily into small balls for the second rise.

  16. Can you make this recipe the night before and Cook then in the morning?

    1. Hi Heather. I've never made them the night before and baked in the morning. If you do so, let me know how it comes out!

    2. I made the dough the night before covered them and put them in the refrigerator! I took them out this morning about an hr before I baked them! They are delicious my family really enjoyed them! I would post picture for you if I could! Happy Easter!

    3. Thank you so much for coming back and letting me know how they turned out making ahead of time. Sounds like a great option! I'll have to give it a try too. Happy Easter to you as well! Feel free to post photos and tag me in any of your public social media posta! @RKArecipes !

  17. How much grand marnier for the icing, please? Also, what happens if I make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate overnight? Sorry...I'm a novice! 🤣

    1. Hi there! No need to apologize! I'm happy you are here and want to try this recipe. A TBSP or so of grand marnier should do it for the icing. I've never made the dough ahead of time, but if you give it a try, let me know how it turns out for you!

    2. See comment above about a reader who had success making the dough ahead of time and refrigerating overnight!

  18. With social distancing I’d rather not make a trip to the store. I have regular yeast but not instant. Any suggestions?

    1. Yes! you can use active yeast or instant yeast. Instant yeast doesn't need to be proofed. Active yeast does. Just mix the active yeast in about a 1/4 cup of warm water with about a tsp. of sugar and let sit for about 5 minutes until bubbly. You can reduce the milk ingredient by a couple of TBSP. as well. Just add the proofed yeast into the recipe with the wet ingredients and it should work fine.

  19. Do I refrigerate the raisins and grand marnier overnight or leave it out? Please and thank you.

    1. You can leave it out on the counter. Happy baking!


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