Easy Hot Cross Buns | Renee's Kitchen Adventures

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easy Hot Cross Buns

Nothing really says Easter better than some warm Hot Cross Buns....

Easy Hot Cross Buns | Renee's Kitchen Adventures: Sweet dough dotted with golden raisins.  A classic Easter bread!

Slathered with melting butter.

There are probably a gazillion different ways to make these traditional Easter rolls.  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. 

One thing the original recipe called for was mixed dried fruit.  I don't care for a mixture of different dried fruits, 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. 

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.

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 in light and airy rolls.

I weighed the dough balls to the size the recipe called for, which really made rather large rolls...next time I might make them all a little smaller and use two pans.  They turn out to be 7 points+ for each large roll.  For an excellent tutorial for these buns, you can follow this link to a blog post written for them by KAF. 

Shaped and ready to rise...

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

Easy Hot Cross Buns
adapted from KAF

Servings - 12 to 14 ( I got 13 regular sized and one mini)   Serving Size - 1 roll   Points Plus per serving - 7 points+
(Nutritional information from KAF)   Calories - 273,   Total Fat - 2g,   Carb. - 57g,   Protein - 8g,   Fiber 2g


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 TBS 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 TBS 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


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 a 13 x 9" pan with cooking spray.  Form dough into buns ( with greased hands)  and place into prepared pan.  ( I measured out approx. 3.75 ounces per bun as the original recipe suggested.  Again, I would probably go smaller next time and just make two pans)  I ended up getting 13 buns plus one mini and just squeezed them all into the same pan.  

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.

UPDATE!  I've made these a few times now.  I prefer to make the buns a little smaller, and have settled on 2 oz. as the perfect size.  I get 23 buns when they are this size.  I also add 2TBS of softened butter to the "cross" icing to keep it from melting once the buns are stored in a covered container.  I have also used brandy in place of the grand marnier and omitted the orange zest for a change of flavor.  


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!  


  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.


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