Hot Cross Buns Are a Tasty Easter Tradition

Simple, scrumptious hot cross buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday to mark the end of Lent. Made with a variety of spices and dried fruits, hot cross buns are steeped in religious meaning.

Hot Cross Buns

Serves 18


For the Buns

2 cups whole milk
¾ cup sugar, divided
½ cup canola oil
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
½ scant teaspoon baking soda
½ heaping teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Allspice (optional)
Cardamom (optional)
Nutmeg (optional)
½ cup raisins

For the Glaze

Splash of milk
1 egg, egg white only

For the Icing

1 egg, egg white only
Powdered sugar
Splash of milk


For the Buns

Put the milk, ½ cup sugar, and canola oil in a saucepan. Heat and stir over medium to medium-high heat until very warm. Do not let the milk boil. Remove saucepan from heat and let the milk mixture sit and cool from very warm to warm. While the milk mixture is still warm, sprinkle the yeast over the mixture. Carefully add 4 cups of flour to the milk mixture; stir until the ingredients are combined and the dough is sticky. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel; set aside for 1 hour. Add the remaining ½ cup flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; stir to combine.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining ¼ cup sugar, cinnamon, and any other optional spices you would like to use.

Lightly flour a work surface. Set the dough on top of the flour. Using your cleaned hands, press down on the dough to flatten it. Note: The dough does not need to be perfectly oval or round when you flatten it. Sprinkle approximately 2 tablespoons of the sugar-cinnamon mixture on top of the dough. Sprinkle approximately 1/3 of the raisins on top of the dough. Fold one side of the dough over onto itself. Repeat this same process, of flattening the dough, sprinkling with sugar-cinnamon, sprinkling with raisins, then folding the dough over onto itself, two more times (for a total of three times), making sure to include all of the raisins. You will not use all of the sugar-cinnamon mixture.

Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Pull off a golf-ball size portion of the dough. Flour your hands and shape and roll the dough into a ball. Set the dough ball on the cookie sheet. Repeat process until all the dough balls are shaped and on the cookie sheet. Cover the cookie sheet and set in a warm location for 1 hour so that the dough balls can rise.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

For the Glaze, and Baking

Place a splash of milk and the egg white into a small bowl; whisk to combine. Brush mixture onto each roll.

Bake rolls until the tops have turned a golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Transfer the rolls from the cookie sheet to a cooling rack.

For the Icing

When the rolls are completely cooled, make the icing. Place the egg white into a bowl. Add and mix in powdered sugar, a little bit at a time, until the icing is thick. Add in splashes of milk, if necessary, for consistency.

Spoon the icing into a small plastic baggie. Squeeze the baggie from the top down so that the icing is snug in the lower portion of the baggie. Snip off a corner of the baggie. Squeeze some icing onto each roll, making crosses.