Traditional Hot Crossed Buns (…without the cross!)

Hands up if you’re rocking spring! After what feels like decades of wrapping myself up in socks, slippers, jeans, jumpers and cardigans indoors (even though I live on an island with a sub-tropical climate!!) the warm temps, sunshine and late nights are finally here.

Mega apologies to anyone who visited Pink Recipe Box last Friday expecting to find a recipe. If you follow me on Facebook, you might have seen that I’m changing up how often I post. Instead of posting on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I’ll only be posting on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Traditional Hot Crossed Buns (...without the cross!) |

This is for a number of reasons. The major of which being I’m saving up for one of the most highly-anticipated vacations of my life – we’re off to Orlando in June!! I plan on eating pretty much everything in sight as we work our way through the theme parks and even though Disney is meant to be the happiest place on earth, I’m almost sure they don’t give away free noms, so I’m doing as much extra work as possible to earn as much money as possible so we can have the best vacation possible.

Now I’ve got that off my chest, I can stop sounding like a three year old and get back to the whole reason you’re here – these Traditional Hot Crossed Buns. Recently, I’ve been finding that I’m liking a lot of food that I wouldn’t go anywhere near before, such as mushrooms, raisins and these hot crossed buns – does that mean I’m getting old?

Traditional Hot Crossed Buns (...without the cross!) |

Even if I’m not fully sold on the idea of hot crossed buns just yet, the smell as they bake is absolutely incredible. It really is like Easter is diffusing throughout the room. The zestiness of orange, the sweetness of raisins and the spice of cinnamon swirl together and spread themselves out throughout the house whilst these buns are baking. I swear this is what the Easter bunny smells like.

Wondering what the title’s on about? Well, at the same time I was baking these Traditional Hot Crossed Buns, I was also baking a loaf of bread, baking the most amazing chocolate cupcakes EVER which I’ll be sharing with you soon, whipping up two recipes for the ActiveWearUSA Magazine (did you know I write for those guys?) and trying to pitch in with painting the staircase so My Official Treat Taster didn’t feel like he was getting left with all the work. Needless to say, corners got cut.

Traditional Hot Crossed Buns (...without the cross!) |

Do you know what the white crosses on hot crossed buns are actually made of? A pasty flour and water mixture. It’s super-simple to make – mix white flour and water together until you have a thick paste, scoop it into a piping bag and pipe crosses onto the buns before baking. Except it’s not that simple when you’re trying to do what feels like a million things at once and don’t have a single piping bag.

So, as I always do, I tried to save the day by doing by own version of a cross – slicing a cross into the bread dough with a sharp knife just before they went into the oven. It kind of worked, but kind of didn’t really. So if you’re going to make these, I recommend avoiding the cross altogether, or making one the proper way out of a flour and water paste.

Traditional Hot Crossed Buns (...without the cross!) |

Whilst these traditional hot crossed buns really are delicious when served warm and fluffy, straight out of the oven, My Official Treat Taster is adamant that the best way to serve them is toasted and slathered with butter. Strawberry jam optional. Except if you’re me. Then strawberry jam is pretty much mandatory when it comes to anything resembling bread.

If you want to take these traditional hot crossed buns up a notch, why not have a go at these Hot Cross Bunnies? They’re made from a simpler version of this bread dough and twisted into cute bunny shapes – perfect for an Easter brunch!

Traditional Hot Crossed Buns (...without the cross!) |

Traditional Hot Crossed Buns (…without the cross!)
Prep Time
3 hr 40 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
4 hr
Servings: 12 buns
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 5 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. In a saucepan, boil the milk over a high heat.
  2. When it reaches boiling point, remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Leave to one side to cool until it's warm, but not hot.
  3. When the milk and butter mixture has reached the right temperature, sprinkle the yeast on top and leave for ten minutes until foamy.
  4. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the flour, salt and sugar.
  5. Pour in the milk, butter and yeast mixture and the egg and mix on a low-medium speed with a dough hook, until all the ingredients come together.
  6. Turn the speed up to medium-high and knead for seven minutes.
  7. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.
  8. After one hour, knead in the raisins, orange zest and cinnamon by hand. Cover the bowl with the tea towel and leave to rise for another hour.
  9. After another hour, divide the dough into 12 evenly-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a ball shape and place well spaced out on a greased or lined baking tray. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for one final hour.
  10. Preheat the oven to 430F/220C and bake the hot crossed buns for around 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown

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  1. That trip sounds so exciting! Whew, you did have a lot going on – definitely not worth the piping bag. Those things are a pain to use as well, I always make a giant mess haha! But that is neat, I never knew what the cross was. These look delicious even without it. I’m a sucker for all things sweet bread, so this is right up my alley! Pinned !

  2. I can smell them baking in my mind already! 🙂 Soooo, does this mean I should give mushrooms another chance? I do WISH I liked them – they’re very healthy and versatile, but I can pick a speck of mushroom off of a loaded pizza or out of Chinese food. I just can’t stand them! Time to give them another try I guess. 😉 [#TastyTuesdays]

  3. I’m so jealous that you’re going to Orlando!
    These buns look so scrumptious I want to reach through the screen and take a bite.
    I’m stopping by from The Wednesday Roundup to check out your yummy recipe. I would love it if you would share this recipe and any others you like in my very first week of The Yuck Stops Here link party. It’ll be open until this Friday at 8pm EST. If you can’t stop by this week we’ll be having a party every week starting on Monday evenings at 8pm EST and going until Fridays at 8pm EST. HUGS

  4. I can’t believe I’ve never made Hot Cross Buns (with or without cross!). Your recipe sounds delicious, and I have pinned to make! 🙂 Thank you for sharing this with us at Treasure Box Tuesday!

  5. They look amazing and I didn’t miss the cross at all! I bet they smelled incredible when you were baking them!

    If you have a minute to spare I would be thrilled if you could share your post at my weekly Say G’Day linky party. It’s on right now and this would be a fabulous addition.

    Best wishes and have fun getting ready for your big vacation!
    Natasha in Oz

  6. Your Hot Crossed Buns look fabulous, we just love these buns! Your post is awesome and thank you so much for sharing it with Full Plate Thursday.
    Happy Spring!
    Miz Helen

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