These classic hot cross buns are soft, slightly sweet and beautifully spiced and perfect for Easter. This post contains step-by-step photos and instructions to help make your first time making them super easy!
Hot cross buns are an absolute essential at Easter, and whether you pick up a pack at the supermarket when doing your last minute grocery shop before the long weekend, or decide to give baking them from scratch a go, there really is nothing better than this once a year treat.
I already have a chocolate hot cross bun recipe, and even a fruit-free chai spiced hot cross bun recipe, but I thought it was about time I recognised the OG so here we finally have a recipe for classic hot cross buns!
You’ll love how simple this recipe really is, plus this version is completely dairy free.
There is something about this soft, sweet, yet kind of savoury bread roll that is packed full of spices and sweet sultanas that is just so good! There really isn’t anything else quite like them.
This recipe uses everything you’d expect from a standard yeast-based bread recipe, with a few little extras thrown in for that classic hot cross buns taste.
- Yeast – dry yeast will make your dough light and fluffy, give it rise and give it that bready taste and texture.
- White sugar – the sugar feeds the yeast and also gives the buns a slight sweetness.
- Dairy-free milk – I like to use oat but you can use any that you prefer.
- Plain flour – or all purpose flour in the US.
- Spices – I’m using a combination of mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg for the best flavour.
- Dairy-free butter – to add richness to the dough
- Egg – creates a light, rich bread.
- Sultanas – sure you could leave them out if you’re not a fan but they are a defining part of a classic hot cross bun.
There are a few steps involved to make these hot cross buns, but there is really nothing too complicated. Just make sure you read through them all before starting to make sure you know what to expect next.
If you have a stand mixer, this is the time to bust it out as it’s going to make the job of kneading the dough so much easier. It’s not impossible without, but it’s going to take a lot more muscle.
You’ll start by ‘blooming’ the yeast by whisking it together with the sugar and warm oat milk. Let this mixture sit for 10 minutes until it becomes frothy.
Make the dough by mixing all the ingredients into the yeast mixture using the dough hook attachment on a stand mixer.
Once the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl it is ready for its first rise. The dough will be quite soft and sticky. Use a spatula to scrape the dough from the bowl and turn onto a floured surface to shape into a ball carefully with floured hands.
Place back into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and sit aside in a warm place for 1 hour.
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and turn onto a floured surface, continue to lightly knead and shape into a ball before dividing the dough into 12 pieces.
Shape each piece onto a ball and place into a baking pan that has been lightly greased with cooking oil and lined with baking paper. Cover and set aside again for 20 minutes for the second rise.
Make a paste using water and flour for the crosses and pipe over the uncooked buns and place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes.
Finally, right before the buns have finished baking, make the glaze. As soon as you pull the buns out of the oven, give them a generous brush with the glaze and then try not to burn your fingers as you pull the buns apart.
Slather with extra dairy free butter and enjoy!
How to store hot cross buns
Like all homemade bread, these are best enjoyed fresh in the first 2 days as they don’t contain any preservatives like most store bought versions.
If you want to keep your hot cross buns a little longer, they store perfectly in the freezer. Wrap them in plastic wrap and keep for up to three months.
More Easter recipes:
Classic Hot Cross Buns
- 1 x 7 gram packet yeast
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 ½ cups dairy-free milk warmed
- 4 ¼ cups plain flour
- 2 teaspoons mixed spice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup (60 grams) dairy-free butter
- 1 egg room temperature
- 1 cup sultanas
For the crosses:
- 4 tablespoons plain flour
- 4 tablespoons water
For the glaze:
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk together the yeast, sugar and warmed milk. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let sit for 10 minutes until the mixture is frothy.
- Add in 2 cups of the flour and begin to mix on low using the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer. Add another cup of flour, the dairy-free butter, the egg and the sultanas and mix on medium speed until the dough starts to form. Add in the final cup + ¼ cup of flour and mix until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- Use a rubber spatula to remove the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface and using floured hands, shape the dough into a ball. Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with a clean, damp towel and set aside in a warm area for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough to release the air and turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape the dough into a ball.
- Line a 9 x 13 inch (20cm x 30cm) tray with baking paper and set aside. Cut the dough ball into 4 even pieces, and then cut each piece into 3 so that you have 12 pieces in total. Roll each piece into a ball and place evenly into the pan. Cover again with the kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place for 20 minutes.
- Before the second rise is complete, preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix together the additional flour and water to make a thick paste. Place the paste into a zip lock bag and snip off the end. Once the buns have finished rising, pipe crosses onto each and place the buns in the oven for 30 minutes, or until browned on top and they make a hollow sound when you tap the top.
- About 5 minutes before the baking time is up, make the glaze by boiling together the sugar and water in a small pot on the stove until the sugar is completely dissolved. Brush the glaze over the cooked buns. Pull apart and serve warm with some extra dairy-free butter.
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.