Homemade Hot Cross Buns

27 March 2024

Enjoy this recipe for homemade hot cross buns! They may not look perfect, but they'll taste fantastic. 

Yields: 16 buns

Preparation Time: 30 minutes, plus 3-4 hours for rising

Cooking Time: 17-20 minutes


Super Booster:

  • 1 ¼ cups high-grade flour
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tsp active dried yeast (ensure it's within its expiry date)


  • 1 ½ cups raisins, sultanas, chopped apricots, or a mixture
  • Zest and juice of 2 oranges (peeled with a peeler and finely chopped)


  • 3 cups high-grade flour
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50g chilled butter
  • 'Super Booster' (from above)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup reserved fruit liquid (or water if needed)


  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp baking powder



  1. Heat the orange juice and zest in a small saucepan until hot. Add the fruit to a bowl or resealable bag and pour in the hot orange liquid. Seal/cover and let sit for an hour or overnight. Drain the fruit in a sieve before using and reserve the liquid.

Super Booster:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add the first measure of flour.
  2. Heat the milk in a heatproof bowl in the microwave until it reaches skin temperature (around 32°C). Add sugar and yeast, whisk gently for 20 seconds.
  3. Make a well in the flour and pour in the milk mixture, stirring to combine evenly. Cover and let sit in a draft-free area for about 45 minutes until bubbly and puffed up.


  1. Once the super booster has risen, add the second measure of flour, sugar, spices, and salt to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add chopped butter and super booster mixture to the flour mixture, then add the beaten egg. Stir to form a rough dough.
  3. Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes until smooth and stretchy. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Drain the fruit and knead it into the dough.
  5. Place the dough back in the mixing bowl, cover, and let it rise until doubled in size (about 1-2 hours).

Optional: Refrigerate the dough overnight and continue the next day.

  1. Divide the dough into 15-16 even pieces and roll each into a smooth ball. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  2. Cover with lightly oiled clingfilm or a damp cloth and let rise for another hour until doubled in size.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  4. Crosses: Mix flour, sugar, water, and baking powder until smooth. Pipe crosses onto each bun.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Glaze: Microwave reserved fruit liquid and sugar for 1 minute, then brush over the buns after baking.


  • Dough rising time varies depending on temperature. Ideal is around 32°C. You can speed up rising by placing the dough in a warm, humid environment, such as a turned-off oven with a bowl of just-boiled water. Avoid temperatures above 50°C, as yeast dies at higher temperatures.
  • If storing for more than half a day, consider toasting them.