Fluffy, sweet Hot Cross Buns are an Easter delight! This recipe yields tender, pillowy rolls that are spiced with orange zest, cinnamon, and cardamom. Each roll is sweetened with honey and brown sugar. Brush them with a warm apricot glaze when they are fresh from the oven for a dose of wonderful sweetness and flavor.
This post was originally published 9/10/2014. It’s been updated with fresh content, new photos, and a revamped recipe.
After experimenting in the kitchen over the last few months, I’ve learned that yeast is truly nothing to be afraid of. I’m becoming more and more comfortable with this delicate living organism.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to working with yeast.
If you’re in the mood, you can make a batch of sweet, super soft and fluffy buns like these hot cross buns.
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It’s not hard to make bakery-style buns at home. Trust me. If you have a stand mixer, it’s even easier!
The most important thing you need is patience. If you can manage that, you will be good to go.
Start your dough by combining warm water and yeast. I always dissolve the yeast before adding it to the flour. This a great habit to form because you can easily tell if the yeast is good or not without wasting an entire recipe.
The printable recipe card with full ingredient amounts and instructions can be found at the bottom of this post.
Once you know that your yeast is in working order, add it to warm milk, honey, and orange zest. This all gets mixed with a little flour that has been spiced salt, cinnamon, and cardamon. Mix in some butter, eggs, vanilla, raisins, and more flour.
Once the dough comes together, use the dough on your stand mixer and beat the dough on medium speed for four minutes. It should be smooth and no longer tacky.
Place it in a large mixing bowl that has been sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Check to see if it has risen enough by pressing two fingers into the dough. If the indentation remains, that means the dough has risen enough.
Punch the dough down and divide it into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball and arrange them on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let the balls rise for about 45 minutes. They should rise to be about double their size.
Brush the tops of the buns with egg wash so they’ll turn a lovely shade of golden brown during baking. Mix flour and water to form a paste and pipe the classic cross over each bun.
Bake the buns for about 25 minutes. They will make your house smell amazing!
As soon as you pull the buns from the oven, brush the tops with warmed apricot jam that has been strained. The apricot flavor melds so wonderfully with the spices in the buns.
Hot Cross Buns
- 6 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/4 cup warm water, (110-115°F)
- 1 envelope active dry yeast, (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 cup milk, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon orange zest, (from 1 large orange)
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 3 large eggs, divided
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup apricot jam, warmed and strained
- In a medium bowl, combine 5 and 1/2 cups of the flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom. Stir with a whisk to combine, set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir the water and yeast together; let sit for 5 minutes until yeast is dissolved and foamy. Add 1 cup of the milk, honey, and orange zest to a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until it reaches 110°F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the yeast mixture, milk mixture, and half of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until combined. Beat in the butter, 2 of the eggs, and vanilla. Add the raisins. Gradually add the remaining flour mixture, beating until a soft dough forms.
- Switch to the dough hook attachment and beat on medium speed for 4 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, turning the dough to grease the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Spray a 9×13-inch rimmed pan with nonstick spray. Lightly punch down the dough and let it rest for 5 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into 12 equal size pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a small bowl whisk the remaining egg and 1 tablespoon of milk together. Brush the tops of the rolls with the egg wash.
- In a small bowl combine the remaining 1 cup of flour with 6 tablespoons of water, adding 2 tablespoons at a time until a thick paste forms. Using a piping bag fitted with a #10 piping tip, pipe the paste over the top of the rolls to form a cross over each one.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Brush the tops of the hot rolls with warm apricot jam.