This hot cross buns recipe is a foolproof, easy, step by step recipe with phenomenal results. If you love soft, fluffy, hot cross buns, laced with a hint of mixed spice, and dotted with currants, this classic British recipe is for you!
Originally published on March 27, 2015.
This hot cross buns recipe is not a normal recipe post for me.
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First of all, I took some of the photos below long before I even began Christina’s Cucina. I didn’t make the hot cross buns in those pictures, and the recipe belongs to a storybook rabbit!
So, here’s the reason for the strange post~
When my children were young, I used to entertain them with all things ‘Beatrix Potter’, and one of the coloring books I bought for them was called, “Peter Rabbit’s Easter.” It contained lots of activities for the Easter holiday, and one of them was a recipe for children to make hot cross buns.
Here’s another great recipe to make with or for children at Easter: Italian Easter bread rings.
Well, I pulled out that particular page and kept the recipe because it sounded really good, but it wasn’t until my daughter was 13 years old, that she actually made them. (Yikes, time flies!)
The photo of the page below is from that little coloring book. It contains the recipe she followed and we continue to follow. Please note, I am quite sure the 1 tablespoon of yeast is a typo, as this is a very large amount of dried yeast for this recipe; please follow my printable recipe instead.
You may also like my homemade cinnamon roll recipe, too.
We make hot cross buns in our bread machine (this is the one I have, but there are many less expensive models), and if you’d like to do the same, just follow the directions below.
You can see from the very last photo below, we either added our own little touch of icing the first time my daughter made them (as the recipe didn’t include it). However, for true and authentic British hot cross buns, you’ll skip the icing and make the proper crosses. Here are a few more English recipes.
Flour and water is made into a loose paste which is piped onto the buns before baking. I can assure you, these hot cross buns taste even better than they look! Delicious, anyway you eat them, and they are so good toasted the next day (cut them in half first), then slather with butter, jam or marmalade!
Mrs. Rabbit’s Hot Cross Buns
adapted from a coloring book recipe makes 12 medium sized buns
FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW (see recipe card for stand mixer directions)
Add the milk and melted butter to the bread machine bowl. Place the flour, sugar, salt and mixed spice* (see below) on top of the liquid and make a well in the center, to which the yeast can be added. Set the bread machine to the dough setting and press start. Add the dried fruit when the machine beeps to “add ingredients”.
*To save yourself ordering the British spice blend, you can make your own with this recipe for the British mixed spice.
When the cycle has ended, make sure the dough has doubled in size, then shape into 12 equal pieces and place in a buttered 9″ x 13″ pan.
As I stated above, just mix water and flour until it forms a thick, glue-like consistency.
Pipe across the rows in each direction. NOTE: DO NOT MAKE Xs ON EACH BUN. Follow these instructions and you will have proper looking hot cross buns.
Allow the buns to rise until almost doubled in size. I place mine in the oven with a jug of boiling water (so they won’t form a crust). Then remove from the oven, and set it to 400°F (200°) and allow to come to temperature before placing the buns to bake in the center of the oven for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, make the glaze by melting the sugar in the water in a small pot over low heat. Allow to simmer for about two minutes, then brush the buns with the glaze as soon as they come out of the oven.
Allow to cool slightly before serving, preferably with a hot cup of tea. It always seems nicer with a real china cup and saucer, too.
The picture below is of my daughter’s first time making hot cross buns from Mrs. Rabbit’s recipe. Excuse the poor quality of photo as it was never meant to end up on my page, especially since she didn’t want her photo on here–well, I sort of cut her out. ;)
As you can see, I’ve managed to fix up the recipe a bit–I think Mrs. Rabbit would be proud, too!
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- 10 oz (295 ml) milk
- 1/4 cup (55 g) softened butter (melted, if using a bread machine)
- 1/4 cup (55 g) sugar
- 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups (454 g) all purpose or bread flour
- 1 to 2 tsp. mixed spice (depending on your preference) recipe is below this recipe card
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp. dried yeast
- 3/4 cup (110 g) currants
- 2 Tbsp water (more or less as needed to get the gluey consistency)
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp water
- Add the milk and melted butter to the bread machine bowl. Place the flour, sugar, salt and mixed spice on top of the liquid and make a well in the center, to which the yeast can be added. Set the bread machine to the dough setting and press start. Add the dried fruit when the machine beeps to “add ingredients”.
- When the cycle has ended, make sure the dough has doubled in size, then shape into 12 equal pieces and place in a buttered 9″x13″ pan.
- Allow the buns to rise until almost doubled in size. I place mine in the oven with a jug of boiling water (so they won’t form a crust).
- While the buns are rising, mix the water and flour until it forms a thick, glue-like consistency.
- Put the mixture into a sandwich bag, piping bag, (or condiment bottle) and trim a tiny piece from one corner, if using the bag.
- Remove the buns from the oven, and set it to 400°F (200°). Pipe the flour and water mixture across the rows in each direction. See the photo above (do not pipe an X on each bun)
- Place the buns in the center of the preheated oven for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Meanwhile, make the glaze by melting the sugar in the water in a small pot over low heat. Allow to simmer for about two minutes, then brush the buns with the glaze as soon as they come out of the oven.
- Allow to cool slightly before serving, preferably with a hot cup of tea.
- The next day, slice them in half and toast them to serve with butter, and of course another cup of tea!
Directions for stand mixer:
- Activate the yeast in the warm milk with a pinch of sugar.
- Meanwhile, mix the softened butter and sugar until well combined, then add a little of the milk mixture.
- Remove the paddle and insert the dough hook then add some flour. Add the rest of the milk, flour, salt and mixed spice and let the machine knead the mixture into a dough. (If using cups, begin with the lesser amount of flour, and only add more to acheive a workable dough.)
- Continue run the machine for about 5 minutes; after a soft and smooth dough has formed add the currants. Mix through then stop the machine. Cover and let the dough double in size, then proceed with STEP 2 in the main recipe to shape the dough, etc.
Currants are traditional, but use mixed dried fruit, raisins, or even some candied fruit, if you like.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 240Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 238mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 2gSugar: 14gProtein: 5g
Nutrition information is only estimated.
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tsp coriander (dried spice)
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp mace
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- Mix all the spices together and place in a glass jar or container.
- Keep sealed in a sealed container in a dry place.
Contrary to other sites claiming that pumpkin spice can be a substitute, I would not recommend using it in place of mixed spice. The flavor profile is significantly different.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 50 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 1Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
Nutrition information is only estimated.
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