Hot cross buns are just one of those things.

I don't think about them all year and then BOOM - the week before Easter I get an intense craving for one.

Lightly toasted, heavily buttered, with a hot cup of tea.

In Canada, we don't make the flour/water cross on top, we usually just pipe a cross on (after baking) with a thick icing.

I prefer the tradition of flour and water cross to be honest, but I still include a light glaze on my finished buns.

Made with orange juice and a dash of vanilla, the zingy and sweet glaze goes with the fruity bun very well.

These hot cross buns have a citrus glaze. / Janine Kennedy

If you enjoy eating hot cross buns that are light and airy, this might not be the recipe for you.

In terms of texture, I enjoy a denser bun. It just feels more wholesome and filling to me and one is often enough to satisfy my hot cross bun craving.

It toasts really nicely too, making a great breakfast. You could even slice it up and make bread pudding or French toast, if there are any left after a day or two.

Because this is a heavier, enriched dough, it needs to rise in a nice, warm place. For the first rise, it could take up to two hours to double in size.

Once they're baked, I let them sit and cool at room temperature. They soften as they sit. Then I pour on the glaze.

Hot Cross Buns

You can't celebrate Easter without hot cross buns. / Janine Kennedy

Serves 8-12


For the dough:

10g dry active yeast

10g caster sugar

200ml whole milk, warmed slightly

1 tsp vanilla

Rind of one large orange

1 tsp each: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice

200g dark brown sugar

75g softened butter

2 large eggs

200g raisins or sultanas

450g strong flour

1 tsp salt

For the bread cross:

80g plain flour

60ml water

For the citrus glaze:

200g icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla

80ml orange juice


  • 1 Make the dough: in a large bowl, add the yeast and sugar and then pour over the warmed milk. Let it sit for at least five minutes to activate the yeast (it will bloom and start to bubble when ready).
  • 2 Add the vanilla, orange zest, eggs, brown sugar and spices. Mix well to combine.
  • 3 Add the raisins, half the flour and the salt. Mix, then add the butter and mix again until combined. Add the remaining flour and work the dough with your hands (or use a stand mixer with the hook attachment).
  • 4 Knead the dough for five to 10 minutes until it's smooth, elastic and cleans the sides of the bowl.
  • 5 Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for at least an hour or up to two, depending on how warm it is in your kitchen. It should double in size.
  • 6 Portion into eight to 12 even-shaped balls and place on a lined baking sheet. Cover with a clean dish towel again and leave to rise for an additional hour.
  • 7 Preheat the oven to 180°C. Make the bread cross dough: mix the plain flour with half the water. The mixture should be thick enough to pipe and hold its shape. Add the mixture to a piping bag and carefully pipe a cross on top of each bun.
  • 8 Bake the buns in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until they are golden brown on top and hollow on the bottom when tapped.
  • 9 Make the glaze: combine the icing sugar, vanilla and orange juice. Mix well to make a thick glaze.
  • 10 Let the buns cool slightly, for about 30 minutes, then pour the glaze over each bun. Let set and enjoy.