Hot cross buns a simple & scrumptious Easter tradition

Take me to the recipe


As a child my favourite part of hot cross buns was the frosting. Or was it the fact that you also got to butter a sweet bun that already had frosting on it?
No matter, to this day they are one of the great Easter treats.

When the hot cross buns appeared in our house the excitement meter rose about 10 notches. They launched the Easter Bunny countdown.

There is something irresistible about the soft texture of a yeast dough with egg. This is special occasion bread (even through it’s a humble dough, lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and studded simply with raisins and currants.)

This is a recipe from the old Crosby cookbook (origin unknown). It’s an easy dough to prepare, rises fairly fast and the buns bake quickly in a hot oven.

Hot Cross Buns Recipe

  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ¼ cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1 pkg. dry yeast (1 Tbsp.)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. soft butter
  • 2 to 2¼ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • ¼ cup currants
  • ½ cup raisins
  1. Heat milk to lukewarm in a saucepan.
  2. Remove to a large bowl, stir in sugar and sprinkle over yeast. Let sit for 5 min.
  3. Stir in butter, egg and molasses.
  4. Add salt, spices and about 1 3/4 cups of the flour.Stir to combine.
  5. Scrape dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead in the remaining flour (no need to use it all).
  6. Place in a greased bowl, turn to coat, cover and let rise until double (1-1.5 hours).
  7. Punch down and let rest for 5 minutes.
  8. Knead in currants and raisins.
  9. Divide dough into 9 balls. Place about 2″ apart on parchment lined baking sheet.
  10. Cover and let rise until double (about 45 min.).
  11. Just before baking cut a cross in the top of each bun (optional).
  12. Bake at 375°F about 15 min. or until brown.
  13. When cooled, pipe  a cross on each bun with a basic white icing.

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9 thoughts on “Hot cross buns a simple & scrumptious Easter tradition

  1. Nora says:

    may the dough for the hot cross buns be made in a bread maker? thanks.

    1. Bridget says:

      Hi Nora,
      I haven’t used a bread machine in a long, long time so I don’t know the process. Here is a link to a Canadian Living article that walks you through the process. I hope that it helps.

  2. Kath says:

    I will have to try the bread maker. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Kath says:

    Thanks for the tip

  4. Tabatha says:


    Tried making these twice. First time I think I killed the yeast. Te 2nd time … not sure. I used the recipe in the Crosby’s Family Favourites.

    It did not call for sugar & had shortening instead of butter, wondering if that would make any difference?

    Made the Oatmeal Bread twice & it was AWESOME!!

    Any advice on the hot cross buns??

    Thanks! :)

    1. Hi Tabatha, Not sure why your hot cross buns didn’t work. The website recipe is just an updated version of the original Family Favourites recipe. I prefer butter over shortening, but it makes no difference in terms of how the recipe works out. It’s more of a taste thing. I prefer to proof my yeast before adding other ingredients so that’s why I add a bit of sugar to the milk and then sprinkle over the yeast. As long as your yeast is active and you give the dough sufficient time to rise everything should be fine. Did your dough rise well in the bowl?

  5. Dana Griffiths says:

    I make these using a bread machine, but I follow your recipe with the following changes:
    Steps 1 & 2: I warm up my milk in a glass measuring cup, and use the microwave. Yeast is proofed in this cup, then poured into bread machine.
    Steps 3, 4: These ingredients (with divided flour) are added to bread machine set on dough setting, and press start.
    Step 5: Once bread machine kicks into high gear (after about 2 minutes of mixing) I slowly add rest of flour.
    Let dough setting complete. (1 1/2 hours)
    Then add raisins/currents to the bread machine pan with dough. Press start again, and let the machine mix in the fruit. When the machine kicks into high gear (after about 2 minutes of mixing), stop the machine, take out the dough, and follow steps 9 and beyond as described above.


    1. Hi Dana, What a great idea to do all the mixing and kneading in the bread machine. Much easier, especially with the fruit.

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