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sultana lemon and thyme hot cross bun on a plate
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5 from 1 vote

Sultana, Lemon and Thyme Hot Cross Buns

These hot cross buns are flavoured with sultanas, lemon, juice and zest and have a hint of thyme. A delicious alternative to the classic hot cross buns
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Prooving3 hrs
Total Time45 mins
Course: Cake
Cuisine: British
Keyword: Easter, traditional recipe
Servings: 12 buns
Calories: 288kcal
Author: Jacqueline Bellefontaine


For the buns

  • 500 g strong bread flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 7 g sachet easy-blend yeast
  • 60 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • tsp salt
  • 50 g butter
  • 100 g sultanas
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 175 – 200ml luke warm water

For the crosses

  • 50 g plain flour
  • cold water to mix

For the glaze

  • 1 – 2 tbsp runny honey


To make the buns

  • Place the flour, cinnamon, yeast, sugar ,thyme and salt into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Rub in the butter with your fingertips, then stir in the sultanas and lemon zest. Make a well in the centre.
  • Add the lemon juice, egg, and most of the water. Mix to a soft, slightly sticky dough, adding the remaining water if required.
  • Turn out the dough and knead gently for 5 minutes, until the dough becomes less sticky. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to lightly coat the dough in the oil. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise for about 1½ hours, or until doubled in size.
  • Turn out, and lightly knead again. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place on a greased baking sheet about 2cm apart. Cover with a damp tea towel or slip the tray inside a carrier bag. Leave in a warm place until doubled in size which should take about 50 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 190℃(170℃ Fan)/375°F /gas mark 5.

To make the crosses

  • Place the flour into a small bowl and stir in enough water to mix to a smooth paste. Spoon the mixture into a disposable piping bag and snip of the end. Pipe a cross on each bun.
  • Bake for 20 -25 minutes until risen and golden.

To complete

  • Once the buns are cooked transfer to a wire rack and brush the tops of the buns with a little honey.


  • large bag or oiled cling wrap to cover
  • disposable piping bag or piping bag fitted with a large writing nozzle
  • pastry brush
Cook's Tips
If using an electric mixer to mix the dough, add the fruit after the 1st prooving, before shaping into buns. Mix in the fruit by hand until evenly distributed through the dough.
Freeze for up to 2 month. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and warm in the oven at 180℃ (160℃ fan)/350°F/gas mark 4 for 5 minutes.


Serving: 1bun | Calories: 288kcal